Coach’s Corner – Jan van Rooyen – Listen Up


For my April blog post to Ruggas, I was planning on writing a review on all the different ideas regarding recovery modalities to be used for rugby, specifically focussed on using during Easter festivals, but after the past few weeks and numerous discussions and debates, I have something else on my heart. I will attempt to do this next week.

In the past four weeks, I have spoken to a huge amount of coaches, players and parents regarding conditioning ideas. In some conversations, I learned an unbelievable amount, in other I only got a small idea, which then grew while researching.

The single most important aspect of conditioning and I say this with confidence, is not good programming, brilliant equipment or unbelievable knowledge. The single most important aspect of conditioning is realising that you as S&C coach do not know everything, and neither does anybody else.

Every single person you meet can teach you something. Whether it is a player that read something on social media, a dad who is reading a book on training or a coach that did a specific drill in training 20 years ago when he was still playing. In every conversation and every interaction, there is something that will be said to trigger a new thought or question in your mind. Act on this!

Do not let questions fade away. Read up on it, ask more questions and when you receive answers, formulate a plan and act on what you learn. Formulate plans to incorporate new ideas into training, make plans to test whether it is working and when it is not, have the confidence to claim your mistake and change it back. At the end of the day, the old adage rings true, adapt or die!

In my opinion, as long as your gym program includes Primal movements, you are headed in the right direction.

  • “Primal movements” will always be the most important:

The movements that humans have been doing naturally for thousands of years will still give you the most bang for your buck. Humans have been Squatting, Deadlifting, Twisting, Pulling and Pushing (Away from the chest and above the head) since time began. If your program incorporates these movements, you will always get positive effects, especially with developing athletes.

May we continue to learn from each other, and most importantly, never ever stop sharing. The greatest ideas are not born from single minds but through group effort.

*Jan van Rooyen is the Conditioning Specialist for Hoërskool Monument Rugby and the Golden Lions u18 Schoolboy teams. In his spare time, he runs StrapFIT Sport Strapping Suppliers, and if there is any time left he goes running.