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Rugby is excellent training in many ways. The physical benefits are obvious: developing endurance and agility from open field sprints back-to-back as well as the explosive power needed for tackling and wrestling for the ball.
The mental benefits are less obvious, but far more valuable and long-term: developing self-confidence from accomplishing something very difficult, learning teamwork, developing quick thinking skills, handling pain, taking responsibility, and learning to act with control (discipline) while under pressure.
Finally, rugby builds good character: rugby players learn to compliment opposing players and teammates for a job well done, rugby players learn that hard work is the best way to accomplish a difficult task, rugby players learn that self-sacrifice is sometimes required for the team’s benefit, and rugby players learn to keep going and never quit.
“Dyslexia was a huge struggle, the classroom and academic work was difficult, so my happy place, the place where I learned to grow in confidence was out at the club playing mini-rugby, going out and playing in school”
Chris Robshaw, Former England Captain
If you already enjoy football, you will love rugby because rugby has more to offer: more tackling, more playing time for every player, more strategy, more adrenaline, more passing, more running, more dodging, more wrestling for the ball, more teamwork, more thinking, more camaraderie with opposing players, everyone plays the ball, and anyone can be a hero. Rugby also has less: less bench time for players, less specialization, less waiting around, less equipment, less expense, less substitution, and less animosity toward opposing players.
If you play soccer, rugby will come naturally to you and help your soccer game. The rugby ball can be played on the ground in any direction at any time with feet, just like a soccer ball, which gives soccer players a little advantage in rugby. In World Cup matches, quite often most of the points are scored by kicks, not runs. Rugby will improve your soccer game by keeping you fit and agile, and helping you “look for open space,” a concept identical in soccer and rugby and essential to a good offensive or defensive game.
If you wrestle or train in martial arts, rugby will improve your balance and ability to “read” your opponent’s body for direction, speed, position and evasive tactics (“jukes”). Wrestling, judo and other grappling martial arts, and rugby are especially mutually beneficial because the enormous amount of tackling involved in rugby works the upper body and develops good body position for intercepting (or evading) your opponent.
Of course, there are many other sports that rugby can relate to, as it is one of the oldest modern-sports in the world. Endurance gained from the sport’s continuous play, power developed from tackling and other contact set pieces and the agility and speed used to gain ground are all elements of athletic performance that are necessary in many other sports like basketball, lacrosse, water polo and track & field, just to name a few!
Integrity is central to the fabric of the game and is generated through honesty and fair play.
Rugby people have a passionate enthusiasm for the game. Rugby generates excitement, emotional attachment and a sense of belonging to the global rugby family.
Rugby provides a unifying spirit that leads to life-long friendships, camaraderie, teamwork and loyalty which transcends cultural, geographic, political and religious differences.
Discipline is an integral part of the game both on and off the field and is reflected through adherence to the laws, the regulations and rugby’s core values.
Respect for team-mates, opponents, match officials and those involved in the game is paramount.
Forgive us for starting with the obvious, but rugby brings physical health benefits to anyone who takes to the field – and children are no different.
Developing social skills is another huge part of parenting, and one that again needs to be developed at a young age if the benefits are to be reaped in the future.
Because it is character building, because it’s good practice for life, because he will get over it and he needs to know that.
Because it’s bonding, because it feels good, because he needs to know that there are rewards for effort.
Unlike just about any other team sport, rugby is about all players having the same opportunity to run with the ball, pass the ball, and play defense.
Regularly engaging in sports can help subtly boost your child’s self-esteem. This happens as the child sets small goals on the field, such as perfecting a skill, and achieves them.
All sports have lessons that can be taken from the field and applied to real life. But rugby has lessons that can’t be found in any other game – we’re not talking about the standard generics of “teamwork” and “playing hard.” We’re talking about the preparation for life that can only be found on the rugby pitch.
It’s quite likely your kids will discover positive role models in coaches and older players.
It’s hard to believe that what your child does on the court can impact what they do in the classroom, but it does. Children who were involved with at least one sport were more likely to get better grades suggests a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Rugby players don’t wear pads. And it’s a collision sport. But safety is a huge part of the sport and culture of rugby.
Before respect for authority completely vanishes in the world, the last place it will be found is on the rugby field. When the referee makes a decision we disagree with, kids still call him “sir” and don’t talk back.
Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
There is an adult rugby club in almost every city in America, but also, at nearly every University. Plus, there is an ever growing list of scholarship opportunities at University's with varsity programs. There is a nation-wide professional league. And, there is a pathway available to represent the United States at an international level.
Rugby is very much a contact sports and involve two teams whose players push, tackle, throw, kick and run to get the ball behind the opposition’s try line that requires strength, endurance and fitness.
As well as being a sport with an extremely high level of physical activity, rugby not only makes the players physically fit but also mentally too.
So, what exactly are the Health Benefits of Playing Rugby? Let’s have a look...
Rugby can improve your body’s cardiovascular system which transports blood, oxygen, and nutrients through your body. It does so by maintaining a healthy weight and improving your level of fitness. The very nature of the game is such that it requires extreme physical effort in the form of running, sprinting and tackling opponents. This kind of exercise builds a strong heart which functions more efficiently. With a preliminary study stating that rugby players cover an average distance of 2.5 miles to 4.25 miles in a single game, you get the opportunity to burn ample calories and the benefit of an increased stamina!
Playing rugby regularly can work magic on your body by toning the muscles of the forelimbs, hind limbs and chest. Moreover, the movements made during the game put stress on the bones. When the stress is above normal levels, it stimulates the deposition of calcium along the stress points. This increases your bone density. The advantage of this? You safeguard yourself from developing osteoporosis in the future!
Did you know that a sport like rugby can also help improve your mental wellbeing? Team games like rugby can help people with mild depression. It gives participants a sense of belonging and purpose that is often lacking in people who suffer from anxiety and depression. Moreover, the sense of companionship with teammates helps people have a more positive frame of mind and develop a strong support system.
Flexibility and pace are important in rugby. A good game of rugby requires you to suddenly vary your speed, dodge your opponents and score a try. This constant and abrupt twisting helps you to be more flexible. With practice, rugby has the potential to make your body agile and sharpen your reflexes.
We all know the effects that long term stress can have on your body and mind. Team games like rugby are a means of reducing stress. Your body releases endorphins – the feel-good hormones – to lift your mood. Or maybe, it’s the happiness you feel when you get into a ruck or make a hard tackle.... Plus, there is an ever growing list of scholarship opportunities at University's with varsity programs. There is a nation-wide professional league. And, there is a pathway available to represent the United States at an international level.
Everyone involved at Oshkosh Youth Rugby has a role to play in making the game as enjoyable and safe as possible. Those who hold a coaching position also have a specific responsibility to prevent and manage injuries by:
We think so, or we wouldn’t have our children involved in the sport! However, like any sport, there are risks. If you are new to rugby, please read this article by a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Rugby is no more dangerous than any other similar contact sports. In fact, injury rates and insurance costs are comparable to soccer. Contrary to many collision sports that involve equipment and padding (i.e. football and hockey) many rugby players enjoy careers lasting into their 40's and longer.
Rugby tackle techniques are effective and safe for both defensive players and the player being tackled.
In this concussion-safety environment, football programs are turning to rugby to teach their players how to safely and effectively tackle the opposition. A few years ago, Seattle Seahawks ex-head coach Pete Carroll transitioned to rugby style tackling (with the help of professional rugby coaches). That first year of implementing rugby tackles into their program, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. If you currently check the Seahawks tackle statistics, you will see that they are one of the NFL’s top tackling teams.
Rugby tackling involves heads-up shoulder tackling. Rugby players lead with the shoulder — never the head, because they wear no protective headgear — with an emphasis on hitting the ball carrier hard in the strike zone (above the knees to the lower chest) while wrapping the opposition up with their arms and driving them to the ground. This is one of the reasons why rugby players do not wear protective equipment such as helmets and shoulder pads. Rugby tackles are much safer. The head-up, shoulder-first approach to tackling helps prevent head and neck injuries and concussions.