Playing rugby union or get involved.

Normally participation in any active sport begins at a junior stage but what can you do at a later stage in life?

I played Rugby back in the 1970s’ when I was a schoolboy and as my working years approached earning money became a more interesting proposition, as attracting the opposite sex and going out with your mates (costing money} was more important than creating a bond with a team of like – minded sportsmen.

I have two sons’ 14 and 13 years old, they are both junior players with the local rugby club and this is how I rekindled my love for the sport and then became involved again.

Because you want the best for your kids and you want to know what they are up to, I went along to watch them at training and was amazed at the reception I had from both the coaches and the parents of the other lads playing. You see although rugby is a physical team sport there is more to it than meets the eye. There is the other team aspect – the supporting parents and the coaches, all are vital to the clubs effort to survive in a environment where “the beautiful games” is king and every schoolboy wants to be the next Wayne Rooney. Rugby Union is the poor relative and is considered too violent. Ok rugby is physical but when controlled the danger element is minimized. This is done by proper training in terms of tackling techniques (both for the tackler and the tackled.) safe posture, discipline and what is missing in most sports- respect.

Respect; esteem; regard; consideration; honour.

How can you get involved?

After going to a few training sessions with the lads I was asked by the coach to assist with the training by holding tackle pads for the boys to dive at. The boys were 12 years at the time and I could not believe how strong they were and after the session I felt like I had played a match, not realising where this would lead.

On home match days the parents would take the goal post protectors and flags out and get the pitch ready for the match. Parents were also on hand fill water bottles, and issue them when required. Two of the parents was first aid trained, another parent wrote match notes up and compiled a report for the local sports pages. Parents even run raffles etc at the post match refreshments to raise money for kit, tours and the like. As you see this is not only a team of players, but also a team of parents THINK OF ANOTHER TEAM SPORT THAT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER LIKE THIS!

At the end of that season I was asked by the club if I would like to go on a rugby coaching course, so in the space of one year I went from curious parent to team coach.

Want to get involved?

The first course I took to get coaching was the IRB Rugby ready course. These are usually run at your local rugby club and are directed at people who want to assist coaches of junior teams and IRB coaching courses for those who want to progress onward in the coaching role.

There are also referee training courses if that is what you are interested in. Most are either funded or part of by the rugby club.

Go on give it a go if you enjoy rugby I bet you will enjoy being part of a rugby family!

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