When it comes to field sport training, our go to resource is John Pryor. The Rugby World Cup just came to an end, so it is a good time for us to check in with him and his colleague Leigh Egger about their experiences preparing Fiji Rugby. They also dive into the evolution of their new training app focusing on the foundations of performance: core strength and hip function.
Notes and quotes
John Pryor has been involved with rugby for decades, having most recently worked with Japan at the 2015 World Cup and Fiji at the recent 2019 World Cup. Leigh Egger is a rehabilitation physiotherapist and strength coach with Feyenoord Rotterdam, and was also on the Fiji staff in the lead up to the World Cup.
- 5:00 – Highlights from the Rugby World Cup and the evolution of Japanese rugby.
- 9:30 – Reflections on preparing Fiji rugby.
- 12:30 – Setting priorities and turning up to camp. “How do you deal with unfit players turning up to camp? You have to build up slowly. You have to begin with a lot of work around mobility and trunk stability and pelvic control. You can’t just go to hardest speed and agility or you are just going to break everyone. “
- 14:30 – Leigh impressions on the Fiji preparations from a physio’s perspective.
- 16:30 – Balancing the loading of work capacity work and preparatory work.
- 17:15 – Changing lifestyle and habits.
- 18:45 – Injuries on artificial turn and injury prevention ideas.
- 23:00 – Developing speed without integration: “We had great coaches, but no coach integration. So my plan to developing speed in the back line had to almost gym-based. ” “As a S&C, one of the things you have to work out early on is how much influence you have over the field session planning. If you are not involved in the on field planning, you have to have the ability to adapt when there are high training volumes, and expand when there are low training volumes. “
- 27:30 – Foundations of training and core strength: “Core strength and hip function is ultimately about controlling your body in space at high speed. It has to be the cornerstone of any sport that is skill- and movement-based. That is the foundation. ” “The pelvis is the launchpad for self-organization in running-based movement. “
- 31:15 – Team sport considerations, individualization, and giving athletes autonomy. “With traditional strength, the number on the bar is inherently motivating. When it comes to more functional training, it can be less motivating for many athletes. Brining in a belt system has help add motivation to that area. “
- 34:00 – Progressions: “Higher stress, higher load, or greater demand on movement control. Those are the things I want to stress. We want to stress the movement control you would see as field sport athletes. “
- 35:45 – Failure: “If you don’t have failure in your core training, you are not stressing that area. It’s the same as any other area of training. “
- 41:30 – Experimenting with new methods before using them with athletes: “If you are going to introduce an exercise in training you have to think of 3 things first: validity (what is the exercise for and what is it stressing), intent (it must be clear in the athlete’s mind what the correct execution is), and intensity (how you force the athlete to do it at intensity). If you can’t control those 3 things, you have to think about whether that exercise is valuable or not. “
- 50:00 – Making tough decisions on what to include and exclude: “If you can justify what you are doing with a good argument, I’m not fussed. If it is authentic and original, then it’s a go as far as I’m concerned. “
To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- This month’s site theme is foundational strength. Join HMMR Plus so that you don’t miss out on our archives and new resources, including the previous episode and our most recent GAINcast.
- You can follow Egger and Pryor on Instagram at @SpeedPowerPlay, or visit their website for details on upcoming clinics and other projects. They also present together for Frans Bosch, including upcoming seminars in Australia and the US.
- The SpeedPowerPlay app is live. You can download it here for iOS. Egger did a recent member video on core training that included a preview of the app.
- Last year we wrote two articles on Pyror and his first experiences with Fiji Rugby: searching for transfer and cultural perspectives in training.
- We also have many many more resources from Pryor, Egger, and their friend Frans Bosch. Egger and Bosch break down hip lock in member video lesson 15. In Lesson 11, John Pryor shares his approach to robust running and using a constraints-led approach to improve running ability for team sports. Egger has written several articles of HMMR Media, which can be found here. We also have details written interviews with John Pryor and Frans Bosch. Both interviews are included in our book Training Talk: Conversations with a Dozen Master Coaches.
- Pryor was also a guest with Frans Bosch on a two-part GAINcast interview on GAINcast 135 and GAINcast 136. Egger was a guest on HMMR Podcast 204.