15 July 2023
Rugby camps are short courses for children that can range in length and style from one-day skills courses to week-long residentials. They’re growing in popularity, with over 10,000 children now taking part each year. The most popular camps are run by the big teams - think Saracens, Tigers and Harlequins - though some smaller, independent organisations put them on, too. All are regulated by the RFU.
The camps usually take place in the school holidays, or at weekends. What sets the camps apart from local clubs and training events is that they are run by professional coaches working in the top teams. These coaches bring knowledge of the new skills and cutting edge thinking that’s currently in use by the professionals. Camps also focus on teamwork and togetherness, meaning children will come away with much more than improved rugby skills.
This rugby camp is one of the most comprehensive. A typical day will cover a wide range of skills and practices that will help turn children into budding rugby pros. The camp holds the same core values as its parent club: honesty, discipline, hard work and humility. There are a range of courses, including two-day residential camps that follow a progression to build up certain skills, “upskilling” camps that work on a specific aspect of the game, one-day “clinics” that look in minute detail at a specific skill and full week-long residentials. They take children from ages 6 to 18, split into age brackets, and run both boys and girls courses. Locations are around outer London and the South East of England.
Current champions and arguably the most successful team in England, the Tigers run a range of sessions over the summer, open to all abilities in the under-7 to under-16 age groups. For younger children, the camp covers an introduction to aspects of the game, then for the older kids the sessions develop particular skills. The club runs separate camps for boys and girls, each offering the same experience. Camps are run across the midlands and are all a week long with no residential stays.
This residential course aims to replicate a week in the life of a professional rugby player at another of the country’s most successful clubs. Welcoming players of all abilities, this camp is notable for bringing in children from overseas who come for the opportunity to play rugby and develop English. There are professional coaches and even appearances from the senior Bath squad. The course features workshops, matches, small-group coaching, tactics sessions and video analysis. All meals and evening activities are provided, too.
These camps are run in the far north of England during the school holidays in Northumberland, Durham, Cumbria and Teesside. For ages 7-17, the camps range from one-day courses to week-long residentials with full meals and accommodation provided. On the week-long course the children get the chance to meet the players and then at the end of the week attend a Falcons’ match.
Located in Lancashire this camp is regularly voted best girls only rugby camp. For ages 12-18, the five-day residential features top level coaches and players from the Sale Sharks main squad, who come to deliver exciting and innovative sessions. The residential camp often acts as a pathway into Sale Sharks Women’s Centre of Excellence, which then feeds into the main squad, so it’s great for those looking to pursue a career. Some big names in women’s rugby have passed through the camp’s doors, and those who have attended remark just how much the camp has helped boost their confidence in all aspects of life.