Value, Self-Assessment and Honesty
When thinking about what will take your rugby to the next level, a lot of people see top-flight players and what their strengths are and assume that is what is required to make it. In some cases, that may be true, but generally speaking, everyone has different weapons and work-ons.
In order to reach the next representative team or improve your game markedly, there are a couple of things that I wish I knew when I began playing 10 years ago, that I have only become clear to me recently. They are:
– The ability to self-assess
– Being honest with yourself
– Adding value to your game through effective training choices
Being able to self-assess and understand the deficiencies (and just as importantly, the strengths) in your game is crucial in working out what is required to make progress in rugby.
You can break your game in to a few key areas:
– Technical Ability
– General skills (catch/pass, ball carry, tackle and cleanout)
– Core Roles (specific to your position)
– Tactical Knowledge
– Game plan understanding and application
– The ability to influence positive behaviour
– Speed/power, strength and stamina
Think about your own game in the above terms and jot down what needs work and what parts of your game are strong. Work on them both. Your own plan for improvement is very personal.
Be honest about what is going to get you to the next level. If you are already reasonably strong but running a level 16 yoyo, how much better can performing the bench press 3 times a week really make your game as opposed to throwing in a couple more conditioning sessions? Think hard about what your weaknesses and strengths really are. If you are still struggling with assessing your own game, ask a mate or coach to help you. The main trouble with assessing your own ability is bias.
Once you have worked out where your game needs work or where your strengths are, keep that in the back of your mind when doing your own personal training. Use this question A LOT:
“Is this the best thing I could be doing right now to improve my overall performance.”
If the answer is yes, keep going. If it’s not, then you need to have a think about what you should be doing. Adding value is the key here.
Consider this scenario:
Tom is a flanker with average tackle technique and is a good ball carrier. Tom has arrived at training with a mate 30 minutes early and decides to do some extra work. He has two choices – catch pass or tackle practice.
Have a think about what would bring his game more value. Either Tom would make more tackles (or miss less) on the weekend with more tackle practice – OR – Tom would practise passing for 30 minutes and pass maybe once or twice on the weekend. It seems like a simple decision but one that so many young rugby players get wrong every week.
Now apply these things to your own training and see what changes you need to make to make the biggest gains in the shortest amount of time. Self-assess, be honest and then add value.