Do not let your fitness take a holiday
This time around the rugby season in Sri Lanka is at a virtual stand still. So do I take time off from my weekly column and call it a needed rest? It is true, it is lull period other than the news we have of the Sri Lankan leaving to Brunei for the Asian Junior championship. For most others the season is over and we wait for the rugby season to start again next year. It will kick off possibly with the club sevens scheduled to be played in February 2008. What do the players do during this period and what should they do? The rest time of the local rugby calendar is a bad period as it is coupled with the festive season of December and January .This is a time of the year that can cause havoc with the players. The boys may come back after the festive season and rest periods, overweight, un-fit and not knowing how to pass the ball. Then do we start again? If it is not go back to the starting block and you have to use this period gainfully to improve the quality of the player.
What they would require, and I am sure most would have, is an idea or plan for the players to stay in shape while enjoying the rest as well as the festivities. For a player this may be the time you can put on some serious weight around the middle. Since there is a possibility of over-eat it would be nice to have a program unless and you want an easy way to put on 4-5kgs in as many weeks whereas you should be adding on muscle or the least staying as you are. Players must be made to remember that, keeping the body fat levels maintained is crucial. Using this period well is important to the player. This does not mean over training being over worked and reaching a stage of being stale. This requires to do things light but to keep in shape while enjoying yourself.
What would be needed is a healthy program that will up the intensity of the training sessions and end up the day with some rugby specific fitness. This includes playing various types of rugby such as 5-a-side no kick rugby or some fun rugby games. Do I hear anybody saying tap rugby? Not a bad idea as this too can be enjoyed and also develop skills on dexterity , manoeuvring as well as good passing skills that require quick and efficient distribution of the ball. This will be great for keeping fresh and fit. And most of all keeping them together and building the required team spirit.
This will be a good time to get them involved in discussion and or workshops that motivate build teams and educate on the psychological demands of the game. It could also be used to teach them about the use of supplements and also on the need to avoid the “performances enhancers”. It would be a time to improve their understanding of the laws of the game.
This would be a time to revisit and talk of the basics and also the game aspects that need work on the board. The players have had a rest and are not burned out towards fatigue. Nor do they have many issues of winning and losing stored in their heads that impair their ability to concentrate. It is therefore a good time to talk and to educate. It a time to talk to them of the need to be aware of what piles on the weight. You could talk to them that the key to sustainable energy is small regular feedings not three huge meals. May be an outbound exercise will be helpful. This could be a time to talk to them on how to face 15 heavy and big rugby players you may meet on the field. They must be educated to understand that the answer lies in getting back to basics and improvement of the skills. This is a time to prepare the player to realize that rugby fitness is all about utilizing the most amount of muscle potential in explosive and static bouts of work. Where else would you need fitness for jumping to catch a high ball, absorbing a tackle, making a tackle, sprinting short bursts, ripping a ball from your partner. This is time that could be made to make them understand that rugby fitness is about short bursts of work lasting anywhere from 30-90 seconds.
This is a time for skill development; that is physical, game and mental. This is a lay over and preseason. No burdens no issues the boys are fresh and at this stage it is easier to improve the knowledge base of the player. I believe if the quality of the player is improved it can only lead to better results