Sixth Formers saw top rugby players during a trip to the Leicester Tigers training centre at Oadby. The visit was part of their BTEC sports studies and it supports a project they are doing to devise individual training programmes.
The students were given a talk by coach Shane Lehane, who outlined the training regimes that are devised for each individual player, according to what their long term goals were, whether it was to put on muscle or reduce their BMI. The players, their food intake and training regime are measured on a daily basis so that the coaches know exactly what their physiological response to their exercise regime is and can adjust their diet or exercise accordingly.
Teacher Mr Clasper said: ‘We had a presentation on how they train their professional athletes. They measure all the parameters of every single thing they could possibly measure. They don’t let the athletes know as the athletes got too distracted as they didn’t need to know that information. The player doesn’t know if they are putting on weight or if their BMI is getting greater. They measure them on a daily basis but they are looking at long term changes over four to five weeks because that is when you adapt to any training. It was all based on training principles, fitness and adaptations to sport and the students said they got a lot out of it as they saw how it is in the field as opposed to theories in the classroom.’
The students saw top players such as Mulipola, who leg presses up to 450kg under controlled conditions alongside Tom Croft who was carrying out plyometric exercises as part of his physiotherapy after a knee injury. They were given a talk by coach Shane Lehane, and also meet coaches Georgan Murphy and Richard Cockerill, as well as the chief executive of the Tigers, Peter Wheeler.
Mr Clasper said: ‘The highlight was getting the information from the fitness and conditioning coach about how they train players, what they look at and the physiology of the response to exercise. It was interesting to know the response to exercise for the European guys as compared to the Polynesians. They are just monstrous in their anatomy and physiology and their response to exercise. A lot of the Polynesians don’t need to train because if they do they put on so much mass that they will become less athletic.
‘The students have seen all the core principles at work there and will be able to translate that into the coursework that they are undertaking. It has been an amazing opportunity for them to see how a top club trains its top athletes.’