Youngsters had fun learning about rugby at a recent Rookie Rugby session in the Comox Valley.

Rookie Rugby introduces youngsters to the sport

Rugby Canada pilot project designed for boys and girls aged five to 15

  • Feb. 27, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Ian Kennedy

Special to the Record

Top coaches maintain that it takes 10,000 hours of practice and play to make a world-class, or an Olympic athlete, and in order to fit those many hours into young lives athletes must take up their chosen sports at an early age.

With this in mind, Rugby Canada has begun a pilot project in the Comox Valley to introduce boys and girls aged five to 15 to the game of rugby with a mass-participation program called Rookie Rugby.

Using game-based learning, volunteers and teachers are introducing the great game of  rugby to elementary children who have never seen a rugby ball before. “So far the results have been very positive,” says B.C. Rugby Development Officer Tony La Carte, who is championing the project on Vancouver Island. “The aim is to get the kids active and to let them run around using a rugby ball. Making the game fun is key, the structure comes later.”

La Carte recently spent a couple of days in the Valley and, with the help of volunteers and the Kickers Rugby Club, introduced Rookie Rugby to over 450 children at Brooklyn, Huband Park, Queneesh and Ecole Puntledge Park Schools. “Most of those kids had never seen a rugby ball before but they took to it like ducks to water.” offers La Carte, himself an international rugby player who travelled the world playing Sevens rugby and 15s rugby for Canada.

“When I was in New Zealand, home to the New Zealand All-Blacks the world’s number one men’s and women’s teams, kids as young as four and five were running around in bare feet playing rugby. There definitely is a correlation between starting rugby early and being the world’s best.”

Recognizing this, the United States, using Rookie Rugby, has introduced six million children to rugby in recent years and Rugby Canada is now using their model and piloting it in Comox Valley and Port Coquitlam to see how it goes.

“It’s a flag sport with no tackling and it aims to let children have fun and teach them skills of catching, passing and running with the ball in hand. Once they have been introduced to the game at this level and they want to continue with the game they can take up mini rugby, play it in school or at the club level,” says La Carte. “Kids are four times more likely to continue with a sport if they play it in a P.E. class first.”

Aimee Burley, who runs the local Kickers Mini Rugby program, says that eight new children showed up at the club on Sunday looking to play mini rugby as a result of the Rookie Rugby. “I was very pleasantly surprised,” said Burley. “This shows that Rookie Rugby is already having a very positive impact.”

Rugby Canada has developed an array of easy-to-use teaching resources, CDs and on-line materials that makes it extremely easy for teachers and volunteers to run Rookie Rugby. “I have never seen a sport partner with schools like this before,” says School District 71’s coordinator of Elementary School Athletics, Kyle Timms. “It’s a very worthwhile program that teachers can use to interest more children in sport.”

Rookie Rugby plants the seed and even if it doesn’t look like rugby in the conventional sense, it introduces a new game to children and parents and lays the foundation for lifelong activity. And, if it helps to produce world-class athletes for Rugby Canada in the future – that can only be good too.

 

For more information go to: rookierugby.ca and http://comoxvalleyrugby.ca/

 

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley golfers prepare for another 55+ Games

Competition, camaraderie name of the game

Comox Valley firefighters assist with wildfire effort

Four Courtenay firefighters are in Fort St. James helping with the fight… Continue reading

Woman rescued from Stotan Falls calling for safety measures

3L Developments did not comment on immediate plans to add safety precautions

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

More than 22,000 blood donors needed

Canadian Blood Services is urging Canadians to help meet patients’ needs this… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read