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LTPD Pathway
Functional Screening
Anatomical Adaptation
Game Demands
Conditioning for Rugby
Periodisation in Rugby

Training modes for speed

Primary training method

This refers to the execution of sound technique during speed training. The first step towards achieving sound technique is learning efficient movement mechanics. Before coaching a player to move fast, we must coach them to move efficiently. Once a player masters movement mechanics, training can focus on optimising running technique with power and speed. Poor technique reduces running efficiency and economy (Gambetta, 1991, Mann, 1985).

In practice, many players will dissipate energy (and speed) through applying braking forces unintentionally (Cissik, 2004). By this, we mean that players who may be limited in mobility about the ankle, knee and hip joints may not be able to accelerate or decelerate efficiently (Cook et al, 2010).

Technique of a sprinter versus a Rugby player

Track sprinters are encouraged to run tall with an open chest and a long trunk. While this may be the ideal technique for track sprinters, it may not be ideal for the Rugby player. The Rugby player who adopts a track sprinter’s technique may leave himself exposed to front-on tackles. Research has shown that top players run with a more closed upper body, forward leaning posture (Sayers, 2000, Spinks et al, 2007). Further, Rugby players are required to overcome an opponent or to drive through a tackle. In this situation, optimising the forward driving – horizontal position - is of importance (Lockie et al, 2003).

Initially, technique training is performed at submaximal speeds to allow the player to become comfortable and confident and to learn proper acceleration and deceleration mechanics. Once the player has mastered the technique at a submaximal pace, they then can progress to maximum speed training methods. Training methods and the distances completed should be tailored to meet the specific requirements that are evident during match play (Deutsch et al, 2006).