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My Child does not Enjoy Rugby. What Should I do?

15 July 2023

There’s a lot to love about rugby. It’s fun, tactically challenging, promotes camaraderie, and has a great social side. Once they get into it, many children find they love the sport for life. What should you do, though, if your child doesn’t share your own passion for the game?

Talk to them

You can’t really fix a problem until you know the cause. You need to understand why your child doesn't enjoy it. It could be something small that you can work on, or maybe rugby just isn’t a good fit for them. Explore every avenue. Is there something about the coach or the club they don’t like? Do they have a problem with another child in the squad? Is it too rough? Not rough enough? Do they want to play more games rather than doing drills? Are they frustrated because they don’t feel good enough? It might be that you need to have a few conversations before you get to the root of the issue, but once you do, you’ll be able to help them.

Change clubs

It might not be the sport itself that your child doesn’t enjoy. As with many things, the people and culture you spend around can be what makes something enjoyable or not. Unless your child is passionate about following rugby as a career - in which case they’ll need to be adaptable to any club - it’s more important to find a place that makes them feel comfortable and is a place they enjoy going to.

Change form

It might be that a change of rugby style will help. There are two forms of rugby: rugby union and rugby league. While the two are similar, there are some notable differences that could make one more enjoyable than the other for your child. Depending on who you talk to, the styles differ in terms of how physically demanding they are (though which is harder is up for debate!) Regardless, if your child doesn’t enjoy the form they currently play, it’s worth trying the other.

Show them some matches

Watch some rugby on the tv, but also take your child to live matches. It needn’t be matches at the big clubs. Local clubs, both for adults or children, provide exciting and enjoyable rugby to watch. Try to make the experience fun by chatting about what you see or making connections between the players you’re watching and what your child does when they play. Many local clubs put on fun days and club events. Go along to these. Leaning into the positive side of being a member of a club will help it become more enjoyable.

Find a role model

Is there a friend of the family who plays rugby? Training with an older child who your own child can look up to could inspire them to get into it. Perhaps you have a friend with a child of a similar age that you can link up with to attend games and chat about the sport? Being part of a community, even if just a couple of you, is good for inspiring an interest.

Consider a break, or another sport

At the end of the day, there’s no point in forcing something. If your child really doesn’t like rugby then making them play it against their wishes will just make it worse. A break may help, or they might never want to go back to it. As disappointing as that might be for you, take the chance to find something else you can enjoy together. You might find a new passion.

Try the Hoop app using the links below to find sports sessions for your child to try, or browse our full range of children's sports articles.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

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