Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Recovery is the coach’s most crucial role by David Clarke

Many domestic and national competitions came to an end in the last few weeks.

No side can say they were able to be field their best side every week, and it would interesting to know if any teams at the top level were able to field their strongest side on any occasion.

Coaches are now looking closely at how they can keep their players going for longer. Recovery is one place where there is an accelerated interest and concentration. Players will be coming off the field with bumps and strains. How quickly these can be turned around will be crucial to get players training and playing again.

What is your team’s recovery strategy post match?

Better Rugby Coaching


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Hey Dan, Lisa Rosen here in the US.

I just came off a stint with the Collegiate All American Women. We were only together a week, but had several hard sessions we needed to get done, in preparation for two games with players much more physically mature and experienced.

The strategy we used to manage the players was three pronged – AM recovery sessions, short and long ice therapy, and decreasing session duration.

Each morning, the players assembled outside the dorms and did a short “wake up” session – 10 minutes or so. Some calisthenics, dynamic stretching, active recovery. We didn’t have access to a pool so this part was critical. After that, the forwards and backs spend about 30 minutes apart working on things that generally involve a lot of standing around. Forwards learned some lineout routines, backs did some light handling and kicking.

After this we immediately ate breakfast. I’ve found that these “rooster” sessions get the players metabolism up, keep them loose, and conserve training time.

Each day we did one AM session and one PM session. After each morning session the players did a quick 3-5 minute dip in the ice bath. It was hot, so this was as much about bringing down the core temperature as about tending bumps and bruises, but it did help with that as well. After the PM session, the players did a longer dip in the ice. Both ice sessions were immediately followed by food.

Last, since we had the players up and moving early, we were able to accomplish a lot of repetitive work outside of the main practice session.
So, we didn’t need to keep players out for 2 hours. Each day the sessions got a little shorter – 1:45, 1:30, 1:15. We were able to keep up the intensity, and with 2 a days for 3 days, one practice thursday, and games friday and sunday, we only lost one player to injury. And that was a concussion.

I’m glad you chose to write about recovery – it’s important that we don’t just coach players, but that we manage their health and well being when they are assembled. Only then will they be able to give their all!


Comment by Lisa Rosen

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