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To pad or not to pad...

Hello, my 8 yr old lad starts 'contact' rugby from next year.  He has seen some of his friends with various padded tops and asked me for one before next year. I instinctively said that he doesn't need one to which he replied that it would just make him feel better about tackling.

From my point of view I just want him to be as comfortable as he can be.  He is slight of build but not a complete shrinking violet and if it will give him confidence then it seems pretty reasonable - although I wouldn't want him overly reliant and then lose confidence if his protection was lost etc.

I'd appreciate feedback as to pro's and cons of pads / protective clothing - particularly from a junior angle.


Thanks in anticipation.


This is an interesting problem as, on the one hand, padding can help youngsters feel more confident about making contact but on the other it can make them overconfident and this can result in them going into contact too hard and getting injured.

My view, for what it is worth, is that no padding is better to start with as the emphasis will have to be on good technique. Padding may allow a young player to develop bad technique without injury and so bad technique becomes ingrained and will result in injury later on in their career.

It will be interesting to see what other coahces think on this subject.


I play rugby from my 8 year, never used any padding.
If you want to make him more confindent you have to let him train on the sand.
Its a good way to make people feel more confident about their tackles!

Greets Sian 

i think the coach has to take a lead with parents input in this. I agree with Simon that ultimately more confidence and better technique  comes from without pads, but there maybe education needed for  parents who are coming the first time after watching on the telly may think they  want their kids to wear it thinking it will help protect them and that as the professionals wear it.  There is plenty of anectdotal evidence to suggest that children can be more confident wearing them but I feel without is best.

It worked ok for me for nineteen years and then ironically it wasnt until after an injury as an adult in my late twenties   i decided to start wearing them and then stopped agian when I forgot them once and havent used them again since realising it was just a mental thing for me.

kind regards


Most tackle vests are not padded enough to be like the michelin tyre man so they don't think they're superman and so if it gives him/her a little confidence, then I don't see the problem. The most important thing however is the coach is encouraging and teaching good tackling technique.

If the top is too padded/big etc, movement is restricted which is clearly detrimental.

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