Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

How much science do we need to know? by David Clarke
July 10, 2009, 7:58 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Fitness | Tags: , ,

In a recent Rugby Coach Weekly, one article explained the balance between aerobic and anaerobic systems in rugby before giving examples of how to train in each area.

To the U14 coach, is that important?

Of course, the more we know, the better off we are. It helps us make informed decisions on how to organise our rugby conditioning programmes appropriate to the players we have.

On the other hand, many coaches don’t have time to research this information, let alone reflect and plan the sessions.

Plus, who needs to know that the expression for being able to run for longer is aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness is about sprint and short bursts of work.

You might say: “Give me the drills to do it. Leave out all the other stuff.”

Actually I liken it to driving a car. I don’t care what happens inside as long as it goes. But my brother loves having a manual gearbox and knowing what happens with what under the bonnet.

My sense is that coaches love the nitty gritty of some bits and gloss over other parts. Let someone else deal with that. That’s why some of us are destined to be forwards and other backs.

Better Rugby Coaching


3 Comments so far
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Just like rugby skills are important for playing the game, so is physical fitness. It pays off to understand the energy systems (aerobic, anaerobic, creatine-phosphate) in the human body. They explain why there is a performance dip after 45-60 minutes, which nutrition works best and so much more.

In my view, it’s not so much about science as it is about learning and becoming a better coach.

Comment by Luk

great blog, Dan. Couldn’t agree more. why would you be explaining the delicacies of energy system training with young fellas? they don’t care they just want to play. Understand it by all means, but then learn how to ‘hide’ or integrate it into play, warm-ups, drills and conditioned games.

Comment by John Lark

I recently took part in a Kent County selection day for the U14’s and U15’s sides.
One of the selectors with myself was saying it was very difficult to assess the ability of the props and locks in a very short time.
My suggestion to him was not only to look at 1st phase and there actions but look at the 3rd phase.
For example a lock has just hit the ball up created a ruck and the ball has been shipped wide.
an ensuing ruck created the ball has come back, now,what has the lock done from that 1st phase? is he now in position to be involved in this next passage of play? Is he acting as a support runner or able to take the ball up again?
Does he look as though he WANTS to be involved in this phase of play?
It interesting to see that this boils down to fitness levels as if the 3rd phase is created in ashort space of time was the particular player able to be involved?
So not only playing ability is now looked at but fitness levels also.
I have now been looking closely at my 1st team (MENS) and it has worked wonders, using comments like what are you going to do now, (after the 1st phase) look to get involved, where can you be to support?
In effect there is no where to hide after the 1st phase!!

Comment by Peter king

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