Girls Only vs. Mixed Rugby Camps: Unraveling the Benefits and Challenges
Girls Only vs. Mixed Rugby Camps: Unraveling the Benefits and Challenges

Girls Only vs. Mixed Rugby Camps: Unraveling the Benefits and Challenges



Rugby is a sport that instills discipline, camaraderie, and resilience among young athletes. Rugby camps provide an opportunity for players to enhance their skills, learn new techniques, and forge lasting friendships. When it comes to choosing the right environment for rugby development, there are two main options: girls-only camps and mixed camps that welcome both genders. Both types of camps have their merits and drawbacks, catering to specific needs and preferences. This article delves into the benefits and issues surrounding girls-only and mixed rugby camps, aiming to guide players, parents, and coaches in making an informed decision about which setting best suits their objectives.

1. The Power of Representation

Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Girls-only rugby camps create a supportive and empowering environment for female athletes. When girls come together to play and learn with peers who share their gender, they are more likely to see representation in coaching staff and leadership roles. This representation can be incredibly impactful, as it shows young girls that they too can aspire to be coaches, referees, or administrators within the sport. Seeing women excelling in various roles within the rugby community fosters ambition and self-confidence, inspiring girls to dream big and break gender barriers.

Mixed Rugby Camps

On the other hand, mixed rugby camps offer a different perspective. By bringing boys and girls together, these camps promote gender integration and challenge traditional stereotypes associated with sports. When boys and girls play alongside each other, they learn to respect each other’s skills and abilities, eroding the idea that certain sports are exclusively for one gender. Such an environment can be an essential stepping stone towards gender equality in the sporting world and beyond.

2. Skill Development

Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Girls-only rugby camps create an atmosphere where players can focus on skill development without feeling self-conscious. In some co-ed settings, girls may feel overshadowed or undervalued, which can hinder their willingness to try new things or fully express themselves on the field. However, in girls-only camps, this pressure is alleviated, allowing young female athletes to push their boundaries and reach their full potential.

Moreover, the coaching approach in girls-only camps can be tailored specifically to the needs and learning styles of female players. Coaches may emphasize techniques that suit the physical attributes and playing tendencies more commonly found in girls, fostering a better understanding and execution of the game.

Mixed Rugby Camps

Mixed rugby camps, on the other hand, can offer a diverse learning experience. Boys and girls bring distinct strengths to the field, and when they train together, they have an opportunity to learn from each other’s unique approaches. Girls may learn from boys’ physicality, while boys can learn from girls’ finesse and tactical intelligence.

Additionally, mixed camps often expose players to various playing styles and strategies, promoting adaptability and versatility on the field. The exposure to different perspectives can broaden players’ horizons and ultimately improve their rugby skills.

3. Building Confidence and Leadership

Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Girls-only camps provide an environment where young female athletes can thrive without the fear of judgment or comparison to male counterparts. This freedom allows girls to develop their confidence, self-esteem, and leadership abilities. Female players often feel more comfortable taking on leadership roles, both on and off the field, in an all-girls setting. This empowerment can have a profound impact on their rugby journey and life beyond the sport.

The absence of traditional gender expectations may also encourage girls to explore different positions and playing styles without societal pressure. This experimentation can lead to a deeper understanding of the game and a more diverse skill set.

Mixed Rugby Camps

In mixed rugby camps, girls have the opportunity to showcase their skills in a broader context, proving themselves as equals to their male counterparts. This experience can significantly boost their confidence, as they realize their abilities are not limited by gender.

Additionally, mixed camps offer a chance for boys to witness and appreciate the leadership qualities and skills exhibited by their female teammates. By seeing girls excel in rugby and take on leadership roles, boys can learn to respect and support gender equality both on and off the field.

4. Fostering Teamwork and Communication

Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Girls-only camps often cultivate a unique sense of camaraderie among female players. Without the presence of boys, the dynamics of teamwork and communication can take on distinct characteristics. Girls may feel more comfortable expressing themselves and communicating openly, resulting in stronger bonds among teammates.

Furthermore, the absence of a male-dominated environment can lead to a more equitable distribution of leadership roles, allowing different voices to be heard and valued. This inclusivity can translate into a supportive and cohesive team atmosphere.

Mixed Rugby Camps

Mixed camps expose players to diverse communication styles, a valuable skill in a globalized world. Boys and girls typically have different ways of expressing ideas and emotions, and when they collaborate on the field, they learn to navigate these differences and work effectively as a team. This adaptability to different communication styles can be a valuable asset for young athletes as they progress in their rugby careers and in various aspects of life.

5. Inclusivity and Equal Opportunities

Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Girls-only camps offer a safe space where female players can pursue their passion for rugby without the fear of sexism or discrimination. In certain settings, girls might experience less access to resources, field time, or coaching attention than their male counterparts. In a girls-only environment, these disparities are minimized, ensuring that girls receive the same opportunities and resources as boys, fostering a more level playing field.

Moreover, girls-only camps can attract girls who might feel intimidated or overlooked in mixed settings. The inclusivity of such camps can be a driving force behind female participation in rugby, ultimately promoting gender diversity and equity in the sport.

Mixed Rugby Camps

Mixed camps celebrate diversity, exposing players to a range of perspectives and backgrounds. This inclusive environment allows both boys and girls to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges preconceived notions about gender roles in sports.

Additionally, mixed camps can create pathways for girls to access resources and opportunities that may be more readily available in traditionally male-dominated rugby circles. The exposure to a broader network of players, coaches, and mentors can empower girls and offer a gateway to further rugby opportunities.

6. Challenges of Girls-Only Rugby Camps

Limited Access to Role Models

Girls-only rugby camps may face challenges in providing diverse role models for young athletes. The sport of rugby, like many others, has historically been male-dominated, which can lead to a shortage of female role models in coaching and leadership positions. To address this issue, girls-only camps must actively seek and promote female mentors to inspire the next generation of rugby players.

Narrowing Perspectives

While girls-only camps provide a nurturing and empowering environment, they may inadvertently limit exposure to different playing styles and tactics. The absence of boys’ perspectives can result in a narrower understanding of the game. To counter this, coaches at girls-only camps can introduce strategies to expose players to a variety of playing approaches and encourage creativity in their gameplay.

7. Challenges of Mixed Rugby Camps

Potential Gender Bias

Mixed camps can sometimes inadvertently reinforce gender stereotypes or foster an environment where boys are perceived as naturally stronger or more skilled. Coaches must be vigilant in addressing any potential gender bias and ensure that all players are given equal opportunities to develop their skills and leadership abilities.

Social Dynamics

In some mixed camps, particularly those catering to older age groups, social dynamics between boys and girls can create distractions that hinder players’ focus on skill development. Addressing these dynamics requires effective communication and leadership from coaches to foster a respectful and focused training atmosphere.


Rugby camps, whether girls-only or mixed, offer a wealth of benefits and unique challenges. The decision between these two environments ultimately depends on the specific needs and preferences of the players, parents, and coaches involved. Girls-only camps empower female athletes, provide equal opportunities, and create a supportive sisterhood. Mixed camps, on the other hand, promote inclusivity, teamwork, and exposure to diverse perspectives.

Whichever camp is chosen, the most critical aspect is ensuring that players receive top-notch coaching, access to resources, and a positive and nurturing environment. By investing in the development of young athletes, we contribute to the growth and success of rugby as a sport for all, breaking down barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive sporting landscape.