There’s been so many of you who have commented or messaged me to say you were signing up to an England Rugby Warrior Camp after reading my posts, which is amazing to hear! I’ve done two now – both were quite different to each other – so I thought I’d put together a little about what I learned as a newbie to women’s rugby.
In short, if you’re feeling nervous about trying rugby for the first time, then there’s absolutely no need to be. I’ve had loads of fun both times and everyone’s been really welcoming, so I’m confident you’ll enjoy it. Read on to find out my tips, then check out the remaining Warrior Camps available to book, and let me know how you get on!
My second camp was on a very cold evening at Winnington Park RFC, Northwich last week, and was attended by the awesome England player, Katy Daley-McLean (more on her coming to the blog soon!). This time I felt like I got even more stuck in despite the baltic temperatures, learned even more about the game, and started to gain confidence in my new skills. I’ve tried to condense them into 9 points that should hopefully give you a newbie’s insight into playing rugby and answer any questions you might have about trying it out.
You wear shorts for a reason
And that reason is because it’s easier to wash mud off your legs than it is off leggings! Of course, there could be a more technical reason, but this is the most obvious one to me. I also wore a couple of layers and a longsleeve as my main training top, which worked well for the chilly weather, and I was oblivious to the cold around my legs, although I did get a pair of joggers on straight after finishing training.
It’s a very body-positive sport
Nobody cares what size you are, whether you have abs, or whether you trained booty last night. They just care that you can pass the ball and tackle when it matters.
The warm-up is a great workout in itself
At my Winnington Warrior Camp, the warm-up was pretty intense and really got the blood pumping on a cold night, but it was still a lot of fun. The warm-ups progressed to add in different skills like ball handling to ensure we were not only physically ready to play, but mentally too.
You pass the ball backwards!
I cannot get my head around this rule – or rather, under pressure my body just forgets it – but you HAVE to pass the ball backwards, and when you don’t have the ball you have to stay behind it, else you’re off-side. I kept chucking the ball forwards into an empty space, and relaying this back in the clubhouse at the end I was met with some sympathetic “oh, it took me years to remember that rule” – although I think they were just being kind!
Words can be abrupt on the field
If you’re shouted at to “get back” (it’s that stay behind the ball rule) then don’t take it personally – it’s a fast game, so there is no time for please, thank you, or excuse me. Warm-ups and the clubhouse are the time for niceties.
Confidence is key when tackling
Although I’d done a Warrior Camp before, this was my introduction to full-contact rugby, and my main worry was not that I would hurt myself – I was scared of hurting other people! Turns out other women are a lot hardier than you think, and it takes some doing to get them down – be aware of what your body is doing but do it with confidence.
Don’t pull people onto you when tackling
Dig in and push them away. I learned this the hard way as I was trying to use strength rather than technique to get other players onto the floor (standard) – it didn’t bother me at the time but my chiropractor had a lot to release in my neck a few days later!
There ARE some rules surrounding tackling
Another point on tackling, but like I said I was worried about this part, so makes sense to cover it in more detail. To keep rugby safe, you can only tackle the ball carrier, and you must do so below the shoulders. After the tackle, you must immediately release the player and roll away – so no big pile-ons to grab the ball.
The muddier you got, the more fun you had
Maybe this one is one personal to me as I love to get mucky, but I believe that the more you get involved is directly correlated to the amount of fun you have. Don’t be scared of getting dirty, getting in there and giving it a go, no matter if you do something wrong. Everyone starts somewhere and it’s making mistakes that helps you learn!
If you have any further burning questions then please do feel free to comment with them – you still have a week to try an England Rugby Warrior Camp and they’re completely free, so what’s stopping you? Give it a go and let me know how you get on!
Share this post on Pinterest