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Rhinos Foundation increasing participation through Sky Try

The Leeds Rhinos Foundation have been working in local schools in the Leeds region to introduce Rugby League to Primary School children through the Sky Try Programme.

The aim is to increase participation, promote development and engage Children in the Sport through School and link them into community clubs.

The Rhinos foundation have visited 10 local Schools in the catchment area of two local community clubs to signpost year two children into new U7s teams.

With the help of Zak Hardaker and other players the Rhinos foundation are working hard in the City.

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Sean Johnson

Touch Format - Consideration for Coaches

Coaches and parents should not dismiss children playing the Touch format at Primary Rugby League.

Too often people may see this as ‘not proper rugby’ and argue children won’t play this format.

The reality is children will play any format as long as they are having fun and enjoying their Rugby League.

Tackling is an important part of rugby league and coaches will naturally want to focus on this. The rule for the Under 7s and Under 8s age range is that Touch is recommended but if both coaches agree the game can be tackle. If coaches can’t agree the format has to be touch.

The touch rule was designed to encourage children to pass the ball to create try scoring opportunities and to create an even playing field for all children regardless of size, shape, or physical development. In addition it offers the more physically developed child the chance to learn other skills like side step and swerve rather than just power and strength.

As children develop over the years the physical differences reduce so it is beneficial to all children to be able to have a range of evasion techniques and capabilities.

The vast majority of games that are played include tackling because both coaches agree to that and we witness some eager children willing to participate. However, not all Children are like this at this age range and they are not yet physically, emotionally or mentally ready to tackle. We shouldn’t force or pressure children into tackling, instead nurture and support throughout this process.

As coaches have the option to choose the format, it is something to think about throughout the season. Playing a game of touch against some teams or even half and half are options. The first half could be touch and the second half tackle. Coaches can use it as a way to look at their children and see if any of the less assertive children get more involved in the touch format or as a way of increasing passing.

If you are unsure of the benefits of touch rugby, have a look at NRL star Shaun Johnson (above left) in action or alternatively sign up to play “Play Touch Rugby League” yourself. It is fun, enjoyable, offers great development and can be used in conjunction with the tackle format. We don’t want to stop tackling, but developmentally thinking coaches can use the touch format to benefit the children and the team. Have a think, the options there….