So we spoke about being a more capable human and how your training is important to support your lifestyle. If you are a rugby player, rugby is a huge part of your lifestyle. Therefore your training and other lifestyle elements need to positively influence this.
In the more capable human post we discussed the mind-set behind how you train and this applies here. Every rugby player trains (or should be training) But what you focus on is important. When a rugby player goes to the gym, the player focuses on lifting heavy, getting bigger and becoming stronger at the main lifts in his programming. This isn’t wrong, but the thing that’s missing is getting better at all these above mentioned things to get better on the rugby field. Many times players get better in the gym but do not get better on the rugby field. What is the point? We squat to be better at rugby. We bench press to be better at rugby. We Olympic lift to be better at rugby, and so on and so forth. You get the idea. When you are in the gym you are there to be better at rugby, you are not there to be the best at lifting bits of iron over and over.
How do we become more capable?
A classic example of not focusing on capability is when a coach tells a player he needs to be x kg’s heavier. This will make him a better player. In saying this the player thinks all I need to do to be better is gain a few kg’s of muscle. Now this might not be what the coach meant, but a lot of the time this is how it gets interpreted, consciously or not. So the player goes to gym and lifts more weights and focuses on gaining weight and getting stronger on the big lifts, but they neglect their mobility and movement capacity. They gain the weight, but they can’t move it effectively around the field. The focus wasn’t on developing the capabilities that would make them better, it was on gaining weight, which is in most cases a side effect of training these qualities. Sometimes gaining weight is the thing that will make the player better, but how you train to gain the weight is important. It’s usually not the weight though, it’s the perceived effect of the weight that will make the player better.
Where do they need to improve?
A loose forward might need to be stronger in contact, both running into contact and tackling. He might need to be more effective and dominant at the breakdown. In training to improve these things the player will most probably gain weight, but gaining weight won’t necessarily make him better at these things.
So ask these questions…
What areas of my game do I need to improve on?
Think about it yourself, ask your coaches, ask your teammates. Get a complete picture.
What do I need to train to improve these areas?
This involves identifying your weak areas, selecting movements to do in your training. Is it a specific skill area? Is it general? What are the things in the gym that I can do that will improve these areas? This can be the more complex part and you might need the help of a good trainer here, but you will be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just stop and think about what you need to do.
Finally, put in the work. In saying all of this I’m not saying don’t work hard in the gym. You need to work hard and smart. You must not lose sight of your outcome. Which is to be a more capable player on the field. So to end off here are the key points to remember:
1. Mind-set: You must train with the mind-set to be better on the field not to be better at gym.
2. Know your weaknesses: What parts of your play needs improvement
3. Train capability: Your training must be directed towards this.