Rucking and Scrumming off Season
October 5, 2007 8:54 AM   Subscribe

What can an extremely novice, woman rugby player do during the off season to improve her skills?

This fall was my very first experience and instruction with rugby. [Women's Union; I played tight prop]. Previously, I had never watched nor played the game. I just jumped right in after attending a clinic a couple months ago. I've had tons of fun and a multitude of bruises. Over the last few weeks I've increased my physical endurance and learned a great deal about how to play the game. However, during the off season, I am wanting to know what can I do, as an individual, to improve my skills. Obviously, group training is best for a team sport. Obviously cardio improvement. Yet, my question is... What drills and physical training, can I do alone, that would be best for preparing me for the spring season? How would I go about creating an inexpensive ruck/tackle scenario in my basement or garage for snow covered days this winter? [This thread was extremely helpful, just looking for more advice.]
posted by chase to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're playing prop my advice would be to take advantage of the winter months and build some muscle. I would work as much as possible with compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. These muscle groups play an essential role in the scrum, and if you're not playing you might as well be working them as much as possible. I would also suggest watching a lot of rugby. The men's world cup is still going strong – watch the quarter finals this weekend!
posted by kepano at 9:28 AM on October 5, 2007

What kepano said, but also mix in as much sprint and flexibility training as you can with whatever weight training you do. Doing weight training alone may have the unfortunate consequence of decreasing your mobility, so it's very important to cross train to avoid that.
posted by psmealey at 9:34 AM on October 5, 2007

Ditto the above, and I would also suggest spending some time handling the ball. While you won't be able to practice passing by yourself, practicing your kicking and ability to pick the ball up while at a run (without causing a knock-on) will be valuable. Just because you are a forward doesn't mean that the ball won't be coming your way on occasion. When I played, I would often come out of a ruck or maul to find myself needing to support the backs - having forwards who can drop-kick adds a great deal to the attack.

In terms of replicating rucks/mauls, I'm at somewhat of a loss...tackling dummies or similar constructions would probably work, but there is a fluidity to those situations in game that would be difficult to simulate without some other players.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2007

You are going to have a rough time doing skill specific work during the winter, especially if you are flying solo.

My suggestion would be to condition, so that when you start practice again you are able to focus on the drills without worrying about the endurance/strength aspect of them. So, work on anaerobic conditioning. Sprints, lots of them, mixed with some longer distance work. I like running for 40 minutes, but mixing up jogging and sprints, to try and simulate a half.

Strength training is the other thing. You play prop, so you want to be squatting and deadlifting if you aren't already. Upper body stuff too, obviously, but your lower body and core are the important areas.

Watch as many games as you possibly can, and analyze them. What did the prop do? Where was he on the field? Who was around him? How did he handle the ball? Lineouts? It's hard to develop field sense without playing, but that is what you need to do.
posted by Loto at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2007

I played prop for a while, and still do, but I went a bit nuts with my conditioning and training, now I'm a hooker and whatever else, so as you get fitter, expand your knowledge about other positions... and really, I don't think you can have props that are too fit these days.

Also, this comes more with team training, but be mindful of working with other players, ie support the player going into contact, learning to run and support the backs too.
posted by glip at 5:43 PM on October 5, 2007

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