KEY SKILLS & COMPETENCIES
Former Springbok fullback and legendary Western Province coach Dawie Snyman will help as a coaching consultant, coach mentor and coaching educator.
I have been a physical performance coach the past 20 years. As an ex professional cricket player who’s career was cut short by a back injury, I have been interested in how the body works and how to prevent injuries while enhancing performance. Improving health and the wellness of each individual has always been a passion of mine. Having worked with rugby players from ages between 7 and 39 years of age and every possible level from beginners to top international players, I understand the rigors of the game from a physical, mental and physiological point of way. My passion for fitness and health started by working at a school helping and developing the youth sport stars of South Africa. My main goal has always been to make a difference in people’s life’s. I live by and strive to make all my players better every time I work with them. I am excited to work with Eugene because I know that his heart is in the right place and we both have the same philosophy in making players better every day we coach them.
Having nearly two decades of experience working as a rugby coach from International to grassroots levels, academy manager and founder/rugby businessman, Eugene is a very detailed orientated, organized, motivated and hands-on rugby coach and development officer who implements inventive training and management methods to develop players and build the correct culture for successful programs.
KEY SKILLS & COMPETENCIES
The Cobra is the name that was given to Gene because of his passion for coaching rugby in his own and unique way. Say no more, because those that have worked with him will know. Gene has been an inspiration to many players in the USA from grassroots level to International level. He has been a true rugby guy for 40 years from being a player, coach, rugby agent, administrator, rugby-business man and even just a rugby-child of God.
From growing up in the Eastern Cape in South Africa who started playing at age 6, captaining every age based team he ever played on from U/9 to captaining his first side at High School, Gene has been a true visionary leader in the United States moving the game forward at every level. His unmatched passion and vast knowledge of various aspects of the game and attention to detail in player development and unique coaching style, together with his motivational life lesson nuggets to players and coaches has truly lived out his dream of making himself and others become better people in rugby and life. A man that believes in the concept of Who You Are in life is what defines you and not What You Do made the decision to do more for the game with people he respects and trusts and who share his vision of making the game better at youth level, especially coaching and therefore the reason to start Cobra Rugby.
His goal is to improve the quality of coaching at youth level where as he says: “we desperately need better coaches in the world for kids and our coaching programs are not designed with a specific goal in mind and I want to change that”.
His coaching philosophy has always been about fundamental skill development and as he says: “everything we do has to be “fun and mental”.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Mike Neal has participated in almost every sport, at every age level, available. He has been inducted into the East County Hall of Fame for football and he became only one of two athletes to ever have their jersey retired in East County.
Mike ran track with 3M Track Club out of Oakland, CA. Qualified for the Junior Olympics 3 years in a row in the 200, 400 and 4x4 relay. At one time he was ranked 8th in the nation in 400. He attended Freedom High School from 2000-2004 where he excelled and lettered in many varsity sports including Football (3 years), Track (4 years), Basketball (2 years), and Baseball (2 years). He was two years all league and all Contra Costa Times offensive and defensive player along with setting school records in rushing yards, touchdowns, and all-purpose yards. Michael played one season at City College of San Francisco, winning a state title with the rams before earning a scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. At Kearney he was a two time all conference defensive back and one time All American for the Lopers.
He learned strength, conditioning, and mental toughness from some of the best coaches in the Bay Area, including Aaron Thigpen of Gamespeed. After graduating from The University of Nebraska at Kearney with double Bachelor’s in Sports Administration and Business Management and a minor in Marketing, Mike was hired full time as a sports performance and speed coach at Gamespeed. He wasn't just doing it, but learning it as well and was eventually given a youth class of his own by Aaron to develop his skill and knowledge of training athletes and the athletic body. Three years later, and after years of tutelage from Aaron Thigpen, Michael found himself starting Real Neal Sports, an athletic and fitness training company that works on performance at all stages of sports and fitness.
He was then hired by International High School in San Francisco as the sole performance trainer for all the student athletes. He conceptualized and incorporated into the curriculum a comprehensive fitness and training program and organized and conducted all aspects of conditioning and training for student-athletes. He implemented and taught a middle school physical education curriculum and went on to introduce sport specific training for each sport on campus which included: Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field, Fencing, Baseball, Swimming, Tennis, Badminton and Sailing.Michael has been blessed to have many great coaches, trainers and mentors to help him build himself into a very knowledgeable performance trainer and is ready to instruct the next athlete on what it takes to become mentally and physically successful.Type your paragraph here.
"We excited to work together with Cobra Rugby. Gene and I have known each other since 2006 and now we can actually do something together to grow our sport and make the kids better, very exciting in deed" Chris Burnett.
Our company Toppa Sports is based in Sydney, Australia and was founded in 2014. We have quickly become a leader in sports performance analysis in amateur and semi professional rugby – Succeeding in doing so by using modern digital
video and analysis software as well as using highly trained, knowledgeable and meticulous analysts.
Our focus is providing elite level analysis and consulting with statistical and video feedback to athletes. Toppa believes that implementing our programs will not only improve performance of individuals and teams, but also give coaches and players a valuable lift in knowledge and professionalism that can only have a positive influence across other aspects of life.
Our team is headed by myself Chris Burnett, a former player with 9 seasons professional rugby playing experience across 4 countries and 14 seasons of coaching.
All our analysts have rugby playing experience, as well as coaching and sports analysis qualifications.
Mike Neal Jr.
San Francisco Bay Area
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