How Valley Fort mini rugby teams are structured

The following outlines the principles Valley Fort follow when structuring its teams. These principles and ideas have been developed based on past experience and for sake of uniformity all head-coaches and age groups are expected to follow these principles.

There are pros and cons to all structures but the principles outlines below are in place with the aim of following our mission statement of " enjoy the spirit and learn the principles of rugby in a respectful, fun and safe environment, preparing them for a lifetime of enjoyment as players, team mates," and to best suit the majority of players and progress as many players as possible to the next level i.e. colts and beyond.

U5 to U8
For U5s to U8s, players are not streamed and headcoaches/coaches arrange teams with an even spread of ability.

This makes is easier at training and generally follows the way other larger clubs in Hong Kong manage these age groups and thus provides a reasonable "fit" at festivals.

Some headcoaches (particularly at the U7 and U8) levels might find it useful to set up a "development" squad for newer or lesser developed players at the start of the season so that more appropriate skills can be taught. However, every effort should be made to integrate such players into teams as soon as practical.

U9
Under 9 is an important transition year from touch to contact rugby.  The transition tends to highlights differences in physical ability and experience of players. Therefore, in recent years we have found that for the majority of players, it is best to tier players between a top-tier, a middle tier and a bottom tier.  The main reason for tier-ing teams to some degree is to limit situations were more advanced / aggressive players easily dominate (hurt) less developed players, or games. Such an outcome does no-one any good. Of course, players who progress, or regress, will move up and down the three tiers.

U10 to U12
At that age, we have found that players start to become more competitive (and less sensitive) and with the way festivals are run and other clubs are running their teams it makes sense to further refine the streaming more progressively.

Substitutions / New Players
At the minis level all registered player are given the opportunity to attend festivals (once they've attended a "few" training sessions).  At festivals all players in the squad get "fair" game time (which means they should be on the pitch for a minimum of 50% of any match, unless they expressly do not wish to) regardless of ability.

Allocating coaches and managing teams
In the lower years U5 to U6 / U7s it is natural for coaches to want to be involved with the squad their child is playing in and this should be accommodated.  Similarly some players want to play in the same team as a friend. This can sometimes be difficult to manage but coaches will do their best to oblige unless it leads to disruptive behavior.

In the older age groups, and as players progress with teams selected more on ability from U9 onwards, coaches will frequently not be coaching their child’s team. And it may be hard for a child to play in the same team as a friend or a sibling.