Happy Christmas to the Xbox

If you coach youth rugby, you’re depriving children of valuable Xbox and PlayStation time. I know this as sometimes I have had to drag my own son off the machine to go to training.

I wish I had a quick solution to this situation. I’ve tried various tactics. First is the five-minute warning, so he can finish the game (or, as it seems so often, find a “save point”). More menacing is hovering my finger above the off button – that has had some effect. But it seems impossible to extract the controller from the gamer at a time that suits you.

Hence, I’ve join a number of parents on the sidelines at a match grumbling about the same thing. I’d like to say that team training is far more interesting that Fortnite, GTA, COD or FIFA (you’ll know those names if you face this problem!). Rugby is certainly more active and fulfilling, though it can take some persuading that this is the case. But for the kid sitting glued to the screen in the warm, there’s enough inertia not to want to shift.

That’s the snag. It’s easier to stay than to go. Part of the problem is that video games give a false sense of reward. Levels completed, high scores and victories against online opponents aren’t particularly hard fought. They give the child a sense of achievement which is not, let’s face it, much to brag about.

With this in mind, I’m suggesting you might be stricter about video games impinging on the effort to get ready for rugby. It takes time to sort out what you’re wearing, find your gum-shield (a kind of game in itself) and fill up the water bottle. Being prepared properly should be seen as an achievement.

So this could be amongst your New Year’s resolutions: all ready for training before you can even think about playing on the console, and it goes off at the appointed time, finished or not.

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