-“Rugby & Sprint Training”
-“Speed-agility Training”
-“Nutrition: Breakfast Meal Ideas”





The average sprint distance in a game of rugby has been estimated as 10-20m and therefore the player that is quicker will ultimately produce greater results on the pitch. The need for excellent short sprint-speed (quickness) has sparked research into the most effective training method for 10m sprint-speed. Sprint-speed has often been associated with strength and power measures because sprinting is an activity that requires a high force production during the first initial steps.


Literature has classified specific sprint distances based on their performance characteristics. For example, a 10m sprint has been described as the “initial acceleration” and a 40m sprint as representing the “maximum sprint speed” capability of an individual. Researchers even suggest that the 10m and 40m sprints require distinct sprinting skills and possibly distinct training protocols. 


A study attempting to correlate 10m and 40m performance with specific resistance exercises determined that the 10m sprint should correlate with the performance of an isolated concentric phase of a squat. The concentric action is most important because there is no benefit from the eccentric movement in the “initial acceleration” of a sprint. For example, the first push-off step (concentric contraction) does not benefit from a previous landing (eccentric contraction), and therefore there is no plyometric benefit.


A briefly physiological note  

·         an eccentric contraction occurs when the muscle produces force as it lengthens

·         a concentric contraction occurs when a muscle produces force as it shortens

·         an eccentric contraction can enhance the force production of subsequent concentric contractions of the same muscle group

·         this is referred to as the Stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) and is the theoretical basis behind Plyometric training


Researchers did not find that any exercise was very good at predicting 10m sprint performance, while performance in all lifting tests (i.e. the squat) and plyometric drills (i.e. vertical jump) correlated with the 40m sprint. That is, as squat performance increased, 40m speed decreased. This may have been due to the importance of the SSC (“plyometric effect”) over this (40m) distance.


Do the 2 sprinting distances thus require separate training strategies? Researchers have developed a theory that exercises such as the hang clean (an exercise with limited eccentric movement) may be successful predictors of short sprint (“initial acceleration”) performance.


A 10m-sprint predominately depends on concentric force and power, therefore for training purposes it may be prudent to include a pause between the eccentric and concentric phases of exercises (such as the squat). The planned pause will minimize the influence of the eccentric movement (SSC) on concentric performance and may help develop greater levels of concentric strength specific to the first step in sprinting.


Absolute (OR maximal) strength appeared to be less important than relative strength (strength per body weight) in the prediction of sprint performance, therefore, athletes should be trained to improve strength as much as possible per kg body mass (i.e. get strong without the addition of body mass).


In my opinion, the best training method is heavy weights and low repetitions that should increase maximal strength without stimulating maximal gains in body weight, as well as training methods that promote decreases in fat mass. Athletes must also be counseled properly regarding nutrition so that energy levels are kept high yet without excessive caloric consumption and subsequent weight gain.


It appears that athletes should be trained to accelerate specifically without the benefit of the eccentric motion (i.e. the start position of a sprint). Also, athletes must learn to correctly perform the squat and hang clean to benefit from these excellent athletic development exercises. Most research shows that a combination of plyometric training and weightlifting result in optimal speed and leg power adaptations.





You must warm-up appropriately because speed and agility drills are explosive. All drills are only 5-10seconds long and must be followed by a lengthy rest (60seconds). Perform 3-4 exercises for 3 reps each (and a total training time of about 10 minutes). This allows speed-agility training to be done prior to a practice session.



Remember, short drills (5-10s long), quality training (maximal effort) and lengthy between-rep recovery (45-60s OR 1:5 work-to-rest).


10second stair sprints 

75-yd hill sprintshigh-knee drill heel/butt kicks                           



Short (5-10s) @ maximum intensity, followed by full recovery. Drills should incorporate acceleration, deceleration, many movement patterns, and direction changes. 


box runs       

-         forward sprint, shuffle right, backpedal, shuffle left

-         length of sides can be 5-15yds, mark corners with cones     


line touches  

-         sprint 5-yds, touch, sprint back, touch, sprint out 10-yds, touch, sprint back, touch, and repeat 5-yd sprint

-         sprint 5-yds, touch, shuffle left 5-yds, touch, shuffle right 10-yds, touch, shuffle back to center, touch, and backpedal to start

          (Option 1 - replace shuffles with crossovers)



Trains muscles for sport-specific speed, quickness, agility, and power.


Jumps - lateral, vertical, long, tuck, backward

Hops    - horizontal movement for maximal distance landing on same foot/feet

- single or double leg           - zigzag

Bounds - alternate landing of feet, aims for horizontal distance

Skipping - power skipping (high knees)

Upper body - (med ball push-ups, drop push-ups, upper body medicine ball rotations)



Breakfast is an essential part of any successful nutrition program. It provides an energizing beginning to the training or competition day and must NEVER be SKIPPED. This meal should have an extra emphasis on complex carbohydrates and moderate protein (20-40g) to provide energy for the day’s activities. Gradually increase the amount of food eaten at this time until a full breakfast becomes a habit. 


Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants should be taken at this time as well to support optimal health. Refined pastries (excess sugar and fat) should be eliminated. Water is an important component of this and every meal while tea and coffee (caffeine) consumption should be limited as they can interfere with iron absorption and are not optimal for re-hydration.



                Cereal + milk + toast + peanut butter + protein shake

                Oatmeal + milk + fruit + protein shake

                Eggs + toast + fruit + protein shake

                Pancakes + fruit + meat + protein shake

                Muffins + yogurt + protein shake + fruit + milk

                Blender meals (Meal replacement shake, yogurt, fruit)

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