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Top Tips for coaching rugby in poor weather

With the British summer seemingly passing by in a whirlwind of storms and scarves, it seems that adaptation to poor weather is essential. Outdoor sports are surely suffering, as training sessions are being put on hold due to waterlogged pitches, or lack of player participation, so alternatives are needed. We have compiled a list of top tips to tackling coaching in the poor weather.

 1 | Make sure training continues

First and foremost, the biggest obstacle to training is when it doesn’t take place. Make sure a session is still in place, regardless of the weather, and set the tempo for the rest of training. It is a coach’s responsibility to encourage and maintain enthusiasm for his players, and poor weather shouldn’t affect that. No progress will be made if there is no training towards the goal.

 2 | Warm up

Don’t give the option for players to complain about the cold weather. Warm ups can be taken under cover, for example by running on the spot to increase heartrate and heat up the body, and with stretches. Alongside this, begin the session with a team talk, again under shelter, as this is your opportunity to encourage the players, and keep them focused enough to face the weather.

 3 | Consider the groundsman

If you try to face the wet and muddy conditions, think about the repercussions of the session. It is likely that drills will dig up much of the ground, which will be a nightmare for the groundsman the following days, and will also make future training difficult, dealing with solid (then dried) pieces of kicked up mud.

 4 |Interval training (indoors)

Training does not necessarily have to be continued outdoors to benefit the players. Rugby players especially need to be able to restore oxygen to their muscles quickly and efficiently during a game, because there aren’t many stand still points during play. So, one way to get muscles used to recovering during less intense periods of exercise is through interval training. This incorporates bursts of intense exercise, with periods of moderate exercise, to encourage the body to view these lesser intense periods as a time to send more oxygen muscles and begin their repair. This can be done inside, and does not have to be effected by disastrous weather.

 5 | Plyometric training (indoors)

Power is certainly key to a rugby game; it lets players jump higher, tackle harder and explode quicker when needed. This training is specifically great for building strength in the legs. Plyometric training is a combination of stretching and contracting muscles that creates more power with training. One example of plyometric training is a box jump.

 6 | Train technique

When you have a whole pitch of players, it can be quite easy to overlook the smaller techniques of each. So, take advantage of the limitations in space, and use your time indoors to be more precise when it comes to form and technique. Teach good habits that they can implement on the pitch.

 7 | Brave the elements

Yes, you may need to make some alterations to the original training plan, but there are some benefits to training in poor weather. It sets your players up for any type of condition, which they will likely face of a match day during their career. Surely it is better to face this in training than when facing a competitor. However, if you do decide to keep training outside, perhaps place the ‘dirtier’ drills toward the end of training – even if the team have accepted training outside, it is still unpleasant to have to run in dirty and wet clothes for an hour.