Child playing rugby

This research will be important for understanding some of the barriers to playing rugby and whether the changes proposed may get more players involved in the game.

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

Partner

Rugby Football Union

Project team

Dr Mark Wilson
Prof Tim Coles
Gethin Thomas (PhD Researcher)

Type

PhD CASE Award (3 years)

About the project

Rugby is well-placed to contribute to the NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines for reducing obesity through increasing childhood activity. It has one of the largest participant bases of organised sports in England and is recognised as a sport for all ‘shapes and sizes’. In many parts of the country (including the South West), the rugby club provides a sense of community from both sporting and social participation perspectives. The values of rugby also make it an appealing sport for educators and parents due to the focus on key transferrable skills such as teamwork, decision-making, and respect for authority. However, the sport may be limiting its appeal to children because of the emphasis on contact and structured skill sets (such as scrums and line-outs) in the current rules of the game for young children.

This studentship seeks to compile robust data about some of the potential implications of making changes to the rules of the game for those between the ages of 9 and 11. It will do so by examining the attitudes of key ‘users’ to the proposed changes and to investigate the changes in on-pitch behaviour brought about by the proposed changes, which are currently being trialled in the Rugby Football Union's pilot project, Shaping the Game. Empirical research will be conducted through mixed methods. The findings will be of interest academically from both a sport skill development and public health perspective. In addition, this research will be important for understanding some of the barriers to playing rugby and whether the changes proposed may get more players involved in the game.

Themes

Sport, Health and Well-being
Sport, Leadership and Policy
Innovation, Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Transfer

Outputs

Presentations

 

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

Gethin Thomas Showcase Event 08/06/2011 Powerpoint download

U7 and U9 Presentations at RFU Roadshows in Hampshire, Warwickshire and Durham

 Gethin Thomas  RFU Roadshow Events June and July 2011  

U8 and U10 Presentations at RFU Roadshows will be held in Hampshire, Warwickshire and Durham

 Gethin Thomas  RFU Roadshow Events Forthcoming: June and July 2012  

 

Reports

 

'Introducing children to rugby: Shaping the game, retaining players and developing talent: Interim Report'

Gethin Thomas

 

Mark Wilson
June 2011 PDF download Research summary

 

Articles

 

'Introducing children to rugby: Retaining players and developing talent in the sampling years'

Mark Wilson

 

Chris Byrne

 

Roger Eston

 

Gary Townsend
The Rugby Edge,

 

July 2010
PDF download

'Mini-Revolution: Mini rugby is undergoing a radical change. We meet the men behind the shake-up'

Nigel Botherway Rugby World, April 2011 External link