I’m all about trying new activities and putting my functional fitness to the test – so when the opportunity arose to try out rugby for beginners I jumped at the chance!
A couple of days ago I went to my England Rugby Inner Warrior camp in Garstang, though unfortunately those injuries I spoke about last week are still troubling me, along with a brand new sprained ankle. Great. I decided to still go along to my booked camp and see how much I could do, with worst being that I’d have to sit and watch.
I’m happy to say I could work around my injury for the majority of the camp, and I only sat out part because I was getting far too into playing so had to self-preserve! Read on to learn more about the camp and find out how you can release your Inner Warrior and join in on one of the free rugby taster camps.
What was it like when you arrived?
Admittedly I was a little anxious when I pulled up into the car park. What if they were really unfriendly? What if it was just too hard and I was rubbish? There was no need for this anxiety though – as I walked up to the field, the rugby club had set out a breakfast platter of cake, flapjacks, Nutella and Bucks Fizz (I don’t know if the latter is a standard thing or because it was a Bank Holiday, so maybe don’t go along expecting to be boozing first thing!) and a number of experienced rugby players waiting to speak to me about the game.
There was a mix of experienced players there helping to support the taster session, some girls who had played a couple of times before, and there were also two women like myself who were completely new to the sport.
How did you warm up?
The warm up was a lot of fun! It varied between aerobic activity, movements to get us used to handling the ball, and also fun stuff that helped with team bonding.
For example: we’d jog round, and coach Mark would shout “one” for us to pass the ball, “two” for us to put the ball down then pick it up; and finally he’d shout a completely left-field command like “team of five, two points of contact with the ground” and we’d have to rush together and figure out how to do the command. Last to do it received a crowd-sourced punishment – but these were as simple as singing baa baa black sheep!
Was there any contact?
Not on this occasion, no. Once we were used to handling the ball and had done some relays with touchdown, we played a couple of games to help introduce the full game and rules to us. First up we played like netball – so you had to stand still while you had hold of the ball – then a few games of touch rugby, so every time you were touched by an opposing player you had to stop and pass the ball.
The main rule we learned in our introductory session was that every pass had to be backwards in the field, which the the off-side rule in rugby. I’m sure there are plenty more rules, but I appreciated how they were being introduced gradually!
What was the best bit?
I most enjoyed the tackling practise at the end! There was a mini course set up with a stand-up black bag that you had to tackle and knock down to get the ball, then further along two girls held pads you had to smash through to score your try. It was great fun – but one of the questions asked was “do you actually do that to people?!” The answer was yes – but only if they’re on the other team and have the ball!
What was the worst bit?
There weren’t any really bad bits – first arriving was a little nerve-wracking, but that quickly eased. My only frustration was that I couldn’t run around more and join in fully because of my injuries. I started getting excited when playing touch rugby, so had to sit out some games so I didn’t injure myself further.
Would you do it again?
I would absolutely go to another of these sessions – not least because I’d like to see how I got on when I was fully fit! I was itching to sprint off down the field and get involved in battles for the ball, but my current injuries prevented me from doing so.
Not only that, but the community element was awesome too. I could tell pretty much straight away that I would fit into this team due to their welcoming, open nature, and I’m gutted that Garstang isn’t just around the corner for me – I’d be back not only to play rugby but to hang out too.
If you haven’t yet signed up to an England Rugby Warrior Camp, there’s still time to do so – click here to find out where the camp most local to you is. It’s natural to feel anxious when trying something new, but the club I went to was so friendly and although challenging, was a totally achievable session – so don’t be afraid to sign up!