What skills will my child learn playing rugby?
Rugby is a great sport for keeping active and healthy. Speed, agility and high levels of physical fitness are really important, and rugby classes for younger children will focus on building these skills and increasing stamina. Physical fitness aside, rugby helps to build all-important life skills in children because it teaches them about teamwork, sportsmanship, and discipline.
Where can I find a kids rugby class?
Getting your child into rugby is as easy as finding a local club or community team that offers classes for children. Take a look at the Pebble activities page and run a postcode search to find a class close to home. For safety reasons, it is important to make sure that your child learns rugby in a class environment rather than having a tussle with friends on the local sports pitch.
What should I expect from a kids rugby class?
Accordingly to the Rugby Union website, “The aim during a game of rugby is to score more points than the opposition by running, kicking and passing the oval-shaped ball over the designated tryline or by kicking it over the ‘H-shaped’ posts. You can run with the ball, kick it and pass it. However, passing forwards is not allowed in the rugby union rules.”
Although classes will focus on giving kids the skills required to play rugby, the reality is that most classes won’t actually play the game in full. Most classes will focus on a version of the game called touch rugby or tag rugby. Touch rugby minimises body contact so that rugby players practice and improve their ball-handling skills without any body contact - reducing the risk of injuries. Tag rugby is also a non-contact sport, in which each player wears a special belt that has two tags attached to it. Instead of being tackled, the player carrying the ball can be ‘tagged’ by having a tag removed from their belt by a member of the opposition.
Are there rugby classes for girls?
Although some providers run separate classes for boys and girls, rugby is one of the few sports where both can participate together on an even playing field. In fact, one of the benefits of touch and tag rugby is that there is no body contact between players, making it more suitable as a mixed game.
Will my child get hurt playing rugby?
As parents, we want to protect our little people, and headlines about kids hurting themselves, getting concussed, or suffering severe injuries can be enough for us to discourage them from playing. However, when taught well, rugby offers a host of benefits for kids that outweigh the risks. To keep kids safe, most rugby classes for children will focus on building skills, and playing touch or tag rugby - safe, non-contact versions of the sport.
What should I look for when choosing a rugby class for my kids?
Age-appropriate rugby classes
Under RFU guidelines, children under 14 should not take part in contested scrums, and children under 9 should not tackle. Instead, they suggest that younger children stick to touch and tag rugby until they have developed the skills and endurance required to move to the next level.
Kids' rugby must be taught well
With proper instruction and equipment, injuries are kept to a minimum. Tag and touch variants of the game are usually favoured for children because there is no contact and therefore less risk of injury. When done properly, using the correct techniques, contact Rugby teaches players how to tackle correctly. It is important that, when choosing a class, you sign up for one with instructors who are fully qualified to teach rugby to children.
Physical fitness first
Besides stamina, flexibility, and coordination, rugby players also need strength to tackle and receive tackles. Players, especially young ones who haven't built their physical fitness, are prone to injury on the field. Through kids rugby classes, children develop technique and stamina for the next stage of the game.
Bigger isn’t better in kids rugby
Although a full-length rugby match is 80 minutes long, match times and ball sizes should be reduced for underage rugby so that kids can keep up with the physical demands of the sport.
Technique is everything!
Once your child has mastered the physical fitness, stamina and basic skills required for rugby, one of the most important skills they need is to learn before they progress in the game is how to tackle safely. Classes should teach players to tackle bags and shields long before they take on another player. Having a good technique can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding injuries.
What kit do my kids need to play rugby?
The answer to this question very much depends on the age of your child, their ability, and the type of rugby offered by the class. Rugby classes for very young children won’t usually require any special equipment. The tags and belts used in tag rugby will, more often than not, be supplied by your class provider or coach.
If your child is older or is ready to move on to contact rugby, it is likely that they’ll need the following:
A water bottle. Rugby is a physical sport, so keeping hydrated is a must!
Rugby boots. As always, don’t buy before you try! Make sure your child has attended a class or two and that they’re going to stick with it before you invest in any equipment!
A mouth guard to protect your child’s teeth, and a head guard. It can be a good idea to invest in a mouth guard even if your child is playing tag rugby and not tackling.
Comfy clothes or kit. While some classes and clubs will have their own kit, most will encourage your child to wear something they are comfortable in. Shorts and t-shorts are usually fine in summer, but you might want to get a tracksuit, hoodie and wooly hat for the colder months - rugby is an all-season sport!
At what age can my child play rugby?
Once you start looking at options for classes, you’ll find that there is a class for every age level adapted to the abilities and maturity of the children playing. Classes must be age appropriate and, although there is a range of rugby classes for toddlers, be prepared for the fact that these are about building skills and agility, not getting stuck into a scrum!
What rugby skills can my child practice at home?
The England rugby website has some great tips and workouts in the Prepare to Play section of their website - from home workouts and nutrition to injury prevention and building rugby skills.
Ready to go? Visit our activities page to find a rugby class for kids near you.