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Armed Forces World Cup Update
Post Fri May 10, 2013 9:52 am
Posted by Services RL on Fri May 10, 2013 9:52 am
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Eddie Hemmings's Wig
Eddie Hemmings's Wig

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:51 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Bristol
In 2008 Great Britain Armed Forces performed the unthinkable, they lifted the World Cup in Australia. Every item of detail was covered in the preparation and the competition to achieve this remarkable success, Head Coach Wayne Okell produced the systems and processes that he believed would get his team through the tournament. The playing strategy was complemented by a series of other important components, this included a strict hydration and rehabilitation policy, which dealt with both the temperature in Australia (the game against the Cook Islands was played in excess of 40 degrees) and the pressure of playing 5 games in 2 weeks.

Since his re-appointment as Head Coach for this years World Cup campaign, “Wayno” has being putting together his strategy that he believes will successfully defend the World Champions title. He believes that preparation is key; he has identified a number of areas that he terms 'marginal gains', "if we edge the opposition in these key areas then we will be in good shape and will hit the competition like a force of nature". An example has been the strength & conditioning preparation, this has produced a serious amount of work but the gains have been breathtaking. In collaboration with Sam Dovey of KBTEducation, a Strength and Conditioning programme was developed that will see the players peak at the right time. KBTEducation was introduced to the Armed Forces through their delivery of strength and conditioning educational courses 6 years ago. So successful has this association been that Wayno approached Sam with a view forming an integral part of his World Cup team.
In January, a training squad of 50 players from the 3 Services, arrived at the Marjon Sports Science Laboratory at the University College in Plymouth to begin their World Cup Campaign. This day included functional movement analysis, body composition and postural analysis delivered by the KBTEducation team. Additionally a nutritional brief was delivered by KBTEduaction’s John Buckland. This included an introduction to the benefits of a range of products by UDO’s Choice and supplementation by Reflex Nutrition.

The performance testing was made up of 4 tests measuring reactive strength index and power and maximal strength. These tests included vertical jumps and variations, standing long jumps and a maximal strength exercise. Each player completed 3 attempts at each test and an average was taken from the 3 results and then recorded. The reason for using these specific tests was to assess how quickly our players could apply force and to identify the player’s maximal power outputs and their levels of their maximal strength, which is critical in Rugby League.

On completion of testing, Sam Dovey, who specialises in research and the development of periodization in the UK, developed specific programmes for each player. Sam believes it’s critical to develop specific plans to match the individual players, based around their, injury profile, mobility, training age, muscle fibre make up, work capacity and conditioning and player position.

By doing this and implementing progressive undulating periodization, utilising the Strength – Speed continuum and bilateral/unilateral movement patterns we knew we would achieve great results. Our workouts were focused on hormonal optimisation and recovery and ensuring the posterior/anterior/lateral and spiral chains were strengthened and balanced optimally, to enhance performance.

With 12 weeks completed the squad reconvened at UCP Marjons for the evaluation day, where they conducted the same tests as carried out in January. Analysis of the results has been conducted and it’s very obvious that the players have stuck rigidly to both the training programme & dietary plan.

The results are very impressive with average increases of nearly 4kg in muscle mass and 1-2% decreases in bodyfat , which is very hard to achieve when putting on so much muscle. In terms of performance testing results, there were an average of 5.4cm improvements in Vertical Jumps and an average improvement of 12.3 cm in the standing long jump. Reactive strength and maximal strength also dramatically improved, which will directly correlate to a better performance on the pitch. When Sam was asked how will this improve the players he said “If we consider each player as an object. We have increased the size of the object and the ability of the object to accelerate faster. As we know F=MxA, (Force is mass times acceleration) so the level of impact our players will be able to achieve will be significantly better, which will make a huge difference in the game”.
Sam Dovey said “All of the results are nothing short of phenomenal, in 18 years of S&C with elite athletes; these are some of the best results I have seen”.

The squad will now go through 2 performance training camps conducted by Wayno and Assistant Coach Damian Clayton in preparation for the competition in July. The first camp will see the Squad cut from 50 down to 24.

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