Eleven and 12-year-olds play the full fifteen man format of the game. Certain regions do not allow boots to be worn until 13. This reduces the possiblity of injury in contact situations and also promotes agility and speed over brute force.
At this stage of their rugby development junior players should have mastered the basic individual skills of running, tackling, passing and catching. They should be developing their kicking skills but not to the detriment of the other skills.
What an 11 to 12-year-old can do
- Enjoy the challenge of learning more complex physical skills
- Understand how to use basic rules and tactics in competitive games
- Perhaps want to get more involved with group sports
Practice plan for 11 to 12-year-olds
– by the Neil Hosken Coaching Academy
Lessons are divided into three specific areas: Individual skills, unit skills and team skills. Each practice must begin and end with a stretch session. A normal lesson/practice would incorporate a warm-up involving running/ball handling followed by a stretch.
Thereafter, individual skills are focused on: these lessons are skills intensive with focus given to ball handling and tackling in particular. Boys are broken up into ability groups for this purpose. All drills must be performed with the ball and each player must be given as much contact time with the ball as possible.
The second part of the lesson is given to unit skills with backs and forwards working as separate groups. Often specialist coaches take each unit. Technical coaching regarding specific positional skills is necessary at this level: for example scrumhalves need to be taught how to pass right and left off the ground. Good coaches will give their players individual skill drills to practice in their own time. Unit skills allow players to not only develop their positional skills; they also develop playing relationships which are an integral part of any team sport.
The third part of the lesson may involve a game simulation between two teams. This session focuses on game situations such as kick offs or penalties. It also allows coaches to develop tactical awareness and game strategy. It must be performed in a controlled environment and situations must be “drilled” over and over to help the players understand for example how a drift defense pattern works. At the end of the lesson, the coach must warm the players down and then stretch.
How you can help
- Ensure safety – children need the right equipment for a sport e.g. gum guards and shoulder pads.
- Encourage a healthy diet – prepare lots of vegetables and keep healthy snacks in the house for after school.