The healthy mentality of the professional rugby player
Another great article from our young writer Arun! He delves into what a healthy player needs to be thinking about over and above merely training hard.
As players started to turn their minds to the eagerly awaited Premiership & Championship kick-off. Most of them are just finishing a term known as “pre-season”, an action undertaken by clubs from levels 1 to 10. Pre-Season is a process where players will get back into game day shape and go through around 5 weeks of out and out strength & conditioning fitness work, before they switch to more gameplay focused work. Players will work both in the gym and on the field to try and get the edge on their opponents for the forthcoming season.
Although training well is very important, and work rate is one of the key attributes in a rugby player. Looking after your body, eating, sleeping and hydrating well is also very important.
Something I was reminded of, when on Sunday I embarked on a solo training session at my local rugby club, Dorking. Following techniques taught to me by former Lion & England man Mark Regan.
The training involved a lot of repetitive pitch sprints. Although I had taken a hat and water I hadn’t properly factored in the result the heat would do on my body and how I should stay out of the sun, when I did not need to be in it. Something that surprised me massively is how draining the sun really is, and how problems caused by it can easily be avoided through spending more time in the shade, and keeping time in the sun while exercising to a minimum.
The next topic is food, as important a topic as anything else. What you put in your body, whatever your age is one of the key factors to being a good sportsman. A diet which contains protein, non-saturated foods & isn’t too high in sugar is perfect for young athletes, especially when players want to start building a bit of muscle mass. When I say protein by no-means do I mean artificial supplements, or nutrition such as protein shakes. These are called supplements because they are to supplement your diet, so you don’t need them. Eating protein rich foods such as chicken & fish is just as good.
Hydration , Hydration ,Hydration! Keeping hydrated and drinking lots of water is key to not only doing well at sports but being healthy. It is recommended for training that for every 1kg lost in sweat, 1.5 litres of water should be consumed. Not staying hydrated for training/matches, is like going for a car ride to Manchester and back with no petrol and not stopping for fill up. The way to go about staying hydrated during the day is to keep a water bottle and sugar free cordials close to hand and then when you are training consume water as well as electrolyte drinks to ensure you don’t get hydrated and can focus on what’s happening on the pitch, instead struggling through dehydration.
In conclusion, being a good sportsman and healthy person does not just include being good at sports, or training with a high work rate. It includes eating, sleeping and drinking well and following a basic healthy principle as well as focusing on a diet enabling development of a stronger body but not forgetting that this can be attained through natural sources and does not need to include supplements.