The yearly plan is an important aspect of any player’s program as it highlights the training progressions, periods of competition, and recovery throughout the year. The overall training plan is usually developed from the first week of training of the new season until the last competition of the season.
In rugby there is typically a long pre-season phase followed by a competitive season with regular games every week. The entire season may be up to 10 months in duration. As with other components of conditioning, the speed training programme should vary over the course of the season.
The emphasis placed on speed training for the team player has several challenges:
- ensuring recovery
- the appropriate placement of any speed training within a busy weekly competitive calendar
- ensuring position specific speed related development.
Table 1. presents a basic outline of a sample year plan for a club rugby season. Pre-season focuses on the development of mechanics and the technical skills. This slowly progresses to free sprints in the form of acceleration and maximum velocity work. Similarly, agility is firstly developed by mastering technical closed chain skills such as the shuffle and cut. These will provide the foundation for open chain movements that require reactive, anticipation, and perceptual elements. Training requires the development of foundational movements and progressively adding layers of complexity and specificity until it can be applied to the game.
Table 1. Year long sample programme (Northern Hemisphere)
Sport General Foundation
|Pre-season 1||Pre-season 2 and Friendlies||League and Cup Competition|
Rest from previous season
Correction of injuries
Building foundation for Pre-season
Development of Mechanics / Speed / Agility
Hypertrophy / Strength
Develop Speed (Acceleration / Max Velocity)
Maintain Conditioning / Speed / Strength / Power
Speed / Agility maintenance as extras in season
Use breaks in blocks of games to further develop speed and to "top up" aerobic fitness