The off season is an important time for rugby players to rest and recover from the physical demands of the previous season, but it's also an opportunity to improve their skills, strength and fitness in preparation for the upcoming season. Here are some things rugby players can do during the off season to maximise their performance on the field and be ahead of the rest come pre-season.
Rest and Recover
The first thing rugby players should do after their last match of the season, is to give their bodies time to rest and recover. This means taking a break from rugby-specific training and giving the body time to regenerate and heal from any injuries sustained during the previous season. Ideally players are recommended to take ± 10 days off from physical activity. During this time, players could focus on low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, walks in nature or yoga to maintain fitness and flexibility.
Once you have rested for a few days both physically and mentally it is important to start envisioning setting goals for the next season. Setting goals is an important part of any off season training program, it allows for a planned approach working towards the new season. Players should identify specific areas of their game that needs improvement and set goals to address these areas. By recognising such specific aspects of you gameplay that require improvement, you can actively seek assistance and work towards advancing in those areas of the game.
Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning training is crucial for rugby players to develop the strength, power, speed, and endurance required on the field. During the off season, players should use the opportunity while not training rugby to build size and work on strength before the pre-season starts. They can also keep working on their aerobic conditioning through high-intensity interval training (HIIT) like training. It is important to note that aerobic conditioning is not the most important aspect to work on during the off season unless you are far behind the team and you need to catch up. The pre-season should have enough time for you to work on your aerobic conditioning in preparation for the season.
Off season is also a great time for players to work on their individual skills. This may involve practicing their ball handling, kicking, tackling, scrumming or lineout throwing. Players can also work with coaches to identify areas of their game that need improvement and develop specific drills to address these areas.
Good nutrition is essential for any athlete looking to improve their performance. During the off season, players should focus on eating a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients to support their training. This may involve increasing their protein intake to support muscle growth and recovery or increasing their carbohydrate intake to fuel their training.
Recovery is just as important as training when it comes to improving performance. Rugby players should incorporate recovery strategies such as stretching, massage, and foam rolling into their off season routine to help prevent injuries and aid muscle recovery.
In conclusion, the off season is a critical time for rugby players to rest, recover, and work on their skills, strength and fitness. By setting goals, focusing on strength and conditioning, skill development, nutrition, and recovery, players can maximize their performance on the field and be ready for the upcoming season.