Rugby is a highly physical sport and one that is the subject of much debate about the potential for injury, particularly amongst the younger generation of players. With the physicality of the game, many parents can be put off allowing their children to play the great sport for fear of them getting hurt; similarly, many adults are afraid to give the game a try.
How to avoid injury
Even the top players in the rugby world get injured. Regardless of how careful you are, or how legal the tackles, there is always a risk of overdoing it or hitting the ground awkwardly. According to a recent study, however, a new sports programme known as Activate, which sees players performing a series of exercises prior to matches, reduces incidences of concussion by up to an incredible 60 per cent.
What does Activate include?
Warm-up exercises are already highly encouraged, of course, with players using them to prepare for a rugby match and even just for a training session. There are a range of such exercises, and some may even be used in conjunction with the new Activate injury-prevention plan.
Appropriate warm-ups and other resources, such as a rugby drill training drill video, can be found online. Providers such as Sportplan offer some great ideas on drills to train and improve your core strength and other key areas.
Following the study, the RFU announced its intention to implement the programme more heavily across clubs. This will be supported by online content and downloadable content to ensure players get the most out of it.
The programme consists of several exercises, focussing on areas such as balance, strength and agility to suitably prepare players for all the physical demands of the average rugby match. It is split into four different sections and whilst dependent on the abilities of the individuals, it should hypothetically take around 20 minutes to complete. The idea is that it should replace traditional stretching exercises prior to matches, instead focussing on the lower limb and neck stretches that players will find more useful.
How can I get involved?
The RFU will be rolling out the programme to clubs across the UK; in the meantime, you can find out more and enrol on a course to learn via the RFU website.