U7 - What Can I Do?
Five and six-year-olds have limited coordination and body awareness. They are just learning the difficulties linked with manipulating bits and pieces let alone an uncooperative rugby ball.
At the under 7 level, the primary concern of the coach is to facilitate activities that encourage frequent ball contact and the development of basic motor skills.
One-ball-per-player activities and various “modified games” are perfect.
BEGINNING RUGBY U6–U7
Special guidelines are needed for these players including special rules (coaches on the field, no tackling, scrum and lineout modifications if any), special playing fields (shorter fields, smaller posts, etc) and special equipment (size 2½ balls).
Some will say you are very brave if you coach in this area, but maybe we should turn this around and say that you will find this area very rewarding. Here are some points for this area that you will find helpful:
- The game as played by five-year-olds requires a basic approach, one that stresses participation and meaningful play. Most kids this age will not execute very well and should be encouraged just to play and have fun. The coaches involved with this age group need to have minimum performance expectations and should focus not on outcome and results but on participation and enjoyment.
- They have short attention spans; therefore, they don’t deal well with the more intense instruction, i.e. the activities and training routines that adults want to use to teach rugby skills. The experience should be mostly an introduction or first exposure to the game. You should try not to make it more than that.
- One key factor per training session is a good rule of thumb for skills coaching.
BEGINNING COACH TIPS
- Give players’ creative, positive nicknames – this will make them feel extra special. Use their nicknames often, especially when they accomplish something. Make plenty of references to All Blacks players’ names such as referring to a back as “the next Beauden Barrett”.
- Kids love to run with the ball so, during practice, put a ball in every kid’s hands and let them run. A ball-familiarisation drill is good for this. Give them all lots of opportunities to score tries (scoring tries is definitely FUN).