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Youth Advisory Group ready to influence our teen rugby.

Youth Advisory Group ready to influence our teen rugby.

The Tasman Rugby Union has established a Youth Advisory Group, the first of its kind in NZR Rugby.

The members (named in the photo) are comprised of individuals across the province that share a passion for rugby. Their purpose is to connect with their peers and enable Tasman’s youth to be at the centre of the design, delivery, and environment of teenage rugby. The group is formed to lead positive change in the region, with the aim of improving the rugby experience for all that are involved in our game.

With the assistance of NZ Rugby, we are excited to now have the group operational.

On the 7th of April, the Advisory Group had their first meeting. Not unlike forming a rugby team at the first training, the goal of the meet was simply to build connections, establish the purpose, and create a positive environment.

In the meeting, the group was presented with the NZ Rugby participation statistics (graph highlighting the drop in participation). The task was to share initial thoughts on ‘why’ the participation drop. The discussion was brief and only scratched the surface. However, there were insightful themes that came from the group’s natural discussion, highlighting the importance of positive coaching. Transcript reads:

“when I played for…(Club) the coach was real competitive and was kind of like mean to some kids and not let them have a go. I moved to…(Club) the next year because I didn’t like it and then the coach was fun, letting everyone have a go…and then way more people stayed”.

“when you have a coach on the side-line swearing at you, telling you to move and all that. Or says ****ing smash them … you tend to not want to play for them”.

Person 1: “I just think it’s about good coaching…Person 2: “just having fun should be a big emphasis, because if they are having fun, they are going to keep playing”.

These quotes, and further discussions, reinforce the cause-and-effect relationship between coaching (positive or negative) and kids continuing to play and enjoy their rugby. This is a timely and important reminder from our young players as we fast approach the 2021 season.

What’s Next: The group have been challenged to connect with their peers, both currently involved and no longer involved in rugby. They will take notes and feedback insights on what would enhance their experience or bring them back into the game. The group will meet during the season, before meeting post season to reflect, review, and recommend any changes/ initiatives to Tasman Rugby.

The long-term goal is to empower our youth to ‘co-design’ and ‘co-produce’ our game (levels of participation model). Youth: If you have ides, feedback, or concerns on teenage rugby, please feel free you approach and share these with your members.

This is the start of an exciting journey to work with our youth to tackle the big challenges and lead positive change in our sport. We look forward to sharing the journey with you all.

George Vance – Game Development Manager