Rugby coaching tips for stretching

Why stretch?

Sprinting, changing direction and passing at an angle require rugby players to be supple. Stretching improves suppleness, helps muscle recovery after physical activity and can also reduce injuries.

Flexibility does not mean you have weaker muscles, it means you are more mobile and agile. Increasing your mobility can be an advantage, making you more elusive on the field.

When to stretch

It is important to stretch prior to and after all physical activity, whether it is a rugby training session or playing a game. For example, rugby forwards need flexibility in the shoulders to be able to link in the scrum and ruck, while backs need flexibility in the muscles of their legs to be more mobile in order to sprint and change direction quickly. 

One of the most common injuries sustained in the rugby game is hyper-extension of the arm, which can strain or tear muscles that stabilise the shoulder. This injury typically happens in the tackle.

Stretching of the shoulder helps reduce the risk of damage to the muscle in this type of injury.

Match preparation

Stretching should be part of your preparation before the game. It helps prepare your players physically and psychologically for the onslaught to come.

Pre-game stretching typically covers the main muscles to be used in the game, such as the large muscle mass of the legs and shoulders.

Following the game, stretching can be carried out after showering or bathing when the muscles are warm and relaxed. 

Key rugby coaching tip

A warm up rugby drill should be performed prior to stretching, otherwise you can do more harm than good.

Think about stretching a rubber-band that has been kept in an icebox. When it is stretched cold it is more likely to snap, but if it is warmed first it is more easily stretched and won't break.

Similarly, never stretch cold muscles!

Click here to get more rugby coaching tips on the different types of stretching exercises for your players.

Click here to order Rocket Rugby and get training plans and exercises to boost your players' rugby fitness.


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