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


Functional Screening is an effective method of observing movement imbalances within a player (Cook et al, 2010). By functional, we mean a movement that is commonly used in physical activity and sport. For example, take the squat exercise. Squatting is a common movement used on a daily basis by all active individuals. The squat movement pattern occurs when sitting, getting up from a seated position or when bending to pick an object. Rugby players squat frequently during training, practice and play. Notice that players move into a form of squatting when they are preparing to pack down in a scrum, players use a squat pattern to get ready to jump in a lineout, players use a form of squat when driving an opponent back during a tackle. The back squat and front squat and variations of this functional movement are evident in the resistance training programmes of players. The squat, it can be stated, is a common ‘functional’ movement pattern within the game of Rugby.

Using a squat movement pattern, we can observe a player’s preference for movement. This in turn may indicate to us the imbalances in terms of muscle tightness and weakness that may exist in completing such a movement (Cook et al, 2010, NASMI, 2009). This is our starting point, so to speak, and in this section we will describe how to carry out a simple Overhead Squat. Our aim here is to help the coach to observe possible areas of imbalance that may lead to a more individualised training programme for the player so that they can become more stable and mobile through this very common movement pattern (Gilligan et al, 2005).

In order to carry out a Functional Screen on a player or on a group of players, it is important that the coach plans for the screening session.