Mumbler reviews Rugby Tots Leeds, Ilkley, and Otley
My youngest Mini Mumbler is now 5 and he has been an avid attendee of Rugby Tots since the age of 2. Other classes have come and gone over this time but its the only one that he has always loved and has continued to give him the right amount of challenge and enjoyment no matter his age.
There are 3 different age groups of classes covering ages from 2 years old all the way through to 7 and they are also suitable for both boys and girls – Mini Mumbler’s cousins are girls and they also really enjoy it. All classes are also inside so, particularly for younger age groups, it really is an all year round class. For the younger ages classes are 30 minutes and then progress to 45 minutes in length once children are 5.
My Mini Mumbler started in class just after his 2nd birthday. At this time (as with most 2 year olds) he was just starting to push the boundaries and see what he could get away with and I did wonder how he would get on. This would be his first class that he would need to stand on his own and really take notice of a coach for 30 minutes – a long time for a 2 year old. I shouldn’t have been worried as his coach (Coach James) was brilliant with him and all the other children. Classes are kept to a number so that the Coach can interact with each child and they have lots of techniques to keep the children engaged throughout.
The younger age group classes involve playing lots of games and the kids love them – whether it be pretending to be a jungle animal and running doing an impression of the animal (Coach James always gets involved and him crawling the full length of the hall as a snake is one of my favourites!), the obstacle course, or what’s the time Mr Wolf. Classes also helped Mini Mumbler get to grips with his shapes, colours, counting and numbers. Without the children knowing all these games had an educational focus such as matching the coloured rugby ball to the right coloured hoop and giving each child a coloured shape that they need to return to and stand on when Coach James’ whistle went. Almost all the games involved holding a small soft rugby ball which also helped in getting used to running with the ball and importantly helped improve listening skills, following instructions and teamwork.
Not all classes were plain sailing and my Mini Mumbler did have classes where he was just in one of those moods that 2 year olds often get into. Coach James always knew when to get him involved and support him and when to leave him for a few minutes to come round before getting him back involved.
As Mini Mumbler grew older he moved to the next class up (from 3.5 years old) and it was amazing how many children also moved up to the next age group at the same time. It really does develop a loyal following – testimony to how much the children like it. At this next age group, more and more games involving ball skills are added, both handling the ball and kicking it. Tag rugby is also introduced. All the games are well thought through, each learning and developing a different skill while still feeling like fun. There are huge celebrations when each child kicks the rugby ball over the posts for the first time – at younger ages, Coach James helps them get it over when needed so no need to worry if they don’t have a huge power behind their kicking initially. This also really helps to build the child’s confidence.
After recently turning 5 my Mini Mumbler is now in the eldest age group (which runs through to 7 years old), classes are now 45 minutes and involve minimal parental involvement. I did wonder how they would continue to challenge the children at an age group when they are far more active and can get bored easily. I shouldn’t have worried. They are now playing far more tag rugby, kicking the ball from hand far more, learning different passing skills and playing defend and attack games. This will be a great base for the future when he starts playing more team games.
Mini Mumbler’s coach throughout has been Coach James who runs the overall franchise for North Leeds, Ilkley and Otley. He is great with all the children and runs the class with a huge amount of enthusiasm and energy. He relates individually to each child in the class and knows just what needs to be done to ensure they get the most out of the class. On the few occasions when Coach James has been away then the replacement coach has also been really good – great credit to James for developing a team of coaches and this enables him to run classes across a wide area.
There really is something for all at Rugby Tots, each class is so varied that children remain engaged and it provides a solid foundation for children as they progress to team sports at a later age.