Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coaches love to hear players communicate, but at the same time they hate idle chatter. What is the difference? Communication is two ways: that means information is sent, processed and received. How does this work in a team? Idle chatter is getting overly excited, whooping and hollering about something your going to do or something that you have done. It is also talking when you should be listening, ie when your coach or captain is talking. Communication is telling your teammate you are doing something and hearing their affirmation before listening to what they are doing. This helps paint a complete picture, increasing trust and developing a team that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
. Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Speed:
1. 8 x 40m sprints with 2 minutes rest between reps. 2 sprints from a 3-point start, 2 from a standing start, 2 from a falling start, and 2 from a lying start. Focus on staying relaxed, keeping your elbows at 90 degrees and driving your arms from your shoulders. If your elbows are at 90 degrees then you will be able to drive your hand from your cheek (face) to your cheek (butt).

Ball Skills:
1. Finger taps at arms length. 60 seconds. Move the ball around and focus on keeping the ball on the pads of the fingers.
2. Shazams. 1 handed passing facing your partner/wall. Start with your hand underneath the ball with the ball touching your belly button. Drive with your forearms before finishing the pass by flicking your wrists. The object is to develop wrist strength. Complete 20-30 each hand.
Sideways Shazams. Turn side-on to your partner or the wall and complete as above. Complete 20-30 each hand.
3. Pop Passes. Face your partner and practice using on your wrists to flick a pass to your partner. Complete 20-30 facing your partner then practice while running 5m apart and then 7m apart.

Stretches:
Calves, hamstrings, quads and lower back.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today would have been my Lola’s birthday (my grandma on my Mum’s side). I never really knew her because she lived in the Philippines and I only visited 2 or 3 times before she passed away. However, she left me a heritage. She worked hard her entire life and passed on this work ethic to her children. Although I didn’t know her well, I am very proud of my heritage from my Lola’s village in Negros Occidental to the work my Mum and Dad do in Negros and Mindanao.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
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Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

 Lift:
1. Single Arm DB Snatch. 3 (sets) x 10 (reps). Start with the DB on the ground between your legs. Keep your chest up and drive up using your legs, letting the momentum flow through your body into your arm.
2. BB Front Squat. 10 x 2. Begin each set on the minute. Use about 55-65% of yoru 1RM. Focus on keeping your chest up, elbows pointing forward and maintaining an arch in your back at the bottom. The reps should be very fast and fluid.
3. BB Good Mornings. 3 x 10. Focus on keeping your back locked, bend from the hips with unbroken knees. Go only as far as you can maintain a flat back .
4. DB Chest Press. 5 x 6. Focus on maintaining your core and keeping your shoulders pinned to the bench. Although this is a chest press, you need to engage your lats to create a stable platform and use them to drive out of the bottom of the press.
Conditioning:
As many rounds as possible in 7 minutes of 7 hand-release (at the bottom of the pushup lay on the ground and lift up your hands before pushing yourself back to the start) and 7 deadlifts with 225 pounds. The object of this is to go out as fast as possible and do as much work before you hit the wall. Think of it as the start of match. You need to sprint around the field and dominate, if you hit the wall hold on and take short rests and push yourself to keep going.
Stretches:
Lower back, hamstrings, hip complexes, quads, calves and achilles.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Training should feel pretty normal by now, however don’t fall into the trap of going through the motions. Too often when something becomes routine we stop focusing on the reason we are doing it. I agree you can cruise through a warm-up, but when it is time to knuckle day make sure you flip the switch. Listen to what the coach is saying, interpret it and attempt to incorporate it into your game. This is the way that every athlete becomes a better player.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Agility:
1. Ladder Work: 4-6 reps of each skill, if you don’t have a ladder grab a bunch of full water bottles and use them as cones spaced 18-24 inches apart. Single Foot Skips, Double Foot Skips, Single Foot Run, Double Foot Run, Bunny Jumps, Right Foot Hops, Left Foot Hops, Half Icky Shuffle, Full Icky Shuffle
2. 5-10-5: Complete 6 repetitions (3 going right first and 3 going left first). Recover for 1-2 minutes between reps and give it everything you have.
3. T-Drill: Complete 4 repetitions (2 right and 2 left). Recover about 1 minute between reps. Focus on short steps around the cones and driving out of the turns with low hips.

Ball Skills:
1. Tactile Pressure shuttle: Set up 10m shuttle and run while tapping the ball in your hand above your head. Complete 6 reps on each hand with 10 pushup penalty for every drop ball.
2. Ball Toss: Throw the ball into the air using a perfect spiral. Complete tosses for 1 minute using your dominant hand and 1 minute using your non-dominant hand.
3. Scrumhalf passes: Practice approaching the ball on the ground and picking it up and passing in the same motion.

 

Monday, February 27, 2012

The start of week 7 and almost everyone should have started season. For the northern hemisphere, it is getting down to the business end of the season, however the opposite is true of the southern hemisphere. I grew up in Australia and New Zealand, where I watched open, running rugby. Where the moving the ball to space was king, however I have a great appreciation for the northern hemisphere game. The teams adapt to the conditions where a slippery ball, soft pitch and blustery winds change the way you play the game. In the United States, you can up playing anywhere in the country for the play-offs. It is important to develop the skills that will allow you to thrive no matter the conditions. This means being able to throw the short or the long pass. To know the day when it is best to keep the ball and the day when it is best to let the ball do the work.

This week the supersets disappear for a week. This will allow your body to have less stress, but look to perform the remaining movements with great form and look at increasing the weight a little bit.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
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Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
1. DB Hang Squat Clean & Thruster. 5 (sets) x 5 (reps). Use a weight that that you can move quickly. Focus on driving up with the legs before changing direction quickly to get under the DB. This ability to move quickly and deliberately will show out in your contact on the field. The dip before a tackle or a clear out is where you will see these results.
2. BB Back Squat. 5 x 3. Focus on sending the hips back and down while keeping the chest up. Drive out of the hole and reset yourself between reps at the top.
3. KB/DB Sumo Deadlift High Pull. 3 x 20. Use a weight between 35-70 pounds. The goal is to move quickly while keeping your spine in line and using your legs to drive the weight up to your chin. This will get you breathing hard, maximize the benefits by taking a short break between sets.
4. BB Push Press. Focus on keeping your chest out and getting the lock out at the top. Look forward during the lift and drive your arms, finishing with your wrists, shoulders, hips and ankles able to be connected by a line.

Conditioning:
5 reps of 300m shuttle (goal line to 50m and back 3 times) beginning each rep on the 5 minutes. Start fast and under control, focus on getting out of your turns this is where you will lose or make up all your time. Try to have all your reps be within 5 seconds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If you don’t have a game this week then stretch yourself to perform in the conditioning. The American/Filipino rugby seasons are really disjointed affairs. The league schedule is often hampered by distance travelled, lack of competition and weather. So it is important to maintain conditioning on these off-weekends.

Lift:
1. Power Clean. 7 (sets) x 3 (reps). This should be a really heavy day. Try to go up in weight every set after completing a couple of warmup sets. Focus on building speed throughout the lift culminating with an explosion as the bar meets the hips. This means keeping your core tight, pushing your knees out the way as you lift-off the ground. Then keeping the bar close as you pull the bar into your hips before driving off the ground and violently opening your hips to create momentum for the bar.
2. DB Bulgarian Squats. 4 x 12 each leg. Focus on keeping your torso upright and the weight distributed between your front and back legs, while driving through the heel of your front foot.
3. Snatch Grip Deadlifts. 5 x 2. Focus on keeping your core tight and accelerating through the lift lift the power clean. Keep the weight light, so you can focus on the form and the explosion at the top.
4. DB Shoulder Press. 4 x 12. Focus on keeping your core tight, hold the DB in a hammer grip, little finger forward and thumb pointing backward. Then drive the weight up keeping your core tight.

Conditioning:
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of 200m, 10 burpee pullups, 20 Lunges (10 each leg). Work on running fast. The goal in rugby is to get into position early and this will allow you to more easily force your opponent into making the decision you want him/her to. As the workout goes on, your legs will feel tired at this point drive with your arms on the run because if you pump your arms your legs will follow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I hate the saying “Give 110%!” It is normally attached to an over-emotional rant about how you have to go out and smash your opponent because everyone in the world is depending on you. But how can you give a 110%…it’s impossible. You are trying to do things that you are simply not capable of. Todd Durkin, TRX expert, has a saying “move as fast as you can, not as fast as you can’t” and he is right. So what does this have to do with you?

In rugby, most of your game should be played between 80-90% of your ability. In this range, like in lifting, you will be able to perform all the skills with your best technique and achieve the desired result. This comes by taking the time to practice the skills, so you can increase the speed and accuracy you perform these skills at. An example would be hitting the target with a long pass while running fast. For backs, a good standard is 25m. If your max is 25m then you will likely have a low strike rate for hitting the target. If you increase your max pass to 30m, you will only be passing 83% of your max distance and your ability to hit the target at 25m will increase.

The added bonus is that you also have a little bit extra for those game changing moments. These are the moments where the outcome is worth the risk of performing a skill inaccurately. This might be throwing that 30m pass to next man standing unmarked on the wing 15m out from the tryline or a prop attempting to make a cover tackle on a winger. These special moments during a match demand that you give a little extra, isn’t it better to be able to give that little extra rather than trying to over-extend yourself?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

As the season progresses, your knowledge of your teammates will increase and your ability to play instinctively will improve. This happens during practice and games as you support your teammates, work alongside them defensively and as you discuss your common performance after trainings and games. Another way to improve your knowledge of teammates is to watch them perform drills during training. Don’t stand around and talk at the back of the line, watch how other players perform the skills; learn from their mistakes and learn their tendancies. This will help the team be more effective and you will find yourself in the right spot to make an impact more often.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
. Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Speed:
1. 8 x 40m sprints with 2 minutes rest between reps. 2 sprints from a 3-point start, 2 from a standing start, 2 from a falling start, and 2 from a lying start. Focus on staying relaxed, keeping your elbows at 90 degrees and driving your arms from your shoulders. If your elbows are at 90 degrees then you will be able to drive your hand from your cheek (face) to your cheek (butt).

Ball Skills:
1. Finger taps at arms length. 60 seconds. Move the ball around and focus on keeping the ball on the pads of the fingers.
2. Shazams. 1 handed passing facing your partner/wall. Start with your hand underneath the ball with the ball touching your belly button. Drive with your forearms before finishing the pass by flicking your wrists. The object is to develop wrist strength. Complete 20-30 each hand.
Sideways Shazams. Turn side-on to your partner or the wall and complete as above. Complete 20-30 each hand.
3. Running Passes. With a partner, one person run on the 5m line and the other on the 15m line and pass the ball between you. Focus on keeping the hips forward and moving the arms across the body.

Stretches:
Calves, hamstrings, quads and lower back.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
1. DB Singe Arm Snatch. 4 (sets) x 12 (reps) each arm. Use a weight that you feel you can control for 12 reps. Start with the DB touching the ground beside the opposite foot of the hand you are using. Keeping your chest up, drive with your legs and hips and control the weight using your shoulders, forearms and wrist. This adds a transverse movement the snatch and will help you control the power you generate.
2. SUPERSET: Front Squat. 5 x 5/Tuck Jump. 5 x 2. Use a weight that is challenging probably close to 85% of your 1RM. The focus is to keep your chest up and drive through your heels coming out of the bottom. With the tuck jump, aim to get the most height in each jump.
3. SUPERSET: Good Mornings. 2 x 15/MB Overhead Toss. 2 x 15. Use the bar with little or no weight for this exercise. The goal is to go through the motion and maintain a rigid core bending from the hip with the knees unbroken. The work from this superset comes from the MB OH Toss. Throw the ball backwards over your head to a partner or against the wall.
4. SUPERSET: DB Incline Bench Press. 4 x 6/MB Chest Pass. 4 x 8. Focus on keeping your core tight with the bench set higher than 45 degrees (closer to vertical than horizontal). Control the downward motion and then punch the weight back into the air. The chest is against a wall or with a partner and needs to be fast and snappy.

Conditioning:
Complete 4 rounds of 300m row and 20 MB getups with 2 minutes rest between each round. A MB getup starts with lying on your back with the MB held at arms length over your face. From this start position, stand up keeping the MB above your face then head at all times. The movement finishes by returning to the start position. Keep two hands on the ball at all times and the ball should generally be oriented above your face/head throughout the movement.

Stretch:
Calves, Quads, Hip Complex with extra work on the Hip Flexors, Shoulders, Chest.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So how do you prep for contact at training? Bring intensity to training. My definition of intensity for rugby practice is borrowed from Jonathan Griffin, “INTENSITY IS CLARITY OF THOUGHT AND CLARITY OF EXECUTION.” Normally the coach sets the parameters to create a type of contact to help improve player’s skills. My advice, focus on performing the coaches cues. A coach will give a cue like “hit with the same foot and shoulder”. Your focus is to use is to think “hit with the same foot and shoulder” and then execute by using the correct footwork and technique to achieve this cue. You have brought clarity of thought and execution, which equals intensity at training.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Agility:
1. Ladder Work: 4-6 reps of each skill, if you don’t have a ladder grab a bunch of full water bottles and use them as cones spaced 18-24 inches apart. Single Foot Skips, Double Foot Skips, Single Foot Run, Double Foot Run, Bunny Jumps, Right Foot Hops, Left Foot Hops, Half Icky Shuffle, Full Icky Shuffle
2. 5-10-5: Complete 6 repetitions (3 going right first and 3 going left first). Recover for 1-2 minutes between reps and give it everything you have.
3. T-Drill: Complete 4 repetitions (2 right and 2 left). Recover about 1 minute between reps. Focus on short steps around the cones and driving out of the turns with low hips.

Ball Skills:
1. Tactile Pressure shuttle: Set up 10m shuttle and run while tapping the ball in your hand above your head. Complete 6 reps on each hand with 10 pushup penalty for every drop ball.
2. Ball Toss: Throw the ball into the air using a perfect spiral. Complete tosses for 1 minute using your dominant hand and 1 minute using your non-dominant hand.
3. Scrumhalf passes: Practice approaching the ball on the ground and picking it up and passing in the same motion.