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What is the best age to introduce contact?

I'm trying to work out what the best age is to introduce contact to children (tackling, mauling, rucking). I think learning early how to handle contact safely is very important, but at the same time, I want to make sure it is not too early. Are there any universal guidelines, or does it vary from national union to national union?

Dominic

There was some research done a few years ago to find out why so many children were stopping playing rugby in England around the age of 15 and it was found that children tend to stop playing a game after about 6 years through boredom - "been there done that."

So the RFU in England came up with "The Continuum" which introduces children to rugby in stages so they do not become fed up with the game in their teenage years. You can see "The Continuum" on the RFU website (under "Community Rugby/Schools and Youth/Discipline and Laws") and I think it gives a good indication of when to introduce contact. Alternatively, Rugby Canada has guidelines on its website under "LTAD" which may be more suited to your particular situation.

The main thing, obviously, for a coach is to ensure is that children are having fun in a safe environment and in this way they will hopefully stay in the game for years to come.

I hope this has helped you.

Simon

Hi Dominic Currently in Singapore we have a filter system to rugby. U8 and below play touch with 2 handed touch on shorts and 6 tackles this teaches basic skills. U9 to U14 play contact but modified rules to help control the tackle and contact areas. This way we protect players as they develop the strength both muscular and bones to be able to play further contact but continue to develop skills that are needed.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans