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Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game, retaining players and developing talent Gethin Thomas Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game,

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Presentation on theme: "Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game, retaining players and developing talent Gethin Thomas Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game, retaining players and developing talent Gethin Thomas Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game, retaining players and developing talent Gethin Thomas

2 Research Partner Rugby Football Union (RFU) Gary Townsend, Player Development Manager AIM: To increase involvement of all players during games and the number of children playing rugby.

3 Aims of the presentation Research Overview - Background & Aims U7 & U9 Match Analysis - Methods - Results - Discussion Year 2 & Year 3

4 Research Overview Focus – RFU Shaping the Game: 3-year pilot project focusing on the mini rugby game from U7 through to U11 in England. – Its impact on the development and retention of players. Aims – Evaluate and compare on-pitch performance of the current games played (continuum) with the games played under the proposed new rules (pilot). – Examine the attitudes of key users. Mixed Methods: Quantitative and qualitative methods.

5 Learning environment to allow players of all abilities to develop at their own pace. (zone of proximal development (ZPD) Vygotsky, 1978.) Scaffolding: skills and tactical elements introduced at an appropriate stage (Wood et al., 1976). U9 Tackle Scrum Lineout Ruck Maul 9v9 U9 Tackle Scrum Lineout Ruck Maul 9v9 Continuum (AGR) Pilot

6 Data Collection Year 1: U7 and U9 Behavioural Analyses (6 Counties) 3 Pilot: Durham, Hampshire, Warwickshire. 3 Continuum: Cheshire, Devon, Gloucestershire. Observations: Match Analysis U7 26 pilot matches and 15 continuum matches. U9 33 pilot matches and 21 continuum matches.

7 U7 – Key Rule Changes ContinuumPilot Pitch Size60m x 30m20m x 12m Number of players7 v 74 v 4 Knock-On by a playerOffence – opposition ball. No offence – play on.

8 INSERT U7 CLIP – 45S

9 U7 Results Both games are characterised by lots of running, with little passing. Basic results show little difference between both games. - The pilot had 58% more tries (p <.001). - Continuum (AGR) had 24% more tags (p =.030). Following Individual players. - Preliminary analysis suggests that involvements are spread out more evenly in the Pilot, where there are fewer players on the pitch. Numbers in a standardised 10 minutes

10 U9 – Key Rule Changes ContinuumPilot Number of players9 v 97 v 7 Scrums and LineoutsYesNone Rucks and MaulsYesNone TacklingYes 1 defender only. Grasp allowed.

11 INSERT U9 CLIP – 1M 15S

12 Number of Passes every 10 minutes Many significant differences with the pilot game having: - 85% more tries - Twice as many passes. - Ball in play for 22% longer. Increased opportunities to develop fundamental movement skills. More touches of the ball leads to more individual decision making. Longer ball in play should lead to positive fitness benefits for players (Hill-Haas, 2008; Rampinini et al., 2007).

13 Whats next? Year 2: U8 and U10 – Match analysis. Team and individual. – Player feedback. – Questionnaires – Interviews of elite coaches Year 3: U11 – Should allow for a (brief) longitudinal comparison

14 Thank you – any questions? Research presented here was conducted during an ESRC Studentship under its Capacity Building Clusters Award (RES ) in partnership with the Rugby Football Union. For more information about this project and the work of the Centre for Sport, Leisure and Tourism research, see Or Gethin Thomas,


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