----- Strong as Steel ----- 

Powered by 


Our Vision

The future of rugby in the United States lays in the hands of both youth players and coaches alike. As an organization we strive to equip players and coaches with the necessary tools to achieve their maximum potential on and off the field. By developing an educational system, similar to the way the South African rugby union has done with their massively successful program “BokSmart”, we look to empower the coaching staff and the players to own their level of performance. Understanding the scientific and technical principles behind safe, enjoyable, world-class rugby encourages players and coaches alike to take ownership and enhances the learning process. As the sport evolves with the times, our coaches must adapt and utilize new scientific findings, law changes, and any other tried-and-tested methods that will make the sport safer and more enjoyable for players. In today’s world, information overflow can also lead to inefficient and unsafe training planification, eventually leading to injuries and players dropping out of the sport. Our learning system will look to filter this information and present it in a way that’s user friendly so that all players and coaches can begin to implement it immediately. PRA will become the go-to place for rugby coaches all over the United States to grow and learn how to empower their athletes to take ownership of their performance in life and on the rugby field.

Training Philosphy

  • Simple and effective training that transfers to improved performance on the field

  • Programs that specialize in strength and speed development, injury prevention, and efficient force transfer
    without energy leaks

  • Training that is age-appropriate (both biological and training age)

  • Progressive overload that is safe and allows athletes to improve yet not overtrain

  • All-encompassing program design that takes into account the athlete’s exposure to stress through rugby trainings, other physical activities, school, and family so we can ensure optimal adaptations

  • Empower coaching staff through education and enhance accountability among players

Program Delivery

Players who form part of the Panther Academy Elite Program will have an individualized strength & conditioning plan they must follow to meet the necessary standards in order to move up to the next level and represent the USA. The athlete performance staff is made up of four highly training coaches: Lucas Baistrocchi, Adrian Escobedo, Giovani Douyon, and Marquese Stallworth. They will conduct weekly and bi-weekly check-ins with the athletes to make sure they are staying on track and address any potential roadblocks (i.e. lack of equipment, training times, etc.). The staff will also be present at the PRA camps to conduct the performance testing and assess athlete’s individually. As players take part of this program, they will develop the necessary skills to make for a smooth transition into a representative age group for USA Rugby.

Programs will be delivered monthly via PDF format, where each exercise will have an explanation and a link to a “how-to” video. Players will be able to print out the program and fill in the weights/set/reps so they can track their progress as they move week to week. Additionally, at certain points in the year athletes will be asked to complete a PRA challenge as part of their progress report. The standards in the Elite program are very high, which allows us to better prepare the athletes for the road ahead. The coaching staff will be available 24/7 via e-mail to address any questions, comments, or concerns about the program.

USA Rugby Testing Parameters

Players attending camps will complete a battery of tests that will be directly reported to USA Rugby as part of their player ID initiative. At PRA we utilize Witty Timing Gates, along with the necessary measuring tools to provide the most accurate testing results possible.


The tests completed at a PRA camp are:

  • Standing Broad Jump – Measure of horizontal force production & coordination

  • 40 m sprint (with 10 m split) – Measure of linear speed and acceleration

  • Bronco – Measure of energy system capacity

  • PRA only -> 5-10-5 with and without passing – Measure of multi-directional speed and rugby skill


U14-U23 Boys & Girls Training Plan

October – November

Athletes will develop and begin to master the basic movement patterns that form part of
our core program

  • Athletes will perform a variety of functional movement patterns that encourage
    enhanced coordination, injury prevention, and neuromuscular connection

  • Athletes will build an aerobic base that will help them perform at their best for longer
    and recover at a faster rate between bouts of high intensity efforts

  • Athletes will develop high performance habits to optimize their performance
    on and off the field

December – January

Athletes will continue to build and progress through movement patterns by programmed progressive overload

  • Athletes will add injury prevention strategies to their programs based on individual needs

  • Athletes will increase volume to induce a hypertrophic (muscle building) adaptation

  • Athletes will continue to build on their aerobic base by introducing some higher intensity sessions to their training week

February – July

  • Athletes will fine tune their performance based on camp/tournament attendance

  • Athletes will focus on a concurrent, in-season approach to training where they will spend time on speed development, strength building/maintenance, injury prevention, and energy system development

  • Athletes will perform on and off the field


Meet The Staff

LucasBaistrocchi Headshot_PantherAcademy.jpg

Lucas Baistrocchi
U14 Boys & Girls Coach

Our goal as an academy is to provide the athletes the tools and support to forge their craft. As they transition from lower to higher level rugby, it is our duty to help them prepare physically and mentally for the increased demands of elite sport. Injury prevention, transferability, recovery, and functionality are some of the terms you will see over and over again. We believe that athletes who build a foundation will be better equipped to take on and excel at life on and off the field. High-quality, pain-free movement, education, and support will be our driving principles and all of our athletes will be able to move up to the next stage and represent our country with pride and confidence.


Giovani "Gio" Douyon
U16 Boys & Girls Coach

Education: Georgia State University
Exercise Science, December 2020

Teams: GA State, Atlanta Old White, Optimus, Pathway 404, London Royals (World Tens), Premier Rugby 7s

As players transition from U14 to U16 we will continue to build the foundation by working on coordinated, functional, and efficient movement patterns. Players will be introduced to an intensity scale so they can begin to understand the necessary aspects of a good rugby training program and can begin to self-regulate during their workouts. With a continued emphasis on injury prevention and recovery, the full body workouts in each phase of training will maximize the transferability of the training to the sport and will give athletes the confidence to go out there and perform.


Adrian Escobedo
U18 Girls S&C Coach

Education: Life University
Exercise Science, Undergraduate

Teams: Life University Running Eagles

As the ladies start on the PRA program, they will build a foundation that will facilitate the following phases of training. The program will focus on injury prevention and transferability to the sport by implementing and educating the athletes on good technique, appropriate levels of intensity, and recovery/nutrition habits for optimal performance. Simplicity will be a common theme in all of the programs so that the players feel comfortable with the movements and can maximize their time in the gym and/or field.


Marquese Stallworth
U18 Boys S&C Coach

Education: Life University
Exercise Science, December 2020

Teams: Life University Running Eagles

Our program will be based around functionality (movement efficiency, force transfer, sport transfer). The variability within the program will keep the players engaged and challenge them on a daily basis. Through individualized full body workouts we will enhance injury prevention and performance on the field. During our dedicated recovery days and cool-down recovery within sessions we will instill high performance recovery habits that will give the athletes their best chance for success.