They say junior rugby union is a wonderful sport for children. And certainly, there’s a long list of potential benefits surrounding the activity. Without question it’s character forming, it exercises lots of muscles in the body, it can teach the ethics of team building, and help build those all important social relationships.
And of course, the discipline aspect can be so rewarding over the longer term.
There’s currently a great drive towards a range of initiatives aimed at getting youngsters involved in the sport. Clubs up and down the UK are committed to running colts and junior teams, both to help the community and of course to spot future stars of the game.
Bringing In Core Values At The Junior Rugby Union Level
Doncaster Rugby Football Club are a leading of example of just how to approach the involvement of colts. Their mini-junior section closely adheres to Rugby Union’s Core Values. This involves players, coaches, spectators and volunteers and includes teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
This dynamic yet homely Yorkshire club believes these values will help youngsters in their general lives both on and off the pitch. But it’s so refreshing to see a number of aims laid down in a solid framework.
They believe everyone should play to win – but not at all costs. They preach the virtues of winning with dignity and losing with good grace. Observing the laws and regulations of the sport are openly encouraged along with respecting opponents, referees and participants.
Then there’s the importance of rejecting cheating, racism, violence and drugs. Valuing volunteers and paid officials is also taken very seriously. And of course the overriding thing, is to enjoy every aspect of the game.
Chairman Tony Houlihan says: “With a full fixture programme and a full programmed of social events coming up, we would be delighted to see our new players and their parents and families fully involved. We are always glad to have help, so please talk about volunteer roles with our volunteer coordinator, coaches, managers or myself.”
Being At The Centre Of The Community
As a club, Doncaster lies right at the heart of the community with links to local schools and other local bodies. This strategy has paid big dividends with a number of players progressing through the age levels into their senior teams.
It also means players stay involved throughout their days at school and well beyond. In essence, everyone remains a valuable part of the rugby family. Wonderful friendships are forged this way and it’s clear many of those will be life long.
As you might expect, there are also lots of takers in terms of opportunities, which is why registration is an exceptionally busy time. The club is dedicated to creating the safest of environments for their young players and parents can rest assured nothing less than the highest of standards are tolerated here.
An Expanding Community Programme
It’s little wonder Doncaster Knights are proud of their overall community programme, and the speed of its expansion. The club now has a staggering 500 participants in their junior rugby union teams ranging from six to 19-year-olds.
Active in both schools and colleges, their qualified coaches and players are often seen at sessions and events. Of course, this is just one club setting a superb example – but there are many more throughout Britain, trying to get our young people engaged in an activity that will also help in forming vital life skills.
England Rugby says: “TOP Play is a Youth Sport Trust initiative aiming to increase sports participation in primary schools. There are a number of features:
- TOP Play provides training and equipment to primary school teachers and helps everyone who is involved in teaching core skills and fun sports to children aged 4-9 years old
- BT TOP Sport is aimed at teachers introducing sports and games to children 7-11 years old, and also provides training and equipment
- TOP Sport Rugby can now be delivered in the community – if you have a venue which is suitable and have willing coaches, contact your local authority or local RDO to check whether your club can become part of the scheme. If eligible, your club could benefit from training for your coaches, new bags of equipment and potential new mini members
Your first point of contact for all matters relating to junior rugby union and youth development should be your local Rugby Development Officer (RDO).
The future of rugby it would seem, is in safe hands – especially in Doncaster.
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