Updated: Sep 13
I have attended hundreds of rugby training sessions during my 25 years of coaching and there is one common trend I see.
Drum roll... The majority of training sessions are about skill work and very little or NO TIME is spent on athletic performance. I'm always blown away by this, as successful rugby players need to be fast, agile, strong and powerful. Don't they? A rugby player is an athlete so why don't we train like one? You could have the sharpest pass that always lands on a dime, but if you can't back that up with speed to get away from defenders or strength to break through tackles then you are no good to your team. And by the way, athletic performance is what separates the average players from the best players. So why doesn't the general rugby community incorporate athletic performance training into their rugby training sessions? I could be here all day with the whys, but here are 3 myths as to why
1. Strength training will make you slower
Olympic sprinters include strength training in their training sessions.
The fastest rugby players in the world do strength training so it puzzles me as to why strength training is seen as slowing players down. Your body responds to the way you train, so if you are performing strength exercises slowly then sure you will get bulky and slow.. however, if you train FAST your body will become fast. By the way, you don't need to go to a gym for strength training.
Your own body weight will do the trick, and if that is too easy try performing strength exercises on one leg like a SINGLE LEG SPLIT SQUAT
2. Skill work will make you faster and more agile Another reason that coaches don't include athletic performance training in their training sessions is because they think they are already incorporating this into their passing drills or attacking drills. WRONG The reason is, skill work like passing and attacking drills throw a bunch of different stimulus at the player. They need to concentrate on catching the footy while looking up to scan what is in front of them. Instead, a rugby player looking to get faster or more agile needs to train speed and agility on it's own without all the other stimulus. This can be as simple as starting a training session (after a warm-up of course) with 10 reps of 5m and 10m sprints at max effort. 3. Plyometrics is a waste of time & dangerous
News flash, the best players in the world rely on plyometrics for their explosiveness yet we don't include plyometrics in our footy training sessions. How are players going to be explosive on the field? The misconception is that there isn't a lot of jumping in Rugby or that you need to include heavy weights for plyometrics to be effective. And this myth is a beauty, it is actually dangerous and can lead to knee and ankle injuries Bull dust! In fact, plyometrics is the easiest way to develop explosive power. You don't need any equipment just your body weight. How easy is that? Plyometrics, when done right can contribute to your speed, agility and overall explosiveness. You can perform BROAD JUMPS to develop explosive power. No equipment required and can be done on the rugby field. Just because athletic performance training isn't included in your weekly rugby training sessions doesn't mean that you can't go out and work on this yourself. In fact, this is exactly what the best players in the world do. They will work on their rugby skills during their team training sessions then they will go off on their own and work on their speed or agility. But, and this is a big one.. You need to know what you are doing otherwise you will be wasting your time and you won't see any gains. My ONLINE SPEED PROGRAMS include athletic performance training specific to rugby. Each training session includes speed, strength and power to ensure that you become strong in all athletic performance skills for rugby. You can check out these programs by clicking HERE