Starting contact

I would just like to enquire about something with regards to contact. My u/14 team is playing their first match in 4 weeks time. I was told not to start with contact as it may cause some injuries. I was told to wait at till 2 weeks left before I start with contact sessions. However I don't feel that 4 weeks needless to say 2 weeks, is enough time to prepare my players for the physical demands of a game. Now my question is: How long before the first match should I start contact sessions?

Juan-Andre JoubertCoach, South Africa
ANSWERS
archie dunnillCoach, England

Hi Juan-Andre,

Will this be their first year of playing contact rugby? If so I think it would be ok to start now but it is important that initial sessions are kept very light and are slowly built up. These could include some very light pad work or walking tackling from your knees looking at introducing 'cheek to cheek' technique.

It is vital the first couple of sessions focus on tackle technique to ensure in the long run your players are tackling safely and to reduce the risk of injury. Similarly, due to different rates of physical development amongst players it's important not to unevenly match up players in the first couple of weeks to reduce the chance of injury.

Hope this helps!

Archie

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