Australia’s Sevens players are some of our countries fittest, fastest and most unique athletes.
With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, we caught up with Australian Sevens Athletic Performance coach Will Stuart to find out what an average week of training looks like.
The squads arrive at Narrabeen between 7-8am to begin their preparation for the day. Each player immediately undergoes a physical screening by medical staff where they weigh in and give a report on their physical status. After strapping and a team meeting, the on-field morning session begins at 9am.
The focus of Monday morning’s session is defence. It begins with speed work, with all players looking to hit max velocity, or their top speed early in the session. This is followed by several skill development based defence drills, before the session finishes with a series of games, played for specific set time periods.
“We want the players to hit max velocity for both performance and also injury prevention. It won’t happen every week, but we do it to ensure that their bodies are able to cope during tournaments,” Stuart told Rugby News.
At 11am the players head to the pool for a short recovery session before breaking for lunch and some down time.
“There’s generally a good variety of food each day with a big emphasis placed on good quality carbohydrates and proteins.
“The players are also given supplements after each field session to kick start the nutritional component of their recovery,” Stuart added
The afternoon sessions begin at 1pm with the squads split into two groups. Group one heads to the gym for a lower body work out, while group two completes an on-field skills session. The two groups alternate, then finish the day with an ice bath before knocking off around 5pm.
Tuesday morning begins in a similar manner to Monday, however with no team meeting planned, the squads arrives slightly later ahead of a 9am start to the morning session.
Again, the squads are split into two groups. Group one heads to the gym for an upper body session, while group two completes an on-field skills session. The focus today is contact conditioning and tackle and breakdown work.
“There is usually a big focus on contact skills under fatigue during this session. It’s also done in a confined space with smaller numbers so the coaches can get a good look at what is happening.”
At 1pm, the entire squad completes a yoga session before heading for an ice bath. In the afternoon, team meetings are held and some players receive extra treatment from the medical staff.
Wednesday begins early with strapping, a team meeting and training prep all held before 9am, as players prepare for a physical morning session.
Wednesday is contact day and the morning session is centred around the breakdown. Although it’s a light running day, it’s often one of the most tolling sessions of the week.
After a pool recovery session, the players break for lunch and down time ahead of the start of the afternoon sessions at 1pm.
“As you can see, each day follows a similar theme to try and get the players into a set routine,” Stuart added.
The squads split into backs and forwards for the afternoon sessions. The backs begin in the gym while the forwards complete a lineout session. The groups alternate, with the backs focussing on passing during their on-field session.
After an ice bath, the squads finish around 5pm.
Thursday is a training free day/recovery day. Sometimes the players are asked to come in for recovery, which may include stretching, a pool session and/or ice baths. Other times the players are given the day off completely and conduct their recovery from home.
Players arrive early on Friday with strapping, a team meeting and training prep held ahead of a “heavy running day.”
Friday is run similar to Monday, however the focus is on attack. The morning session begins with speed work, with all players looking to hit max velocity.
The players are then put through several skill based attack drills before finishing with games over a set time period. After a pool recovery, the players break for lunch.
“On the Monday and Friday we ensure that the drills and games have a good dose of high speed running. If players don't achieve high speed running targets we top them up with extra high speed running. Again this is for both performance and injury prevention,” Stuart said.
Similarly to earlier in the week, the squads split into two groups after lunch for gym and on-field skills sessions. Attack is again the focus with plenty of running involved. After an ice bath, the day ends around 5pm.
The squads complete a conditioning session in the morning, however after a long week of running, it’s usually an “off-feet” session. For example Wrestling, boxing or swimming. This generally wraps up around 11am and the players are given the rest of the day off.