Implications for conditioning training

Analysing the game and positional demands provides useful information that can help coaches to design a training programme. While work to rest ratios represent the average, players will be required to work for longer and rest for shorter periods as well. Consequently, a variety of work to rest ratios should be considered in the conditioning and preparation of players.

The total distance covered by a player from a given position is composed of different speeds of locomotion. Backs will cover a greater total distance in high-intensity running and so their training distance at high speeds may need to be longer compared to forwards. Backs will also cover more total ground in the game and so may need more distance covered in training. All players will require coaching and training in acceleration and deceleration. Speed training may need to consider the distances most often covered by certain positions. It may not be of huge benefit to train a front row forward for speed over distances greater than 20m as they will rarely sprint further than this in a game. Backs however, cover more ground at high speed and so they may need to be trained for speed over further distances. Whist forwards are engaged in intense physical activities (rucking, mauling, scrummaging, and tackling) more frequently than backs, backs are still involved in intense physical challenges. General total body strength will provide a basis for the more specific activities of gripping, pushing, pulling and other forms of opponent contact. More specific conditioning methods that involve grappling, wrestling and tackling are also important and should be part of the conditioning programme.

Dynamic mobility and agility are also important components for developing during the integrated conditioning process. Such activities include players recovering from a ground position to a playing position, changing direction and speed of movement during evasion drills and conditioning games.