Picking up and running with a ball was common in the UK from at least as far back as the Medieval period. Such games were frequently virtually totally disorganised, though: hundreds would sometimes join in from surrounding villages and the ‘game’ was often an excuse for a drunken brawl and melee. Mass injuries were not uncommon. In the 1830s, at Rugby school in Warwickshire, running with the ball in football started to become accepted practice and the modern game of rugby was born. Today it is a major global sport and younger players are keen to learn and improve their skills as often as possible. This is the idea behind junior rugby tours.
Coaching is key
In a whole range of sports, including rugby, it is now an undisputed wisdom that professional coaching at the earliest stages is highly desirable if participants are to maximize the development of their potential. Many schools and colleges work hard with top class coaches in order to try and enhance the technique of their younger players. Yet sometimes it is advisable to get a different perspective and to hear a different set of emphases from coaching staff. That is why an increasing number of junior rugby tours for younger players are now being arranged to various destinations around the world. Such tours often include on-site intensive coaching from expert practitioners and the chance to play games against local sides.
Just a small selection of destinations where such coaching takes place includes Malta, France, Ireland and Holland. One of the truly great things about such trips is not just that participants get the chance to train in a different environment and perhaps to learn different skills, but they also are able to get out and about and experience the local culture.
For example, not only does Malta offer fantastic weather for much of the year but there is also the chance to explore great historic sites, like the city of Valetta with its long history of association with various parts of Europe including, notably, the United Kingdom.
In the case of France, not only might there be some stunning locations and history to explore but there will also be the chance for students to partake in what most people would agree is the world’s greatest cuisine. If your tour happens to be based close to Paris, students will also have access to the world’s most romantic and attractive city.
The primary objective of junior rugby tours is, of course, to improve the sporting skills of the participants. Yet a major intention is also to help broaden the awareness of students in terms of other cultures and their approach to sport and life in general.
Whether this modern approach to rugby would meet with the approval of our Medieval sporting forbearers is something that must remain unknown! Yet what is certain is that today’s junior rugby tours offer students an unrivalled opportunity to combine skills training with cultural experience. It’s an opportunity most relish.