Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C.

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ABOUT MINI RUGBY AT DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK RFC

The Game

Mini Rugby is a game based on the full 15 a side game we see on TV. In the Mini game the rules have been designed to make the game safer and to encourage the development of skills. The rules of the game change as players get older, gradually preparing young players so that when they reach secondary school they are ready to play the full 15 a side game.

Mini Rugby is fast, rough, muddy and enormously good fun to play. It's a real team game where new players are quickly incorporated according to their abilities and where fun is more important than winning.

Many people watching Rugby on TV find its tactics and rules complicated and difficult to understand. Mini Rugby is a much simpler, safer and shorter game. As players develop over the years more components are added to this basic game. No kicking or contested scrummaging is allowed until Y6 (U11) when modified versions are introduced.

Teamwork is an integral part of Rugby and understanding its laws and tactics is a big part of the game. This for some children adds to the challenge and interest of the sport. Rugby is not just a physical sport, thinking is as much a part of the game as running.

Age

Mini rugby teams are selected by age with a child's primary class number deciding what team the play for. As an example a child in Y6 at school will play for the U11 team.

Mini Rugby starts at U7 and finishes at U12. Once children leave the U12 age group they progress onto the first year of junior rugby, the U13s. Children in Y2 & 3 (U7 & 8s) play "Tag Rugby' (non contact) which emph asises fun and fitness as much as Rugby. From Y4-Y7 (U9-U12) each year group usually trains separately with their own coaches and equipment although from time to time older mini groups will train together to help develop the skills of the younger players.

Who can play rugby?

Many people believe all Rugby players are huge men, which is in fact is not the case. Mini Rugby has a place for every type of child, be they tall or short, skinny or solid, boy or girl. Whatever your build there is a position in rugby just for you. By the nature of the game Rugby asks players to take on specialist roles within the team, particularly in later years. Certain body shapes are particularly suited to particular positions. For example, forwards tend to be solid and strong. Backs on the other hand are generally agile and fast. Scrumhalves are often small and wiry. In short, Rugby has a position just for you no matter what size or shape you are, heavy or light, tall or short, girl or boy we want you all to enjoy rugby at DMPRFC.

Can girls play?

They most certainly can! Girls and boys play Mini Rugby as equals in mixed teams. Girls are given no special treatment; nor at this age do they need it. The physical differences between the sexes is irrelevant at Mini Rugby ages and girls have proved that they are valuable members of the team and are well able to compete with boys on equal terms. While a game of Rugby may not be every girl's idea of fun some love it. We have had several girls who play for us, with most squads having at least one girl on their team. We also regularly play teams with one or more girl in them. Whether playing for or against DMPRFC girls are respected and valued in Mini Rugby by both coaches and players. Please note that there are separate Male and Female toilet facilities at DMPRFC.

Coaching

We have a dedicated team of coaches who aim to make rugby fun for everyone. They all undertake CRB checks and coaches receive training to at least RFU Rugby Ready. They are all volunteers, many are parents or carers, and we are always looking for new helpers and coaches.

Registration

For insurance purposes Minis players are required to become members of DMPRFC and parents are actively encouraged to at least become social members. Parents are reminded that all players must register BEFORE changing and starting training.

Players arriving late and offering registration fees to coaches on the training pitch is not acceptable as it means we have no record of that player having registered, should he or she need to be contacted urgently. It is also an unnecessary distraction for coaches and other players.

Our registration system ensures our database of players is up to date with a list of contact numbers and identification of any medical conditions we need to know about while your child is in our care.

As a new recruit, you will be given a registration form when you register for the first time. If not, please ask your team coach to supply one.

Helping Hands

One of the main reasons we have been so successful as a Minis section is that we have always been lucky enough to know we can rely on a team of parents, grandparents and friends helping behind the scenes. We are always delighted to welcome parents who would be willing join a pool of helpers to assist with coaching as required under the direction of the main coach.

We do not envisage this to be a week-in, week-out commitment but to give assistance if required, though anyone gripped enough to go on to take an official coaching course will be encouraged to do so. It's great fun and does wonders in reducing your waistline and stress levels!

Please talk to your age-group coach as soon as possible so we can create a data base. It is compulsory for all on field helpers to be CRB checked and sign child protection forms and if you are helping with coaching attend Rugby Ready training. We are also looking for parents who would like to help behind the scenes. Any parent who would like to volunteer on a rota basis for taking registration, manning the lost property cupboard, boot-exchange, drinks and sweet shop duty, kitchen duty etc please hand your name and contact number to your main coach as soon as possible.

What to wear and bring

All equipment (balls, cones etc) is provided for players but it is the player's responsibility to ensure they are appropriately clothed for the conditions. When it does get cold and wet please make sure your child is suitably dressed, both for their comfort and to avoid interrupting training sessions. Clothes can be removed to cool down but once players are cold their training or match is over as an enjoyable experience.

We have found that Mini Rugby players do not usually change at the club but are brought "ready to go' by parents. Most minis seem to have an aversion to showers but we do insist that they are clean before coming into the club. This usually means pulling a track suit on over the mud! In the unlikely event that your mini isn't averse to showers there really are showers at the club! A towel and soap for showering will be needed but at least ensure your child has a change of clothing and footwear.

As a guideline, players should dress in layers - rugby/football boots and socks, shorts, T-shirt; tracksuit bottoms, rugby shirt; sweatshirt/tracksuit or waterproof top, woolly hat, goalkeepers' gloves to grip the wet ball.

It is best not to wear your favorite sports gear, as it is liable to get ruined. If you assume players will be soaked to the skin by the end of training you will be right more than wrong. Always bring a change of clothes.

Boots

DMPRFC minis prefer that players wear boots that have aluminium (kite marked for Rugby) screw in studs or rubber moulded sole boots. The wearing of blades or plastic studs and boots which have an extra toe stud will not be allowed. If in doubt, check with your lead coach before you buy new boots.

Drinks

Please send your child with water or a non fizzy drink.

Thermal undergarments

Increasingly popular in cold weather, again not obligatory but it is your responsibility to ensure that your child has adequate clothing and spares for playing especially on cold wet days.

Shin pads

Players are encouraged to wear shin pads, especially for contact rugby.

Rugby Sticky Mitts

These are allowed for playing in and are particularly effective in very cold weather when young hands can get very cold. Ordinary gloves will not be allowed.

Gum shields

All players from U9s upwards must wear a gum shield during matches and training. Your child will not be allowed to play unless they wear one. Gum shields cost as little as £2 from most of the sports superstores and are effective at protecting teeth.

You will probably find that the child/youths size gum shield will fit most minis although we are finding that some U11s and U12s require an adult size. Follow the instructions provided with the gum shield to mould it to fit your child's teeth. It may take some time for your child to get used to the feel of the shield in their mouth but we would ask all parents to make them persist with it.

Safety Clothing

A scrum cap is definitely a worthwhile purchase, it will give the player confidence and provide protection. Shoulder pads may be worn and again will give the players added confidence.

All items of jewellery must be removed before training. This includes necklaces, rings and bracelets plus the coloured rubber and cord wrist bands that are currently popular.

Enjoy the experience of Mini Rugby at Darlington Mowden Park

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