The game of rugby has evolved over many years, with the focus on conditioning becoming extremely important before each and every game.
Players must prepare in a way they can reach their maximum peak potential during 80 minutes of play. With guidance from coaches, players must be taught to prepare consistently for every game, giving them every chance to succeed.
With the game played at such a high pace these days, preparation is not only required for performance but for prevention of injuries. Players must be conditioned properly to meet the demands of rugby and not expose themselves to be stuck on the sidelines with injury.
By carrying out thorough conditioning techniques, every player has the best chance to perform at their best on game day.
What are some of the elements coaches need to install in players so they can play to their best?
Players bodies must be physically ready for the challenge in front of them. There are many ways to prepare players physically.
- Coaches need to understand players bodily functions and make sure they carry out physical exercise and consistent physical preparation.
- Players must stick to a consistent fitness training programme, which can physically prepare them for 80 minutes of rugby.
- Players need to warm up and cool down properly at training to ensure maximum performance. Warming up by using a mix of jogging, running and sprinting and incorporating movement to get the body ready for practice, game time etc.
- Cooling down such as static stretching, walking and jogging is a vital element of physical preparation.
Mental preparation is one of the most important elements before any rugby game. Psychologically, players must be ready for the upcoming challenge ahead of them, making sure they give themselves every opportunity to succeed. There are many way players can prepare mentally:
- Relaxation: Players must relax adequately before each and every game, getting their mind ready and being able to focus on what’s ahead of them.
- Players need to control being overawed for any occasion and by using effective relaxation techniques, these will go along away to keeping nerves under control, and keeping a calm head on the field of play.
- Players must make sure they understand the game plan ahead of them. Coaches must install structure before every game to make players aware of their role in the team.
Correct nutrition is a vital ingredient for any rugby player. Some players will eat accordingly, depending on what part of the rugby season it is. Many players also face different dietary issues, which they should consult their dietitian. Coaches and players need to and ensure the following:
- Make sure fluid intake is high by drinking plenty of water to gain maximum hydration levels. Half a litre two hours before training or game time increases these levels.
- Consuming carbohydrate foods such as pasta, rice, bread etc takes up a big part of the normal diet, and should be increased closer to game day.
- Players are advised to consume a light, low fat, high in carbohydrate meal 3 – 4 hours before kickoff. Food such as chicken, pasta, rice etc
- A light snack is normally consumed 1 hours before kick off, i.e chocolate bar or glucose to increase energy levels.
Players must train as if they are playing in a game, making sure they are fully committed and ready before each and every challenge. There are many factors coaches must consider during training.
- Strength and power – Players must use the gym and weights effectively to gain strength and power. Players should follow a strict regime to encourage improvement in strength.
- Speed – With the pace of rugby these days, players must work on speed to compete in both backs and forwards. Coaches can take many drills to increase speed and agility.
- Ball Skills – The basics need to be taught to ensure minimal mistakes, handling errors etc in matches. From backs to forwards, ball skills play an integral part in all rugby.
Players must have the passion to prepare for every rugby occasion. Through commitment, motivation, mental and physical toughness and a willingness to consistently train to win, any rugby player can achieve their long term goals. At the end the day if players don’t prepare themselves properly, they will lack the extra edge needed in the modern era of rugby today.