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Developing All Round Speed For Rugby

An England Under 18 player takes part in training

Photo: Getty Images

Players should have an adequate training base to be able to benefit from the high volume of training in the training year. The player should not have excess body fat, which will interfere with muscle contraction and add to the mass the player has to run with. The player should have developed a general conditioning base at a young age. The player should also have adequate dynamic and static flexibility, core stability, balance and coordination.

Speed training for the rugby player needs to mirror the demands of the game and the individual positional requirements. Interval sprints will develop straight sprinting speed. Other techniques that could be used to develop speed and quickness (speed off the mark and change in direction) are:

  • Ballistics (use of medicine balls to increase muscle coordination and power)
  • Plyometrics (bounding, jumping, hopping to decrease ground contact time)
  • Overload (use of resistance, e.g. running uphill or up steps, towing weighted sledges, to increase leg drive)
  • Speed (use of fast treadmills, running downhill, pulleys to increase leg speed)
  • Distance (to increase sprint endurance and correct technique)