Rethinking conditioning for contact sports

Conditioning for team sports and contact sports has evolved a lot in recent years, but when you look around there are still some big misconceptions that many coaches cling on to. There are two points that always stand out to me: that conditioning is only about energy systems and that conditioning only comes through volume. In this article I take a look at how we can rethink these areas and share what I have implemented in rugby training sessions to address both topics. Read more

Putting tactical periodization into practice

A lot has been written about tactical periodization on HMMR Media this month, including a primer on tactical periodization from Craig Pickering and a detailed discussion of Dean Benton’s experience with tactical periodization. I’ve come to tactical periodization from a different route. Much of the discussion around tactical periodization looks at complex data modeling and GPS metrics. With a background in physical education and coaching rugby at the grass roots, I simply looked at tactical periodization as a tool to help us better define how we wanted to play and train for that. This article aims to show you how I’ve taken some of the ideas from tactical periodization and put them into practice. Read more

Case studies in player-centered coaching

We talk all the time about culture, but what exactly is it? Wade Gilbert defines it in his coaching book “Team culture has been defined as a pattern of shared assumptions that guides behavior . . . Culture comprises both the obvious artifacts of the team and the less obvious norms and rituals.” In other words, culture is the way we do things around here. Read more

10 athletic development tools you can find at any track

Listening to GAINcast 111 at the start of the month got me thinking. On that episode Vern Gambetta and Martin Bingisser talked about how you can creatively use your training environment when you lack equipment. I realized that, as an athletics coach, there are numerous hidden training tools around me every day at the track: hurdles, steps, partners, nets, mats, and more. Listening to the episode gave me inspiration to share some of the possibilities I’ve found at the track in the video below. Read more