Dash qualifies as a coach
While in her senior year of school, Year 12 student Hadassah (Dash) Todd graduated with a Certificate II in Sport Coaching (SIS20321) and is now focussed on coaching in her home country of Papua New Guinea.
While still in high school, Dash discovered TAFE Queensland's Academy of Sport program, which allows students to study for the coaching qualification through TAFE at School.
"I dropped some classes to do this course and earn a nationally recognised qualification while still at school and learn more about the sport I love," explained Dash.
TAFE at School allows high school students to gain nationally recognised qualifications across various industries, including sport, hospitality, health, community services, engineering and agriculture, with TAFE Queensland before they finish school.
The program fits in with students existing high school studies, replacing one of their senior schooling subjects, which also contributes to their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).
Studying through the program saw Dash attend classes at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, where she learnt coaching fundamentals in a Rugby 7s context under the guidance of former All Black Alby Matthewson.
Spending one day per week at Ballymore Stadium, Dash gained practical experience under her teachers' guidance in strength and conditioning, sports-specific training and athlete development workshops.
Each session combined theory and hands-on delivery to advance student learning and is delivered at the National Rugby Training Centre rather than in a traditional campus setting, giving her the skills to conduct entry-level coaching rugby union sessions.
"The classes were well balanced. We had theory in the classroom, and then we could put it into practice on the field. It was a perfect balance to get to know what we had to do on paper and act it out on the field," she explained.
Being based at Ballymore gave Dash and her class invaluable access to the Queensland Reds professional rugby team, where she and her class got deeper insights into professional coaching.
"We attended Reds training sessions, and seeing how they ran their drills showed us what we could do in the future."
"The intensity, the timing and reduced stoppages between every session was a real eye-opener and enhanced our knowledge of the game and how we can better give back."
Also helping to build her knowledge were her teachers, who brought professional coaching and playing insights to every lesson.
"My teacher has been a great mentor, and since he played at the elite level, his experiences helped us," she continued.
"If we didn't understand something, he'd put it into a concept he'd learned from his playing days. This made it easy for us to understand and retain because we're players too."
Dash described studying at Ballymore as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and was thrilled to spend Thursdays studying alongside classmates as passionate about rugby as she is.
"Studying here has brought me closer to Queensland rugby and my love for the sport. I've also established a new network of friends on the same learning journey, which has greatly supported me," said Dash.
"My coaching skills skyrocketed during this course. Knowing what techniques to use to teach different players, how to engage them to learn and how to communicate effectively has been amazing."
Now a graduate, Dash looks forward to continuing her education while coaching and inspiring young rugby union players in Papua New Guinea.
"Studying the cert II gave me an understanding of what coaching rugby entails, and I want to pursue a university degree in urban development and set up clinics back home."
"There are amazing athletes in Papua New Guinea, but investment in grass-roots rugby is very low. So, I can give back and inspire the next generation of players to learn about the sport I love and get the skills to play at a high level," concluded Dash.