How to successfully teach rugby
Excitement about the game of rugby will continue to build over the coming weeks as the Rugby World Cup in Japan approaches, and its legacy will likely be an increasing demand for grassroots teaching as boys and girls from primary school’s upwards dream of emulating their heroes. Solid teaching requires the engagement of players across all ages and skill levels.
Cover the basics
Primary school aged children should start with ball skills around passing and catching the ball, as the contact element of the sport comes much later on. Games like tag rugby are a great way to start learning the basic skills and improve agility and stamina. Coloured bands tucked into shorts replace the tackle; when a band is removed, the player must pass the ball within three seconds. This version works particularly well in primary schools because it means that girls and boys of all abilities can play together – perfect for PE classes.
Low-impact is the next stage – still with no scrums or ‘real’ tackles – where a player must pass the ball when touched with two hands. This allows players to build their confidence before undertaking the full contact version of the sport.
By the time players reach secondary school, the focus moves towards technique, though that should not be at the expense of fun. Skills become more important when the pitches get bigger! The need for education around safety is vital to prevent injury, especially once contact comes into play, and whilst there is a place for protective equipment, it should not be encouraged at the expense of playing safely.
Videos can be a useful aid to explain concepts before trying them out in practice on the field and rugby training drill videos can be watched at Sportplan. They can also help when it comes to explaining some of the finer points of the game.
For a good beginner’s guide to the sometimes complicated rules of rugby, see the information from England Rugby, and this can be used to support rugby training drill videos.
Of course, the World Cup offers teaching opportunities beyond the game itself, such as looking up the participating countries on a map, writing match reports or designing a new strip for a club. The key is building a long-term interest in the game that will last for years to come.