Arkansas Gryphons R.F.C.

High Performance Player Manual


Table of Contents

Arkansas Rugby Team Criteria        

The Basics of Strength Training for Rugby.        

Strength and Conditioning Program        

Strength Program        

Speed Sessions        

Conditioning Sessions        

Strength and Conditioning Benchmarks        

Testing Protocols:        

Nutritional Guidelines        

NUTRITION: STOP LIGHT CHART        

NUTRITIONAL GUIDELINES        

MEAL GUIDELINES        

COMPETITIVE SPORTS NUTRITION        

Goal Setting Worksheet        

Suggested Reading List        

Positional Profiling        


Gents,

You are receiving this manual because you are a member of the Arkansas Gryphons Rugby Football Club.   Our goal for the upcoming season is to develop AGRFC into a national contender.   We will not tolerate mediocrity, but in order to achieve elite status, it will require hard work and a complete physical and mental overhaul of how we operate as players.

The following Manual is meant to assist you in your development as a player.  All aspects of being an elite rugby player are important (strength and conditioning, nutrition, mental skills, skill development and tactical knowledge).  If you want to achieve the goal of winning a national championship, you’ll need to continue to work hard and develop as a player in all of these aspects.  I hope this information will serve to help you become the best player you can be, and I look forward to seeing your progression.  

Regards,

Tucker Shaw
President, Arkansas Gryphons Rugby Club

tucker@arkansasrugby.com

214.563.3329


Arkansas Rugby Team Criteria

This sheet outlines what we are looking for in players as we seek a national championship.    These are the characteristics that we look for in players to select for the starting rotation and if you desire to be a top level rugby player,  then you should be able to truthfully answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions.


The Basics of Strength Training for Rugby.

Jeremy Bettle, PhD ABD, CSCS.

Pacific Region Strength & Conditioning Coach

Overview

When training for rugby it is important to consider the predominant physical action that takes place in almost every activity in the game. This is extension of the ankle, knee, and hip with force transferred through the shoulder. This action is used for tackling, scrummaging, rucking, mauling, accelerating, jumping, and lifting! This gives us an idea as to which muscle to strengthen.

The muscles that make this happen are those in the rear of the body (posterior chain). These muscles are the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. The core lifts in your strength training programs will focus on these muscles.

CORE LIFTS

Squat: Squat variations that take the hips at least parallel with the knee are an essential part of any program. Follow the directions below to perform squats:

Dead-lift: The dead lift will increase your ability to overcome a static start position. This is important in activities such as the engage in a scrum or first step acceleration in defense.

Hang Clean:

SUPPLEMENTAL LIFTS

        The supplemental lifts are those used to compliment the core lifts. They work to fill the gaps not covered by the big three lifts. For lower body day these may be unilateral movements such as lunges or step-ups, for upper body lifts these may be pull-ups or shoulder presses.

Body Composition and Performance

        Body composition has a dramatic effect on all aspects of your performance. Many factors in rugby are reliant on outstanding relative body strength, meaning your strength in relation to your body weight.

        If you have high body fat then you cannot have high relative body strength. This will negatively affect your endurance, acceleration, top speed, power. Putting this into practical terms, you will not be able to last a full 80 minutes, you will not be able to get off the line in defense, or accelerate through a gap in attack, you will not be able to support a team mate who makes a break, and you will not be able to jump as high for a ball in the lineout or in open play. Bottom line? You will never play for the eagles if you have too much body fat!

        You can have a big impact on your body composition by following the nutritional guidelines set out and sticking to a lifting and conditioning program!

Strength and Conditioning Program

The following is a flexible 10 week strength and conditioning program that includes strength training, speed development, and conditioning program. Here is an example weekly workout schedule for the 10 week progression.

Weeks 1-10

 

AM

PM

MON

CONDITIONING

WEIGHTS 1

TUE

OFF

SPEED 1 & TRAINING

WED

CONDITIONING

WEIGHTS 2

THURS

FLEXIBILITY

SPEED 2 & TRAINING

FRI

REST

WEIGHTS 3

SAT

REST

GAME

SUN

RECOVERY SWIM

REST

FLEXIBILITY

This can be flexible with your commitments and it is fine to do 2 session in the morning or evening depending on what you have going on in your life!

ALWAYS STRETCH AND HYDRATE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER WORKING OUT

Strength Program

Safety is always first with strength and conditioning.  Before starting this program ensure that you are familiar with the exercises and can practice them safely.  It is recommended that you first consult with a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCC) before beginning this or any program.

Each session should be started with 15 minutes warming up. This should include both dynamic and static stretching.

Monday

Reps

WT

 Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Exercise

 

 

 

 

Max Effort upper body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wk 1-4: BB bench press

8

 

8

 

6

 

5

 

Wk 5-8: BB Floor press

8

 

8

 

6

 

5

 

Wk 9-10: Close grip bench

8

 

8

 

6

 

5

 

 

8

 

8

 

6

 

5

 

Wk 1-4: push-ups

max

 

max

 

max

 

max

 

Wk 5-8: incline DB Chest press

max

 

max

 

max

 

max

 

Wk 9-10: Swiss ball DB chest press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wk 1-4: BB bent over row

12

 

12

 

10

 

10

 

Wk 5-8: DB bent over row

12

 

12

 

10

 

10

 

Wk 9-10: Seated cable row

12

 

12

 

10

 

10

 

SUPERSET WITH

12

 

12

 

10

 

10

 

Wk 1-4: Rear delt flyes

12

 

10

 

8

 

10

 

Wk 5-8: Cable scarecrows

12

 

10

 

8

 

10

 

Wk 9-10: Face pulls

12

 

10

 

8

 

10

 

 

12

 

10

 

8

 

10

 

Wk 1-4: Prone V's

12

 

10

 

12

 

12

 

Wk 5-8: Lateral raise

12

 

10

 

12

 

12

 

 Wk 9-10: Upright row

12

 

10

 

12

 

12

 

 

12

 

10

 

12

 

12

 

Wk 1-4: Zottman curls

10ea

 

12ea

 

8ea

 

10ea

 

Wk 5-8: BB biceps curls

10ea

 

12ea

 

8ea

 

10ea

 

Wk 9-10: DB biceps curls

10ea

 

12ea

 

8ea

 

10ea

 

 

10ea

 

12ea

 

8ea

 

10ea

 

Cable scarecrows: take a cable in each hand, standing back from the machine. Keeping arms straight pull the cables back squeezing the shoulder blades so

Wednesday

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Exercise

1

2

3

4

 

Max effort lower body

 

 

 

Wk 1-4: Box squats

10

10

10

10

 

Wk 5-8: Back Squats

8

8

8

6

 

Wk 9-10: Front Squats

6

5

5

5

 

 

5

4

4

3

 

Wk 1-4: Reverse Lunge

12

12

10

10

 

Wk 5-8: BB Step up

12

12

10

10

 

Wk 9-10: Walking lunge

12

12

10

10

 

 

 

Wk 1-4: Ball Hamstring curls

10

10

12

12

 

Wk 5-8: Glute ham raise

10

10

12

12

 

 Wk 9-10: RDL

10

10

12

12

 

 

 

Ball crunch

12

15

12

20

 

Superman

12

15

12

20

 

Reverse crunch

12

15

12

20

 

(Perform as circuit w/no rest)

12

15

12

20

 

Reverse lunge: with barbell on your back or DBs in your hands, start by bending at the knee, pushing the knee forward and the hips back. Lower your body so that you have a vertical line from your toe through your knee and into your chest. You should lower until your front thigh is parallel with the floor

Friday

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Reps

WT

Exercise

1

2

3

4

Repetition upper body

Wk 1-4: DB incline chest press

12

12

12

12

Wk 5-8: Supine row

12

12

12

12

Wk 9-10: Chin ups

12

12

12

12

(assisted if necessary)

Wk 1-4: J pulldowns

10

10

12

8

Wk 5-8: Chin-ups (see above)

10

10

12

8

Wk 9-10: Lat pulldowns

10

10

12

8

SUPERSET WITH

10

10

12

8

Wk 1-4: face pulls

10

10

12

12

Wk 5-8: rear delt flye

10

10

12

12

Wk 9-10: Prone shoulder press

10

10

12

12

10

10

12

12

Wk 1-4: BB Shoulder press

12

10

10

8

Wk 5-8: Upright row

12

10

10

8

Wk 9-10: lateral raise

12

10

10

8

12

10

10

8

Wk 1-4: DB shrugs

10

10

8

8

Wk 5-8: BB shrugs

10

10

8

8

Wk 9-10: DB incline shrugs

10

10

8

8

SUPERSET WITH

Wk 1-4: Triceps pulldown

15

12

18

20

Wk 5-8: Skull Crushers

15

12

18

20

Wk 9-10: Close grip push ups

15

12

18

20

Speed Sessions

Each session should be started with 15 minutes warming up. This should include both dynamic and static stretching and some run-throughs also. Make sure you are ready and comfortable to sprint when the session begins. I’d suggest that you wear molded cleats and perform on grass to save your joints as much as possible. Finish with a static stretch and re-hydrating.

        It is important when training speed that you always put in a maximal effort with every repetition, and that there if no fatigue during the workout. The rest periods are long for a reason, adhere to them! If you are not fully recovered then your muscles cannot produce their maximum force and speed and you end up training them to contract slower. The full rest period allows you to be completely recovered between repetitions. NOTE: you should not feel tired after this session, it is not conditioning!

Session 1.

Props, second rows

Hookers, backrow, scrum halves

Flyhalf, centers

Wings, fullback

6 x 5m sprint

6 x 10m sprint

6 x 15m sprint (start with a 5m lateral shuffle, then sprint 15m forward)

6 x 50m sprint

8 x 10m sprint

6 x 30m sprint (start with 5m lateral shuffle, then sprint 30m forward)

6 x 60m sprint

8 x 10m sprint

6 x 20m sprint

Sprint forward 5m, immediately sprint 5m backwards=1 rep, complete 6, rest 30secs, complete 6 reps.

8 x 10m sprint

Run in a curved   formation starting on the 15m line and finishing on the touchline – 20m in length, complete 5ea way.

6 x 15m

Session 2

Props, second rows

Hookers, backrow, scrum halves

Flyhalf, centers

Wings, fullback

6 x 40m,

6 x 30m

6 x 10m

8 x 5m, then 45 sprint off for 10m all from the get up position, 4 ea way.

4 x 10m

4 x 20m

4 x 40m

4 x 70m

8 x 5m, then 45 sprint off for 10m all from the get up position, 4 ea way.

4 x 5m

4 x 30m

4 x 40m

4 x 60m

8 x 5m, then 45 sprint off for 10m, 4 ea way.

3 x 30m

3 x 20m

3 x 50m

3 x 10m

6 x 15m, then 45 sprint off for 15m, 3 ea way.

Session 3

Single leg bounds (hopping)- Hop as far as you can in 3 hops, going again immediately on contacting the ground. The aim is to get as far as possible on your 3 hops with a limited and light contact with the grass between hops. Repeat on other leg. Repeat 4 times.

Speed with different start positions – Set cones a 0 and 10 meters and 15 meters.

Session 4

Complete the first sprint of the 4 reps in each set from a normal standing position, then rep 2 and 3 from “off the deck” position, and sprint 4 from the normal position. The 10 meter and 5 meter sprints are aimed purely at “explosion” type effort.

Session 5:

Hill Sprints:

Find a low grade incline street/hill.  Complete 10 x 50 meter sprints up the hill with a slow walk back recovery

Session 6:

Ball Sprints:

Ball in two Hands at all times:

Double Leg Hops/Bounds as far/fast as possible for 20 meters; repeat 6x with walk back recovery

Single Leg Hops: Same as above but for 10 meters; 4x on each leg

4x 10 meter sprints with ball in two hands

6 x 25 meter sprints with ball in two hands

Conditioning Sessions

Each session should be started with 15 minutes warming up. This should include both dynamic and static stretching and some run-throughs also. Finish with a static stretch and re-hydrating.

Session1

Running: 3mins on (75%), 3 mins off' (50%) continuous for 18mins. (thus 3 full reps of 3 on and 3 jog) Complete rest 3 mins (walk). 2 mins on (80%), 2 mins off'(50%) for 12 mins continuous. Complete rest 2 mins (walk). 1 min on (85%), 1 min off (50%) for 8 mins continuous. Warm down and stretch

Session 2
Row 6 reps of 3mins with 2 mins recovery between reps. Aim to keep rate below 1.50/500m ideally below 1.48/500m. Try to row steady.

Session 3

Running: 400m and 300m session. 4 x 400 running every 3mins 30sec. (Therefore this time includes the time it takes you to run 400m) Run hard but not flat out - 90%. Rest 4 mins. 5 x 300m running every 2min 45 sec. Warm down, stretch, re hydrate.


Session 4

Running: Simple out and back run. Run out from your start point for 20mins. Having run for 20mins return to your start point via the same route as fast as possible aim for a maximum of 17mins.


Session 5

Row: 8 reps of 2 mins with 2 mins recovery between reps. Keep rate below 1.48/500m if possible, 1.45/500 is a good level to aim for.


Session 6

Running: 300m and 200m session. 4 x 300m running every 2mins 45. 4 min complete recovery. 6 x 200m with 2 mins between reps. Aim to run hard but not yet sprinting. Stay between 85 and 90% of max effort.
For those not using a track:

200m = 25sec hard run, 2 lengths of rugby field
300m = 45 sec hard run, lap of field excluding dead ball area.
400m = 65sec hard run, lap of field as above plus one side

Session 7

150m Shuttles:

Place 2 markers 25m apart and sprint 6 times between them. This represents 1 repetition of a 150m shuttle.

Complete 3 sets of 5 reps each, with 30secs in between reps and 90secs in between sets.

Session 8

15m Shuttles:

  1. Lateral Shuffle from sideline to 5m and back
  2. Turn and sprint to 15m.
  3. Walk back to sideline as recovery between reps.
  4. Repeat this 4 x 4 with 1min between sets.

Sprints:

Backs: 80m run. Accelerate throughout with a deliberate step/swerve/change of direction every 20m. Increase speed aggressively every 20m. 3 x 3 with a slow jog back recovery: 1 min in between sets.

Forwards: 40m run. Accelerate throughout with a deliberate step/swerve/change of direction every 10m. Increase speed aggressively every 10m. 3 x 4 with a slow jog back recovery: 1 min in between sets.

Session 9

5-25 shuttle run – set a course with markers, with a marker on 5m, 10m, 15 15m, 20m, and 25m. Start by sprinting from 0-5 and back, 0-10m and back, and so on continuously for 30secs, rest for 30secs, complete 6 reps = 12mins in total. 6 minutes of work, 6 minutes of rest.

Session 10

Bike: On a stationary Bicycle: Sprint (flat out as hard as you can for 30 seconds) then relax and peddle slowly without stopping for 30 seconds.  Continue for 30 minutes total

Session 11
80m x 16 running every minute (on the minute) back and forth

Session 12
Swim: Swim 25 meters (any stroke type).  Rest same amount of time it takes to reach 25 meters.  Repeat continuously for 30 minutes.

Session 13
60m x 16reps running every 1min. Aim to complete run in 9secs and therefore you will rest for about 50secs. Run flat out each rep.

Session 14

120m x 12 with walk back recovery

Strength and Conditioning Benchmarks

Note: These are best practice scores that players should aspire toward, and if they reach it, try to surpass it.

Fitness Testing: Desired Tests

Vertical Jump (Standing Broad if unavailable): Strength and Explosive Power

40 Meter sprint : Speed

1K Shuttle: Fitness

NOTE:  With weight training exercises: ALWAYS WORK WITH A C.S.C.S (Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach) to be properly educated on how to safely and correctly perform each of these exercises BEFORE attempting.  They are complex movements that REQUIRE correct form to be performed correctly.

Arkansas Rugby Mens Players

 

 

Vertical Jump

10 Meter

40 Meter

1k Shuttle

 

 

Elite

Competitive

Elite

Competitive

Elite

Competitive

Elite

Competitive

Forwards

Props

27

24

1.8

1.9

5.4

5.7

3:50

4:10

 

Back 5+ Hooker

28

25

1.75

1.87

5.3

5.55

3:45

4:00

Backs

Inside Backs

30

26

1.75

1.85

5.15

5.4

3:45

4:00

 

Deep 3

31

27

1.7

1.8

5

5.25

3:40

3:55

Lift 1 Rep Max: Squat (1.6x Body Weight); Clean (.8x Body Weight); Bench (1.3x Body Weight)

See Benchmarks Below:

Testing Protocols:

Vertical Jump

Purpose: This is the preferred measuring tool of explosive power.  If a vertical jump can’t be tested for, please test for a standing broad jump.  Only one of these tests is needed.

Equipment Required: Vertical Jump Mat or Vertec vertical jump measurer (both can be found at a performance gym).

Description/procedure:  

Using the Pad:  Stand on pad with two feet flat. The athlete may swing their arms. A two-foot take-off and landing is used, with swinging of the arms and bending of the knees to provide upward drive. The subject attempts to jump as far up as possible, landing on both feet. Two attempts are allowed.

Using the Vertec: Stand on pad with two feet flat directly below vertec measuring.  Extend arm and hand to maximum reach and measure vertical reach.  The athlete may swing their arms. A two-foot take-off and landing is used, with swinging of the arms and bending of the knees to provide upward drive. The subject attempts to jump as far up as possible, (not smacking the vertec with a swinging arm, but jumping up, reaching vertically and taping the vertec measuring bars) landing on both feet. Two attempts are allowed.

Standing Broad Jump

Purpose: to measure the explosive power of the legs

Equipment required: tape measure, to measure distance jumped, non-slip floor for takeoff, and soft landing area preferred. The take-off line should be clearly marked.

Description / procedure: The athlete stands behind a line marked on the ground with feet slightly apart. A two-foot take-off and landing is used, with swinging of the arms and bending of the knees to provide forward drive. The subject attempts to jump as far as possible, landing on both feet without falling backwards. Three attempts are allowed.

Measurement is taken from the back most heal. The tape measure is secured to the ground, with the 0cm mark on the start line and ran down the length, which the players will jump right next to. Measured in meters and centimeters.

40m Sprint

Purpose: The purpose of this test is to determine acceleration, maximum running speed.

Equipment required: measuring tape, cones, timing gates (if possible), stopwatches and 3 people recording.

Description / procedure: The test involves running a single maximum sprint over a set distance, with time recorded. The test is conducted over 40 meters (44 yards). The starting position will be standardized, starting from a stationary position with a foot behind the starting line, with no rocking movements, no 3 or 4point stance. If you have the equipment (e.g. timing gates), you can measure the time to run each split distances (10, 40m) during the same run, and then acceleration and peak velocity can also be determined. Two attempts will be allowed. 3 timers will be used and mean time used if no timing gates. Stopwatches will start on the athletes’ first movement; index fingers will be used and not thumbs.

1K Shuttle

If the beep test cannot be performed, please perform the 1K shuttle test:

The test is performed by running a series of shuttles.  The player begins at one try line, runs to the 22 and back to the try line, half way and back to the try line, to the far 22 and back to the try line, and to the far try line and back to the try line.  He repeats this process again running a total of 1000 meters without stopping.  The field must be marked properly (100 meters/110 yards).  

If you are using a football field, start at one goal line, run to the near 25 yard line and back, the far 45 yard line and back, the far 15 yard line back, then to the back of the far end zone and back (repeat twice).  

Nutritional Guidelines

NUTRITION: STOP LIGHT CHART

Food

Class

PROTEIN

Vegetables & Starches

Fruits & sugars

Fats

First cLass

Ideal foods that should be eaten at any time in accordance with your nutrition plan

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Lean turkey
  • Low-fat, plain (Greek) yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Salmon/tuna/mackerel/herring
  • Free range omega-3 eggs (any style)
  • Venison/buffalo
  • Protein powders with whey/milk concentrates and no added sugar/fat
  • Mixed beans (kidney, white, etc.
  • Broccoli
  • Onions (red/white)
  • Chickpeas (hummus)
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Green/red/yellow peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Whole oats
  • Flaxseed
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Stone-ground whole wheat bread (at least 3 grams of fiber per slice)
  • Apples
  • Mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
  • Grapes
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Canned pumpkin (no added sugar)
  • Olives
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Avocadoes
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Canola/sunflower oil
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut butter

Second

class

Foods that are best eaten at specific times or if First Class foods are unavailable

  • Skim milk
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • Lean red meat
  • Deep sea fish (swordfish)
  • Edamame/tofu/miso
  • Shrimp/scallops
  • Protein supplements with sugar/fat (ie. Muscle Milk, protein bars)
  • Long grain rice
  • Corn
  • Potatoes (ideally boiled, not mashed)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Breads made with whole wheat flour (bagels, pancakes, etc.)
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Raisins
  • Melons
  • Watermelon
  • 100% pure fruit juice
  • Carb drinks like Gatorade
  • Carb/protein drinks like Accelerade
  • Anything that contains maltodextrin, dextrose, or glucose
  • Butter
  • Whole milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheeses

NO CLASS

Avoid at all costs

  • Fast food meats
  • Non-lean ground beef
  • Oysters/clams
  • Hot dogs
  • Processed cold cuts
  • Any meat that’s been fried (i.e. chicken tenders, fried fish, fried
  • Waffles/muffins/pancakes/bagels/bread made with white flour
  • White or sticky rice
  • Any fried dough or potato (doughnuts, funnel cake, French fries)
  • Anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and/or sucrose
  • Sodas
  • Fruit juices with added sugar
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Candy bars
  • Anything with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” (even if it says zero trans fats)
  • Dry soup powders
  • Pastries

NUTRITIONAL GUIDELINES

10 RULES:

1. Eat every 2-3 hours, regardless of hunger levels

2. Get lean protein at every meal

3. Eat healthy fats every day. Avoid all hydrogenated (trans) fats and fried foods…all the time.

4. Pre-, during, and post-training/game nutrition is actually one big meal, and it is the most important meal of the day

5. Go to bed, but not without protein. This includes sleep at night, as well as naps during the day (naps are to be encouraged).

6. Eat vegetables at every opportunity.

7. Drink water all the time. Drink green tea some of the time. Drink anything with high fructose corn syrup NONE of the time.

8. Eat these foods at least 3 times per week/at camp:

• Lean red meat

• Salmon

• Omega 3 eggs

• Low fat plain yogurt

• Protein supplements

• Spinach

• Tomatoes

• Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)

• Mixed berries

• Oranges

• Mixed beans

• Whole oats

• Mixed nuts

• Avocadoes

• Extra virgin olive oil

• Green tea

• Liquid exercise drinks for pre and post-training/game nutrition (should have carbs and protein)

 

9.  Food first.  Use supplements intelligently, not as a crutch or to make up for inattention to diet.

10. Food is a drug, and sports nutrition is a performance enhancing drug. Therefore, accept that being professional about rugby means being professional about nutrition. Folks who eat to beat and focus on what they do to their insides are usually pleasantly surprised by what they see happening on the outside.

                        • For more information, to provide feedback or to ask a question on nutrition/supplements, go to http://hpnutrition.wordpress.com

• For information on combining protein, carbs, and fats into meals, see this free “recipe finder” at Runner’s World: http://www.runnersworld.com/topic/0,7122,s6-242-303-0-0,00.html

• For direct questions, email Adam at highperformancenutrition@gmail.com

 

1 Adapted from: Competitive Sports Nutrition: Do you eat? Or do you Eat to Beat? © Adam Russell


MEAL GUIDELINES

 Here are three tables that help guide your decision-making and focus for each part of the day depending on whether you are training, playing, or recovering/preparing. Blue days are training days; Red days are game days; and White days are either recovery days or preparation days (getting ready for a game the next day). If necessary, you can re-arrange the schedule, but not if it violates the 10 rules.

Figure 1.1

Training Day

Time

Purpose

Focus on

Avoid

Breakfast

Halt muscle loss due to sleep; fuel up and rehydrate; align circadian rhythms to local time

 

Whole grains and oatmeal

lean protein like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese

water/green tea;

 

Foods that are high in both fat and sugar; fried foods; foods high in salt; not getting enough protein (can lead to blood sugar crash)

Training

Provide energy, maintain hydration, blunt break down of muscle tissue

 

A 6% solution with electrolytes, sugars and amino acids

Drinking at every opportunity (even if only a sip)

 

Powerbars, powergels, or drinks that are above 6% (hard to absorb and can dehydrate)

Post-training (within 15 minutes of end of training)

Restore muscle fuel, provide tools for body to rebuild tissue, re-hydrate

 

Water

Recovery shake with carbs/amino acids, like chocolate milk or protein in Accelerade/Gatorade

 

Fat and high salt, which slow absorption of needed nutrients

Lunch

Continue to recover; take advantage of anabolic environment from training stimulus

 

Full spectrum of carbs, protein, and good fats

Eat a “rainbow” of vegetables, grains, lean protein, fruits, and good oils/butter

Water/green tea

 

Not getting enough protein; foods that are high in fat and sugar; fried foods; failing to drink enough water

Training

Provide energy, maintain hydration, blunt break down of muscle tissue

 

A 6% solution with electrolytes, sugars and amino acids

Drinking at every opportunity (even if only a sip)

 

Powerbars, powergels, or drinks that are above 6% (hard to absorb and can dehydrate)

Post-training (within 15 minutes of end of training)

Restore muscle fuel, provide tools for body to rebuild tissue, re-hydrate

 

Water

Recovery shake with carbs/amino acids, like chocolate milk or protein in Accelerade/Gatorade

 

Fat, fried, and high salt, which slow absorption of needed nutrients

Snack (within 90 minutes of end of training)

Keep blood sugar levels steady, take advantage of training stimulus, and avoid over-eating or making poor choices at dinner

 

High protein

Complex carbs

Good fats (mayo, butter, oils)

Nuts, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.

 

Fat, fried, and high salt, which slow absorption of needed nutrients

Dinner

Get body ready to sleep and provide nutrients for recovery; rehydrate; bolster mood

 

Full spectrum of carbs, protein, and good fats

Eat a “rainbow” of vegetables, grains, lean protein, fruits, and good oils/butter

Water/green tea

 

Typical American mistakes at dinner, such as eating too much meat at expense of vegetables/fruits; avoid fried foods and foods high in fat and sugar;

Pre-bed snack

Enhance sleep, provide nutrients for body to assimilate when sleeping to enhance recovery

 

Protein

Small number of good carbs

Good fats

Peanut butter, cottage cheese with some nuts, lean meat, protein shake with flax oil

 

High sugar/carbohydrate foods like pizza, fries, etc.

Figure 1.2

Game Day

Time

Purpose

Focus on

Avoid

Breakfast

Halt muscle loss due to sleep; fuel up and re-hydrate; align circadian rhythms to local time

 

Whole grains and oatmeal

lean protein like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese

water/green tea;

 

Foods that are high in both fat and sugar; fried foods; foods high in salt; not getting enough protein (can lead to blood sugar crash)

Snack

Provide energy, maintain hydration, enhance focus

 

Small portions of carbs/protein

Green tea/water

 

Fat and high levels of sugar

Pre-game

Fuel and hydration

 

Small portions of foods that you are familiar with

Drinking enough liquid to have clear/straw colored piss

 

Fat and high salt, which slow absorption of needed nutrients; foods you haven’t tried before (like Uruguayan butter);

Warm Up

Fuel and hydration

 

A 6% solution with electrolytes, sugars and amino acids

Drinking at every opportunity (even if only a sip)

 

Passing up opportunities to fuel/hydrate; overly large portions of high sugar foods like gummy bears or Jaffa cakes;

Game

Provide energy, maintain hydration, blunt break down of muscle tissue

 

A 6% solution with electrolytes, sugars and amino acids

Drinking at every opportunity (even if only a sip)

 

Powerbars, powergels, or drinks that are above 6% (hard to absorb and can dehydrate)

Post-Game (within 15 minutes after game)

Restore muscle fuel, provide tools for body to rebuild tissue, re-hydrate

 

Water

Recovery shake with carbs/amino acids, like chocolate milk or protein in Accelerade/Gatorade

 

Fat, fried, and high salt, which slow absorption of needed nutrients. Avoid alcohol.

Snack (within 90 minutes after game)

Keep blood sugar levels steady, take advantage of training stimulus, and avoid over-eating or making poor choices at dinner

 

High protein

Complex carbs

Good fats (mayo, butter, oils)

Nuts, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.

 

Skipping this. This is a VERY important time to eat. Avoid alcohol.

Post-game Meal

Get body ready to sleep/drink beer and provide nutrients for recovery; rehydrate; bolster mood

 

Full spectrum of carbs, protein, and good fats

Eat a “rainbow” of vegetables, grains, lean protein, fruits, and good oils/butter

Water/green tea til your piss is clear again

 

Typical American mistakes at dinner, such as eating too much meat at expense of vegetables/fruits; avoid fried foods and foods high in fat and sugar

Avoid alcohol until the end of the meal and you have pissed clear at least once

Pre-bed snack

Enhance sleep, rovide nutrients for body to assimilate when sleeping to enhance recovery

 

Protein

Small number of good carbs

Good fats

Peanut butter, cottage cheese with some nuts, lean meat, protein shake with flax oil

 

Foods high in sugar and fat like pizza, ice-cream, fries, burgers, etc.; fried foods

Figure 1.3

Recovery/Preparation Day

Time

Purpose

Focus on

Avoid

Breakfast

Halt muscle loss due to sleep; fuel up and re-hydrate; align circadian rhythms to local time

 

Whole grains and oatmeal

lean protein like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese

water/green tea;

 

Foods that are high in both fat and sugar; fried foods; foods high in salt; not getting enough protein (can lead to blood sugar crash)

Snack

Rehydrate, provide amino acids to body to re-build tissue

 

Small portions of carbs/protein

Green tea/water

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)

Recovery session

Fuel and hydration; anti-inflammation

 

Gatorade with protein; chocolate milk

Drinking enough liquid to have clear/straw colored piss

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)

Snack

Hydration, recovery, and anti-inflammation

 

High protein

Complex carbs

Good fats (mayo, butter, oils)

Nuts, fruits, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.

Water/green tea

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse).

You should be pissing clear by now

Lunch

Provide energy, maintain hydration, blunt break down of muscle tissue

 

Full spectrum of carbs, protein, and good fats

Eat a “rainbow” of vegetables, grains, lean protein, fruits, and good oils/butter

Water/green tea

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)

Snack

Keep blood sugar levels steady, avoid over-eating or making poor choices at dinner

 

High protein

Complex carbs

Good fats (mayo, butter, oils)

Nuts, fruits, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.

Water/green tea

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)

Dinner

Hydration, recovery, and anti-inflammation

 

Full spectrum of carbs, protein, and good fats

Eat a “rainbow” of vegetables, grains, lean protein, fruits, and good oils/butter

Water/green tea

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)

Snack

Get body ready to sleep and provide nutrients for recovery; rehydrate; bolster mood

 

• • High protein

Complex carbs

Good fats (mayo, butter, oils)

Nuts, fruits, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.

Water/green tea

 

Fat and high levels of sugar, and fried foods (can make inflammation worse)  

 Pre-bed snack

Enhance sleep, provide nutrients for body to assimilate when sleeping to enhance recovery

Protein

Small amount of good carbs

Good fats

Peanut butter, cottage cheese with some nuts, lean meat, protein shake with flax oil

Foods high in sugar and fat like pizza, ice-cream, fries, burgers, etc.; fried foods

COMPETITIVE SPORTS NUTRITION

Don’t eat to keep up with your competitors, eat to beat them.

Guidelines by Adam Russell (questions to highperformancenutrition@gmail.com)

“Never forget, somewhere in China a little girl is warming up with your max.”

Jim Conroy, Olympic lifting coach

Okay, so ask 100 athletes to define “sports nutrition” and you’ll get a laundry list of commandments: thou shalt not eat fried foods and candy bars, thou shalt eat fruits and veggies, thou shalt drink water and Gatorade, thou shalt maybe consider a protein powder. Some of them will be right, some will be wrong, and some will be very, very wrong. But all 100 will have some opinion.

Now ask them to define the mechanisms by which these commandments actually make a difference to them. That gets a little tougher. Now you’re down to maybe 50 who will give you a reasonable argument for why thou shalt not eat fried foods or thou shalt hydrate religiously or thou shalt consume Gummy Bears after training.

Now ask those 50 to describe how the sports nutrition actually gives them an edge – how it improves their performance beyond that of their competitors. Chances are you’ll be down to 10 – generously – who might have an idea. They’ll tell you how “sports nutrition,” like Gatorade, can enhance their performance…IF their competitors don’t also drink it.

Finally, ask those 10 what elite competitors might do that’s different from them. Now you’ve got maybe one athlete who can give you an opinion – and that’s probably wrong.

As athletes, we are – or at least we should be - inherently competitive. Thus, our nutrition should be geared to hand us a competitive edge over other teams, whether that’s having fewer colds, not as many injuries, or recovering faster from workouts and being sharper on the day than our competition.

If your nutrition doesn’t do this, then don’t call it sports nutrition. 

“Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.”

- Bertrand Russell

The premise of competitive sports nutrition is that the brain is the most important organ in deciding who wins and who loses in sport. I won’t go into more detail here, but suffice it to say that the 3 ½ pounds of jelly-packed cells that evolved over 4 million years to end up between our ears – what we call the brain – is the master and commander of the rest of the body. It cares about itself, first and foremost, and it has its priorities, which are basically: survive. If the brain is not being optimized, then it will sabotage other systems of the body, including muscles. Muscles, by the way, which have not changed very much since they first evolved to move bodies…tells you something, doesn’t it? Thus, CSN is about making the brain work optimally, which will then translate into the rest of the body performing to its competitive best. Following are 10 tips explaining the best ways to do this.

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

George Eliot

  1. Eat every 2-3 hours, regardless of hunger.
  1.  How it feeds the brain: the most basic parts of the brain evolved to organize the internal world of the body relative to the external world. Along with temperature, moisture, and light, nutrition is one of the basic messages the brain receives from the world. The presence of nutrients in the blood stream – and the resulting flux of different hormones, like insulin, ghrelin, leptin, glucagons, etc. – tells the brain one of two things: things are good and we have plenty of food and resources, or things aren’t great, feeding is inconsistent, resources are crap, and you might be facing a period of starvation. Three squares a day doesn’t do it. The “up and down” of different hormones, along with blood sugar, scares the brain, since it requires up to 200 grams of glucose per day. Eating inconsistently tells the brain to conserve energy by slowing down, not exercising, feeling tired, etc., rather than expend it on things like building muscle or replacing muscle fuel (glycogen). Remember, the brain’s priority is survival. So give it the all clear signal of routine feedings on a consistent basis. Yes, that means 6 meals a day.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: sending the brain clear signals means the brain, in turn, will signal the body through hormones and other messengers that it can go ahead and start building muscle, replacing muscle fuel, and recovering from exercise. In other words, the good times are here so go ahead and use some of those nutrients to improve VO2 max – we can spare the nutrients because the brain is secure and happy.

  1. Get amino acids at every meal (aka lean protein).
  1. How it feeds the brain: some nutritionists will tell you that a calorie is a calorie, regardless of whether it comes as fat, carbohydrate or protein. In the old manner of measuring “heat given off” – this is what a calorie measures - that’s true. But recent evidence is demonstrating that nutrients are also signals to the body and brain, and that they have distinct effects of their own. Amino acids are an example. High doses of leucine, a single amino acid, appear to stimulate protein synthesis (muscle building) in cells more than other nutrients. It’s very weird and research is just beginning, but what is clear is that a steady stream of amino acids helps to steady blood sugar levels, can help the brain feel at ease and, more, help signal the body to go ahead and make proteins out of the amino acids. That means more muscle, quicker recovery and increased strength.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: don’t take amino acid supplements unless you know what you’re doing, and don’t overdo the protein – you don’t need 300 grams/day. But you do need to eat lean protein with every meal – meat, protein shakes, cottage cheese, milk – and let the body make what it needs. The steady presence of amino acids will translate into constant resources that the body will use to enhance recovery from exercise and stress, so it will be willing to go harder and faster the next time. The best way to sabotage your competitive edge is to ask the body to compete under extreme stress and not give it resources to answer.

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."

  1. Eat healthy fats every day – 3 grams of fish oil, 2 tbsp of flax seed oil, 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, handful of almonds and other nuts. Avoid ALL hydrogenated (trans) fats – period.
  1. How it feeds the brain: The brain evolved in part to coordinate movement. Species that do not move do not have brains; species with larger brains have the most sophisticated movements. In humans, directly or indirectly, the brain coordinates movement by using fats, and it will only do that as well as the tools that you give it. In some cases, fats are made into hormones and substances that communicate with distant cells in the body, telling them to operate efficiently (or not). In other cases, fats make up the insulation around brain cells that help them to communicate with each other. Feed the brain crap, like trans fats, and the brain will work at a reduced efficiency. Give it good fat, and it will improve. And the evidence is increasingly hard to ignore: “good” fats promote better brains than others – and a very lengthy body of literature is starting to prove it, so much that the British are even considering making fatty acid supplements mandatory for school kids.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: The right fats will translate into anabolic hormones, which help enhance performance, as well as a beefed up immune system and increased injury repair. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) in particular have anti-inflammatory properties, while over the long term they help make up the membranes around neurons in the brain – resulting in improved reaction times, enhanced motivation, and better working memory. These are the tools of a competitive edge – but won’t happen overnight. It takes weeks to months for healthy fats to be incorporated into your body and brain, so start now. The difference in a year will be remarkable, especially compared to competitors who don’t do this.

 

“We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contests, and you must win.” - Edward Gibbon

  1. Treat pre-, during and post-workout nutrition as the most important meals of the day, because that’s when the brain is most vulnerable. Have carbohydrate/protein drinks before, during, and immediately after exercise.
  1. How it feeds the brain: Exercise is good for everyone, right? Right. But it can be better for some than for others. While conditioning has a host of beneficial effects on performance, the reality is that the brain has evolved with a list of priorities – survival, first. When you place stress on your body, the brain gets nervous because you are taking it out of its comfort zone. Do everything you can to tell the brain that not only will it survive but that it can actually afford to let the body use precious nutrients to recover. Taking in carbs and protein in an easily digestible form before and after working out, while sipping a diluted carb/protein drink during exercise, has begun to show fairly remarkable effects in this regard.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: Studies show that if given the proper resources, the body will respond to conditioning by burning even more fat, increasing glycogen stores, building more muscle, and generally allowing the body to be “better than well.” If you don’t give the body these things, you will still see progress from conditioning, of course, but no more progress than anyone else. There’s not much advantage to that, unless you only want to be as good as everyone else.

“The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” - Vince Lombardi

  1. Go to bed, but not without protein.
  1. How it feeds the brain: Sleep should be considered a part of “nutrition.” About half an hour after you doze off, your pituitary gland releases a pulse of growth hormone that rockets around your body, telling everything to start repairing itself from the wear and tear of the day. However, if you don’t have amino acids available, the brain won’t prioritize physical recovery, so much as worrying about itself and vital organs (and muscle, remember, is NOT a vital organ as far as the brain is concerned). Take 20-30 grams of a slow digesting protein, like cottage cheese, chicken breast, skim milk or a protein shake, before heading to bed. That tells the brain that it’s time to get to work…
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: …which tells your body to get to work. The protein will prevent the body from “catabolizing” (or breaking down) your hard earned muscle for energy and will flood your blood stream with amino acids, using the GH to turn the amino acids into enhanced physical recovery. It’s just too bad you’ll be asleep and miss the “ka-ching” sound that your body will make as it detects large numbers of aminos.

“People who say that something is impossible should not get in the way of people who are doing it.”

 

  1. Eat vegetables at every opportunity.
  1. How it feeds the brain: We can put a man on the moon, we can thread cameras through people’s veins, and we can grow human ears on mice. Seriously. But we don’t fully understand what it is about vegetables that make them so good for us. In some cases, we have a suspicion; in others we just know that they seem to work miracles. But the constituents of vegetables work on the brain and body in different and complementary ways. Tell the brain that you’re getting a rich, varied diet and it will let the body know that it’s getting what it needs, so the body is good to go.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: This will make sure you get your fiber, your phytosterols, your polyphenols, your resveratrol, your anthocyanins, your proanthocyanins, your isothiocyanates – among others – all of which provide the foundation for optimum performance through different but important mechanisms (such as providing anti-oxidants). Without them, yes, you will live – but so does everyone else. If you want to be like everyone else, you’re in the wrong line of effort.

 

“Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.”

- Baltasar Gracian

  1. Drink water all the time. Drink green tea some of the time. Drink anything with high fructose corn syrup (soda, Powerade) none of the time.
  1. How it feeds the brain: Hydration is situated firmly in the top three priorities of the brain. If it’s dehydrated, the brain’s going to do everything it can to keep you from going beyond the pace of an arthritic pensioner on ice – from shutting down decision-making faculties to shifting blood flow away from the muscles and to the vital organs. So hydrating regularly tells the brain that you’re taking care of it, and the neurons work faster, the hypothalamus senses a decent body temperature, and the brain gives the body a big thumbs up.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: Cells work best when hydrated in general (this is partly how creatine enhances performance – it sucks water into muscle cells). But for an added edge, green tea is showing some pretty remarkable qualities as well – from enhanced endurance to anti-cancer to fat-burning properties (I have the studies to show that), the polyphenols in green tea can’t be beat. So have 2-3 cups a day, in between water.
  3. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the equivalent of giving your body an internal sunburn. No matter what industry-funded research and “meta-analyses” are invented to complicate the issue. It leaches calcium from your bones, it causes inflammation, and it increases fat storage. In 30 years, after HFCS and trans-fats have been banned because of the mounting evidence that they are the equivalent of drinking Potomac river water, we’ll look at this stuff the way we look at our parents’ 1960s fashion or believing that Lance Bass was straight. What the f*&k were we thinking?!

"When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." - George Washington Carver

  1. Eat these foods at least three (and ideally five) times a week:
  1. These foods are good for brain and body. If you want to know specifically how, ask me and I’ll get you the literature. But these are the foods that give you the spectrum of what your brain (and thus your body) needs to be better than the competition – because I guarantee you that most competitors are not eating this comprehensively. Attached is a list that will help you check off the foods as you eat them, taken from John Berardi, who is a very highly regarded sports nutritionist – he gets his clients to eat in order to be better than their competition.

• Lean red meat

• Salmon

• Omega-3 eggs

• Low fat plain yogurt

• Protein supplements

• Spinach

• Tomatoes

• Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage)

• Mixed Berries

• Oranges

• Mixed Beans

• Whole Oats

• Mixed Nuts

• Avocados

• Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• Fish Oil

• Flax Seeds or Flax seed oil

• Canned pumpkin (no sugar added)

• Green Tea

• Liquid Exercise Drinks (carb/protein)

• A vegetable/fruit concentrate supplement – these are supplements that are composed of freeze-dried fruits and veggies that help round out the required nutrients that are increasingly hard to find in the nutritional desert called Modern America.

“Do today what others won’t, so you can do tomorrow what others can’t.”

  1. Accept that being professional about rugby means being willing to prepare meals in advance.
  1. How it feeds the brain: What else can I say? To feed your brain, you have to use it. Think ahead so you don’t get caught short-handed and are forced to eat crap. Buy a dozen plastic containers and carry snacks with you. Cook chili by the potful and freeze some. Make sure you have chicken breasts available when you need some lean protein. Hardboil some eggs and carry them to work.
  2. How that optimizes your competitive edge: Because then you can follow the other 8 tips above much more easily than the competition.

 

"Progress often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?"- Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

                       

  1. Use supplements intelligently. They can make up for crap diets on occasion, but that just puts you back on even footing with competitors who eat right. Supplements should be about being “better than well” in order to be “better than them.”
  1. People will tell you supplements don’t work. Rubbish. What they mean is, some supplements don’t work, and others haven’t yet been “proven” to work. Neither has broccoli. The right supplements do work, and they work according to the principles of competitive sports nutrition – give the brain what it needs, and the body will be enhanced accordingly. Whether that’s increased hydration or power generation through creatine or a more efficient nervous system through caffeine, supplements can take the 90% athlete to 100%. But you have to get to 90% through nutrition first. Note that I consider protein shakes, fish oil capsules and veggie/fruit concentrates not to be “supplements.” In today’s fast food apocalypse, these are vital enough to be considered foods.
  2. Supplements are a tough business, and knowing what to take, how much, and when can be confusing and expensive – the science isn’t exact and the incentive to study supplements is pretty small because they are rarely patented. So you pay for a study and then some mom-n-pop fly-by-night supplement company uses that to sell something they’ve cooked up in their bathtub. Thus what we can gather so far from supplemental science and its effectiveness is that the following supplements show pretty demonstrable promise for rugby players (for dosing recommendations, places to buy this, etc. contact me and/or wait for the next publication which will focus on supplements):
  1. Certified pure micronized creatine monohydrate
  2. Certified pure Beta-Alanine
  3. Reasonable sports drinks without HFCS, like Gatorade or Accelerade, but only during workouts or in recovery. I realize Gatorade sponsors the Eagles, so I shouldn’t say this, but I suggest Accelerade because it contains some amino acids that can help with hydration, stave off fatigue, and enhance recovery – take my opinion for what it’s worth
  4. Zinc/Magnesium during periods of stress
  5. Certified pure, standardized Tribulus Terrestris/Eurycomia Longifolia extract (herbs that boost natural production of testosterone)
  6. Certified caffeine and vitamin B1 derivatives like sulbutiamine
  7. Certified Branch Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine) and, in particular, l-leucine
  8. Certified neurotransmitter formula, containing tyrosine, taurine, DMAE and phosphotidylserine/choline
  9. Certified Phosphatidylserine

 

The jury’s still out on some others, like citrulline malate, d-ribose, etc., but many of these are showing significant promise. Two important points - I highlighted certified for a reason: if companies aren’t willing to provide independent lab assays demonstrating their products’ purity, then don’t buy. It’s the least they can give to you, the consumer. Second, think of supplements like rugby accessories (e.g. boot stud length, mouth pieces, gloves, pads, etc.) – they are vital, but they need to be tailored for individuals. Don’t dump all of these into you at once, and don’t play without testing each one reasonably to see how YOU do on them. You wouldn’t run into a game with a new pair of boots that someone else handed you if you hadn’t worn them in practice. Supplements are the same.

“If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, ‘Sorry, Mom,’ but nobody beats me.”

- Leo Durocher

 

Final thought – if you decide to do this, you will probably catch some heat from folks. They will call you strange, obsessed and possibly crazy. They’ll tell you that there’s no proof this works; they’ll tell you that you’re wasting your time and money; they’ll tell you that all they need is a bag of Doritos and a Coke after game time. And, when they’re 18 and able to eat crap and still play, or retired, broken, and overweight (and the latter is usually the former only 10 years later) they might actually believe that.

But chances are that – like HFCS and trans-fats - they are toxic people, who will almost unconsciously revel in slowing down your progress. Such people can be well-meaning, but this doesn’t make them any less toxic. As the quote at the beginning demonstrates, this is because when you follow these steps, you challenge what they have always known and done. Departing from a common path forces others to consider the possibility that there may be better ways of doing things than how they have always done it (not tough to conclude if you actually study the last 10 years of research but what kind of dork does that?!).

Remember: the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

- Sun Tzu


Goal Setting Worksheet

This worksheet is meant to serve as a goal setting guide to give yourself motivation and direction on what your goals are and how to achieve them.  

1: Take an audit of yourself as a player by listing strengths and weaknesses (engage your coach for feedback).

2: List outcome goals that you’d like to achieve (ex. Make a team, win a championship, etc.)  These are long term goals with an outcome, that often times you don’t have complete control over, but that supply you with motivation.

3:  List performance goals that will help you achieve each outcome.  These performance goals are what you do have control over and should be your focus on doing everything in your power to give you the best chance of achieving your outcome goals (achieving these is the highest level of success).

4: List processes for each performance goal that you will put in place on a daily/weekly basis to reach your performance goals.

5: Complete and print this sheet out.  Put it somewhere where you will see it daily to motivate you.

Date

What are your strengths as a player?

Example: Strong Ball Carrier

1:

2:

3:

What are your weaknesses or areas to improve as a player?

Example: I’m not fit enough to play my best

1:

2:

3:

What are outcome goals you would like to achieve as a player?

Example: Make USA U18 National Team

1:

2:

3:

What performance goals will you achieve to give you the best opportunity to achieve that outcome?

Example: Be as fit as I can be and run a 13 on the 20 meter beep test by June 1st.

1:

2:

3:

What processes will you put into your daily training to achieve those performance goals?

Example: Do 3 fitness workouts each week on top of my team training and eat with good nutrition.

1:

2:

3:

Goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Aligned/Adjustable, Realistic, Time-Based)

Suggested Reading List

Gentlemen, reading about high performing athletes and rugby players and learning from there example is a great way to learn and improve as a player.  We suggest you take a look at these books:

COACH/ATHLETE:

MENTAL SKILLS

NUTRITION

Positional Profiling

Rugby is a game that requires all players to have all skills.  That means that all players must be able to go into contact and put back a ball, run, pass, tackle, play within an attacking or defending system, compete for the ball, etc.   However, rugby is also a game that requires specific skill sets out of specific positions.

These positional profiles are meant to serve you as a guide for what is specifically required of you out of your position on the field, on top of the general skill sets required of all players listed above.

1/3: Prop

2: Hooker

4/5: Lock

6: Blindside Flanker

7: Openside Flanker

8: Eight Man

9: Scrum Half

10: Flyhalf

   dummy, feint, long-short, short-long

    long, wipers, box, chip, grubber, drop goal

12: Inside Center

13: Outside Center

11/14: Wing

        pace, fend

        of game

        clean out, snake  

15: Fullback