Yeovil Rugby Club look excitedly towards the re-start of their mixed ability rugby teams on 9th April.
Rugby is slowly returning and with it some normality and socialising back into players lives but arguably most exciting of all is the return of these two amazing teams. Yeovil are the only rugby club in the whole of the UK to have both men’s and women’s mixed ability team and they can’t wait to get playing again.
Mixed ability rugby is about what you can do, not what you can’t do and aims to make rugby and sport in general as inclusive as possible for everyone regardless of behavioural, emotional, mental, learning or physical differences. The team currently boasts players with Downs Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, mental health problems and learning difficulties. They play alongside players from our men’s and women’s team to provide support and facilitate the game. There is no pressure on players to know the rules or have any knowledge. This is rugby for rugby’s sake, rugby for fun. What follows is an improvement in players fitness and building friendships. The sessions don’t just involve rugby, lots of outdoor fun and games form part of a training session and the players can join in and out as they please.
Following the training (in non-covid times!) the club opens its newly refurbished bar with food and drinks available for supporters and players alike. This ensures there are no barriers to experiencing the social aspect of being part of a rugby team. While we can’t get in the bar together yet, we can get on the pitch and the team is seeking new players to join.
All training is in line with government guidelines and fully risk assessed and the club are supported with specialist coaches from Bath Rugby Foundation
Ella Sky who plays for the women’s mixed ability team said ‘I have wanted to play rugby for most of my life but unfortunately I have never really been able to do any kind of sport, especially team sport. Because of my autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia. In team sport I am normally left very confused as to what is going and what I am meant to do. Which leaves me very stressed. I saw Yeovil mixed ability team on Facebook so thought I would be brave and just see what it was like. In the mixed ability rugby team things are explained more clearly and everything is done at your own pace and ability. Even though I haven't been able to play much because of covid 19. I really enjoy it and can’t wait for rugby to restart. Everyone on the team and at the club are very friendly (it’s one big rugby family).’
The team asked for anonymous feedback before lockdown about what they liked most about the team, one player stated ‘I have met so many new friends, I feel like I am a part of a team which I have never had in my life’ another player saying the best part is ‘all the fun and the smiles’!
Yeovil are passionate about growing these teams because when sport is inclusive, everyone is a winner.
Mixed Ability Rugby returns on Friday 9th April. Training starts at 1900hr and is open to all. We then train fortnightly throughout the season. For further information please do get in touch.
Bea Chubb - firstname.lastname@example.org