The IRFU was the first rugby union to recognise this and in 2003 launched the Powerade Conditioning Programme to assist coaches at all levels to better condition their players for the game.
The IRFU is still the only rugby union in the world to run a rugby specific conditioning course for its club and school coaches and has just completed two 5-day courses, one in the University of Ulster, Jordanstown (UUJ) and one in the University of Limerick (UL) for 2007.
From 2003 to 2005 the IRFU ran one course in UL but due to the ever increasing demand from clubs and schools the decision was taken in 2006 to include a second course which is held in the University of Ulsterâ00s Jordanstown campus. 300 coaches from around Ireland and coaches from France, Germany, England, Italy, Russia and Lithuania have attended the course.
68 coaches from all four provinces attended UUJ and UL this year with a further 17 coaches from previous yearâ00s courses dropping in to some of the modules during the week to catch up with the latest innovative coaching techniques. Almost all of the 48 AIB League clubs and many of the leading schools have participated at the course. The list of tutors includes former Olympic medalists, published academics and rugby coaches and fitness coaches working at the cutting edge of rugby union.
Once the 5-day course has been completed the participants will return to their squads to apply the knowledge and techniques in a practical way on the field and in the gym. The coaches also benefit from follow-up contacts with the Course Director every 6 weeks through visits to the club or school to assist with season planning and session management, email updates and mid-week seminars in each of the provinces during the season.
The course will be reviewed in August 2007 and several further initiatives will be discussed to advance the programme.
In line with the IRFU Long Term Player Development (LTPD) pathway all coaches attending are encouraged to continue to attend the additional workshops and courses provided by the I.R.F.U.
For More Information on the Powerade Conditioning Courses click here.