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Family, Fundamentals, and Winning: Belmont Shore at NAI 7s

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Family, Fundamentals, and Winning: Belmont Shore at NAI 7s

Alex Goff photo.

We’re still looking over the NAI 7s and this here is a nod to Belmont Shore.

The Long Beach-based rugby program, which covers every age group, was hugely successful throughout the tournament.

Belmont Shore entered six teams: Boys U18, Girls U16, Boys U16, Girls U14, Boys U14, and Coed U12.

Overall they won three of the brackets they entered, and took 3rd in girls U14 and 5th in Boys U16. Those two teams that didn’t win lost just once. The Co-ed U12s, in their first outing at the NAI 7s, took 6th.

But program-wide they were hugely impressive.

“Collectively we all work together, we all support each other,” said Coach Johnny Pua. “Going into the NAI 7s was a lot of hard work for everyone. We trained four days a week and then play games, so we’re doing something Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. All that work paid off.”

Playing at the NAI 7s is really the main goal for the program. They know they face exceptional talent, and they know also that their players get seen. But the thing is, the culture of Belmont Shore is not about individuals being seen. If it were, they wouldn’t succeed.

They have to play as a team, not as a group of individuals hoping for a good rating from another coach watching.

“Executing the simple things is really important,” said Pua. “The catch-pass is something we work on constantly. It’s something we in America need to be better at. So we’re not spending all that much time telling them what to do, but how to do it. We keep it simple, execute the fundamentals, play defense, and make sure the inside player is always working hard.”

The highlight reel stuff? That comes as a result of the teamwork, and the overall athleticism of the players. Individual excellent is created out of a group effort.

“Unity,” said Pua. “That’s a massive part of it. We’re like a family. We’ve got players from one team going over to cheer for the players from another team. We’re supporting each other, young and older, boys and girls. Win or lose, we’re are bonding and working together.”

Seems like that ends up with more win than lose by a pretty wide margin.