Monday, 28 July 2014

Get unspecific to get specific goals

I've had something in my head for a couple of weeks - so I've decided I'll write about it.

So the idea behind this is basically how to use different sports to make progress in your own.

For instance, recently in my internship the team have done sports such as Basketball, Football and also Swimming. Now swimming has been used a lot for recovery in sports in recent years as it can help to increase blood flow and is a non-loaded activity (I would put references - but in all honesty I can't be arsed as its 21:30. Next time I do one of these I'll go about it properly ... maybe), but how about using swimming as a tool to improve performance? Rather than just enhance recovery.

Ooooh interesting I hear you say ... Hopefully ... maybe not but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

Another reason for getting my thinking on this was a couple of weeks ago I played Squash. Yes, Squash. Not really sure why, but me and Richie - a.k.a Dick Steele (p.s. best name ever) - decided we'd play a friendly game or two of squash before our day at Quins. So the first game was great, good ralleys and stuff, and then it fell to shit because I'm out of condition.
A few years ago I started playing squash regularly with my dad in an off-season, and I went back fitter and more agile than I'd ever been.
Coincidence - possibly. But I think that the amount of specific work being done to enhance change of direction, deceleration, and acceleration was much greater than what I would normally have been doing in my rugby training. Thus improving these areas for me - in case you couldn't put that together for yourself.

So now back to swimming.
We have been in the pool twice so far this pre-season at Quins (scheduled that is - some of the players use it for recovery ... you see how I tied that in ...)
Once was for a recovery and conditioning session after our monster day at GSK.
The other was Wednesday of last week when we did "The Great London Swim" Conditioning Challenge. Now unfortunately I can't tell you the ins and outs of this as A) I wasn't there for it all & B) That would be telling you sneaky little buggers.
But I can say this - it ranged from a mix of strokes (ha!), rest periods, and also swimming on the surface and also doing whole lengths submerged.
Obviously the work submerged is to help improve anaerobic performance and lung capacity (maybe not lung capacity as it's not being done often enough to have an effect on this really) but for the players to be able to exert force repeatedly whilst not using a constant intake of new oxygen is a good shock to the system. The majority of their training is running or aerobic based, so it's a new twist and another way to shock the body and create adaptation.

Basketball on the other hand - is a whole different ball game to rugby (again - see what I did there ... ball game ... anyway) and requires a high amount of hand-eye coordination which is prevalent in rugby also.
So the skills coaches have been getting the guys to play to identify a few things:
1) recognising and utilising space
2) ball skills
3) conditioning effect
4) communication
There are probably more but I can't really think right now.

One thing to bear in mind through all this - and I'm sure all you reading this are smart enough to figure this out for yourselves - but do not let trying new things get in the way of what is important ... Your Own Sport! That is still number 1 priority and always should be. So if by doing things differently your players start to lose touch in their own game - sack it off! or at least tailor it back and see what happens. But it's definitely worth giving a go as it can keep training fresh, and add new stimulus physically as well as mentally.

So yeah - I kind of went off on a tangent a little bit during that, and for that I 100% do not apologise, but my general point is this:
Try chucking some training into your schedule that utilises the benefits of other sports, and watch how that can carry over to your own.

'Til my next random thought or planned area of jibber jabber.