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help! son developing a fear of playing rugby

(77 Posts)
Labro Thu 10-Jan-13 15:27:59

Hope someone has a suggestion.
Son yr 6 of prep school, started there yr 5, no previous experience of contact rugby, games master assured me that they do gentle introduction and coaching, but in reality he coaches the A team in lessons and leaves the rest to a gap year student. The bullying got ridiculous, boys using the game as an excuse to kick, hit and punch. School dealt with it. This term, he hatwa the rugby season with a passion, yesterday the other little charmers spent the whole lesson making monkey noises as him and 2 friends who also don't really understand what they are supposed to be doing.
How do I raise this with the games master? Hes had new boys crying, being sent home as frozen to the bone and is not coaching at all, so these boys have no opportunity to learn how to play properly and enjoy the strategy, instead they and my son are simply becoming scared of the thinly veiled agression and violence.

schoolnurse Sat 12-Jan-13 11:04:17

OP I work in an independent school we have just completed our rugby term. We have a group of boys who very obviously don't like rugby and in fact are absolutely petrified of it especially when we play certain schools. They often present on the day of a match with whole variety of symptoms hoping to be excused from games.
When choosing you next school please think carefully. It is easier at prep level to have you son excused from rugby but much harder at senior level especially if you're considering boarding. Most independent schools play rugby in the first term and at boarding school they will play it at least four times a week even in the pouring rain or the freezing cold, matches are frequently arranged for those who are in the D's or E's. Rugby is also likely to be compulsory for at least the first year if not the first three. There are schools out there that either don't play rugby I understand Westminster Winchester and Charterhouse don't and either provide one alternative e.g. hockey/rowing or lots of alternatives. Being made to play rugby when you clearly hate it can IME significantly jaundice a child's view of school in general so please do look into it carefully.

seeker Sat 12-Jan-13 08:22:07

grin @Athing.

Labro- seriously, don't take your eyes off this for a moment- it could be a symptom of something deeper. What I didn't like was the way the other boys behaved the moment they were unsupervised.

weblette Sat 12-Jan-13 07:43:24

Really good to hear you've sorted things. Your son sounds a star!

FWIW re injuries, my son's had far more injuries as a left back in football than a centre in rugby!

AThingInYourLife Sat 12-Jan-13 07:28:35

No, all monkey noises are racist.

The worst for making them are monkeys. Racist bastards.

ZooAnimals Sat 12-Jan-13 02:45:52

'Monkey noises are racist and thus illegal'

I don't think monkey noises are racist unless intended to be racist/directed in a manner that could be considered racist.

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 02:03:43

Thanks for the cycling link joan, looks great and definitely a consideration if I can work out a way to get him there.

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 01:29:51

Thanks joan, he does archery at school and climbing/abseiling with scouts. Bless him, him and mates put together a petition and asked the headmaster for an interview this afternoon to discuss whether they could be allowed to practise their football skills during the rugby season instead!

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 01:21:44

rugby is an awful game. Have you thought of trying to inspire your son with sports not involving balls?

There's Craggy Island indoor climbing Guildford:

Go-Karting around and about:

The Charlotteville Rascals cycling:

AThingInYourLife Sat 12-Jan-13 01:00:22

He's right to be afraid of it, it's pretty dangerous.

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 00:58:10

Oh and games master is having his arse 'kicked' by the headmaster.

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 00:55:12

Decision made. Have taken him off rugby for the rest of this season, left him in PE and looking for a total beginners course at one of the local clubs for him and his best mate. Should have done this last year, our family dynamics mean that a weekend rugby thing is impossible as his dad won't take him to any activity during his time. There wasn't any racist intent with the noises. Many thanks to everybody, it helps clear the thoughts to write it down, rest of school life is 'great' according to ds, so no issues there.

stella1w Fri 11-Jan-13 22:12:42

Monkey noises are racist and thus illegal. Why are you putting up with this? If everything else great, take him out of rugby and do study time in the library.

ohnoherewego Fri 11-Jan-13 22:06:07

Where in the country are you? I would be very surprised if you can't get him into any local clubs. IME pots of clubs struggle for numbers in the minis.

LIZS Fri 11-Jan-13 21:23:09

shock at the response . I hope you have it in writing as that is completely unacceptable.

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 21:01:41

Move schools. Seriously. If the boys behave like that the minute they are unsupervised and that's the teacher's response, then get get your child out of there. The boys will behave like that in other contexts as well, and the teacher reflects the culture of the school.

weblette Fri 11-Jan-13 20:26:23

'Monkey noises are part of rugby'? Er never have been in any of the games at prep school or rugby club that my kids have played over the last three years, or at the many Wasps matches and internationals I've seen. When the scrum engages there can be a grunting sort of noise as they get stuck in but it's only ever momentary and I'd certainly never say it sounded like a monkey...

Teacher is arse-covering (and talking out of arse too if that's possible). Appointment with the head sounds a very good idea.

racingheart Fri 11-Jan-13 20:15:20

This sucks. My very unsporty DC adore rugby because our local club teaches it so well. And a ruck really isn't a fight. The way it's taught at our club, it's the most gymnastic group defense system. It's truly beautiful to watch. But they spend hours and hours on technique (all the boys at the club bar one or two are classic sports no hopers but they are making amazing progress.

No need for it to be a bullying free for all. Complain.

Naoko Fri 11-Jan-13 20:04:56

I don't know anything about rugby (am foreign from a non-rugby playing nation and thus don't understand it at all) but 'monkey noises are part of rugby'?! Really? I always had the impression rugby was a fairly respectful sport, in some ways more so than my deeply beloved football, where 'monkey noises' is shorthand for 'racist slur' - I don't know what the race of your DS and the other boys is so I don't know if there's the same racist connotation, but it doesn't sound acceptable to me!

I'm also concerned that your DS and the other boys were 'given guidance as to what's bullying and what's friendly jostling' - that smacks of victim blaming and the old 'they just need to toughen up' chestnut to me. If I'm misreading that and it's not the case, apologies, but I was bullied all through primary school who were woefully inadequate in dealing with it and kept trying that shit too.

Labro Fri 11-Jan-13 19:50:22

Games teachers response -

The monkey noises are part of rugby
ds doesn't understand the game as he missed lessons at the beginning of this season due to being ill, nobody else has any difficulty.
They put groups together according to ability and are carefully watched by the games master, but they can't help ds to progress if hes off games.

Have to say I'm not convinced by this, they aren't looking at doing any basic coaching as all the other boys have 'learnt this already'

Will take each day as it comes, he wouldn't even acknowledge that he wasn't even on the school grounds on the day of the monkey noises as he was supervising an away match.

Appointment with the head to be made.

propatria Fri 11-Jan-13 17:22:00

Hard to know where to start with this as so much is wrong,ok,here goes-the RFU do not allow different year groups to play contact so your tales of years 5 -8 all mixed up is wrong,it should not be happening,
Any decent prep would never countenance it,as a matter of interest, how many players are playing,do you have kicking out of hand,place kicks,contested scrums ,hand offs etc,I imagine theyve got the playing details wrong as well,Rugby is dangerous,if it isnt coached properly,boys are introduced to aspects of it gradually,otherwise they should only be doing tag,ask what rugby qualifications the head of games has to coach rugby,I bet he has none.
I speak as a weekend Rugby widow who over the weekend could/should be watching three different games involving her children after watching dh of course...
Of course at that age he should have skins and padding and a scrum cap if he wants it,its the best team sport but it has to be taught correctly.
I have one son of about your sons age he plays at prep where he has specialist coaches backs,forwards and one who just does conditioning,at his club he has the services of four coaches all needless to say qualified and two ex pro,the other two good county standard,this is not a game you can play without knowing what you are doing,if they wont train your son then get him out of there,its dangerous.

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 15:10:15

Doesn't matter how much they warm up afterwards if they've already been miserably cold with chilled muscles for 90 minutes

11112222 Fri 11-Jan-13 14:40:15

Do they not have showers to warm up in afterwards??

Ours are encouraged to wear skins when its cold.

OP - When is parents evening? Can you talk then to games teacher?

seeker Fri 11-Jan-13 14:23:33

Don't complain about the cold- but do complain that the school did not ensure that the boys were wearing adequate clothing. My ds was playing rugby at school yesterday, and was not allowed to play until he put his gloves on- it was frosty. and the coach gave them a lecture about how getting cold meant you were not going to enjoy yourself and were more likely to get an injury.

And an entire session of monkey noises is bullying, whatever anyone says.

Longdistance Fri 11-Jan-13 07:54:09

He's certainly no coach.

My dh used to train the colts in rugby, giving them all the attention they all needed on different levels. Helping them with their strengths and weaknesses. He could work out who would be useful where in a match.

The coach shouldn't be leaving it to some other kids to do. I hope you can get to speak sternly with him, or the ht.

Labro Fri 11-Jan-13 07:43:29

Just to clarify, I didn't raise the too cold thing with the teacher, was just illustrating that the teacher can feel a bit inapproachable to parents. I don't use the bullying card unless something gets out of hand, which, though it has done previously was sorted our by the school. In this context, I've asked if the school is able to provide very basic instruction so that ds can learn rather than feel scared because he doesn't know how to play, which in rugby makes it dangerous due to the nature of the game. I disagree that its ok for so little instruction to be given, based on what sort of game rugby is it does need to be taught rather than letting them get on with it, otherwise there are going to be major injuries.

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