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where has the youth gone?


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#1 sbull

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

one thing we can all agree on is that without the youth coming through our game will suffer

16 to 18 year olds are the blood line of our sport.

you generally may loos one or two teams a year but in 2011 i dont think we lost any 16 to 18 year old teams

in 2012 we lost a stagaring 27 teams at 16 to 18 year olds and this year already we have lost another 5 teams,

im just wondering if anyone can tell my what has change in such a short space of time to loos so many players from our gane,

you seam very knowledgeable Longman, once a ref, Del capo, can you help me out here ?

Edited by sbull, 01 March 2013 - 02:49 PM.


#2 LONGMAN

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:24 PM

one thing we can all agree on is that without the youth coming through our game will suffer

16 to 18 year olds are the blood line of our sport.

you generally may loos one or two teams a year but in 2011 i dont think we lost any 16 to 18 year old teams

in 2012 we lost a stagaring 27 teams at 16 to 18 year olds and this year already we have lost another 5 teams,

im just wondering if anyone can tell my what has change in such a short space of time to loos so many players from our gane,

you seam very knowledgeable Longman, once a ref, Del capo, can you help me out here ?


Before averybody jumps on the band wagon its got ###### all to do with the summe/winter debate.

I believe that this problem started a good few years back, when youth players were promised the world by pro clubs to sign mickey mouse contracts, and when they didnt make the grade they were subsequently dumped and didnt filter back into the game.
We also had the situation were they went without games on a regular basis at amateur level and lost interest.
Nowadays these young men also have plenty of other interests other than rugby.

There has been a situation at some clubs such as MIlford where 15 playersfrom one team have been signed up on scholarships.
That could mean that they encouraged to not p[lay for their club, which means that next year they could possibly loose an entire team.

As you say it is a massive problem and one that wants a serious looking at NOW

#3 Gonch

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:41 PM

Well there is no under 18s in cumbria and even the west cumbria 16s league only has 5 teams

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#4 del capo

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

David Raybould has already been tasked with investigating this very clear problem and producing a Review Report . I can't comment on your figures but accept that there has been a significant and worrying reduction in the number of teams.

That's not to say that there has necessarily been a big drop off in playing numbers as more youngsters seem to go straight into open age now.

I personally believe that the major cause lies with the expansion of the Academy and Scholarship system by the professional game It is largely unfit for purpose. Only a handful of clubs do it properly. It does not produce the returns on investment that any business model would demand. How many professional players does each club actually produce ? The RFL have the figures and they make grim reading.

And the unacceptable by product is the collapse of local sides , and then even whole divisions within Leagues. Much better to have half a dozen local U 18's watched over by the local Senior club to cherry pick the cream of the crop at the right time.The penny apparently finally dropped at the last meeting of the SL CEO 's when Youth issues were discussed. They are beginning to get the picture that without volume there can be little quality, and that without maintaining teenager imput the game will decline. The sooner the whole of the Professional game signs up to that view and stops acting in ways that so obviously result in youth team decimation and then destruction the better it will be ...

As you say sbull , it's the life blood that counts . We die without it.

#5 jaguar

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:25 PM

David Raybould has already been tasked with investigating this very clear problem and producing a Review Report . I can't comment on your figures but accept that there has been a significant and worrying reduction in the number of teams.

That's not to say that there has necessarily been a big drop off in playing numbers as more youngsters seem to go straight into open age now.

I personally believe that the major cause lies with the expansion of the Academy and Scholarship system by the professional game It is largely unfit for purpose. Only a handful of clubs do it properly. It does not produce the returns on investment that any business model would demand. How many professional players does each club actually produce ? The RFL have the figures and they make grim reading.

And the unacceptable by product is the collapse of local sides , and then even whole divisions within Leagues. Much better to have half a dozen local U 18's watched over by the local Senior club to cherry pick the cream of the crop at the right time.The penny apparently finally dropped at the last meeting of the SL CEO 's when Youth issues were discussed. They are beginning to get the picture that without volume there can be little quality, and that without maintaining teenager imput the game will decline. The sooner the whole of the Professional game signs up to that view and stops acting in ways that so obviously result in youth team decimation and then destruction the better it will be ...

As you say sbull , it's the life blood that counts . We die without it.

Unfortunately the demise of the 16s-18s teams will eventually (and already has if the truth was accepted) have a detrimental effect on the open age teams. I think there has been a drop off in numbers of open age players - you've only got to look at how many 'A' teams have disappeared.

On paper it most certainly does look as though we clubs aren't producing professional players anymore. But they don't sign young lads straight onto professional forms from an amateur club like they used to. Instead they take them into academy teams/scholarships - call it what you will - and from there the club signs them on. Credit then doesn't go to the amateur club, so it looks as though we aren't producing any. You used to hear comments by RL commentators on TV that "Fred Blogs, a product of the ~~~~~~~ amateur club". Now they just say he's a product of their academy.

There's a terrific amount wrong with our game at the moment. Quite frankly, I think it's in absolute turmoil, both professional & amateur. I don't believe this has anything to do with the NCL moving to summer - I fully supported my clubs move to summer - but what's going on in the periphery may well be the straw that broke the camels back.

Sadly, BARLA abandoned us when we needed them most. There was no strength within the association - and they were more bothered about fighting their own battles than those of us clubs. Once we had signed the agreement to join forces with the RFL we needed to go in as a strong association. Instead, BARLA agreed on Unification and then spent all their energy fighting it!

#6 sbull

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

Thanks for your replies, i just thought with no 16 to 18 teams folding in 2011 and 27 folding in 2012 it might have something to do with Summer.


i have took your comments on board but i personally still feel its mainly due to summer, backed up by the mentioned statistics you can hardly blame a numpty like me who cant even spell for coming to the concluusion i have.

del capo, i agree some young players come straight into open age but no were near enough to support what we are loosing at open age,

Longman, i agree that some young players after not making it at pro dont come back to there clubs but this has happend for years,

we can investagat, do reports, and look into it for years to come but just remember the game is going down the pan and its been eccelerated over the last 12 months behond all expectations

#7 Marauder

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:46 PM

Unfortunately the demise of the 16s-18s teams will eventually (and already has if the truth was accepted) have a detrimental effect on the open age teams. I think there has been a drop off in numbers of open age players - you've only got to look at how many 'A' teams have disappeared.

On paper it most certainly does look as though we clubs aren't producing professional players anymore. But they don't sign young lads straight onto professional forms from an amateur club like they used to. Instead they take them into academy teams/scholarships - call it what you will - and from there the club signs them on. Credit then doesn't go to the amateur club, so it looks as though we aren't producing any. You used to hear comments by RL commentators on TV that "Fred Blogs, a product of the ~~~~~~~ amateur club". Now they just say he's a product of their academy.

There's a terrific amount wrong with our game at the moment. Quite frankly, I think it's in absolute turmoil, both professional & amateur. I don't believe this has anything to do with the NCL moving to summer - I fully supported my clubs move to summer - but what's going on in the periphery may well be the straw that broke the camels back.

Sadly, BARLA abandoned us when we needed them most. There was no strength within the association - and they were more bothered about fighting their own battles than those of us clubs. Once we had signed the agreement to join forces with the RFL we needed to go in as a strong association. Instead, BARLA agreed on Unification and then spent all their energy fighting it!

How can you blame BARLA for this demise, over the years the numbers have always fluctuated, lets look at the happenings when the numbers have really dived, who was in control? what was being organised? who was doing the organising? what age group did the RFL decide the pro clubs would run? who allowed elite team building? WHO BUILT AN ELITE TEAM?.

I'm sure there are many more questions that can be asked and I'm sure people like Taxiegg will be able to point us in the right direction and time scales of when, how and why.
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#8 jaguar

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

How can you blame BARLA for this demise, over the years the numbers have always fluctuated, lets look at the happenings when the numbers have really dived, who was in control? what was being organised? who was doing the organising? what age group did the RFL decide the pro clubs would run? who allowed elite team building? WHO BUILT AN ELITE TEAM?.

I'm sure there are many more questions that can be asked and I'm sure people like Taxiegg will be able to point us in the right direction and time scales of when, how and why.

Read my comments. I don't blame BARLA for the demise. Read it again!! I blame BARLA for being weak once we had agreed Unification - and because they were weak the RFL made changes to the game that they shouldn't have been allowed to!

What difference does time scales, when, how and why make?? It's NOW you need to worry about. Stop going on about the past. Worry about now and the future.

#9 del capo

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

Sorry Jaguar for maybe confusing you. when I ask how many professionals do the clubs produce , I meant how many do the professionals themselves produce out of their individual Scholarship and Academy stables . The actual ' grim reading ' is that 85% of all young pro's actually come from 5 / 6 SL Academy set ups.and the rest do not seem to be serving the purpose for which they are supposed to exist.

The RFL have other stats identifying 50 to 60 community clubs who on the other hand have underpinned the pro game for over 30 years.........at little cost to the RFL and without destroying the community game fabric.

#10 Marauder

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:20 PM

Read my comments. I don't blame BARLA for the demise. Read it again!! I blame BARLA for being weak once we had agreed Unification - and because they were weak the RFL made changes to the game that they shouldn't have been allowed to!

What difference does time scales, when, how and why make?? It's NOW you need to worry about. Stop going on about the past. Worry about now and the future.

BARLA became weak after being side stepped when the RFL formed the community game, at first the amateur game was divided into 5 areas, Armed forces, English Schools, Universities, RLC & BARLA (Now tell me in which area of these 5 never got the same TLC, Since then BARLA have always been out voted and become the toothless Tiger as I mentioned earlier.

The time scale of when, where and how the demise has really set in will give you a good indication of the cause (Bit like reverse engineering)
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#11 henage

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:01 PM

One of the main reasons the games suffers for numbers is the game itself , just take a step back when watching any game of rugby at what ever level . The battering players get even at youth level will keep the numbers playing League at low levels as only a small number of people are prepared to take the punishment , injuries etc .
Super teams at youth level are a major problem , parents think players running in try after try for 50 - nil games are the way to a super league contract for little Jonnie . Never mined the other teams that will have some good players but are maybe developing at a slower rate than the big lads in the super teams , these players get sick of been hammered and lose interest . Rubbish coaches with no people skills are a major problem . Game needs to expand into other parts of the country , Hemel , All Golds , Oxford are a good positive step in that direction . Game needs to pull together and highlight the positive things that come from the game , summer , winter ,barla ,rfl most people don't give a toss ,we have played winter , summer ,winter into summer etc under barla and the rfl .


#12 LordCharles

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:54 PM

I would suggest there are many contributing factors and whether people like it or not Summer is one of the more prominent on that list, simply due to others sports being participated in by a condiserable number of 15-18 year olds, Cricket being an example.

However the biggest reason in my opinion is the amount of RL being available to a large percentage of players at these age groups....................for example............

Any 15 - 18 year old player of a good standard could be in the following position, he could train and play for his community club, Scholarship or Academy team and School,College/Uni team all in the same week whilst also being involved in Camps/Regional squads, Touring squads etc etc etc.

This requires huge dedication, commitment, time and cost at a time in their life where they also have many other significant things going on, such as the business end of their education.

Far too many players are pushed and pulled from all directions, lead to believe there is the dream at the end of it all that they hope one day will be reality (SL), but more often than not are left to drift out of the game when the next apple of some scout's eye, academy system etc comes along and is drafted in to the squad.

I have said it for years, less is often far more and until we have a proper system that can identify talent in an appropriate manner rather than en masse and tie up far to many youth players in a Pro environment of which only a very low single figure percentage will ultimately go on to achieve succcess, we will only see it go from bad to worse.

Until such time we should have a pathway that is straight forward for all to understand.......................

If you play for your Community Club you don't play in a Pro environment

If you play in a Pro environment you don't play for a Community club

Schools, Colleges and Uni Teams cannot contain players who play in a Pro environment

This would mean that the THE RFL & PRO Clubs need to identify, coach and kit out players as well as fund, manage and administer competitions for all players they want within that Pro environment and of course provide facilities and support systems to accomodate the same.

After all, it is alleged that within such an environment players thrive, develop and push on much quicker as players due to the overall higher standards of all of the above, so if that is delivered to a smaller group of players per Pro club at U16's and what is now U19's Academy and they were only participating in those competitions because we want to develop the SL players of the future not over train and over play them, it would I believe make the Community game far stronger and make the people that should be accountable for the games future, ie The RFL and Pro Clubs, accountable and as such, by putting their money where the mouth is they can prove it, either that or not run Scholarships and Academies that contain far far to many players who they want bouncing in and out of all competitions and teams when they are not playing for their "Pro Club".

JMHO :)

#13 old papa

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:34 PM

I would suggest there are many contributing factors and whether people like it or not Summer is one of the more prominent on that list, simply due to others sports being participated in by a condiserable number of 15-18 year olds, Cricket being an example.

However the biggest reason in my opinion is the amount of RL being available to a large percentage of players at these age groups....................for example............

Any 15 - 18 year old player of a good standard could be in the following position, he could train and play for his community club, Scholarship or Academy team and School,College/Uni team all in the same week whilst also being involved in Camps/Regional squads, Touring squads etc etc etc.

This requires huge dedication, commitment, time and cost at a time in their life where they also have many other significant things going on, such as the business end of their education.

Far too many players are pushed and pulled from all directions, lead to believe there is the dream at the end of it all that they hope one day will be reality (SL), but more often than not are left to drift out of the game when the next apple of some scout's eye, academy system etc comes along and is drafted in to the squad.

I have said it for years, less is often far more and until we have a proper system that can identify talent in an appropriate manner rather than en masse and tie up far to many youth players in a Pro environment of which only a very low single figure percentage will ultimately go on to achieve succcess, we will only see it go from bad to worse.

Until such time we should have a pathway that is straight forward for all to understand.......................

If you play for your Community Club you don't play in a Pro environment

If you play in a Pro environment you don't play for a Community club

Schools, Colleges and Uni Teams cannot contain players who play in a Pro environment

This would mean that the THE RFL & PRO Clubs need to identify, coach and kit out players as well as fund, manage and administer competitions for all players they want within that Pro environment and of course provide facilities and support systems to accomodate the same.

After all, it is alleged that within such an environment players thrive, develop and push on much quicker as players due to the overall higher standards of all of the above, so if that is delivered to a smaller group of players per Pro club at U16's and what is now U19's Academy and they were only participating in those competitions because we want to develop the SL players of the future not over train and over play them, it would I believe make the Community game far stronger and make the people that should be accountable for the games future, ie The RFL and Pro Clubs, accountable and as such, by putting their money where the mouth is they can prove it, either that or not run Scholarships and Academies that contain far far to many players who they want bouncing in and out of all competitions and teams when they are not playing for their "Pro Club".

JMHO :)

At Last someone talking sense I totally agree with what you are saying Pro clubs need to be more pro-active with the youth teams. instead of taking players away from their clubs the pro clubs should send coaches to help out at community clubs this would stop the decimation of teams when the pro clubs take a handful of your players leaving the rest to drift out of the game.

#14 Wilber

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:14 AM

Guys,

I think you both must have missed the news, a few insistent members on some committees have been pecking away at this for the last twelve months and its good to see the penny has begun to drop!!

Both Wigan and Leeds have already enrolled in what a lot of us have been calling for for years. Leeds recentley announced that they will take over the community coaching, or the development of it, in all the clubs in Leeds, every club will come under their banner and get the coaching they deserve. Wigan, some two weeks ago, launched their coaching pathway partnered with Leigh Centurions. Both Shaun Wane and Paul Rowley spoke openly how they are going to get round to every club, them and their team of coaches, and give the club coaches the helping hand they deserve, put on camps an courses for them and at the same time have an insite into almost every child at various levels in the area?

Now is it just a smoke screen to get the children younger or is it amazing what scrapping service area can do? The hard part now is keeping them true to what they should be doing and encourging other super league and championship clubs to do the same.

Now back on topic i would go back to Under 17's and Under 19's and stop scholorships altogether and only allow lads to be signed from the under 19's. If by anychance they thought a 16 year old was good enough they can pay big bucks for them to the ametuer club. This would encourage lads to stay in the community game a lot longer and allow them to grow up in a club enviroment where they can build their social lives better without the constant "your a pro you cant do that"

If the above works then the lads will be being trained from an early age so what will be the need to talke them out of the community club if they have all been trained the correct way all their early playing years?

Edited by Wilber, 02 March 2013 - 03:21 AM.


#15 mmp

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:36 AM

Good thread (in the end!).

Way too many were being taken into Scholarships when few had a realistic chance of making it pro. The situation meant that sides that lost only 2 or 3 to scholarship would still struggle and hence the viability of sides became critical.

but this demonstrates the issue a governing body has. When this came up on the main forums, most replied almost demanding their pro clubs keep their scholarships as they were. Ask RL Fans should your club run a scholarship and 90% say yes. As administrators of the amateur game we know that that just isn't viable or in the best interests of the sport.
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#16 Wilber

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:04 AM

To be fair it was a good thread from the start, Summer has only gone and made the situation with the pro clubs, and the 16-18's, worse.

Previosley we would finish youth games in May then the scholorship fixtures would be under way, now we compete with scholorship fixtures all year then have the added attraction of kids being signed in July/August. Frustration follows from the ones who have not made it, although no one has made it at 16, and a fair majoity just dont want to play anymore, result a loss of over 20 teams last year and them are facts as i was part of that system last year

Until this system is radically changed our youth will dry up. yes let the pro clubs coach in our system but leave the lads alone until after they are 18.

#17 LordCharles

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

Guys,

I think you both must have missed the news, a few insistent members on some committees have been pecking away at this for the last twelve months and its good to see the penny has begun to drop!!

Both Wigan and Leeds have already enrolled in what a lot of us have been calling for for years. Leeds recentley announced that they will take over the community coaching, or the development of it, in all the clubs in Leeds, every club will come under their banner and get the coaching they deserve. Wigan, some two weeks ago, launched their coaching pathway partnered with Leigh Centurions. Both Shaun Wane and Paul Rowley spoke openly how they are going to get round to every club, them and their team of coaches, and give the club coaches the helping hand they deserve, put on camps an courses for them and at the same time have an insite into almost every child at various levels in the area?

Now is it just a smoke screen to get the children younger or is it amazing what scrapping service area can do? The hard part now is keeping them true to what they should be doing and encourging other super league and championship clubs to do the same.

Now back on topic i would go back to Under 17's and Under 19's and stop scholorships altogether and only allow lads to be signed from the under 19's. If by anychance they thought a 16 year old was good enough they can pay big bucks for them to the ametuer club. This would encourage lads to stay in the community game a lot longer and allow them to grow up in a club enviroment where they can build their social lives better without the constant "your a pro you cant do that"

If the above works then the lads will be being trained from an early age so what will be the need to talke them out of the community club if they have all been trained the correct way all their early playing years?


The level/standard of coaching in the Community game is not the issue as your response seems to imply. I think you will find the issue is very simple and that is the RFL have no money to fund all their hair brained initiatives at youth level across the board, there are far to many of these initiatives that include the same players and the PRO clubs wants as many players within any system they can operate with it costing them next to nothing or free if they can manage it, which is hardly a commitment from the RFL or the Pro clubs in to developing alleged "ELITE" players within an alleged "ELITE ENVIRONMENT".

#18 Wilber

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:42 AM

The level/standard of coaching in the Community game is not the issue as your response seems to imply.


It is to the pro game, but thats drifting off topic again!!

#19 gillmeister

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:15 AM

It isnt really though Wilbur its relevant because if the pro clubs are happy that the youth in there area are getting a high level of coaching then they wont be as eager to drag them all away to there elite structures and participation will rise

More players and a bigger talent pool will inevitably lead to more options for pro clubs and your spot on 18/19 is more indicative of a players ability to play at whatever level of rugby than 15/16
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#20 Wilber

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:32 AM

Sorry Gillmeister that in a round about way is what im ment to get to

Edited by Wilber, 02 March 2013 - 11:38 AM.





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