How to encourage good sportsmanship in rugby

When we think of rugby, we tend to think of a tough, hard and fast game played by incredible athletes who combine speed, strength and agility. If we think about rugby even more, what usually comes to mind is a game that also engenders high levels of respect. When a game is as physically demanding as rugby, respect and sportsmanship are crucial. Here is a look at how sportsmanship can be encouraged in all aspects of a young player’s life.

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Start small

Toddlers and young children do struggle to stay calm when faced with losing a game, and while it is tempting to let them win at snake and ladders to save a meltdown, this is not healthy in the long run. Children need to learn to win and to lose graciously as this will help them in later life, both on and off the rugby field. Children should be encouraged to play gentle competitive games, where they are given the fair chance of winning and losing. With practice, they will learn that their efforts are just as important as whether they win or lose.

Team spirit and respect

Respect for their teammates, opposing teams and figures of authority in rugby is essential. The sin bin awaits for those who don’t show respect. Building up team spirit shows children that they are part of that team, they are not above anyone else, and they as a team work together as one unit. This helps them to deal with losing or referee decisions with dignity and to resist gloating when they win. Respect and team spirit are as important when a team is doing well as when it is not.

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For the love of the game

When training hard, it can be easy to forget your love of the sport. Rugby training videos can teach the techniques, but the emotional ties to the game should be nurtured, too. Enjoyment and fulfillment are as important as winning. Play well with rugby training drill videos, thrive with team spirit and respect, and remember to have fun.

Rugby is a great game for the body and for the mind. It builds strong character in children and has benefits for other aspects of their lives – namely respect, graciousness and an ability to be a team player.