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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

Speed development - introduction and deceleration training

Eccentric strength

Eccentric strength requires training of the muscles during the lengthening phase of the muscle action. An example of an eccentric action would be the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) action used in jumping. In particular we see jump actions when the player jumps in a line out, fields a high ball, but all players are jumping in and out of contact or are jumping when changing direction. Eccentric strengthening exercises performed both bilaterally (double leg) and unilaterally (one side) will enhance eccentric strength and control.

Figure 5. Landing from a height requires eccentric landing muscular and proprioceptive control.

It is estimated that approximately 30% more weight can be controlled eccentrically than concentrically (Ellenbecker et al 1988, Wilson et al 1994). Eccentric focused strength training is recommended during the player’s periodised programme to effectively optimise strength balance. Figure 6 below shows a common resistance training exercise, the Romanian deadlift (RDL) being performed with a slow lowering action. This lowering action emphasizes the eccentric loading of the posterior chain muscles (gluteals and hamstring) which are important decelerators during many changes of direction in the game.

Figure 6. RDL emphasising lowering of the load.