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No more competitive mini rugby?

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No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby The Boo Radleys » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:06 pm

What is sport without competition?

How important is winning when playing sport?

Well, not very, according to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

It has implemented a ban on children's mini-rugby tournaments that end with one team winning over another.

It is a decision that has left some parents and coaches baffled.

Barry Leacock is in charge of mini-rugby at Malone Rugby Club in Belfast and organises an under-12 tournament every year.

"If you take competition out of sport, you may as well do away with the sport," he said.

Mr Leacock said he was worried about the effect the ban would have on the tournament he organises.

"I've been in touch with clubs in England, Scotland and Wales, informing them of what might be happening with our 2010 tournament, and they are not aware to any changes to their home union rules.

"We coach children to play rugby to the best of their ability.

"Throughout the year we develop their skills, play friendly matches and at the end of the season the tournaments are organised and it gives the coaches an idea how good, bad or indifferent their teams are."

David Boyd, domestic games manager with Ulster Rugby, said the move followed an "extensive worldwide consultation".

"We are not about stopping the playing of the game," he said.

"We would like to hear tournaments called festivals now, we would encourage clubs to mix with each other, play the game, but not the ultimate winning of a trophy

"The emphasis is about involving all children and we should, at that key age between six and 12, be introducing the fundamentals of the game, with the emphasis very much on the fun.

"My ultimate concern is that those highly competitive tournaments do not involve all of the children who are playing mini-rugby, and they only afford an opportunity to the very best as they are perceived to be.

"I would suggest that the losers in those do not seem the fun."


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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby AndyB » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:15 pm

I think I agree with the IRFU. My experience with mini rugby was that after Christmas all the attention was focused on the boys who would be the tournament team and the rest were largely ignored. My son, who was not very big but who was keen, went all the way to Coleraine for a match and got about 5 minutes game time if even that. All the boys who turn up should be encouraged and not just the big ones. There's too much of a must win attitude at mini level that relies on the bigger boys running through smaller boys. What the mini coaches ignore because it doesn't effect them is that quite often these boys who develop sooner sometimes they don't grow much more after they're about 14 and when they relaise they can't just run over people easily anymore they can't hack it. Likewise teh emphasis on size at min level can put others off and some potentially good players could be lost to the game.
But as long the mini teams wins the tournament - hey who cares!
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby Snipe Watson » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:23 pm

Not all mini coaches are the same Andy.

Yes we want to win, but at my club, everyone gets a game and that's not a token 5 minutes. I vary my starting team and I pick the times to play my best players; nobody gets left out. The point is to introduce the kids to the game and make sure they enjoy themselves. I know some coaches want to feed their egos by winning at all costs (and worse) but not all of us.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby pwrmoore » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:34 pm

Snipe Watson wrote:Not all mini coaches are the same Andy.

Yes we want to win, but at my club, everyone gets a game and that's not a token 5 minutes. I vary my starting team and I pick the times to play my best players; nobody gets left out. The point is to introduce the kids to the game and make sure they enjoy themselves. I know some coaches want to feed their egos by winning at all costs (and worse) but not all of us.


Same happened at CI when my son played there snipe. Everyone who turned up got game time and at the end of the season when there were a few tournaments they mixed and matched when choosing the tournament squads to ensure everyone got a chance.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby Beattiespastie » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:07 pm

No youngman its not just a trait at one club..Cooke RFC minis are so OOT as well....the vast majority of teams I have experienced at tournaments take themselves wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too seriously!The poblem with the 'big lad' in the mini team steamrolling over the tiny kids is that the big lad doesnt stay that way come second or third year at school and ends up getting tanked by one of the wee fellas from the mini days with a good memory!! :lol:
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby pwrmoore » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:51 pm

YoungMan wrote:However after attending the mini tournament at Malone this year i did witness some over excited parents and kids who where not really interested in the fun aspect of mini rugby more about embarrassing the opposition with the win at all cost attitude.......... coaches and minis high fiving every time they scored against a very obvious mismatched was sad to say the least but maybe thats a malone trait :duck:

Maybe a code of conduct for coaches and parents is the way forward


There already is a code of conduct youngy, we all got it to read when our kids joined CI. But I'm guessing you already know that.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby AndyB » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:13 am

pwrmoore wrote:
Snipe Watson wrote:Not all mini coaches are the same Andy.

Yes we want to win, but at my club, everyone gets a game and that's not a token 5 minutes. I vary my starting team and I pick the times to play my best players; nobody gets left out. The point is to introduce the kids to the game and make sure they enjoy themselves. I know some coaches want to feed their egos by winning at all costs (and worse) but not all of us.


Same happened at CI when my son played there snipe. Everyone who turned up got game time and at the end of the season when there were a few tournaments they mixed and matched when choosing the tournament squads to ensure everyone got a chance.


I have to say that that was not the experience that my son had at Lisburn. He and a number of other boys never got going to a tournament, it was always the same squad.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby UlsterJock » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:06 pm

written on similar View frae thae hill thread:
UlsterJock wrote:What is definitely clear, is that there is still a huge variation in the approach, aspirations and goals of all those involved and on the fringes of mini rugby (supported by the variety of answers to this and the thread on the “Skules Rgb forum”).

I can understand therefore the intention behind the IRFU edict of no competition, which has been to try and provide direction to that variation in tune with its Long Term Player Development strategy. The trouble with it though, is that it attempts a one solution fits all approach and has been formed with no real attempt to understand the issue, nor dialogue with or canvass of those involved at the grass roots levels (despite claims to the contrary by UB officials). This high handed approach, like other recent policy declarations from the IRFU et al, has been, badly timed (Ireland having just won a Grand Slam) and badly implemented (the age grading change of this season to name another) with no real dialogue, involvement and explanation to those who are affected by the change.

As I began, there is still a vast range in the quality, ability and aspirations of coaches and players at mini rugby level. This policy change fails to deal with these real issues and instead only serves to further divide opinion and push a healthy desire for competition “underground”. :cowboy:
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby fermain » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:11 pm

agree! as a coach I strive to involve the younger, newer, weaker players (but i don't want them to get hurt) in a playing team. We are sometimes constrained in tournamants by the numbers allowed to play in the squad (for example 14, so we have to choose the most serious, training attending players) and ask the rest to watch after training. very difficult.

However, we often play bigger, better trainined dammit! boys who have obviously been chosen to play for their size rather than for their enjoyment. Of course when it comes to certain games, I find myself pressurised to put out a potentially winning team depending on the oppositiion and importance of the game.

Competition is good, but often demoralising!
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby The Boo Radleys » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:52 pm

Down at Ballynahinch with Junior Boo Radley on Saturday listening to a Hinch coach complaining that they had mixed the teams up, that they weren't playing their best players, how are they going to learn about competitive rugby this way, never going to win blah blah blah. By the way, matches were P3-P7 (Under 7 - Under 12)... :roll:
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby WhiteKnightoftheWeld » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:26 pm

The Boo Radleys wrote:Down at Ballynahinch ...

exactly where u were going wrong there mate...that B word...
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby UlsterJock » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:59 pm

Just back from "a night with Ian McGeechan" and what did the great man say....competition is good.

Come on IRFU wake up and review this ridiculous edict NOW!! :banghead:

great night by the way, such a knowledgeable and all round top bloke
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby chunky » Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:51 pm

let's be honest, the kids are going to keep score anyway, so the losing being demoralising thing isn't really taken out at all. Ridiculous idea from the IRFU, can't see it lasting.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby cables » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:46 am

Don't run Tournaments.
Don't play other Clubs.
Seek to provide enjoyment for the kids.
Seek to develop skills.
In opposed play, develop the idea of competition as 'one on one' - "I can get past you" - "You can't get past me".
Swop players from one 'side' to the other and avoid any 'team' ethos at this stage.
Ask parents to refrain from asking - "Did you win?" - until the kids are teenagers.
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Re: No more competitive mini rugby?

Postby cjp » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:32 am

Kids are naturally competitive, what a load of rubbish.
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