The Potomac Athletic Club is offering “non-contact” rugby for boys and girls ages 6 to 15. The program is based in Silver Spring, MD and players from any community are welcome. Co-ed teams are organized to suit the number of youth in the program. The younger group, under 11 is generally split into two age groups, under-9 and under-11, though all children will practice together and play the same schedule against other u9 and u11 teams. Similarly, the older “u15” group is subdivided into under-15 and under-13. The program will participate in the Potomac Rugby Union Youth League with other u9, u11, u13 and u15 teams from the Washington metro area.
Touch Rugby is the two hand tag version of tackle rugby mainly aimed at youth players. There is no tackling allowed in Youth Touch Rugby. There is very limited contact in Youth Touch Rugby. Since it is a running game involving two opposing teams, there is incidental contact as there would be in youth soccer or basketball. Most of the other rules of rugby will apply, so the players will get the maximum enjoyment out of this fast paced game. Youth Rugby is practically a non-stop sport.
Since Youth Rugby is non-tackle (sometimes called non-contact, but this really means non-tackle, since there is incidental contact), there is no advantage in Youth Rugby to being large or small, male or female. Smaller kids can play successfully with bigger children (we do make two age groups within the under-11 group), and girls can play successfully with and against boys. There are positions on the field and strategies that take advantage of players with and without speed.
Youth Touch Rugby involves running, passing, kicking, offense, defense, scrums, lineouts, mauls, and scoring – lots of scoring for everyone on the team! It’s soccer and football and a lot more, all wrapped into one, fast, exciting game.
You don’t need very many skills to enjoy youth rugby and coaches will help kids learn how to play and enjoy the game. Simple skills common to many sports, kicking, passing, catching and running are all that is needed. The rest you can learn by coming to practice. Many players may have other sports of interest…..football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse….rugby can help develop skills adaptable to all those games. Anyone can play, it’s easy to learn, everyone plays offense and defense, everyone can score.
The coaching staff will teach new players how to pass and catch correctly, and the players will learn this skill in their first practice. Being able to kick or punt a rugby ball will help in older age groups, but the U-11 age group is usually only beginning to develop real kicking skills. Essentially, by the end of the second week of practice, player usually begin to display an understanding of the basics of touch rugby.
There are a variety of strategies to employ in a game to either take advantage of skills that your team has, or to negate the advantage that the other team has. Since rugby is a game of possession (the other team can’t score if they don’t have the ball), a slow team playing smart can defeat a faster team. Like any team sport, players must play as a team to have fun and succeed.