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Hocpoc
23-09-14, 13:09
As a youth coach, I'm in favour of size and weight bands replacing age bands. In youth there is huge variation in size and weight, with larger players able to dominate some games.

In my view is we played in SW bands, then all things being equal this would promote skill and game management over size advantage.

Its not good for big players who develop early to base their games on their size, likewise its not good for smaller players feeling they can't compete.

As coaches i'm sure we all try to skill up our players, but playing in size bands would force clubs to focus on skills and game management to win games.

Once they get over 18 then this dropped.

crossref
23-09-14, 13:09
they have that in NZ, but it's not all good - it has undesirable consequences.

firstly - weigh-in is once or twice a season (it can't be every game for obvious reason) youngsters can be encouraged/incentivised to sweat off kilos of water to make the grade

secondly being sorted reigidly fatties / thinnies makes kids very body/weight/fat conscious which is not goo

thirdly a kid who is fat is separated from his friends and told to play with the older lot

fourthly : rugby isn't just about size. just because someone is big/small doesn't mean they will work better moving up/down

Simon Thomas
23-09-14, 14:09
Given the RFU mission statements and inclusiveness focus, and the oft quoted "A Game for all shapes and sizes" I see little prospect of any such scheme in England.

Dixie
23-09-14, 14:09
Hocpoc, it is an idea with considerable merit - not least because we've all encountered the "team" whose only game plan is to give it to Big Hamish and watch him carry eight oppo over the line. Against it, though, are the points raised above.

When a young player joins a rugby club, (s)he will often do so because friends also play there. That forms a glue, often holding an age group together. But if kids from the same school year are distributed over several size/weight bands, there is little cohesion. The older players resent the immature, fairly useless (but heavy!) younger kid thrust into their midst, and ostracise him/her. The older kid forced to play down a weight because, though of county standard in his proper age group, he's a tricksy, dinky little #9 gets nothing at all out of being forced into the team with younger, lighter players.

As Simon Thomas says, I see little prospect of the RFU travelling that road. They've preferred to adopt age group rules that put the emphasis on a more dynamic game. It remains to be seen whether that will work well, but it needs to be given time to test it out.

crossref
23-09-14, 14:09
the RFU also considers that much rugby is played at school, and having kids play out of school year is even more problematic for a school than it is for a club.

Browner
23-09-14, 14:09
HocPoc
Its not perfect as it is.

Don't forget big lads CAN move up an Age Grade currently if they :he/she, parents, coach, teacher, and.... safety permit it. In some cases Safety should require it !!!

Yet despite this, it rarely happens (least not below 15) for a variety of reasons, mostly all covered.

Different genetic/migration issues have grown in other parts of the world, hense their SW preference.

ddjamo
23-09-14, 14:09
As a youth coach, I'm in favour of size and weight bands replacing age bands. In youth there is huge variation in size and weight, with larger players able to dominate some games.

In my view is we played in SW bands, then all things being equal this would promote skill and game management over size advantage.

Its not good for big players who develop early to base their games on their size, likewise its not good for smaller players feeling they can't compete.

As coaches i'm sure we all try to skill up our players, but playing in size bands would force clubs to focus on skills and game management to win games.

Once they get over 18 then this dropped.

first off...good luck bringing up anything out of the ordinary or new on this forum; what was the fabled story about how led zeppelin got the name?

I like the idea and I think it has a lot of merit. gridiron uses weight at youth levels (my 9 year old has to play flag football due to his weight being too low to handle contact) and it is very effective.

a side note - ontario used to use u19 scrum law for uni comp. the clubs would basically put flankers at prop. this is the same type thing - but in reverse. so the 18 year old heavy kid that played age grade was forever a prop...at weight limits maybe he could have developed other skills and could have been able to handle the law issues between uni play and senior side play.

crossref
23-09-14, 14:09
weight grades aren't really new or out of the ordinary. Anyone invovled with age-grade rugby has seen game dominated by a giant and pondered this question.
and it has obvious attractions.
my post was really to say that it's not as simple as first seems
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10570063

OB..
23-09-14, 22:09
first off...good luck bringing up anything out of the ordinary or new on this forum; what was the fabled story about how led zeppelin got the name? It is not new to this forum.


I like the idea and I think it has a lot of merit. gridiron uses weight at youth levels (my 9 year old has to play flag football due to his weight being too low to handle contact) and it is very effective. When I Lived near Washington, the Beltway League (gridiron football) had weight grades. There was a major scandal when it was discovered that some coaches were giving their kids diet pills etc to keep their weight down.

Neither system is perfect, but at least you cannot easily fake an age.

Phil E
24-09-14, 09:09
first off...good luck bringing up anything out of the ordinary or new on this forum; what was the fabled story about how led zeppelin got the name?

I never realised that getting thin made you cynical? :chin: :wink:

crossref
24-09-14, 10:09
reflecting on this last night -- there has to be a role for coaches here, rather than seeking to rewrite the rule book.

I was involved in age level rugby for a long time, and certainly spent time watching games thinking that a weight limit would be good - but...

1 - if we did have a weight limit then, sadly, for many kids in our modern world they wouldn't be overweight because they are a 13 year old shaving, muscular giant, it would be because they were fat. Now one big thing that rugby has going for it is that its one proper sport that a fat 13 year old can play, and can be valuable in, there's a role for him. We don't want to lose that : and if you made him play with the 14 year olds he just wouldn't play.

2 - where we really do have shaving, 80kg of muscle, hard edged 13 year old, as Browner says there is alreadyt the mecahnism in the current regs to allow him to play up. We should look to coaches/clubs to try and provide the support to make that happen

3 - and where teams of u13s do end up playing with a giant in their midst it realy is incumbent on coaches to manage it. There are two sorts of coaches here :

the first sort develop a game plan which consists of :
- every move give the ball to george, on the burst.
- very occaisionally pretend to give the ball to george on the burst but cleverly pass it somewhere else
- resume plan A
- celebrate a 10 try victory over a demoralised oppos
this is poor coaching (IMO)

The other sort of coaches develop a game plan in which george is used - but it doesn't all revolve around him. the talents of the other boys are also developed and used. George might even -shock - not play the full game. Or might be on the wing for a while where getting the ball to George requires some skill -- and passing ... etc etc.
this is good coaching

davidgh
29-09-14, 11:09
We have certainly done this one to death on several occasions.

In my view there is no correlation between the typical metrics used: Weight and Height and the things that make a skilled young player:

Agility
Strength
a good rugby brain
hands

As we proceed to 18 size becomes more of a factor but it is still not the adult game .....

Some of the best players up to 14/15 can be small and wiry.

I cannot imagine a weight and height based solution being other than abusive to children, they want to play with their mates in a stable friendly group.

At this age maturity is a big issue and you can't have an 11yo playing up at u15 just because he is rotund and/or tall.

As a previous post says, if he is extraordinary, he can play up through the current system, based on coaches recommendation.

Dan_A
29-09-14, 12:09
I manage an u13 team which is almost always smaller and lighter than our opposition. We've had to work very hard on all their contact skills to compensate but on the plus side, the lads play an exciting running brand of rugby. I'd be sad to see any introduction of size or weight banding as having all shapes and sizes in a team is very much part of rugby.

Also, it's VERY unusual to come across a very big player who is also very fast and very skilful!

TigerCraig
03-10-14, 07:10
Also, it's VERY unusual to come across a very big player who is also very fast and very skilful!

Not here, and it is becoming a major issue with loss of players in both league and union, We are in the situation where in some of our districts none of the constituent clubs (usually 4 or 5) are able to field a stand alone team in age groups from under 14 up, so have to combine forces to form "Barbarian" teams.

Unless changes are made the game will become exclusively a Pacific Islander (and priviledged private schoolboy) one

Its not really that new. My dad played all his school and junior football in the late 50's to mid 60's under weight rules.

My son is quite a skillful player, but will never be a star. He spent this season being either smashed by boys 6 inches taller and 3 stone heavier, or shunted onto the wing.

Next season he has 1 of 3 options:

1) give up playing (but hopefully keep refereeing) for a couple of years

2) stay with his team and go up from Under 16 to Under 18 (we dont have Under 17 grades) - no going to happen without a major growth spurt

3) apply for a dispensation to stay in Under 16's (which he should get given where he sits on the ARU height/weight graph)

Browner
03-10-14, 10:10
Unless changes are made the game will become exclusively a Pacific Islander (and priviledged private schoolboy) one

Careful Tigercraig, some people will demonize you for make such a prediction.

crossref
03-10-14, 11:10
Another way to do this is to retain the age group bandings and have two competitions for the age group :
- U15 Open
- U15 Restricted (ie with a weight restriction)

The weight restriction would be generous, it's not a game for little people only, most kids would be under it - the aim is simply to remove giants.

this avoids all social/maturity/friendship that come with both playing up (where the kids are not mentally mature enough to mix with older kids) and playing down (which some boys find humiliating to play with younger kids)

It also provides flexibility - club team could play in both open and lightweight games on different weekends, simply adjusting the team selection for the game. Most kids would be able to play in both formats, but in a restricted fixture the giants have a week off, and the small subs / fringe players find themselves on the bench or starting.

davidgh
04-10-14, 11:10
Another way to do this is to retain the age group bandings and have two competitions for the age group :
- U15 Open
- U15 Restricted (ie with a weight restriction)

The weight restriction would be generous, it's not a game for little people only, most kids would be under it - the aim is simply to remove giants.

this avoids all social/maturity/friendship that come with both playing up (where the kids are not mentally mature enough to mix with older kids) and playing down (which some boys find humiliating to play with younger kids)

It also provides flexibility - club team could play in both open and lightweight games on different weekends, simply adjusting the team selection for the game. Most kids would be able to play in both formats, but in a restricted fixture the giants have a week off, and the small subs / fringe players find themselves on the bench or starting.


Crossref - I like the idea - how many clubs hae enough players for two full 15 a side squads? In reality I guess this option is already open to such clubs in informal arrangements with other larger local clubs. In some ways I guess we already have it, it is called As and Bs. Many coaches also already try to get games where they are against a well matched opposition.


The 17/18 Colts combo in some areas is a symptom of reduction in numbers at A level ages, and it replicates the school system. Our middle son took a year out from rugby because he was small and late maturing at 17, restarting a year later in upper 6th at 6'7" and pretty solid! So yes a late developers squad could be a good idea (measured by beard growth)