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IRFU Produce Athletic Performance Resource For Elite Pathway Players

IRFU Produce Athletic Performance Resource For Elite Pathway Players

Over the past 12 months, the IRFU’s Athletic Performance department has been developing a curriculum of strength, power and speed proficiencies to help pathway players physically prepare for the elite level of the game.

Analysis of the physical competencies and technical movement skills required in professional rugby has resulted in the IRFU developing a national standards curriculum which will support the phased athletic development programmes for elite age grade players – Provincial Talent Squads (PTS), the National Talent Squad (NTS) and Academy players.

In spring 2020 a consultative process was undertaken where all athletic development practices and philosophies in operation across the four provinces were analysed and reviewed.  Subsequently, a framework for a national minimum standard in athletic development was agreed.

This has resulted in a unified athletic development philosophy across Irish Rugby, underpinned by a national minimum standards programme with key benchmarks and movement competencies that will guide the player’s development journey.

Player education and technical proficiency were two key areas identified during this process and an educational resource has been developed to assist elite pathway players. The resource library contains 190+ videos providing technical instruction in four main areas – Stability, Strength, Power and Speed.

IRFU Academy and elite pathway athletic development staff will use this resource to assist pathway players in achieving the national minimum standards and hence prepare them to physically advance to the professional game.

Nick Winkelman, IRFU Head of Performance and Science, commented:

This resource is going to be hugely beneficial to our young players and our athletic performance coaches as we continually drive and evolve Irish Rugby’s minimum standards in strength, power and speed.

“I would like to thank our colleagues across the provinces and Martin Kennedy, in particular, for their work in designing and bringing this resource from concept to reality.

“Over time we will add new elements to the programme, but as of today we have a comprehensive tool to support our young athletes physical development.”