Small gains can provide large rewards

The Guinness premiership rugby season started last week with a bang and with all the adverse press the sport has received over the summer could’ve done without the early dismissal of George Robson for a headbutt after 45 seconds of the second game.  Aside from the controversy about which much has already been written we’ve been treated to an intense and highly competitive 2 rounds of competition.  Some stand out performances from Shane Geraghty and Ryan Lamb for their respective new sides have been amongst the highlights.

The other point of notice is just how close most of the matches have been with 7 from 12 games ending with the teams separated by 5 points or less.  This highlights just how small the margin for error is at the top level.  Steve Meehan, the Bath coach, rued his first weekend 24-5 loss stating 14 points of those scored by Gloucester were due to interceptions; errors by his side.  For me, it shows the importance of building reactionary or decision making scenarios into conditioning activity. Perhaps James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson were sharper at reading the game than their Bath counterparts under fatigue and this led to their scores.

Better conditioning or not, it demonstrates just how slim the differences between teams are and how attention to detail in training can effect the result.  It is a great example of how, by working closely with technical coaches during the needs analysis, the strength and conditioning coach can design a program that is much more match relevant.

Neil Welch

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