Rugby. Not really a woman’s sport. When a person mentions Rugby, one conjures up images of big, stocky men bashing it out on the field. It’s pretty hard to imagine women joining this sport as a way to get fit, meet new friends and have fun.
Pitch Up and Play sessions are here to change that perception. This summer, there are 60+ sessions happening all over the UK to introduce more women to contact rugby. Over the past 10 years, women’s participation in rugby has doubled and by 2017, the aim is to get ten thousand more women into the sport, according to Natasha Hunt, winner of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Natasha also mentions that the Pitch Up and Play sessions is a fantastic way to get to know the sport. It’s perfect for women who like going to the gym, take part in obstacle course races or just women who want to become more active and give rugby a try.
Here are eight reasons why you should have a go at women’s rugby:
1. Come one, come all! All body shapes and sizes are welcome – in a world that seems to champion the typical slender, no ounce of fat, six-pack abs body, rugby is a sport that doesn’t require a certain body type to be able to play. You can be tall, short, big boned, thin, etc. There are a lot of different positions on a rugby team that requires different skill sets. Some can provide the strength and power to the team while others can give the speed and quickness. It takes all sorts to make a rugby team successful.
2. No special outfit or gear needed –all you need are rubber shoes, T-shirts, shorts/leggings/jogging pants and a good exercise bra to support your girls during play. Just the typical attire you would wear when you would hit the gym, do yoga or go for a run. The only time you need to get the gear –mouth guards, rugby boots, scrum cap (the odd-looking ear protection thingies) – is when you buckle down and get serious about the sport.
3. What you want is what you get – whether you attend these session to get fit, to learn a new sport, to compete or just to plain have fun, you will get what you came for. Before the start of a session, you will be asked about what your purpose for joining or end goal is then you are given a colored motivation band so they can make sure that you are on the right path to get what you came for.
4. The drills are AWESOME – ever had those little games with your friends as a kid, where you try to wrestle to get things from them? Well, the Pitch Up and Play sessions are almost the same thing. The warm up period consists of ball passing, running through legs, grabbing T-shirts out of someone else’s shorts (or at least trying to) and jumping on each other’s back. After this fun-filled warm up, you move on to even more fun things. Girls hold each other’s arms and tried to stop the other from hitting them in the face –don’t fret, you don’t really get to hit each other on the face. You also learn to flip a partner from all fours to lying on the ground. There is also a drill where there are a group of girls who are placed in the center of a circle of other girls and this group has to try and escape. While you’re having all this awesome fun, these drills build up your strength and get you used to the contact element of rugby.
5. Rules? What rules? – You don’t need to know the rules of rugby to join these sessions. Backward ball passing? Who knew? As these sessions progress, you get to pick up on the general rules. Plus there is a match play at the end of the sessions so you will definitely learn the rules as you go along.
6. Friends, friends, friends – there is no way that you will not make friends. Not after sweating over each other, getting your faces smooshed up in another’s various body parts and just plain enjoying the day – and the sport – with each other.
7.Shhhh, it’s actually a work out! – because you are having so much fun, you don’t notice that different muscle groups are getting a work out and you are burning a whole lot of calories. Although I’m sure your body will let you know the following day how much you made them work. Nothing a hot shower and a nice massage won’t cure though. This could also lead to another bonding experience with the women you played with – spa day
8. Did I mention the best part? It’s absolutely, positively FREE – of course I saved the best for last! No need to break the bank for you to learn rugby, to get in shape, to compete, to make friends. So much benefit in joining the Pitch Up and Play sessions so come on down and join the next session!