EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Four ways to un-unfit lockdown players

Returning to rugby is so exciting. But, like a hungry child who drinks too many fizzy drinks before a meal starts, we are in danger of blowing out our players in their first session and spoiling their feast.

There are two definite don’ts when you do start training. Don’t give them a fitness test and don’t “catch up” on fitness training.

A fitness test will only de-motivate the players. And extra fitness will use up valuable team time. There will be plenty of opportunities to rebuild fitness in the coming months.

Instead, find the challenge points to give them the right opportunities to rediscover their pre-lockdown fitness levels.

1 SPACED ACTIVITY

The first session back should be spaced out, with plenty of recovery time between each bout.

You might even need to slow the players down a little bit. While training under fatigue conditions is a good constraint, at this stage you want the players to enjoy their opportunities and be fresh for the next activity.

2 SMALL GAMES, SMALL SKILLS

Keep everything condensed into smaller spaces. You can easily expand it if the players look ready.

Small skills means focusing on little reminders. Easy activities such as passing short distances will give the players success and therefore, even if they are tired from the games, they won’t become despondent because they are failing lots.

3 BONUS TIME

Run the session for a shorter time than you would, but offer bonus time at the end if they want. This should be completely voluntary.

In bonus time, give them a couple of choices of games to play. And then play. Definitely don’t give them a fitness exercise.

4 MOVEMENT SKILLS

Break up the session with small break out zones for movement skills. This could be a couple of bear crawls, forward rolls, extended hops or lengthen strides.

Ideally, do these in slow motion. Focus on the movement, not the speed.

Do these for a minute or so, and then return to the action.

The players have been away from proper opportunities to be athletic. Give them chances to remind themselves of what it looks and feels like.


Here are some sessions you could run as part of this return to play:

Rock, paper, scarper

6 top skills circuits

Touch cone warm up drill

Fitness home workouts: Session 1

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