For any coach an essential request is that all athletes are delivered to them fit, strong, fast and powerful. To this we can add the need for them to remain injury free and healthy over the course of a long hard season. Unfortunately, in a collision sport like rugby league injury occurrence is an inherent danger of the game and, more and more, it is the teams that keep their players on the field and return them to play quickly and in the best condition that prove to be successful. Therefore, as much as we concentrate on maximising performance gains over the pre-season, in-season emphasis must shift towards injury prevention and return to play whilst still maintaining the gains gained in our preparation phases. Focus on:
- Recovery strategies (sleep, food, hydration, flexibility)
- Load management – work smarter not harder. ‘Unavoidable’ contact injuries often occur as a result of fatigue
- Functional development – don’t let this area slide, this will increase your movement efficiency and decrease risk of injury. Functional development should be integrated into any Rugby League Strength and Rugby League Power training program.
- Rehabilitation protocols – if injuries do occur (whether short or long term) address them through a structured rehabilitation protocol
Remember, to be of use to your team, you must return ready to PERFORM at your best, not just be ready to play. Jeremy Hickmans Please click here to learn more about Jeremy Hickmans and purchase his Rugby League Training Programs.