Periodization in Rugby
Periodization in Rugby
"Clock's ticking, clock's ticking ... one minute to go ... we must score now to win this game and get in the final ... I'm tired, legs and lungs burning ... 10 meters from their line, clock's ticking ... lungs burning ... 7th frame of play ... legs burning ... been tired all week ... pick and go ... YES!.. Legs burning ... our prop is through, off-load ... lungs burning, time's ticking ... scrum half through ... legs burning ... I'm inside, I must get the pass ... slow, too slow, can't make it in support. I'm late ... lungs burning, clock's ticking ... knock on! Referee whistles ... scrum ... opposition clears, it's all over ... "
We simply hope this doesn't sound too familiar to you as a player or a coach, but it has honestly happened to all of us. "What went wrong?" The answer can be simple or quite complex, and one of the purposes of this book is to help players and coaches identify and develop the step-by-step methodology needed to optimize overcoming fatigue, and produce individually and collectively, the best rugby performance possible according to the level and objectives of the team.
As most other team sports, rugby is a sport of technical finesse, tactical boldness, and refined and complex physical development. From the 1990's, the game of rugby has evolved so abundantly that the comprehension of all aspects of the game, from technical/tactical and psychological to the science and methodology of training, is undeniably more challenging for the coach and players than ever. And yet, the higher your knowledge of the complexity of the game, the higher the chance is to produce top players and elite level teams.
Over the years, many rugby coaches and players have followed a different school of thought. To increase the chances of winning, some coaches have relied on technical/tactical refinement with exciting offensive play or more recently, with hermetic defense systems. Other coaches, however, have stressed physical training to overcome eventual technical/tactical shortcomings, with the belief that stronger conditioning will give them a chance to rollover the opposition, particularly in the last part of the game, and increase the probability of winning.
If, however, you are looking for perfection and winning the championship in your league, none of the above models will satisfy your coaching ideals. Perfection is an abstract term, very difficult to achieve. However, to improve the probability of winning you must look for perfection in every aspect of the game: technical, tactical, physical, and psychological. Furthermore, there are other elements of athleticism of equal importance for the final outcome of the game, such as an athletic lifestyle, rest and recovery, social environment and nutrition and supplements. To strive for perfection in your game you need to take each of these elements separately and try to perfect them. Game perfection can be accomplished only when every component can be chiseled into the ideal form. This is the only way to elite athleticism!
There are several books on the market discussing either a specific topic, or all the elements of the game. In our case, however, we'll address only one, but a crucial element of the game: physical conditioning. Why only physical conditioning? Because it is very complex in nature and a large body of information needed to be discussed in detail. Physical training represents the foundation of all other elements of the game. To improve your chances of winning you must be properly trained; winning comes naturally only to well-trained teams! Therefore, we'll discuss in detail all the elements of conditioning and show you the road you need to travel in order to train your players to reach the highest level of physical competency ever.
Why conditioning? Why is it so important for rugby?
The main scope of conditioning training is to overcome fatigue ! You'll do