Like any sport rugby requires a good deal of training to be successful. You can break your training efforts into a few groups:
Strength and Power
Strength work is obviously very important to a player’s conditioning. Weights are an integral part of strength training and there is a good variety of weight training exercises for players in all positions. It is important to focus on all muscle groups as it is very important that you have strong stomach and lower-back muscles, then, for upper-body contact, strong shoulders and chest. Obviously strong legs are also vital. Good exercises include squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls and the leg press.
Speed and Agility
In the modern game of rugby working on your speed and agility is important for players in all positions, but it is of particular importance to those players in the backs, and for loose forwards.
Speed and agility drills should be done:
- on different days to other training
- at the beginning of a training session right after a warm up
Mark out a length about 40 meters apart with a halfway marker at 20 meters. Sprint from the start point to the mid point, and then jog on slowly to the end point. Turn and sprint to the mid point then slowly back to the beginning. This exercise should be done in sets of 5.
Mark out a distance of 100 meters. From the start slowly accelerate to reach full speed at about 60 meters and keep sprinting as fast as you can until the end.
In a game like rugby, where explosive speed is key, the first few steps are critical. Running up a slight hill of about 30 degrees, helps to develop your power and acceleration. This type of training should only be done over short distance of 10-15 meters, and you should rest between attempts.
General Aerobic Fitness
General aerobic fitness is very important for the game of rugby, particularly if you plan to play a full 80 minutes. Working on your aerobic fitness off session is key to your success. Jogging in particular and cycling will both help build your aerobic fitness. For coaches you can use our free beep test to measure player fitness coming into a new session.
Certain foods will help you perform better as an athlete. In general here are some nutrition tips for rugby players:
- As with anyone, for good health players should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.
- Starchy carbohydrate foods are not good if you are trying to loose weight, but great for energy for an active athlete, particularly high fibre varieties.
- Protein is essential in your diet, a professional rugby player will eat up to 300 grams of protein in a day – that’s the equivalent of about 10 tins of tuna, 8 Chicken breasts or 50 eggs.
- It is important to reduce the amount of fatty sugary foods eaten.
- As players sweat a lot during a game of rugby, it essential to drink plenty of fluids on game day.
Rugby is a hard physical game that requires a high level of commitment. It is an important coaching skill to build up the mental toughness of players. Players need to have faith in their team mates, and that the players around them will do their jobs. Players need to have belief in the aims, and strategies of the team. In this way, the team will work much better together.
Even at the highest levels of the game, handling errors, poor lineout throws, poor kicking skills cost teams games. You can never, within reason, work too hard on ball skills. Backs in particular need to have very good ball skills to keep up with the fast moving speed of the game, and to ensure that back movements are fluid. Kicking skills are also very important for backs to work on; both for tactical kicks and goal kicking. Have a look around the rest of this site for some different ball skills and rugby drills for players.
There is a variety of technical skills for players in different positions. Most of these skills are important to all players, but have particular value to players in the following positions:
All front row: Scrum, driving, rucking, mauling and general breakdown skills. Strength and power.
Props: Lifting for the lineouts and kick offs
Hooker: Throwing skills for lineouts
Locks: Jumping and timing for lineouts, receiving kicks and catching, specific scrumming skills.
Loose forwards: rucking, mauling and general breakdown skills, strong at tackling.
Number eight: Taking the ball out of the back of a scrum, running the ball in contact. Strength and power.
Scrum half: Strong pass, tactical kicking, fast acceleration.
Fly half: Tactical kicking, passing, positional, decision making.
Centres: Strong tackle, positional, passing, strong running in contact.
Wings: Speed, positional.
Full back: Speed, positional, tactical kicking, decision making, defensive.