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The challenge

Much of this module is based on teenage responses from research - such as Sport New Zealand’s programmes - and a number of other experienced sources.

It is important to also recognise that the subjects in these few pages are all individuals and some generalisations will not apply - that is part of the challenge for the coach, tailoring your program to specific requirements.

Why do teens play rugby?
•    To have fun with their friends.
•    Use and develop their rugby skills.
•    To participate with others while setting personal goals.
•    To experience challenges, achievements, and personal responsibilities.
•    For excitement and enjoyment.

Why do teens drop out of our game?
•    Teen experiences or observing bias or discrimination.
•    Time conflict with other undertakings e.g. study, social or work commitments.
•    Can’t play with their mates because team selections and grades split them up.
•    The sport becomes wearying.
•    Over importance on winning by adults.
•    Transport problems.
•    Thought of injury.
•    Don’t get sufficient playing time.
•    Cost to play – participation fees and gear can be expensive.
•    Little acknowledgement and support for their team as compared to top teams.
•    The coach is overly strict and pushes players too much.
•    Poor self-esteem.
•    Embarrassed about playing rugby in front of the opposite sex.teen upset.jpg
•    Peer pressure.
•    Physical size and weight difference.
•    Emphasis from mates on succeeding over participating for enjoyment and having fun.
•    Lack of knowledge of rugby pathways and prospects outside of school.

So, how might coaches encourage teens to stay in rugby?
●    Inspire the teenager to participate and experience rugby opportunities.
●    Support the teenager to balance the demands on their time to allow time for rugby.
●    Give the teenager a chance to contribute toward the rugby activities.
●    Promote enthusiasm by pointing out good role models while being one yourself.
●    Use examples of the highest level, such as strengthening a dream for a player to become an All Black or Black Fern.
●    Create a team culture than teens can embrace.