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Youth Rugby

Is your praise having a positive or negative impact on your child or your players sport?

To add to the growing minefield for sports parents we have to ask the question about the amount and type of praise you are giving your children.  Does it have a positive or negative impact on their sporting performance?

There are a number of things that you need to think about.

How much praise is too much praise?

How often should you be praising your child?

Is some praise simply a waste of time?

Praise can take many different forms encompassing the following:

‘commend, express approval of, express admiration for, applaud, pay tribute to, speak highly of, eulogize, compliment, congratulate, celebrate, sing the praises of, praise to the skies, rave about, go into raptures about, heap praise on, wax lyrical about, say nice things about, make much of, pat on the back’

In any form of praise that we may consider giving our children we must use appropriate language.  A skilful use of language can directly increase self esteem and develop confidence whilst careless use of language can lead to low self esteem and a drop in confidence.

Why do we need to give any praise?  Well that is simple, praise can regulate and reinforce positive behaviour and character traits.

Praise must also be directional, ‘good work’ for example is a bit vague, meaningless and many children are not stupid and will often see phrases like this as just empty praise.  Can your praise allow them to reflect, are you in a position to give them some useful advice on what went well and what may require some further work?

In this day and age many parents over praise their children, as they believe that if they are not going to do it then who will?

Children can see right through this and often know that their parents are saying that quite simply because they are their parents rather than being based on any fact or actions.

Now in many cases I would hope that your child’s coaches would be doing this part of the job for you with their praise and feedback, allowing you to play a predominantly supporting role but it is still good to be armed with some appropriate tools.

Learning to praise appropriately, is an important part of developing a child’s confidence and raising a high performer. Here are some helpful tips:


  • It allows you to praise both failure and success.
  • Focusing on the effort instead of the outcome keeps you present with the children in their struggle, holding their hand and even carrying them at times.
  • It makes you a partner in the process and allows your children to give their attention to the journey and not the destination.
  •  Praising effort prevents us from being so focused on the prize that we forget what got our child there in the first place.
  •  Foremost, high performers are all about the process, and the process is all about effort.


  • Your praise should come in the form of encouragement for your child and should be specific, clear, and focused on the process.
  • “Good job today” is nice, but it’s not action, effort, or goal-specific
  • On the other hand, “You’ve worked really hard in training on that piece of skill and it was great to see it used so well today.  That is the first time it has really worked in a match situation. This encourages your child for his/her effort, perseverance, progress, and competence.
  • It activates your child on multiple levels and sets the stage for further improvement, additional goal setting, and continued improvement.
  • Avoid over-praising your child. We have all met the ‘over-praiser’, the parents who are afraid that their child’s self-esteem will suffer if they are not encouraged and praised for every outcome, however, this is not true.
  • Over-praising your child can be a negative on two fronts. First, children can become apathetic to praise, since they hear it all the time. You will run out of superlatives and be unable to discern real achievement from the everyday norm.
  • Second, kids are smart, and they soon catch on if everything they do is “fantastic” or “brilliant” or “awesome.” It’s not, and your kids eventually know a good performance from a bad one.
  • They will grow cynical to your words if everything is incredible.


  • Avoid “over-praising” your child by comparing him/her to others.   You should not be comparing or making your child better by criticising team mates or opponents.
  • This not only can cause a fixed mindset, but it is very destructive of team dynamics.
  • Even if they are the best player on the team and you consistently tell them that, the world is a big place and these comparisons can have long term implications once the player pool changes and your child is no longer the best player.


  • Some players respond to sarcastic comments made at opportune times, but such comments are not appropriate before, during, or after an event or game.
  • All sarcasm has a hint of truth, and young children are so emotional that it is very difficult to know if it will go over well.
  • Sarcasm does not go down particularly well from parents.  It is best to find other ways to encourage and motivate your children.

As we have said many times before on this site, sports parenting can be tough and does require some reflection and practise.  Try some of the above, if you feel something that you have said has not had the desired effect or has indeed had a negative outcome then be brave enough to admit you may have got it wrong, think it through and then try a different approach the next time… one is perfect!

(Great blog courtesy of Working with Parents in Sport. Check out even more fantastic articles at


Rugby and Autism
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Rugby and autism. An incredible story.

Life of an Autism Rugby Mum

This is a little insight into how autism in my family has affected me and how I have the amazing support from my rugby family.

Life is hard. So hard. At times I don’t even know how I survive. People often ask me what it is like being a mother of an autistic child and how I’m dealing with the fact my youngest is also going through the process of being diagnosed. In reply I just say to them that I know of no other life, so how can I possibly say anything different.

When I first got his diagnosis I cried. In fact I sobbed. I could not quite believe what I was hearing. After years of fighting, years of being told it was down to our parenting skills, years of being told I was looking for an excuse for his behaviour, somebody believed me, somebody realised I was not making it up, somebody had recognised Ellis had a disability. I cannot actually describe the feeling I was experiencing as there was so many going through me, but one thing I did feel was vindicated.Rugby and Autism

Throughout the course of Ellis being diagnosed, my friendship circle changed dramatically, to a point where I have lost close friends for various reasons. Before I had children I was what you would call a social butterfly. How life has changed since then! As a parent of a child with autism, you see the world in a different perspective. You become more attune to situations and you see things in many different ways. However one of the most difficult things to deal with as a parent is the way people in society handle him and his difficulties, and to be honest it’s heart breaking. They have no clue. I have wondered to myself why I as a mother have to feel sorry for my son because of people’s ignorance. I then stand back and realise it’s not him I feel sorry for; it’s them. They don’t know this beautiful, intelligent, creative, athletic young man known as Ellis. They haven’t come to know him for the boy he actually is, and for the young man he’s slowly changing into. However, if there is just one wish I could have for him, it would be that Ellis ​​and his autism be understood, and not ridiculed. Autism is an invisible disability, which means that just because you can’t see it, does not mean that it is not there, and I understand that not everybody is going to ‘get it’, but what I don’t understand is the lack of empathy that is shown, especially when it is obvious Ellis is in difficulty, and cannot self-regulate his emotions.

I suppose by writing this I’m asking just one thing. I’m asking you to please imagine what it is like on a daily basis as autism parents dealing with the anxiety, the depression, the wanting to self-harm, the feeling he isn’t good enough, the calling of names like ‘Freak’ and having to deal with the fall out, the refusal to leave the house when it comes to doing daily family activities because his anxiety is so high, the many a sleepless night, the tears and the tantrums, the fights and the arguments, the walking on eggshells, the threat of phone calls being made home because your son has been excluded because he can’t cope. I’m asking you for just a little bit of understanding. I’m asking you if next time you see a parent struggle, don’t walk on by, please ask if they need help. You never know…you could end up being that parent’s saviour. Every day is a battle because there is a lack of awareness of what autism is and the variations of it, which means there is a lack of empathy and understanding, which impacts on the fact that there is a lack of acceptance. This has got to change; the sooner the better.  

Rugby and AutismEvery day is always a difficult for us. If I have not cried more than twice in the day…it is a good day. However through all these difficulties, there are people who have never left us. In fact our circle of friends has grown because of it. These people have one thing in common with us…rugby. These people are our rugby family

The rugby family we have is amazing. His grassroots coaches at Littleborough RUFC, Sam Dickinson and Gaz Sharrocks, just ‘get’ him so therefore support him in every way possible. This has been able to happen because of the positive relationship that Ellis has managed to build and develop over the years with them. As parents this has also helped us develop friendships within the club, because when Ellis feels safe and secure, we feel safe and secure. Safe and secure in knowing we have a ‘family’ who will continually support us, who shares their kindness that goes above and beyond to what we expect, making us feel truly blessed to be involved with such a great club. We know we can go and talk to any member of the club, and feel supported, even on our darkest days.

Rugby and AutismSecondly his community coaches from Sale Sharks, Vicky Irwin, Ellis Greenwood and Simon Leather do amazing work with him. I’ve seen such a change in him because of them. He is involved with them on a fortnightly basis, taking part on the autism project they run called ‘Play On’. They are developing his communication, social and emotional needs, as well as teaching him in how to stay healthy and keep himself safe. Therefore, because of Ellis being given this opportunity to become involved in a great initiative, I have met some amazing people through the Sale Shark Community Team, and I know that whenever I need help, they are only a phone call away. We have made friends for life. We have been given opportunities that we would never thought was possible. We’ve also made solid friends with people in similar circumstances that understand the difficulties we face.

Both adults and children in the rugby family just accept him for who he is, not just a little boy with autism, but they have accepted him as Ellis. Autism is part of him, it what makes Ellis, Ellis, and we are all proud of him as I’m sure his coaches are.

There is a positive side of being an autism mum. The problems and difficulties he faces every day is mind blowing, but the resilience you see in him dealing with them is just breath taking, and he spurs me on to be the best mum I can be with the help and support from our rugby family. With their continued support, I will keep pushing forward, keep moving forward. I’ve learnt that even on the darkest of days, I just need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going, because I have this support.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, there are days I just want to throw my hands in the air and completely give up, because some days I’m so worn down, so frustrated, so exhausted, so defeated, but what mother would I be if I allowed this to happen?  I’ve been fighting against systems, policies, procedures and people for so long, I can’t possibly stop now… and I won’t.  So I will continue to look at Ellis and his resilience to life, I will put on my happy face and say to myself ‘Everything is going to be O.K’ and with my friends and my rugby families behind me, I know this is true. 

#autisminrugbyworks                                                          #autismisbeautiful

(Thanks to Lisa for sharing this personal yet inspiring story. This really shows how rugby can help those from all walks of life. Our best wishes to Lisa, Ellis and Littleborough RUFC for the many seasons to come)

Robshaw Quins rugby
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

The healthy mentality of the professional rugby player

Another great article from our young writer Arun! He delves into what a healthy player needs to be thinking about over and above merely training hard.

As players started to turn their minds to the eagerly awaited Premiership & Championship kick-off. Most of them are just finishing a term known as “pre-season”, an action undertaken by clubs from levels 1 to 10. Pre-Season is a process where players will get back into game day shape and go through around 5 weeks of out and out strength & conditioning fitness work, before they switch to more gameplay focused work. Players will work both in the gym and on the field to try and get the edge on their opponents for the forthcoming season.

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Silver lined cloud
Youth Rugby

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Year 8, common entrance, teenage life and of course the pinnacle of senior prep school rugby. Whilst all of these events occur during this year, there is another factor that is the point of this piece.

That is that year 8, or in rugby terms the under 13s, marks the start of the RFU academy system where all 14 RFU funded academies start recruiting the stars of tomorrow. Whilst for the players selected this brings joy and a feeling of pride amongst them and their family, for those unselected or unsuccessful at trials it can provide a negative effect on their lives and added stress to the already busy lives of common entrance and entrance exam studying 12 to 13-year olds.

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Planet Rugby
Youth Rugby

The wonderful world of Planet Rugby

Sometimes we receive some brilliant things at BeRugby Magazine and we just have to share them with our great readers and followers. This is definitely one of them.

For his homework, 9 year old Jacob was set a task. “Imagine you have discovered a new planet in space. Write a fact file about it.

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kids enjoying their rugby
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Do you coach your kids to enjoy their rugby?

Our Ambassador, Adam Preocanin, has played top level rugby across the world. His latest blog gives us some valuable insight into his coaching experience. You don’t often get to hear tips from a professional rugby players coaching point of view so we hope you enjoy this. Many thanks for your thoughts Adam!

As well as playing professional rugby, I have also held various coaching roles over the past few years —  from schoolboy rugby in Australia and England, to men’s rugby at London 1 level.

Without simply re-packaging a RFU coaching resource, I will try to discuss an area I feel is important to bear in mind when coaching kids. Hopefully it will bridge the gap between professional rugby and the Sunday morning bedrock of the game.

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Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Rugby, kids and Autism. An amazing story

We know a lot about rugby but have to admit we don’t know so much about autism. So reading this is a real eye opener and shows how rugby is a family for everyone. Thanks for sharing your story Lisa.

How Rugby works with Autism

It took 4 very long years for Ellis to get his formal diagnosis of Autism.  We just struggled on as parents do, trying to do what we thought, and still think, is the best. In this his dad, Graham, and I have discovered that being a parent to an autistic child is one of the loneliest and isolating jobs we as have ever done, but also the most rewarding, especially when your son is involved with rugby!

To look at our 9 year old autistic son, you wouldn’t think he had a neurological disorder, because he is what I would call an average 9 year old boy. He loves his Lego, playing on his tablet, playing out with his friends, and then he has his passion of rugby. 

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Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Top England Players Surprise Redingensian Rams Minis

Top England Players Surprise Redingensian Rams Minis

When Rams Youth Chairman, Bill Gornall-King, signed the Old Mutual Kids First pledge last March little did he know it would result in a surprise visit from three top England players.

Courtney Lawes, fresh from the huge win against Fiji the previous day, Jonny May and Tom Wood secretly arrived at the club on Sunday 20th November whilst all the children were training.

The England Players were invited by sponsors Old Mutual Wealth to promote Kids First Rugby, a pioneering approach to rugby for 6-13 year olds where children will learn rugby skills and build confidence in a fun environment.  The focus is on the children and giving them equal opportunity and encouragement on the pitch.

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Serge Betsen rugby
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

We are now an official media partner of Serge Betsen Rugby Tournament!”

We are pleased to announce BeRugby as official media partners of the brilliant Serge Betsen Rugby tournament on the 10th December 2016 in Londons Hyde Park!

Serge Betsen Rugby (SBRugby) is a rugby coaching programme dedicated to children and teenagers aged 2 to 22, provided by the France national rugby union player and his team of qualified coaches.

In partnership with many French schools based in Greater London, they offer in-school activities, after-school activities, tournaments, holiday camps and birthday parties.

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Youth Rugby

BeRugby hits the road!

BeRugby hits the road!

Like most people we are not fans of sitting in stuffy offices when there is a whole world out there. So we try to get out on the road as much as we can and we have already been to some great clubs!

Check out where we have been below. If you want to help cure our travel bug, then get in contact about a visit to your club’s minis and juniors sections!

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