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6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person Term Paper


Introduction

Rugby is a physically demanding sport, and it requires players to draw on several components of fitness grouped as general, special and specific fitness. Since the game has become faster and more demanding, physical conditioning is equally important because it enhances performance and reduces injuries. Better performance is achieved through body size, strength, power, fitness, speed and agility.

While training the young player, safety is of paramount importance. A lot of attention and emphasis is placed on strength and resistance programs for adult players and little significance is placed on training programs for junior players. This paper is very specific because it aims to develop a training program that focuses on speed and agility, for a 14-year-old half-out.

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Physiological Characteristics

Professional rugby players have well developed physiological features as indicated by maximal aerobic power (vo2 MAX) of between 48.6 and 62.6 ml/kg/min. They have mean measurements of “10m and 40m at speeds of 1.71 and 5.32 seconds respectively” (Gabbett 2002, p. 99).

In comparison to Gabbett’s (2002) literature, young rugby players have less developed physiological characteristics as opposed to professional players. It is reported (Gabbett 2002) that there has been a general decline in physiological capacities of current players compared to rugby players during earlier decades. This could be attributed to the lifestyle changes that have been realized in the recent times.

Body Characteristics

Excess body fat is not ideal for a rugby player because it interferes with muscle contraction. Therefore, a player is not able to acquire the desired speed and agility required for a rugby match. In addition, the rugby player will have excess body mass that will be difficult to run with. The Irish Rugby Union highlights studies of the 1990 that showed Irish children as less fit compared with their European counterparts because they had more body fat, less coordination and lower agility (Irish Rugby Football Union 2013).

Interval Training

Interval training is effective for rugby players because of the intermittent nature of a rugby match. This kind of training is characterized by a row of activities that occur within defined distances or time. After each activity, there is a recovery period.

Interval training is evident in the program designed below and falls within Meir, Colla & Milligan’s (2001) description of interval training as making use of distances and activities that are specific to the rugby match itself. These activities include moving up and back over 10 meters for durations of 30 to 90 seconds, repetitions and sprint efforts characterized by variation. The activities are of high-intensity as they are intended to increase the heart rate to at least 80%.

Pre-Season

Training during the pre-season is structured and specific. It begins with an emphasis on strength and power development and progresses towards other exercises in which speed and agility are part. The exercises detailed below entail no or minimal load: a ball. Little load at this stage is very important because it is associated with reduced injuries.

In addition, there is need for rehabilitation time between the pre-season and the in-season because inadequate time for rehabilitation has led to occurrence of injuries. Pre-season training for young rugby players is different from that of adult players. The adult players maximize on the pre-season to develop fitness, and this development is maintained in the in-season.

Speed and Agility Training Program

Speed and agility are essential to a rugby player because they help the players in decelerating and accelerating, getting up off the ground, swerving, stepping and top speed running. Speed is important during training because it helps reduce the occurrence of injuries (Gabbett 2000).

There are sequential steps towards completing the speed and agility training. In reference to a junior player, attention will be on speed technique skills and general speed and agility drills. Specific speed and agility is required for adult players. This is as indicated by Irish Rugby Football Union (2013).

The union states that young players are not physically mature, and they lack motor fitness; hence, specific fitness training does not have any beneficial impact on them. In addition, as stated earlier, unlike the junior players who will continue to train during the in-season, adult players do not.

The junior players should stretch at the beginning and end of each session to prevent injury and long-term posture problems (Irish Rugby Football Union 2013). In addition, it helps them develop a positive habit of stretching, which is necessary for their muscles and posture.

The speed technique is kept as simple as possible to help in gradual development to subsequent stages. This speed technique focuses on the nervous system, whose role is to enable the muscles to respond swiftly, and thereby, accelerate stride rate. This technique is achieved during warm-up. The technique entails various steps:

  1. Relaxing head, shoulders and hands.
  2. Push the arms forcefully in a forward, backwards style.
  3. While maintaining a swift motion, pop the food off the ground.
  4. In the initial steps, keep low, driving out, not up.
  5. Change of direction requires one to always stay low

Activities to be included during the speed technique other than controlling the nervous system include (Rodgers & Beesley 1996):

Tail Kicks

This involves running slowly forward and taking the heels up to reach the buttocks in a swift motion. The Arms should also be driven in a swift motion to enable coordination between the leg and arms towards increasing speed. A distance of 10 to 20 meters is covered and repeated 2 to 4 times. Players then stretch as a recovery exercise.

Speed Spurts

A 20 to 30 meter course is set out and marked at 5 meter intervals. Players jog between the markers and at each marker, the player sprints on the spot for 2 seconds as he attempts to swiftly pop his foot off the ground. There are 4 to 6 spurts at each course, and these are repeated 4 to 8 times. Players then engage in stretching exercises to aid in recovery.

Strides

1 meter intervals are set out along a course. The players are expected to take strides between the markers in a fast motion; a stride is equivalent to the distance between two intervals. The striding can be widened as the players perfect this drill but it should not go beyond 2.5 meters to prevent over-striding. Players make 15 to 20 strides per course and this is repeated 12 times. Afterwards, the players rest for 60 seconds to aid in recovery. The players then do their stretching exercises to further aid in recovery.

In the second phase of speed development, general speed and agility exercises are involved. This level of speed development is meant to improve individuals’ speed and accelerations while increasing the rate at which the players change directions. This level helps players to have a better control of their joints, and it reduces the risk of injury. The drills involved under this level include (Rodgers & Beesley 1996):

Wind Sprints

This involves a series of sprints and a jog between each sprint. In an example, a player can run over a one meter course, and then sprint over 10 meters while having 20 meter jog intervals. The distance covered is between 40 and 100 meters, and this is repeated 4 to 6 times. Stretching is the ideal recovery exercise for the junior players. The sprint distance could be as short as 5 meters or as long as 20 meters. The jog distance ranges from 15 to 40 meters.

Transition Sprints

This entails a transition from jogging to sprinting. The course is set out with three markers at pre-determined intervals. As earlier mentioned, rugby is an intermittent sport that requires the players to have a very high degree of speed when changing directions. This exercise helps them to achieve this because it is characterized by variation, which enables players to swiftly change direction as they start to sprint.

The players start by jogging at the first marker until they reach the second one, then they sprint as they move to the third one. The distance for jogging is 5 to 15 meters, while that of sprinting is 10 to 30 meters. A rest of 45 seconds is recommended, and then the young players stretch as they prepare for another session of activity.

Backward-forward sprints

This exercise is also meant to reinforce flexibility at an accelerating rate. Players stand 3 meters in front a starting line. They start by lifting their knees to the highest point possible, and then slowly run backwards to the starting line. Upon reaching this line, they quickly change direction and sprint for 10 meters. The sprint distance should be 10 meters, and this is repeatable for 5 to 15 times. A rest of 30 seconds followed by a stretching activity are essential to aid in recovery.

Squares

Five meters by five meters square is set out and players sprint in various directions. The players sprint forward to the first marker. This is followed by a sideway sprint to the second marker, and then a backward sprint to the third marker.

This is repeated in the opposite direction where the players sprint backwards to the first marker, then sideways and finally forward. Players repeat a one-way drill 5 to 10 times. Recovery is attained by resting for 10 to 30 seconds followed by stretching. This drill is carried out as the players carry the ball in both hands.

Zigzags

As the name suggests, five markers are arranged in a zigzag style. Players run from one marker to the next, stepping off the outside foot while changing direction. It is important to note that that the turns should not be too tight. Players can carry out this drill while carrying a ball in both hands. This is repeated 5 to 10 times and stretching follows to aid in recovery.

Exercise Schedule

A summary of the speed and agility exercises discussed above are summarized below to develop a 6-week program for a 14-year old half-out.

Week Speed and Agility Exercise
1-3 weeks Speed technique
4-6 weeks General speed and agility exercises

The above table can be broken down to more specific exercises in the following tables:

Week One to Three:

Day Activity
Monday Warm-up

Stretching

Strides

Recovery

Tail kicks

Recovery

Wednesday Warm-up

Stretching

Speed spurts

Recovery

Tail kicks

Recovery

Friday Warm-up

Stretching

Strides

Recovery

Speed spurts

Recovery

Week four to six:

Day Activity
Monday Warm-up

Stretching

Wind sprints

Recovery

Backward-forward sprints

Recovery

Zigzags

Recovery

Tuesday Warm-up

Stretching

Transition sprints

Recovery

Squares

Recovery

Backward-forward sprints

Recovery

Wednesday Warm-up

Stretching

Squares

Recovery

Wind sprints

Recovery

Transition sprints

Recovery

Thursday Warm-up

Stretching

Transition sprints

Recovery

Backward-forward sprints

Recovery

Zigzags

Recovery

Friday Warm-up

Wind sprints

Recovery

Transition sprints

Recovery

Backward-forward sprints

Recovery

Conclusion

Training is very important for rugby players because it is the foundation of enhanced performance. Speed and agility are different aspects of training. While speed is of the essence because it enables players to move swiftly during attack and defence, agility helps players to accelerate, decelerate and rapidly change direction.

Despite the fact that there is limited research on risk factors for injury among rugby players, speed is one element that should be highlighted by trainers during training as it is associated with reduced injuries among rugby players. All in all, more literature is warranted on young rugby players in the context of ideal exercises, and differences in training young rugby players as opposed to adult rugby players.

References

Gabbett, TJ 2002, ‘Physiological characteristics of junior and senior rugby league players’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 36. no. 5, pp. 334-339.

Gabbett, TJ 2000, ‘Incidence, site, and nature of injuries in amateur rugby league over three consecutive seasons’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 34, pp. 98 – 103.

Irish Rugby Football Union 2013, Development: Fitness: The Young Player, <>.

Meir, R, Colla, P & Milligan, C 2001, ‘Impact of the 10-meter rule change on professional rugby league: Implications for training’, Strength and Conditioning Journal, vol. 23, pp. 42 – 46.

Rodgers, T & Beesley, R 1996, FITNESS FOR RUGBY LEAGUE. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 28). 6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/6-week-pre-season-strength-conditioning-programme-for-14-years-old-person/

Work Cited

"6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person." IvyPanda, 28 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/6-week-pre-season-strength-conditioning-programme-for-14-years-old-person/.

1. IvyPanda. "6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person." June 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/6-week-pre-season-strength-conditioning-programme-for-14-years-old-person/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person." June 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/6-week-pre-season-strength-conditioning-programme-for-14-years-old-person/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person." June 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/6-week-pre-season-strength-conditioning-programme-for-14-years-old-person/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) '6-week Pre-season Strength & Conditioning Programme for 14 years old person'. 28 June.

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