Baby Rugby: Rugby Classes For Toddlers
On the eve of the kickoff of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, this sport is in the spotlight and making headlines in the media, including its lesser-known forms. Did you know, for example, that there are rugby ball initiations for children as young as 3 years old? We invite you to discover what baby rugby entails and what benefits this sports activity has for toddlers.
An initiation for budding rugby players.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup organized in France is encouraging more and more French people to take an interest in this sport, including the youngest ones. As surprising as it may seem, it is possible to learn how to handle the oval ball from the age of 3!
This discipline called "baby rugby" is aimed at children aged 3 to 6 years old. It allows the little ones to discover the basics of this team sport, without exerting too much effort or getting hurt.
For the youngest ones, there is no question of learning scrums or tackles! The exercises and equipment used by the coaches are of course adapted to the age of the children.
A growing discipline
Undoubtedly driven by the growing enthusiasm of the French for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the number of licensed baby rugby players has more than doubled in 5 years. In 2018, France had only 8,000 very young players in this discipline. Today, there are 19,000 toddlers handling the oval ball!
As can be seen on the website of the French Baby Rugby Association (link below), classes are offered in several regions, in Île-de-France, Lille, and especially in PACA where the offer is already well developed. The Toulon club has been offering adapted classes for children for seven years.
It should also be noted that the French Rugby Federation (FFR) supports the structures in the implementation of this activity by publishing a Baby Rugby pedagogical guide. This reference guide provides essential advice and recommendations for welcoming the youngest players under the best conditions.
Training adapted for children.
Of course, baby rugby is not a practice of rugby per se, but rather a sports activity inspired by this sport.
Training usually lasts for an hour and takes place on a weekly basis, either on Wednesday afternoons or Saturday mornings. Parents who stay on the sidelines sometimes participate in the training and already imagine their child playing one day for the French national team!
The exercises, which are primarily meant to be fun, are based on games and motor skills courses. Although it is very difficult for such young children to learn how to handle the oval ball, by the end of the season, they all know how to pass.
Moreover, ball handling is not the only objective of this discipline, which develops many other learning skills in toddlers.
The benefits and values of rugby
Through baby rugby, educators aim to introduce children between the ages of 3 and 6 to the joys and values of rugby.
Not only does the training take place in a good atmosphere and spirit of camaraderie, but it also brings many benefits to the children:
- It helps develop the motor skills of the youngest ones.
- It provides an opportunity for social and emotional learning.
This sport activity allows children to learn how to evolve within a group and develops concepts of mutual aid and cooperation among them.
For all the reasons mentioned above, this introduction to oval ball is particularly beneficial for young children in full development. This should convince parents to enroll their children in Baby Rugby for the start of the school year, whether they are rugby fans or not!