Harlequins’ youth training camps will be returning to rugby clubs around the country this summer, following the success of previous years.
The camps accommodate boys and girls of all abilities throughout the school holidays, offering the opportunity to develop the skills of the sport whilst prioritising the importance of team work and sportsmanship.
Beginning on July 23, the training programme has been developed in partnership with the Harlequins Academy with a tailored focus on ‘participant wellbeing and enjoyment’.
Of the programme, Harlequins’ camps co-ordinator Stuart Willis said: “It’s a really great way for us to get out and engage in the local community and take some of the stuff that the pros learn, some of the Quin’s language and our way of playing to younger rugby players in the community.
“The aim is to generally get kids playing and enjoying rugby and all the stuff that comes along with it.”
He added: “Probably 40% of players on camp are returning from previous seasons. Be that through this season or a break off and then coming back. We have had a few that have come through since under-6s and now to under-12s. Back every year. It’s great to see the same faces back and get to know them a little bit more.”
The training programme recognises the invaluable benefits sport can have on a child’s physical and mental well-being.
Stuart said: “It really helps with self-confidence and resilience, that is something we see a lot of from those who come to our camps – they might be unsure or afraid of making mistakes but then they build up their mental resilience.
“It gives them the confidence to make those mistakes, learn from them and move forward. So that’s a really positive thing that the sport can bring out in them.”
Stuart hopes the young players will develop transferable skills at the camp that can be applied in the wider world.
He said: “The team work, having the self-confidence to be able to work in a group and interact with new people is invaluable. Having fun with people and good communication skills are all transferable from sport.”
The Harlequins’ programme is also keen to maintain the growing number of girls interested in the sport and the summer camps.
Stuart said: “There has definitely been an increase in girls on the programme. It’s becoming more and more popular, partly because of the press our ladies’ teams received. It’s been really great to see the volume of girls participating increase.
“In the 2017-2018 season we had two girls-only camps running and the upcoming Summer Switch Programme from the Harlequins Foundation is hoping to run two more. But there are a lot more girls coming along to the general camps as well.”
What: Harlequins’ summer rugby camp
Where: Numerous venues
When: Various dates from July 23 – August 31