Unlike the professional rugby season, there is a prolonged break from playing for younger rugby players who often finish their last games in April or May and are chomping at the bit to get back on the field when the season officially begins again in September.
Whilst a break from the game is vital, both in terms of recovery from injuries and exertion, but also to ensure the hunger remains and interest does not wane, it is however not advisable to stay away from rugby completely for over three months. The most committed players, even at a younger age will, after a period of recuperation, begin pre-season training with some lighter running sessions to sharpen themselves up and ensure they maintain a good base fitness level.
I would suggest that general fitness should indeed be maintained, perhaps not exclusively through running however (try cycling or swimming for less intensity and pressure on the joints), but I would absolutely recommend that any player works on his or her skill levels consistently over the summer recess. These skills are the very basis of what make a great player, and it is these skills that can make or break a game when the season begins.
Players work consistently throughout a season to develop their skills, only to neglect them come the Summer holidays. In my opinion this is counter-intuitive, it is far better to concentrate on skills at a time when there are fewer distractions and matches to fit in, and therefore arrive at the beginning of the season with an already well-developed skill level, as opposed to losing skill-level over the break and having to start from the bottom again when September comes.
This is why my summer sessions with players focus almost exclusively on skills levels and techniques – using hands and feet to manipulate the ball from both sides and to develop spatial awareness and performance under pressure. Players who join me over the Summer always remark on how far advanced they feel when compared to their peers once the season starts. The drills I use are not designed to tire a player out, but instead to develop good habits and technique that become second nature in a game environment. During the winter, I then hone, top-up and build on these skills in one to one lessons, but my summer masterclasses and Academy sessions give the perfect base to young and developing players, and I would therefore invite you to join me at one or more of my forthcoming events, to gain an advantage on your opposition when the season begins!
To see and book your spot on any of our available sessions, please visit the Masterclass page.