Friday, June 13, 2014

Canada Player Profiles: Kim Semiglia

Kim with the ball against Team Lola at the LVI
Kim Semiglia (see previous posts here and here) was a member of the Stars Open team for Las Vegas that vastly improved as the tournament developed. As the games went on, her leadership from the flyhalf position helped the team gel and knock out several more experienced clubs, including the Combined Services military team that competed in the Club 7s National Championships, to take 6th out of 24 teams. Given that this was several of our athletes first 7s tournaments and that we had one night of scrimmaging/learning names going in to the tournament, this was no small feat.

Kim has updated us as she returned to her collegiate career at FIU and sent in this post about her experiences at the Women's Collegiate All American East Camp last weekend at James Madison University in Virginia. There she drilled, scrimmaged, and learned alongside fellow Stars players Christina Swift, Nicole Strasko, Lara Gartner, ChiChi Chukwueke and more. They also had the experience of playing for my own amazing collegiate, club and all-star coach Sue Whitwell and the wonderful Martha Daines. I cannot wait to see what she brings to Calgary based on her experiences and feedback at camp! She'll take what she learned into Saturday's Midnight 7s tournament in Atlanta where she'll be playing with Vice City 7s (a new Miami based team with players from FIU, FGCU, AIC and other programs) for summer 7s prior to joining Life University's Women's Rugby team in the fall of 2014. 

Here's Kim's take on WCAA camp and her rugby future:

Although my team and I weren’t fortunate enough to bring home the title in the Final 4 in California, one great thing came out of that weekend for me: I had the honor of being personally invited by the assistant coaches Brandon Sparks and Sue Whitwell to attend the All-American East camp. 

I learned so much throughout the course of 3 days. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to experience this camp led by such great coaches, including the head coach Martha Daines. I wish everyone I play with had the opportunity to attend this camp. Not only did I learn entirely new concepts that I could add to my game, I learned how to correctly do a lot of things that I had been previously doing wrong. Another positive result of the camp was that I made a lot of great connections. It was wonderful being surrounded by so many other women who love the game as much as I do.

The Red Team with a Few Stars Faces
Each day we had a morning and afternoon training session and each session had a specific focus. Every night we would gather together and reflect on the day’s events. On Sunday we ended camp with an 80 minute scrimmage where we aimed to apply everything we had learned throughout the weekend. 

Some key things I learned were how to properly make a spin pass which was slightly different to what I was used to but I’m sure the small difference will do wonders to my pass once I get comfortable with it. Additionally, I learned how to strategically catch a ball from the scrum half depending on where I want my back line to attack. I learned a great way to win a ruck by grabbing one leg of the opposing player while driving up.

Kim, 2nd row, 4th from the right, with her Blue Teammates
An aspect I loved about the camp was how easily applicable many of the things I learned are;  in other words, I can confidently apply it to my game immediately. Everything was explained in a very clear way.  Additionally, we spent a good deal of time practicing the many skills. We would start a drill, stop in the middle, the coach would then see if we had any questions, she then would give us more advice and then we would finish doing more repetitions of the drill. This way if we were doing something wrong, they made sure to correct us so that we could make the best use of our time and practice the correct way. 

The coaches were very happy to help clarify any misunderstandings. Another plus was that if I failed to do something right, rather than just letting it go, they would tell us what we had to fix to be successful in the next attempt. Even if we successfully tackled someone, the coach would critique us if we did it in the wrong way. I think this is useful, because it would suck to get confident tackling with bad form - although it may work at my current level of play, once I get to play higher level I would not be as effective. It stood out when the coaches corrected me for making an arm tackle.

The Red Team and Blue Team on Sunday's Scrimmage
Ultimately, attending this camp was an amazing experience.  I am looking forward to the next time I get to be coached by this coaching staff!

Another great thing that came out of our playoff run was being introduced to Life University’s coach in the rounds of 16 and 8. Life University is one of the few, as well as the newest,  women’s varsity programs in the country.  I’m super excited to be given the chance to be a part of this new team and being coached by Coach Rosalind Chou. The heavy rugby atmosphere that will be provided excites me and the fact that I will be playing alongside other very passionate and talented players excites me too.  It’s going to be awesome to transition from playing for a school where rugby is recognized as a club to a school where the sport is a varsity program. It was a tough decision to make after having such a successful season and being a part of such an amazing group of passionate and talented women at FIU, but it was the best decision to make and I can’t wait to be a part of the Running Eagles.

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