Tapering for Team Sports

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Tapering for Team Sports

Too often, athletes across all sports fall into the trap of over training and so called ‘dumb’ training. Repetitive long slow sessions, especially closer to competition is a recipe for disaster.

Tapering refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days prior to an important competition. While tapering is a rule of thumb for endurance sports, it is too often ignored in team sports such as Rugby Union. For Rugby Union, a significant period of tapering is essential for optimal performance.

Tapering for Team SportsAs your desired competition approaches your training should adjust accordingly. Intensity levels should increase and volume levels decrease. The body will respond to short, quick, powerful movements. Rugby Union in particular has a certain focus on short, quick and powerful movements.

All facets of your periodised program should be adjusted accordingly. Skills, strength, speed all need to be reduced in volume and increased in intensity.

My experience tells me that if your body is wanting you to train longer at this stage of the year then you have not done the hard work when it should have been done.

Takeaway: ensure that in the final 1-2 weeks of your pre season training that training volume is decreased.

Marcus Kain
Marcus Kain is the current Head of Physical Performance at Canon Eagles Rugby in Japan

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