The Champion Schools tournament is now established as the largest rugby league competition in the world.
But what are the benefits of children playing rugby league? What lessons does it teach them? What skills do they develop? And what qualities does it encourage?
According to recent research, almost a third of parents reported that they were concerned that their child’s development was being negatively affected by spending too much time in front of television, games consoles and tablets.
But how can we change the habits of our children so they lead a healthier and happier life? Here’s how playing rugby can benefit your child, getting them off the sofa and on to the field.
It increases their physical fitness
With the rise of modern technology more and more children are spending lots of time indoors. According to research, almost a third of parents do not think that their children spend enough time outdoors.
Playing rugby is a fantastic way for children to have a reason to go outdoors and engage in physical exercise. It involves a lot of cardiovascular activity; this helps to build a strong heart and lungs, which are able to work faster to deliver that all-important oxygen to the muscles.
Rugby is also a great way for kids to improve their overall body strength as it enables them to have a full body workout – throwing the ball long distances is beneficial for upper body strength and battling in scrums and running helps to increase the strength of the legs.
It helps to develop team-building skills
As rugby involves working towards victory as part of team, introducing the sport to your children helps to develop their team building skills.
Whether it is being part of a prep talk or being out there playing on the field, kids who play rugby have an increased knowledge and respect for being a part of a team and working towards a common goal with their peers.
This is an especially useful skill that can be transferred into the classroom, as well as something that kids can take with them into adulthood.
It can help to build resilience
As playing rugby increases the strength and overall fitness of children, it will come as no surprise that it also helps them to build resilience against pain. One of the main attributes of a rugby player, and something that is taught from beginner level, is that they are able to persevere through physical and mental obstacles to work towards the goal.
As children who play rugby tend to spend more time outside than their peers, then they tend to have a higher resilience to germs. This is because children need to be exposed to dirt for their immune systems to develop fully.
It helps to develop social skills
As rugby is a team sport, children who play rugby tend to experience more social interaction with other children than other kids of their age.
Social interaction is an important part of childhood development, and good social skills are needed to be successful throughout adulthood.
Humans are social animals, and it has long been proved that those of us who socialise regularly lead longer and happier lives.
Introducing your child to team sports such as rugby helps to give them a sense of social fulfilment and a sense of purpose, leading to improved wellbeing and a happier child.
It helps to reduce stress
It is a well-known fact that the endorphins that are released during exercise help to make people feel happy and more relaxed. This is the same for children.
Engaging in a physical sport like rugby helps to lift the mood of a child as well as aid a better night’s sleep.
Sleep is important for a variety of reasons including getting the most out of the school day, so the positive effects of rugby not only effect the child’s physical fitness and wellbeing, but their education too!