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  • John Coumbe-Lilley

Practice line up 9/8 - 9/17.

9/8/2020 - all focus

Back to training - back to training

  • FIFA 11 - warm-up for injury prevention

  • Passing, receiving

  • 3v2v1

  • Ground play: recycle position (long, small 'L')

  • Defensive principle session

9/10/2020 - forward focus

  • FIFA 11 - warm-up injury prevention

  • Cross Fit Like Lineout Training and backs combo play - Don't do an upper body lift or legs this day

  • Defensive principles session (including ground contact)

  • Group play: offloads/ruck play: decision making and skills focus

9/12/2020 - Kicking and receiving practice  Focus on 11, 14, 15, 13, 9, receiving 9/10/12/15 kicking. all others chasing, counter-attacking, and recycling

  • Handling, kicking, and receiving warm-up

  • Bombs and blitz chase B channel from scrum / 1/2 space ruck

  • A to B/C 5-15 diagonal kick/grubber and catch 22-30 yards from the goal line

9/15/2020 - forward focus and development for all

  • FIFA 11 - warm-up injury prevention

  • Cross Fit Like Lineout Training and backs combo play - Don't do an upper body lift or legs this day

  • Defensive principles (including ground contact)

  • Group play: offloads/ruck play: decision making and skills focus

9/17/2020 - forward focus and development for all

  • FIFA 11 - warm-up injury prevention

  • Cross Fit Like Lineout Training and backs combo play - Don't do an upper body lift or legs this day

  • Group play: offloads/ruck play: decision making and skills focus

  • Forward pattern playoff 9


  • Lifting equipment will need wiping after player use for Cross Fit Lineouts.  Coaches responsible for this. 

  • MMA mitts, boxing gloves for sessions after 9/17/20. Alternating Towel Tuesday's, Title Thursday's, no towels or mitts on Saturday's. 

  • John Coumbe-Lilley


We had promising numbers at training this week 21 attended on Tuesday, and 17 on Thursday. Our focus the last two weeks has been on 9, 10 & 15 connections in open play. We are developing our playing identity, and beginning to appreciate how to play with each other, and for each other. The love connections on the field are making things bright and positive, and there's plenty of encouragement and feedback between folks.

This week we introduced towel training and if you were not at training on Tuesday did you miss a treat! Proper core training in a team situation. The effort was terrific, and we got a sense of where we are, and where we need to be strong enough to contest in the Women's Premier League.

Feedback meeting

Olga, Noby, Stan, and I met for a feedback session over breakfast last weekend. Action steps coming out of that meeting included a renewed focus on forwarding play and building capability and confidence. Continue individual and unit feedback through the season. Freshen training up, and flavor it with a focus on development, growth, and learning. Integrate new Chicago North Shore players, and returning players to our way of doing things.


The next two weeks will see us edge out to midfield attack with some defensive structuring flavor to freshen things up. Practice next week will be at Stanton Park on Tuesday at 7 pm sharp. Bring a towel for terrific towel Tuesday training.


Saturday training returns at Stanton Park from 9 am - 10:15 am on 8/22 & 8/29. The focus is on kicking, catching, and counter-attacking.


CIPP registration with USA Rugby is coming up. Contact a board member to learn the value of your CIPP and what it means for your participation with Chicago North Shore Rugby.

25th anniversary

It was 25 years ago I played in the first full international for Scotland Rugby League. You can listen to my teammates and I reminisce about those days on your way to training by accessing the link to the podcast below. I hope for you all the benefits and opportunities I had from my playing career, so many great characters and experiences, too many to count.

To talk Chicago North Shore training, player development or coaching with me add 'Rugby Talk' in the subject area and email me at

All the best!


  • John Coumbe-Lilley

I get asked why we train even when there are no games ahead? My response is two-fold, first what is the alternative to not training, and improving the quality of our sports experience and developing our game? Second, and more importantly, we're rugby people, we're social, we love the game, and we like being with players. Matches might be delayed, but they will return.

Chicago North Shore has endured difficult moments in the past, but we have an opportunity to keep our rugby community flourishing. Rugby gives us a reason to connect, be physically active, have some laughs, and we have permission because of rugby to be expressive, athletic, tough, social, and together. That's why I prepare for training. show up ready to go, and always look forward to the good moments our club creates every day.

18-month schedule

Even in difficult times, you have to have a vision for what you hope for, and what you value. The board approved a 'fantasy schedule' for the next 18 months. We know this schedule will change, but we are able to set goals, and prepare in the best way for a return to rugby.

We included rugby league into our schedule, sevens, and the women's premier league. We know things might not go as planned, but the schedule gives us focus, keeps us connected, and let's face it, whether you're a coach or a player you can never develop your skills enough, there's always something improve, and our rugby community deserves to come together.

New forwards coach - Noby Takaki

I am delighted to announce club stalwart Noby Takaki will join the coaching staff as our tight five specialist coach. Noby and I have known each other for twenty-year years since she emerged into the game. Since then Noby earned twenty years of rugby experience with Chicago North Shore including the national championship, and entry into the Women's Premier League. Noby's hundreds of games at the club, CARFU, and midwest level and even more training sessions in the pack are a great asset to the club. Our forwards will benefit from a nightly focus on their skills, and execution. Noby graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, and went on to a top career as a coach and manager.

Rugby league update

We are moving forward to become the first women's rugby league club in the country. Players have registered with the USA women's rugby league management. Our intention is to introduce rugby league to the club in October (depending on restrictions). We intend to create a year-round set of rugby opportunities for players who want them, and rugby league is part of this vision.

July 2020 in the rearview mirror

We finished our July Block of training with a zero infection rate in our club. Our Board took the lead and emphatically dealt with the situation COVID-19 presented us. The players, and club members all responded well, and we trained as if rugby was around the corner. We had several themes in our July block including halfback focus, exit sets, and decision-making. Numbers steadily increased from 8-9 players at the beginning of July to 19 players at training on July 30. Since January, the commitment from players has been top draw. Their conditioning, recovery, and socializing have stepped up, and July showed how committed the players were.

New training dates

Training begins at 7 pm sharp and finishes at 8:30 pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays and some Saturdays.

August dates: 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27

Saturdays: 22, 29.

September: 1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,

Saturdays: 12, 26.

Rugby league training focus

October: 1, 6, 8, 3, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29

Saturdays: 10, 24

COVID-19 Restrictions

We always train in the proper way according to the instructions we receive from rugby authorities and our board's direction. If we move back to phase 3, we will continue to train using individual modes of training as we did earlier in the season.

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