BATH’S OLLY BARKLEY is still only 30 so is sure to have a good few years left playing professional rugby, but he is already planning for life post-retirement. The centre has set up Elektrik Events and plans to branch out into music and other sports, but for now the focus is on his rugby camps for children aged eight to 16.
So what makes the Olly Barkley Rugby Academy different from other coaching camps? For a start, his standing means he is able to call on star names like Lewis Moody, Chris Ashton, Freddie Burns and Matt Banahan to help with the coaching and take part in Q&As.
Interestingly, he picks players who fit with his rugby aesthetic, saying: “The rugby we try to push at the camps is to look for space and not be scared to take people on.”
Another big focus of the camps is nutrition – and he educates parents as well as children. “I was seeing kids pull out packed lunches with all sorts of nasty things in them, so I decided I wanted a bigger focus around
a nutrition programme, even if it meant cutting back on profits,” he says.
“I got advice from Matt Lovell, the England nutritionist, on menus. We’re not going to get egg whites down their necks, but we wanted to produce a healthy menu they wouldn’t turn their noses up at and then educate them on why and what they’re eating.”
Barkley’s aim is for the coaching camps to be a “professional experience” and they take in key areas like recovery, but he also wants them to be fun.
He says: “It’s nice to see kids have a good time with something you’ve worked so hard at. The feedback we’ve had is humbling. It’s good to know that the product works and the kids say they’re taking things back to their clubs too.”
Barkley plans to bring in residential camps next year and is running his first KICK Elektrik camp in August for those aged 14 to 18, with Ireland’s kicking guru Mark Tainton. By signing up to the newsletter and putting ‘KICK’ after your name, you could receive one of the 30 free places on the camp.
Prices for his coaching camps this year range from £59 to £159 for one-, two- or three-day camps – and he is offering Rugby World readers a 20% discount – simply enter the code RW20 when booking at elektrik3.com.
The dates and venues are:
20, 21 & 22 July Colston’s School, Bristol
28, 29 & 30 July Chippenham RFC
24, 25 & 26 October Moulsford, Oxford