Yeah, so this probably doesn’t only apply to rugby mums. I’m sure football mums and all sorts of other winter outdoor sports parents need the same sort of stuff too. After four years of standing on the side lines on a Sunday morning, I’ve got preparing to watch the boys train or play rugby down to a fine art.
For me, the key to being prepared to stand around for an hour or two in wet grass, is to get your footwear right. I go for normal socks, fluffy bed socks and boots – early in the season I wear wellies, then through the winter it’s snow boots and once it’s warmed up back to wellies (if it’s really warm and dry then I discard the bed socks and go for trainers).
When it’s wet underfoot, you’ve got to have something waterproof. Waterproof and warm is even better. Style, bah, who cares?! I invested in a pair of these from Mountain Warehouse a couple of years ago and they are amazing. I don’t drive very far in them or walk miles but they’re prefect for keeping the numb toes at bay.
Once you’ve got your feet sorted and snuggled up, you can address the rest of what you need to wear. When it’s cold I have an amazing pair of fleece lined jeans that I wear. They’re gorgeous and so warm and comfortable – a total winner.
I also follow the kids’ example and wear a base layer under my hoodie. I’ve got a kids age 14-16 skins top that I picked up in the sale at Decathlon for £10. It just stops the cold from even starting to niggle at me; and when it’s 2C and windy, you need that.
Over my skins, I wear a hoodie because I’m now managing the u8s team. Before that, I still wore a hoodie anyway because I’m a slob. Then it’s got to be at least a windproof coat on in the really cold weather, my big massive bought-especially-for-rugby winter coat. It’s waterproof, windproof, furry hood, down-filled, with a nice belt so I don’t look entirely like a sack of potatoes and deep fleecy pockets big enough for my phone because the parents love pictures from training or matches.
After that, the accessories are needed too. I have a lovely club hat or a really woolly bobble hat for the deepest depths of winter, either way it needs to hide my fuzzy mess of hair that I am no way washing before leaving the house on a Sunday morning. Then it’s a snood from November til late March and always gloves – I really suffer with numb fingers and toes – they can go completely white at 10C.
By the time I’ve got all that on, I probably look like the Michelin man (whose real name I recently discovered is Bibendum), but honestly I don’t care so long as I can feel my fingers and toes and nose.
I’m pretty sure most sports clubs these days use apps to plan fixtures and training sessions, gather availability information, and generally let everyone know what’s going on. At our club we have Pitchero for planning sessions and matches and WhatsApp groups for each age group for general communication. In the past we used Heja a bit, but I never did much with it.
I find Pitchero really easy to use. We use it to schedule all our weekend meets, whether matches or or training sessions, to gather all the important player information so that we know how to contact parents, and even to pay annual membership fees. As a parent, I’d have no idea who was supposed to be where when without Pitchero. As a team manager, it let’s me know how many players we have available each week.
Back when I was only a parent at the sidelines, I could not and would not get through a morning in a wet field without a thermal mug of hot coffee. We’re lucky enough at our club that we have a great café nearby that does take away hot drinks. These days, it’s before I leave and then maybe followed up with a half of cider in the clubhouse while the kids get hotdogs afterwards.
OK, so of course you don’t need to take the washing machine to training. But you’d better make sure it was empty when you left the house. When you get home, you’re going to be filling it up with all the muddy socks and shorts and tops from your rugby, football or whatever-playing child. Top tip, always turn the socks the right way out before they go in, and if they’re really muddy, rinse them first. Otherwise, your washing machine won’t last the winter. You wouldn’t believe the quantity of mud and sand that can manage to seep through their boots.
What other equipment or preparation do you find useful for attending youth sports?
4 thoughts on “What does a rugby mum need?”
Rugby is not popular here in Pennsylvania, but very similar gear for early morning fall soccer games!
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Ah I always say rugby is like American football without the armour. Not quite the same of course. I’m sure much of the same equipment applies to soccer or hockey or any of the other winter outdoor sports. Wish my kids played cricket so it was cups of tea and scones in the summer instead.
Definitely layers, a big waterproof coat, chunky shoes for muddy sidelines and a hot drink. Our club does have one of the mums making hot dogs and bacon rolls to order on arrival for after the matches, and hot drinks. So much better than some clubs we visit for football which are literally a field with no toilets, no nothing. That was a bit of a shock given ours is a little village football club. We’re very lucky!
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I think we have a similar approach to being prepared. I love visiting clubs with coffee on site. We’re lucky enough or be on the edge of a park with a proper coffee shop nearby.