Rugby League is not for the faint of heart but if you want to get involved, here are a few tips to get you started.

You can always try other shorter noncontact forms of the game if you don’t initially fancy the full on physical challenge.

Always wear protection

When playing the full contact version, you’ll want to give your body whatever protection is allowed. There’s an array of protective equipment available, from lightweight jerseys with removable pads, to forearm guards, bicep guards, calf and Achilles protectors, headgear and mouthguards. Although you may want to start with equipment, headgear and mouthguards are the two most important pieces you’ll need.

Practice your kicking

Kicking is a vital skill and different types of kicks should be practiced over and over. One of the best ways of doing this without tiring yourself out is to practice your kicks inside an enclosure (a cricket net or baseball cage is good for this) to prevent you from having to go and get the ball after each kick.

Practice your catching

If you can find someone to train with, you can practice your catching while you are practicing your kicking. Two players in an open space can kick the ball to each other which provides the opportunity for some great catching practice too. Also take the opportunity to practice a range of passes short and long. Spinning the ball whilst throwing isn't essential, but it is certainly recommended as it it’s easier to catch and allows players to throw it further.

Prepare with training drills

Players can improve their physical condition for rugby with some training drills. Shuttle-runs and circuit training helps build up power, long-distance runs improve endurance and overall fitness, and weight training will help build strength and help you bulk up.

Commit to the tackle

If you are going to tackle someone, then commit to the tackle. If you fear going into a tackle, you’re more likely to injure yourself if you go in half-heartedly without correct technique. For a really big hit aim for the waist or the thighs. Practice hits on big bags during training. Also, never close your eyes unless in direct contact, as an evasive maneuver could spell trouble for you.

Choose a position relative to your strengths

Whether it’s speed, strength, stamina or other attributes you possess, there will be a position to which your skills are best suited. Broadly speaking, if you are a fast runner then the wing is likely to be your best suited position. Players with safe pairs of hands will make a good full-back or scrum-half, while those with good kicking ability will be suited to the stand-off position. Strong players with good stamina, who like a tackle, will likely be best suited to a forward role.

Play other forms of the game

There are several noncontact forms of the game with a variety of different names including Tag Rugby, Touch Football, OzTag, Flag Rugby and Eagletag. These are a great introduction to the sport to those who may initially be put off by the physical contact of the full version of the game.