Our way is structured, considered and experienced. In Singapore, we move from two-handed touch rules in rugby games to contact (tackle) rugby at Under 8s (U8s). It’s a big step for our young seven and eight year olds, as they move closer to playing “real rugby” like they see on TV or in the stadium at the 7s.
It’s exciting… but also a bit daunting for the players (and parents!). Here’s how we approach it at Centaurs Rugby.
1. We start early and simple…
Wrestling, falling, body positioning, teaching the safest way to tackle and preparing your body for contact/tackle – we do these drills week on week, in age-appropriate formats to get players used to contact rugby. Even before U8s, we get our mini players used to falling safely and using tackle bags.
2. … but we stay thorough at all ages
Practice makes perfect and complacency has no place on a rugby field! Our older age groups who have been playing rugby for years go through the basics again and again each week to maintain confidence, technique and safety.
3. We start when the individuals are ready
Some of our players need a little time to warm up to the idea of contact – that’s understandable! Maybe watching the others try first is all it will take, or walking through the steps with them together. We let kids venture in and out of their comfort zones in a safe, considered way. Encouragement and support is essential here!
4. Special focus in “accelerator groups”
For our older players who may be learning to tackle later than their peers (e.g. joining rugby after age 8 or trying out girls rugby), we have “accelerator groups”.
Every week at training, these new-to-rugby-players are separated out into small groups of 4-5 new players away from the main group. With a dedicated professional (“pro”) coach, they get space to learn and practice tackling at their own pace, before rejoining the whole squad for activities or non/low-contact team games.
5. Three pillars guide us
Confidence – Technique – Safety
Our experienced and knowledgeable coaches continually promote three pillars of contact at Centaurs: confidence, technique, and safety.
This structured approach allows our huge coaching community to tailor programmes and intro to contact drills, with consistency across the club and week-on-week for our young players.
6. We provide resources and coaching to the coaches
We host regular “Coach the Coaches” sessions for parents and people new to coaching so that our children are supported by a community who are all on the same page when it comes to contact and educating children in sport.
These “Coach the Coach” sessions are led by highly experienced and qualified coaches who are Centaurs staff, including World Rugby Educators & Level 2 Coaches.
7. Our specialised equipment gets used
There’s no gathering of dust here! We have and use specialised rugby equipment week-on-week for scrum and tackle training, to prepare players for in-game scenarios.
8. There’s an alternative
If contact rugby really isn’t for a player, we offer a low-contact option – Touch. Touch is a wonderfully complementary game to rugby, nurturing similar skills without the contact of a full rugby game.
In safe hands and structured curriculums, you can learn contact rugby at any age with Centaurs. Reach out to us today to arrange your trial.