As kids hit their later teenage years they face many challenges in their ever-expanding worlds. They need a sense of belonging. Something that gives them purpose. Teenage rugby can be likened to having a good job or a good relationship as an adult. It grounds you, it drives you, it makes you work hard at it to constantly improve. Things can however also turn sour if not managed appropriately…
This is the time when a lot of the playing field is evened out. Kids that were the stars in their early teens aren’t as overpowering any more. Those who weren’t the stars suddenly grew a lot, got stronger, run faster. Some new “talents” start to appear where none showed in previous years.
When kids get to this age they start talking about potentially taking their rugby to the next level after school. This is where things get interesting and there are many options available to children.
What options are there for my teenage rugby player after school?
The good news is, there are multiple options!
The game is seeing a lot of growth in different markets across the globe. Showpieces like the Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby, Heineken Cup, Pro 14 and the MLR are some of the great contributors to the continued growth of the game.
The traditional powerhouses of the game over the past century has always been South Africa, New Zeeland, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Argentina.
The rest of the countries were seen as 2nd tier or 3rd tier rugby nations. That has changed dramatically from around 2010.
The rest of Europe is coming alive to the potential of the game with academies popping up. There are ones in Georgia, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. It is also played in smaller volumes in a number of other European countries. The footprint of the game just keeps growing globally.
The most significant growth has been seen in the USA, Japan and Canada with their relatively new professional leagues. Both North America and Japan have realized that there is huge commercial potential in the sport. As a result, they are growing rugby at a frantic space at many levels.
The opportunities that are currently available for teenage rugby players include:
- Rugby academies in France, England and Ireland
- Club rugby on a semi-professional level in Portugal, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Italy
- Study bursaries at a number of universities in the United States (with more of them covering the full tuition of the player)
- Semi-professional playing opportunities in Australia, Wales, Scotland and England in some of their lower leagues
…and that is for the average player with enough playing experience…
What can I as a parent do to help the continued growth of my teenager as a rugby player?
They will get the majority of their skills training as part of the team at their club or school. It is always a good idea if you can afford it, to get them some specialized coaching classes specific to the position they play.
If you would like to do it yourself a few times a week, you can have a look at our rugby skills section on the site for more ideas on what can be done.
They want to know what they should eat, what supplements they need, how they should train…
Mostly they just want to look the part through the correct training and eating habits. Our sections on strength and conditioning and nutrition specifically from a parent’s point of view will help you to make sense of it all.