According to ESPN, rugby is a sport that is gaining in popularity across the United States. In fact, participation in rugby by high school athletes has increased 10 times since one decade ago. Youth rugby leagues provide a way for children to learn the sport while playing touch or flag rugby without involving the contact that begins in high school. Adult leagues are also available for older participants to enjoy the sport.
If you or your child are interested in playing rugby and you have never had experience with the sport, you may be wondering how to dress your child for participation in practices. Here's what to buy.
Long Sleeved Performance Shirt
Rugby season runs from February through August. When you first start out the season, you will need to keep warm by dressing in layers. The first layer should be a long sleeve performance shirt. A performance shirt is made of material that wick away sweat and moisture from the body. You'll want the shirt to be fit snug to your body so the shirt doesn't get bunched up underneath any padded shirts your league may require. Also, the shirt should be long enough to tuck into your rugby shorts. That way, there's less material for other players to grab a hold of during game play. Keep in mind that it's a good idea to check with your coach before purchasing long sleeved performance shirts to see if there is a color requirement for your team.
Rugby shorts are called scrum shorts and are made of rigid material that can withstand the wear and tear of the sport. Underneath your rugby shorts, you should wear a pair of spandex shorts. The reason for this is due to the aggressive nature of the sport of rugby, whether it's played as a contact sport or as a non-contact sport. At some point, rugby shorts will be tugged and can sometimes be inadvertently pulled down during game play. Wearing a pair of spandex shorts underneath your rugby shorts will prevent any indecent exposure on the field.
You'll likely receive a special pair of game socks from your coach to be worn during games. These socks will match your uniform. You will need to buy rugby socks for practices. To help protect your legs and provide support to your muscles, it's important to select socks made especially for rugby. These socks are knee-high, provide a bit of compression, and whisk away moisture. During the colder months, you may want to double up and wear two pairs of socks, depending on whether or not the double layer affects the fit of your boots.
While rugby gloves are not an essential part of rugby game attire, they can definitely help keep your fingers and hands warm during cold weather practices. And while any pair of knit gloves would work to keep your fingers and hands warm, they wouldn't provide the grip that rugby gloves can provide. Rugby gloves have little rubber or plastic grippers on them, which is helpful when catching and handling a rugby ball or trying to grab a flag or tackle an opponent. Typically, however, these gloves are not used during games unless it rains, but they can definitely be used to help keep yourself warm in cold weather.
In conclusion, it's a good idea to keep an extra set of these items in your practice bag for long practice sessions. That way, you can change out of the items if they become too soiled or wet, especially if you are practicing on a snow-covered rugby field.