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Introduction
LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning
Periodisation
Content
Questions

Speed development - plyometrics

Training organisation

The coach now has an understanding of the common SSC movements in the game of Rugby. Also we have described simple classification for jump or plyometric training. Now we will examine the factors within training organisation that need to be analysed to inform the coach of what exercises are appropriate. These include:

  • Training phase described (pre-season or in-season)
  • Duration of training phase (how many weeks)
  • Other workload being completed during this phase (AA training, resistance training, practice units per week and their content, other speed, high intensity running or training and skills practice and its content and game schedule)
  • Training facilities (indoors or outdoors, surface for training, equipment)
  • Duration for each session
  • Order of training sessions (placement of plyometric exercises in relation to previous days’ activity and activity on the training day)

To help order the prescription of the plyometric routine used the key acute training variables (ATV) that are important in any programme design are described here. They include frequency (number of training units per week), intensity (the demand or stress load of the training unit), volume (the total number of jumps or ground contacts in a training unit), recovery (immediate, short-term, training and then post-training phase). Further, these ACT’s can be quantified over the duration of the programme to describe the total workload (De Villarreal et al 2008).

Frequency

1-2 units a week is common and effective. A frequency of 3 units has however, been used effectively (Campo et al 2009). It would seem that more than 3 units a week are not giving any additional benefits and in fact may be putting the player at risk of overtraining or indeed injury (Villarreal et al 2008). However, recovery time and thus frequency will depend on the fitness level and stage of development and training background of the player. A recovery duration of between 48 and 72 hours between sessions or units is advised and seems to be the concensus (Villarreal et al 2008, Bompa 2000, Chu & Myer 2013).

Intensity

Note that height jumped will give a good description of the intensity – the higher the height jumped the greater the intensity.

Volume

The number of jumps or ground contact made in a given unit. Note Johnson et al (2011) has recommended between 50 and 60 as the number of jumps for children. Chu has also recommended between 60 and 100 foot contact of low-intensity exercises for the beginner in the pre-season (Chu & Myer 2013, Potach and Chu 2008). The intermediate level player (with 2-4 years background training) might be able to complete 100 to 150 foot contacts of low intensity exercises and another 100 of moderate intensity exercises in the same cycle. This means up to about 250 ground contact in a single workout or unit of training. Well trained player (with 5 and more years of formal training) might be capable of 150 to 250 foot contacts of low to moderate intensity in a training unit during the pre-season (Chu & Myer 2013, Potach and Chu 2008). Please refer to Table 4 for a suggested summary of Volume of foot contacts by season for jump training (Chu & Myer 2013, Potach and Chu 2008).

Season
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
Intensity of exercises
Pre-season

60-100

100-150

120-200

Low - Moderate

Late pre-season phase

100-250

150-300

150-450

Moderate - High

In-season

Depends on schedule and volume of training/practice

Moderate

Table 4. Number of foot contacts by season for jump training according to Chu & Myer (2013) and Potach and Chu (2008).

It must be stated that while the suggested numbers in terms of foot contacts may be appropriate for some players they may not be at all appropriate for others. Some players will not be able to complete a standard programme without interruption. Players will incur injuries at times. Also, players who may have completed a high volume of interval type training in a previous training session may not be able to gain benefits from plyometric training due to the fatigue associated this training (Schmidtbleicher 2005).

The S&C coach should at all times be aware of the prior workload for his/her players. This is an important Player-Organisational need to consider when implementing any training programme.