Ashley Jones Q&A Archives Page 5

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    Hello Ashley, First of all I want to thank you, because of all the guidance that you have been giving me and everyone with this website throughout this years .
    I´ve been following your Big rocks aproach to Off Season training. Now as most of the Southern Hemisphere I´m starting the pre-season training, I would like to know, What is the biggest diference between off season and pre-season training? Is it ok to do the speed and the arobic/anaerobic conditioning of the Off season during pre-season? and if you could have a pre-season training program shown it would be awsome!!!

    Thanks again for everything you do for rugby!, Nick
    Hey Nick, thanks for that, if I can help just one person it is a joy for me, so let’s see, depending on what you need most going into pre-season is what you need to speand a majority of time on. One big area is increasing game specifics, with possible anaerobic games, if you can get a few people together it is a much better way to train with ball in hand and increasing awareness through spatial and visual acuity, we have a few we use regularly, some of these are:

    Goal Line “D”

    Attackers have 2 extra players than defenders.

    Attack starts 5 metres away from goal line place another cone 2 metres out from goal line the defenders can not move out past this cone, attackers just have to run across the line to score they do not have to ground the ball, if an attacker is tagged (2 handed) the ball is passed back to the 5 metre line to start the next attack, attackers have 2 minutes to score as many points as possible, any time the ball is dropped, knocked on, passed forward that attacking raid is finished and the ball has to go back to the 5 metre line to go again.

    Offside Touch

    First pass must always go back then attack to furthest try line, attacking team gets 2 touches, after 2nd touch turnover, ball can be passed after the restart pass in any direction, to ensure everyone is working all the time all the attacking team must be inside the 22m area before the try can be scored, the team that scores retains possession and defending team must push inside the attacking half way line otherwise the try is worth 2 points, another version is man on man where you can only tag your partner and vice versa, plus you can add a sweeper that can tag anyone as well, can be played as a kicking game grubber kicks only and no running with the ball post reception of the grubber kick.

    Speed Ball

    Played with a soccer ball, normal soccer rules apply but if you can catch the ball on the full you then play on for three touches with normal touch football rules applying after the 3rd touch the ball is dropped and neither the defender or attacker involved in that last play are allowed to touch the ball. The same rule applies for forward pass or knocked on ball. Play on full field.

    One Touch

    Best played across the field 50m line to try line being sidelines, both teams start on the sidelines (now try lines) one in possession the other being defenders, normal touch rules apply attackers only get one play when touched they all have to sprint back to their respective try line before they can push up in D, the new attacking team must pass once from the breakdown and then play continues in same fashion. Upon a try being scored the scoring team stays in possession and both teams swap side and restart from the try lines.

    Drop Off Touch

    Normal touch rules apply, other than when a person makes a touch he has to sprint around his own goal posts before being eligible to be on D again, attacking team gets 6 touches, no kicking is allowed.

    Cone Ball

    Field set up with cones on the junction of the 22m both ends and the 50m lines with the 5 m lines, this is when you are playing on the full field playing across the field. Scoring is as follows if you run the ball in and put it down on a cone 5 points, if you score other than putting the ball on a cone 3 points and if you receive a grubber kick in the scoring area you get 1 point. Ball must be passed backwards at all times, you get 2 touches and then have to hand the ball over, you can grubber to yourself and to another players once per possession.

    You can of course do the speed sessions and anaerobic sessions as per the off season but since you are doing more technical tactical work you may just want to cut back on the number of sessions.

    Strength training shifts more to a power base with something similar to the following:

    Power Play

    A simple and basic approach to inseason power training for all sports specifically rugby. Alternate weekly between two different set/rep/load protocols.

    In the first week utilize a schedule based on light and fast, an inter muscular co-ordination approach (Schmidtbliecher): 3 x 5 @ 60% of max, light and fast

    The next week utilize a heavier load with attempted acceleration, even if the bar does not move fast you are still selectively recruiting the fast twitch motor units, an intra muscular co-ordination approach (Schmidtbliecher): 5 x 3 @ 80% of max, compensatory acceleration (Hatfield)

    Now for the exercises, select one exercise from each group:

    Explosive Rotational
    Explosive Pull
    Explosive Push
    Explosive Squat

    Hammer Push/Pull

    Power Tackler

    Rotational Jammer


    Band Bench Press

    Push Press

    Band Squat

    ¼ Explosive Squat

    Jump Squat

    There are many derivations from these four exercises per group, so it is up to you to select the movements that provide you with the best results.

    Another way to organize your program is to select from only three (3) categories as below. Then superset a plyometric exercise immediately after the main movement for each category; for example; Band Box Squat then Box Jumps.

    Group 1 – Band, weight release or chain Box Squat/1/4 Explosive Squat/Band Power Sprinter/Jump Split Squats

    Lower Plyos – Box Jumps/Knees to Feet Jumps/Seated to Box Jumps/Band Horizontal Jumps

    Group 2 – Power Tackler/Block Clean or Pull/Power Snatch/Hammer Push-Pull

    Lower Plyos – Box Jumps/Knees to Feet Jumps/Seated to Box Jumps/Band Horizontal Jumps

    Group 3 – Rack Split Jerk/Jammer(conventional or rotational)/Band, Weight Release or chain Bench Press/Push Press

    Upper Plyos – Clap Chest Push ups, Push Up Jumps to box, Drop Push Ups, Medicine Ball Crossover Push ups

    This can be performed as a circuit or just as a series of super sets.

    Hope that helps you out Nick, go well and have a great season ahead, ash

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