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What They Saw and What You Should Show at PR7s ID Camps

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What They Saw and What You Should Show at PR7s ID Camps

Numbers, enthusiasm, and talent made KC a success.

PR7s just held their latest open tryouts, enticing players from all over the West to Kansas City to go through workouts and games in the hopes of being picked up by a pro 7s team.

Overseeing it all was Mike Tolkin, who is PR7s General Manager and who helps teams find players for the summer season (the schedule for which is coming out soon).

The biggest issue for these sorts of tryouts is the fact that athletes can sometimes underestimate what it takes to impress. You’ve got to show up on time and ready to go, for sure, but the athletic and fitness benchmarks are high, and that’s why you might see some athletes show up at several tryouts, realizing that they need to put more work in to measure up.

Coming out of Kansas City, Tolkin was very upbeat. Talking to GRR he praised the numbers, the enthusiasm, and the skill level.

He also praised the help on the ground—PR7s holds these tryouts all over the country and it’s vital that the local rugby community chips in.

“The people on the ground were really forceful in helping out—Pat Clifton, Tim Kluempers, and the other officials in Kansas and Missouri. Their enthusiasm and support was top-rate.”

Experienced PR7s players worked the camp as participants but also helped the other athletes navigate the process. Amanda Hull, Coleson Warner, and Kyle Renner, for example, pulled double-duty and also helped with the youth camp.


So with good numbers and good support and experienced players helping out, did the tryout do the job?

“We saw players ready to step into PR7s,” said Tolkin. “There was a strong showing of people who put their hands up. We probably had eight men who could step right in and play and another eight to ten who are on the cusp. For the women, there were four who could definitely play and another four or so who are on the cusp.”

The types of players varied, added Tolkin. 

“We saw the gamut,” he added. “We saw the finishers, the ball winners, the strong defenders, the skill players.—the full range of 7s athletes.”

And they were from all over. The camp was in Kansas City and you’d expect players from Kansas City and Missouri, but players came from Texas, Colorado, and elsewhere.

And what scouts wanted to see was skill and athleticism, but more than that.

“Sometimes someone will blow you away in speed and won’t stand out in other areas,” said Tolkin. “And you have players who don’t show up in the metrics but who are gamers. So you have to look at it all.”

And Tolkin has some advice.

“You always want to see speed; that’s a major trait for 7s,” he said. “But we want to see repeatable speed. It’s good you can make a 70-meter run, but can you make three? So when you’re training, don’t make just one sprint; run a lot, and learn to recover.”

Footwork, outright speed, and repeatable speed are good, and some would call those athletic gifts, but any gift you can hone and improve with work.

“If you do have a skill, you can work on it,” said Tolkin. “If you’re a good kicker, become great at restarts, always putting the ball where you want it. If you have a certain body type, make it work for you. If you’re tall, practice your aerial skills. And everyone … everyone can work on making your one-on-one tackles.”

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