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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Profiling the players

Repeated sprint and intermittent endurance performance

The authors had players complete a 6 × 30m repeated sprint ability test. The test was performed indoors on a synthetic track with players starting 1.0m behind the electronic timing gates. The total time to complete the 6 sprints was recorded to the nearest 0.01 second. The typical error for this test is reported as 0.7%.

An incremental running test was used to assess endurance capacity. The test was completed on a motorised treadmill under standardised laboratory conditions to determine players’ maximal oxygen uptake.

As reported by Higham et al (2013), VO2max values of sevens players were however similar to or greater than that of international and professional players when reported relative to body mass. The moderate aerobic power of Rugby sevens players (54 ml/kg/min) suggests that it is only one of several fitness requirements in the international player’s fitness profile. The authors further noted that the players’ performance in the team sport-specific Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery 1 was approximately 36% higher than results of professional Rugby League players but approximately 7% less than in elite international soccer players. The authors note that the interpretation of repeated-sprint test results is typically protocol- and analysis-dependent. In agreement with previous observations, the cumulative time to complete six 30m sprints was more closely related to single sprint times than aerobic capacity. The authors note that repeated sprint ability is likely constrained by several physiological factors including aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, muscle excitability and neural drive, and muscle buffer capacity.

In summary, moderate levels of aerobic fitness were reported for sevens players and these levels are similar to, or greater than, those reported for the 15-a-side player.