With recent concerns about injuries suffered during rugby union games, coaches and medical staff are increasingly focusing on player preparation.
Exercise programmes and rugby training drills are designed to not only enhance performance on the pitch but also to reduce injury, and a recent study by has revealed the importance of these kind of preparations.
Coaches understand that the warm-up drill should be prepared in advance of the day of the game and should be kept the same for each match with just a few variables.
Players are often bored by repetitive training, and it is important to prepare a variety of exercises. Various rugby training drills are found online at Sportplan and provide new ideas for coaches.
Warm-ups work on mental and physical preparation. Players need to remain as calm as possible before an encounter, and so it is important to let them stay in familiar territory and not overload them with tactical issues. Preparing the body and mind is vital, and drills which address these requirements will improve player performance in the match.
By not overloading players before a game, coaches ensure they are focused during playing time and less prone to injury. Building intensity gradually will provide the best results. Timing is crucial, so do not start hours before the match. Ideally, physical exercise should not last longer than 50 minutes before kick-off, though tactical issues may be addressed to meet individual needs. Different players have unique ways they like to prepare, and the drills should accommodate this.
It is important to keep players mobile and not stop these drills for longer than ten minutes, as this can impact muscle temperature, particularly on cold days.
By allowing time for individuals and small groups to carry out drills together such as kicking skills and breakdown situations, rather than concentrating on team exercises, coaches will get better results. The warm-up should address match situations – particularly contact issues.
The basics will include gentle running followed by dynamic stretching and footwork exercises to prepare players for the warm-up programme. These initial preparations can be performed as a group, helping team bonding.
Always remember the referee will want to talk to players before the game. Set a time slot for it and do not interrupt the warm-up.