Shoulder Pads



  • I got good advice about mouthguards for my son coming back to rugby, so thought I would try again about shoulder pads.

    What are people's thoughts on them? Do they help kids with their confidence in contact? Are they comfortable to play in?

    When the boy moved from Ripa to tackle, he was not having a good time with the contact. I wasn't fussed about what sport he played as long he was doing some sort of team sport, so we switched last year.

    Now he's back wanting to play rugby with his mates, missing a year of tackle practice. So I'm trying to think of ways to keep in fun for him and to learn to enjoy the contact and not avoid it.

    Thoughts?



  • No idea for kids but I find them comfortable to play in (if you get decent ones). The most comfortable ones i had were well fitted and came down to just below the ribcage, others that are longer have been annoying as they always ride up unless taped strongly. They really do make a difference to the knocks though.



  • Cool, that's good to know. Anything that makes the learning curve easier I think will help.



  • TR Jnr used them for about 3 seasons, some say it gives kids a false sense of security, while others they simply protect.

    He liked wearing them, was one kid that said he was soft for wearing them, but as I overheard I nipped that by pointing out ABs that were wearing them at that time.

    All about comfort, plenty of kids wear skins or similar nowadays, and normal pads arent much more than that, unless you are Bryan Habana 🎣

    TR Jnr hates headgear though.

    I liked wearing them, especially in the UK, kept me warmer 😉



  • @taniwharugby said in Shoulder Pads:

    TR Jnr used them for about 3 seasons, some say it gives kids a false sense of security, while others they simply protect.

    He liked wearing them, was one kid that said he was soft for wearing them, but as I overheard I nipped that by pointing out ABs that were wearing them at that time.

    All about comfort, plenty of kids wear skins or similar nowadays, and normal pads arent much more than that, unless you are Bryan Habana 🎣

    TR Jnr hates headgear though.

    I liked wearing them, especially in the UK, kept me warmer 😉

    That was another factor, I remember one game a few years ago where both teams turned blue. One left the field in tears, and nobody could catch a ball.



  • @Kirwan said in Shoulder Pads:

    @taniwharugby said in Shoulder Pads:

    TR Jnr used them for about 3 seasons, some say it gives kids a false sense of security, while others they simply protect.

    He liked wearing them, was one kid that said he was soft for wearing them, but as I overheard I nipped that by pointing out ABs that were wearing them at that time.

    All about comfort, plenty of kids wear skins or similar nowadays, and normal pads arent much more than that, unless you are Bryan Habana 🎣

    TR Jnr hates headgear though.

    I liked wearing them, especially in the UK, kept me warmer 😉

    That was another factor, I remember one game a few years ago where both teams turned blue. One left the field in tears, and nobody could catch a ball.

    You played in the UK too then?



  • @Kirwan said in Shoulder Pads:

    That was another factor, I remember one game a few years ago where both teams turned blue. One left the field in tear

    well at least you dont have to play in bare feet 😉

    NRU, well Whangarei kids in boots this year from start.



  • @taniwharugby said in Shoulder Pads:

    @Kirwan said in Shoulder Pads:

    That was another factor, I remember one game a few years ago where both teams turned blue. One left the field in tear

    well at least you dont have to play in bare feet 😉

    NRU, well Whangarei kids in boots this year from start.

    Flashback to playing rugby standing on white grass as a kid, in bare feet.



  • Actually discussed it with my boy last week as he said one of the other kids in his team wears "armour" under his jersey lol. Phin said wasn't keen but has gone for head gear (mums request).

    He's not a big kid but not small either and probably middle of weight range for his grade. Will be interesting to see how he goes. Could possibly be back here in a few weeks asking for recommendations



  • @Kirwan How old is your kid?

    I can't really remember size and power being any sort of issue until under 14s a little bit with the biggest kids - under 16s definitely.

    If he's just graduated from Rippa rugby, I'd think it's more an issue with being taught a good technique.

    Tackling around the waist and then just linking your arms and sliding down is very effective for kids. It won't cut it in the ABs, but it will stop most kids.



  • @Chris-B. said in Shoulder Pads:

    @Kirwan How old is your kid?

    I can't really remember size and power being any sort of issue until under 14s a little bit with the biggest kids - under 16s definitely.

    If he's just graduated from Rippa rugby, I'd think it's more an issue with being taught a good technique.

    Tackling around the waist and then just linking your arms and sliding down is very effective for kids. It won't cut it in the ABs, but it will stop most kids.

    He's 9 and he's fairly tall, but not overly heavy. Same size as most of the backs in his team.

    He's a good 10kg lighter than the heaviest forward (one of the red socks players).

    I'm thinking of ways of giving him the confidence to try and get into those right positions and not try and grasp the at the player.



  • @Kirwan We didn't have such things as shoulder pads in the dark ages when I played. 🙂

    But I was a very small kid and picked as an ace defender with my "wrap around the waist and slide down technique".

    I can't really think that shoulder pads will physically do much good, but they might give some confidence.

    I think a lot of it is more about getting your head out of the way of being kneed or kicked, so finding the right technique to get the head behind the tackle is probably a key.

    Going a little bit higher (around the waist) removes the knees from the equation - though our coach's favorite expression was "Go Low"!!!



  • I'm probably overthinking it and he'll be fine. It's a big jump from 7 to 9 (the last time he played).

    Can't assess where he's at because he broke his arm three weeks go so can't watch him practice.

    Way fitter than I thought he was, must run all day at school cause he sure likes his screen time.



  • The other thing I'd add to this is that kids respond to being told they're good at things or can do things.

    If you buy him some "Superman" shoulderpads and tell him they'll make him smash other kids in the tackle - they probably will! 🙂



  • Do most kids in NZ wear headgear these days? My sons are 8 and 11 and only 1 or 2 kids in their teams don't wear it. My eldest being one of them because it messes up his hair. Facepalm.



  • @Rancid-Schnitzel said in Shoulder Pads:

    Do most kids in NZ wear headgear these days? My sons are 8 and 11 and only 1 or 2 kids in their teams don't wear it. My eldest being one of them because it messes up his hair. Facepalm.

    So he's a back? My condolences



  • @Rancid-Schnitzel I dont see many kids wearing headgear, maybe 1 or 2 per team usually.



  • I wore shoulder pads after I wrecked my shoulder the second time. Just lessened the impact a bit, and provided a bit of mental security as well i think.

    Had the same pair of Canterbury ones for years.



  • I guess it's different for everyone, and I can only comment from my experience of using them as an adult...but I found headgear and shoulder pads bad for technique. I found they gave me a false sense of security and I found myself becoming lazy around my tackling technique. This also became more pronounced as the game went on and I began to tire. I did find headgear worse in this regard, but in the end I gave up both.



  • @booboo said in Shoulder Pads:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel said in Shoulder Pads:

    Do most kids in NZ wear headgear these days? My sons are 8 and 11 and only 1 or 2 kids in their teams don't wear it. My eldest being one of them because it messes up his hair. Facepalm.

    So he's a back? My condolences

    No he's a farking lock which makes it even harder to stomach.



  • @taniwharugby said in Shoulder Pads:

    @Rancid-Schnitzel I dont see many kids wearing headgear, maybe 1 or 2 per team usually.

    Really? That is interesting. The parents here are almost psycho about it.



  • @Rancid-Schnitzel I odnt think any kids in my sons team wear it, TR Jnr and one other boy had some but barely wore it.

    Up here, 95% of JUnior rugby is played at one location and I just dont see a huge amount of headgear about.

    I personally used headgear and shoulder pads at various times, but headgear in particular just didnt feel right, get a good set of shoulder pads and you barely notice you are wearing them, just like a lycra tee or skins that they have nowadays.



  • I started wearing a shoulder pad vest (really short, just over the shoulders) when I moved from the midfield to flanker (at 25!). Like Bones, I reckon avoid long ones that ride up.

    It helped me feel more comfortable about taking contact on my shoulder cleanly - I was coming back to the game and knew I'd make mistakes as I move to the forwards.

    I always wore headgear too - since about 15 years old when it became affordable. As a major pussy, I think the influence of both is probably mental - I've seen few studies which suggest they help lessen anything other than cuts - but I felt better about it and I think Chris has got it right with his idea that anything that gives people perceived confidence is a good thing. E.g., studies have shown (other fields, but same psychology) that people with less skill, but greater confidence towards the task, perform better than cohorts with greater skill but less confidence. So, you're spot on with trying to get your boy to feel confident about it. If tools help, get em.

    So further on that note, social learning theory can help out a bit here. Naturally, him knowing and practicing good technique is essential - even starting on the lounge carpet practicing until he has strong knowledge about what 'good' feels like. Also, having a bit of a talk after each game to point out his great tackles is a natural part of good parenting - but also a powerful source of confidence (and this gets stronger when it comes from coaches and peers too); pointing out good tackles made by peers can be useful as long as he identifies with that person (watching the all blacks is good, but watching peers who he can emulate is stronger on confidence - so point out the good tackles by kids smaller than him); and slowly getting him to associate the nervousness - and pain - of making a good tackle with a feeling of success. That took me until high school but was key to enjoying defense.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but this is pretty close to my area, so I got a bit carried away 🙂

    I'm super jealous - it would be awesome to see your kid playing. Hopefully in the future if we can ever make one!



  • @gt12 said in Shoulder Pads:

    I started wearing a shoulder pad vest (really short, just over the shoulders) when I moved from the midfield to flanker (at 25!). Like Bones, I reckon avoid long ones that ride up.

    It helped me feel more comfortable about taking contact on my shoulder cleanly - I was coming back to the game and knew I'd make mistakes as I move to the forwards.

    I always wore headgear too - since about 15 years old when it became affordable. As a major pussy, I think the influence of both is probably mental - I've seen few studies which suggest they help lessen anything other than cuts - but I felt better about it and I think Chris has got it right with his idea that anything that gives people perceived confidence is a good thing. E.g., studies have shown (other fields, but same psychology) that people with less skill, but greater confidence towards the task, perform better than cohorts with greater skill but less confidence. So, you're spot on with trying to get your boy to feel confident about it. If tools help, get em.

    So further on that note, social learning theory can help out a bit here. Naturally, him knowing and practicing good technique is essential - even starting on the lounge carpet practicing until he has strong knowledge about what 'good' feels like. Also, having a bit of a talk after each game to point out his great tackles is a natural part of good parenting - but also a powerful source of confidence (and this gets stronger when it comes from coaches and peers too); pointing out good tackles made by peers can be useful as long as he identifies with that person (watching the all blacks is good, but watching peers who he can emulate is stronger on confidence - so point out the good tackles by kids smaller than him); and slowly getting him to associate the nervousness - and pain - of making a good tackle with a feeling of success. That took me until high school but was key to enjoying defense.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but this is pretty close to my area, so I got a bit carried away 🙂

    I'm super jealous - it would be awesome to see your kid playing. Hopefully in the future if we can ever make one!

    The idea is awesome mate, but the reality (at least for my eldest) can be a bit of a kick in the nuts. He's the biggest in the team but plays with the aggression and intensity of a sloth on valium. I blame his mother. Youngest is a nutter though, so he has potential.

    Just wondering what form rugby takes there at junior level. Under 9s here is 10 aside, with uncontested scrums and lineouts. IMHO, it's utter crap.



  • Yeah i only started wearing headgear about 5-6 years ago and shoulder pads not long before that. Headgear because I get involved in too much and the slight knocks to the head from stray elbows etc was starting to hurt where i used to just shrug it off.



  • Wore headgear once I moved to front row. More to avoid sexy ears and the odd cut. A good mouth guard does more to combat concussion imo. Haven't tried shoulder pads (headgear as a prop was bad enough) but if that helps develop confidence and good technique then all good.



  • Never wore a cricket helmet until I got cut open. "Can't see properly through the grill!" but its all different once you're bleeding on the pitch. Needed it after that.

    Likewise, started wearing shoulder pads when I returned to contact sport in my 30s, but got rid of it once I had the confidence back. Plus, being a prop, shoulder pads kind of suck.



  • Interesting topic this one.
    My son is returning to Rugby after taking a year off to try soccer with his school mates. He enjoyed playing rugby until he went from club rugby at Mosman to the GPS competition here in Sydney as he goes to Sydney Boy's High which is a selective school so playing against all the "Private" schools.

    Basically this means it's nerds v jocks and they always get killed in any sport they play against the private school kids.

    After last year playing soccer, he's had enough of that game and has thankfully decided to return to real game... rugby.

    I also have returned the last few years to GO's and found that the knocks and bruises were getting a little bit too much so I went with a full integrated rugby pad, like someone described previously, like a skins top but with interated padding.

    Where having pads on really helps is to lessen the sharp impacts and I end up with fewer bruises on Monday mornings which I'm very thankful for. And yes, as others have said, there really is a mental "boost" as well knowing there is a little more padding there.

    So I also recently got my son a very similar set of integrated pads like those which I play in.

    It will be an interesting year as he really shot up the past 12 months and is now much leaner and meaner after concentrating on rowing the past two years. He is now my height at 15, 5'11"/179 cm but to be honest, the kid has never been quick so the backs were never an option... so disappointing for someone who has always been a back and only one time stuck my head into a scrum. As he has always played at hooker/prop but would rather play in the loosies.

    So we wanted something that won't be too restrictive and annoying throughout the game.

    From watching other players throughout the years, I find nothing more annoying that players constantly "fixing and repositioning" their pads... like cricketers and their boxes.

    So I made sure to get a set that was comfortable and would stay in place and that type really works.



  • Not about shoulder pads, but headgear, just something that I have observed, has there been any All Blacks that played with headgear? I think Parsons played his cap(s?), Ngatai probably had his on with the Maoris, anyone else?

    Is it an All Black thing or does it just happen that no one uses one?



  • @Sapetyvi serious? Not sure if you've heard of no-names like McCaw, Kronfeld, Jones, Todd, McAlister, Hore, Williams....Just off the top of my head!



  • @Bones Well to be honest, have only really followed rugby since cirka 2012, so no haven't heard about Kronfeld haha.
    Forgot about Todd, but Mccaw and Mcalister dont regularly use one?



  • @Sapetyvi That'll be it! A lot have tended to use it in their early years then phase it out probably. McAlister definitely. Pretty sure Cane and even Retallick.



  • McCaw said he got way too hot so was always taking it off halfway through the match, so in the end didn't bother. Which is probably the case for a lot of pro players now given the pace of the game.



  • @No-Quarter I reckon it would be a convenient excuse for me...Sir I gotta wear the headgear, but it gets hot and slows me down, I am way fitter, honest!



  • I tried it for a about 10 minutes one game and discarded it. Felt like my head was cooking. Then again that was in Brisbane. In colder climes it may be different.

    But as mentioned, at junior level 95% of kids here use headgear. It's almost as important as a mouth guard.


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