Parent Max loved didi rugby so much she is now coaching classes

A didi rugby mother Max and her young son Nathan smile at the camera in their garden

Five-year-old Nathan has joined the long line of children from didi rugby Reading to have come through the didi age groups and decided to continue his rugby journey at a local didi partner club.

 

Having loved his didi sessions for three years, Nathan will now move up to tag rugby at Reading RFC and will take all of the skills and confidence he has learned with him.

 

But while he was enjoying his time at didi classes, his mum Max was enjoying it too.

 

A didi rugby mother Max and her young son Nathan smile at the camera in their garden
Max and Nathan with big didi smiles

 

So much so that when she was asked to stand in and help for one particular session, she decided to become a member of the didi rugby Reading coaching team soon after.

 

“Nathan and I have loved our time with didi rugby,” Max said.

 

“And that started from his very first trial session at Blue Coat School in Reading, when coach Clare was running the class.

Attention to detail

 

“They were giving stickers out to say well done to the kids at the end and Clare said it was also someone’s birthday…Nathan’s. I had not even mentioned it to her and that just showed how great their attention to detail was. I was sold at that moment and knew didi was for us.

 

“Nathan has loved it and worked his way through the age groups. He loves all of the coaches and you can tell Craig loves his job too because it comes out in his coaching.”

 

Max added: “Nathan is five now and has been coming to didi for three years. Not only does he love the fun side of things but he has learnt so many new skills, as well as the colours and numbers educational side of things too.

Sense of achievement

 

“I have recently decided to take a career break and when I was asked to help out at a didi session and really enjoyed it, I agreed to do a few more when Craig asked me to.

 

“I am still doing that and I love it. There’s a real sense of achievement for me. Kids come into a new session shy and holding a parent’s hand. Then to play a part in them enjoying themselves, running up to you as a coach and giving you a high-five is great to see. To see their growth in confidence is astonishing!”

 

Max will be coaching throughout the summer and will then help out when needed as the autumn term arrives.

 

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Ryan is relishing life after didi rugby Reading graduation

A boy in a green shirt is flanked by rugby coaches. Everyone is smiling

Lisa Radford’s son Ryan was ‘always a bit of a bruiser’ and was up on his feet walking around at just nine months!

 

So, it was no surprise that the family chose rugby as a way for Ryan to use up some of his energy.

 

A boy in a red tee-shirt smiles as he picks up a rugby ball and teddy bear
Ryan laughs with a didi rugby teddy and ball.

As soon as he was old enough to do so, Ryan joined didi rugby Reading classes at Blue Coat School aged 18 months.

 

It was the beginning of wonderful three-and-a-half years under the watchful eye of didi Reading coaches like Craig Hunter, who have just waved bye to one of their star pupils as he moves up to play tag rugby for local club Abbey RFC.

 

Fun and activity

“Ryan just loved didi rugby from his first visit and was running around loving all the fun and activity,” explained Lisa.

 

“He loved the things like having his ‘listening ears’ on and it was great development for his balance too. On the rare occasion that he was not in the mood for it, the coaches are so good with them and coax them, at their own pace, into getting involved. He has loved it ever since.

 

 

“He started developing a pride in what he did and would tell people that he played rugby.

 

“Coach Craig said that when he turned five, he could move up to a club and that has just happened with us joining Abbey RFC. It won’t be easy to leave didi behind because we have loved all of the games and the coaches too.

 

didi Reading

“He had his first go at Abbey a few weeks ago and we noticed that step up with a bit less guidance for the children but when he got going, he was so proud of himself. Now, he’s raring to go.

 

“It has been a relatively easy transition and his confidence has grown after years of great encouragement at didi classes.

 

“I will always have a good word to say about didi rugby and the people behind it. They have been fantastic and Craig even phoned us to say thank-you and wish Ryan good luck. That’s a lovely touch.”

 

Read more: didi rugby is a family tradition for the Dearing family

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A boy in a green shirt is flanked by rugby coaches. Everyone is smiling
Ryan with didi rugby Reading co-owner Donna Clark and fellow didi coaches

didi rugby is a family tradition for the Dearing family

Two boys, Jacob and Harrison Dearing, in a green and white top and a red top smile with a rugby ball

Harrison Dearing is carrying on the family tradition and is thriving at didi rugby classes.

The three-year-old is having great fun taking part in didi rugby Reading sessions at Highwood Primary School, following in the footsteps of his older brother.

Jacob Dearing (6) spent over two years in didi classes having got involved as a three-year-old himself.

Now, he has taken the skills and confidence he learned at didi and is putting it to good use in the minis structure at partner club Reading RFC.

A young boy in a green hoodie holds a 'player of the week' certificate aloft
Jacob Dearing

Whether Harrison will follow him when he becomes too old for didi classes remains to be seen. But for now, mum Karen is just happy they have both benefitted from what the didi classes offer.

“Jacob always loved running around when he was little and so we tried him at didi rugby after seeing it for the first time at a local fete.

Confidence blossomed

“His confidence quickly blossomed during classes at Blue Coat School, and the classes helped him to focus his energy too. The coaches’ approach was great.

“Jacob never really liked the warm-ups and would just watch for 5 or 10 minutes before joining in. But the coaches always coaxed him to get involved, with no pressure and, after a while, he just got stuck in straightaway.

“Now, Jacob has moved up, it has been great to see him playing at Reading RFC and he’s loving it. There have been lots of his didi class move up to Reading so he’s already got friends moving up with him.

“The other week he came to watch Harrison at didi and still joined in!

Family time for the Dearings

“Taking them has been something nice to do as a family too. We would all go to watch Jacob when he first started and, inevitably, when we had his younger brother Harrison, he wanted to join in too.

“Harrison loved getting involved in the Zoom sessions that didi did during lockdown and now he’s loving the classes in person.

A you g boy in a red tee-shirt and sun hat smiles while holding a rugby ball
Harrison Dearing

“He was shy to begin with but he loves getting involved and games like ‘foxes tails’ and the ‘obstacle course’.

“Both boys have loved collecting the coloured objects and taking them to the correct bucket. Harrison will count how many he’s got before he puts them in, providing colour recognition and numeracy in one!

“The boys have both loved their classes and their coaches. They are a really nice group of people at didi and have been great with both boys.”

Two boys in rugby shirts smile with rugby balls in their hands
Jacob (left) and Harrison Dearing

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Find a didi rugby class in Reading at The Hurst Leisure Centre

didi rugby Reading franchise owners Donna Clark and Craig Hunter coach at Aldermaston RFC

Find a didi rugby class in Reading at The Hurst Leisure Centre

Find a didi rugby class at The Hurst Leisure Centre in Tadley. didi rugby Reading is hosting didi rugby classes so you can introduce your child to rugby at a young age. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

If you are looking to find a didi rugby class in the area, these sessions would be ideal for parents and children who live in: Aldermaston, Tadley, Baughurst, Bradfield, Burghfield Common, Burghfield, Riseley, Silchester, Mortimer, Swallowfield. They would also be ideal for anyone living in: Theale, Woolhampton, Bramley, Hannington, Pamber End, Pamber Heath and Brimpton Common.

The franchise owners of didi rugby Reading are Craig Hunter and Donna Clark.

“The support from didi was spot on in the build up to launch and the infrastructure was right too. So we took the plunge and went for it full-time and we are confident we will continue to grow with the help of Vicky and team didi behind us,” said Craig.

“Our links with local clubs are important and we are trying to help those without big mini sections so they can use their link with us as stepping stone to build their Under-6s.”

Donna added: “It has been good fun spreading the values of didi rugby through classes, clubs and schools too. Vicky and her team are always on the end of the phone if we need them.”

The Hurst Leisure Centre

Brimpton Road
Baughurst
Tadley
Berkshire
RG26 5NN

Ran by didi Rugby Reading
Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Find a didi rugby class in Wokingham at St Sebastians Memorial Hall

Find a didi rugby class in Wokingham at St Sebastians Memorial Hall

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at St Sebastians Memorial Hall in Wokingham. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Whitley Wood, Shinfield, Tilehurst, Caversham, Sonning, Woodley, Calcot, Twyford, Southcote, West Reading and Prospect Park.

St Sebastians Memorial Hall

Nine Mile Ride
Wokingham
Berkshire
RG40 3BA

Ran by didi rugby Reading

Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Find a didi rugby class in Reading at Radstock Lane Community Centre

Find a didi rugby class in Reading at Radstock Lane Community Centre

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Radstock Lane Community Centre in Earley, Reading. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Whitley Wood, Shinfield, Tilehurst, Caversham, Sonning, Woodley, Calcot, Twyford, Southcote, West Reading and Prospect Park.

Radstock Lane Community Centre

55 Radstock Lane
Earley
Reading
Berkshire
RG6 5UL

Ran by didi rugby Reading

Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Find a didi rugby class in Reading at Highwood Primary School

Find a didi rugby class in Reading at Highwood Primary School

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Highwood Primary School in Woodley, Reading. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Whitley Wood, Shinfield, Tilehurst, Caversham, Sonning, Woodley, Calcot, Twyford, Southcote, West Reading and Prospect Park.

Highwood Primary School

Fairwater Drive
Woodley
Reading
Berkshire
RG5 3JE

Ran by didi rugby Reading

Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Find a didi rugby class in Bracknell at Jennetts Park Community Centre

Find a didi rugby class in Bracknell at Jennetts Park Community Centre

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby classes at Jennetts Park Community Centre in Bracknell. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Whitley Wood, Shinfield, Tilehurst, Caversham, Sonning, Woodley, Calcot, Twyford, Southcote, West Reading and Prospect Park.

Jennetts Park Community Centre

1 Tawny Owl Square
Bracknell
Berkshire
RG12 8EB

Ran by didi rugby Reading

Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Find a didi rugby class in Wokingham at Cantley Park

Find a didi rugby class in Wokingham at Cantley Park

Introduce your children to rugby at a young age with didi rugby Reading classes at Cantley Park in Wokingham. There are three age groups: 18 months to three years, three to four and four to six.

Our program is designed to get kids active, teach them new skills and improve their co-ordination, speed and balance. It will also help them learn social skills while they have lots of fun in a positive, safe and friendly environment.

These classes are ideal for children living in: Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Whitley Wood, Shinfield, Tilehurst, Caversham, Sonning, Woodley, Calcot, Twyford, Southcote, West Reading and Prospect Park.

Cantley Park

Twyford Road
Wokingham
Berkshire
RG40 5QG

Ran by didi rugby Reading

Contact Craig Hunter – 07798 844202
craig.hunter@didirugby.com

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Young didi coach Caitlin stars in Daily Telegraph article on girls rugby

didi rugby Reading coach and keen rugby player Caitlin Clark smiles next to two happy children

Young didi rugby coach Caitlin Clark is the star of a new feature article in the Daily Telegraph.

The 17-year-old daughter of didi rugby Reading franchise co-owner Donna Clark tells the story of how she has always had to battle against the system as a young female rugby player striving to be able to develop her skills at the same pace as boys.

Having played the game side-by-side boys as a youngster, things changed dramatically when mixed sexes were not allowed to play together from the age of 12.

All of a sudden, boys were playing on bigger pitches, playing longer matches, allowed to push in the scrum and hand-off, while girls were not.

A picture of the page from the Daily Telegraph featuring Caitlin Clark's story
Caitlin Clark in the Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph

Caitlin, who has ambitions to reach the England national team as a player, said she felt held back and put down.

She told the Telegraph: “I actually questioned whether rugby was a sport I should be doing. It was almost as if us girls weren’t worthy enough of playing because the rules were – and still are – so different, especially physically. Things were and still are so simplified for girls at that level.”

As a teenager, Caitlin was always bigger than most other girls in her under-13 age group, yet she was forced to train with nine-year-old girls nearly half her size. While boys were allowed to play up an age group, the rules didn’t allow Caitlin to move up into the under-15s.

Changes in the rules

The Telegraph feature goes on to outline Caitlin’s frustrations as a female rugby player and cites other discrepancies and inconsistencies in the grass roots game facing girls, as opposed to boys. With the numbers of girls playing the game increasing, it will be interesting to see if the game’s governing body (RFU) make any changes in the rules and structure in the coming years.

Whatever happens on the playing front, Caitlin is a hugely-respected member of the didi rugby Reading coaching team and is loved by dozens of youngsters she coaches on a regular basis.

Reading co-owner Craig Hunter said: “When didi rugby Reading launched in early 2018, Caitlin came along with Donna Clark, her mum and my business partner, to help us out. She has been with us ever since.

didi rugby coach Caitlin Clark with a young boy at a class
didi rugby Reading coach Caitlin Clark in action

Confidence

“She has developed her confidence and coaching skills throughout this time and is everything we look for in a coach. She has excellent rapport with all the didi superstars and parents alike and is a great role model for them all – but in particular the girls.

“With the development of the girls game at club level going from strength to strength, we are really keen to progress the didi players into club rugby when they are ready to join the Under-6 age groups. As soon as we can get Caitlin on an RFU Level 2 rugby course, we will, and she can then look to lead sessions on her own and build a team of coaches around her to help didi rugby Reading grow.

“Caitlin is also very keen to deliver kids didi rugby parties as soon as we are able to so safely and in line with Government and RFU guidelines, something she will be excellent at I have no doubt. If we could clone Caitlin we would.

didi rugby coach

Mum Donna added: “As a parent, I can’t put into words how proud I am of Caitlin, she has been playing rugby since she was six years old and has always shown great tenacity and passion for the game.

“With such determination, she has gone from strength to strength both on and off the pitch. She never ceases to amaze me with everything she has achieved whether it be at club, county and Centre of Excellence level.

“I have also seen her blossom as a didi rugby coach, she has such patience and can instantly spot a child that might be struggling or needs a bit of extra support and just knows how to make them smile and helps them gain their confidence.

“Her years as a rugby player have helped bring her expertise to a coaching role and through creating her own session plans ensures that every child progresses with the fundamentals of the game, whilst having fun!”

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