How We Play Rugby (U7 - U12)
- When children and their parents come to CRUFC to play mini rugby, the primary goal is that they will enjoy participating in this great sport. We rank having fun on Sunday mornings above all else second only to safety, and at this age we focus on teaching skills and the enjoyment of the sport and allow the competitive spirit to develop naturally rather than emphasizing the competition above participation.
- We welcome children of all abilities, and all capabilities. We make sure that the environment for young children at CRUFC is safe and hospitable so that kids feel included from the first morning they join us.
- We focus on achievement above success. We do not stream children by ability or experience, except in extremely rare tournament situations. For the vast majority of games that we play against other clubs, and for all training sessions, we organize the children into squads that are mixed in terms of experience and ability. This develops the kids’ understanding of team play and mutual support, whatever their individual abilities.
- We get the children to play as much as possible. Training should be fun, instruction is given in a light, encouraging way. The emphasis is first on enjoying playing sport, secondly on the particulars of playing rugby. Our inclusive culture means that we will adapt our coaching to ensure that kids of all abilities develop, learn and enjoy playing.
- We encourage parents to support their children on Sunday mornings, and we rely on parents to be active and involved at pitch side, and in other aspects of running a club that works well for young children.
- We ask all our parents and our coaches to support and encourage the children of teams who play against us. We applaud and encourage good play by our opponents on the field as much as our own children. We invite our children to meet and greet their opponents, get to know them and to enjoy playing with them on the field. We know that kids love to win, but we emphasize playing well above playing to win. Usually one leads to the other.
- What we achieve in rugby is a consequence of how the team as a whole plays, it’s not about individuals. Every try and tackle is achieved by the team learning and playing together. Making mistakes is part and parcel of this learning process, so we don’t criticize mistakes, but focus on what the kids are doing well. When children strive to do their best we applaud them for their effort whatever the outcome. We encourage all our players, parents and coaches to do the same.
- Training is designed so that the kids do most of the thinking. Coaches encourage them to think for themselves and to play creatively.
- We don’t think in terms of “drills”, because repetitive training will put the kids off rugby and sport quicker than anything. Training is built on playing mini games, continuous use of the rugby ball, progressive build-up of skills and above all having a good time.
- We are tolerant in match play, so that minor breaches of the rules are noted and discussed later, not penalized during play. We talk to the kids while they play and keep them moving and playing for as long as possible. In the early years of mini rugby and perhaps beyond, the referee should be viewed as an on field coach maintaining control of the match while instructing.
- We are mindful that young children get tired easily, bored easily and can pick up knocks and bumps in a game like rugby. We look out for the children’s well-being at all times, and support any restless or tired children, and make sure those knocks and bumps are quickly looked at. We’ve learned that kids are pretty good at knowing when they want to do more, and equally when they’ve had enough.
- We believe that rugby is a great game for children. It encourages them to think for themselves, to think about others, and to develop those natural gifts of agility, balance, awareness and communication that children already possess, into skills for life.
Anil Malhotra CRUFC U12s and the M&Y Playing Committee