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Rugby League Training – The Core

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So Why Do We Need To Train Our Core?

I have to say that I spent several years rugby league training as a professional before I was taught the importance of training my core.

Core stability is the coordinated effort of the deep muscles of the trunk, pelvis, hips, abdominal muscles and small muscles along the spinal column. These muscles contract together to create force used to hold the spinal column in alignment.

The reason we need to exercise these muscles is to build core strength which supports the spine and provides stability.

Core stability is essential for proper form and mechanics while performing rugby skills.

It is even more important for injury prevention, especially during an intense 80 min rugby match.

I recently spoke to Mike Ferrandino who’s the fitness conditioner for Leeds University Gryphon’s which includes both the rugby league and rugby union teams, about the importance of core exercises.

Here’s a short video with Mike showing some core exercises for the modern rugby player.

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There are more core and rugby league training exercises in the download section at

Until next time


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Coaching the Offload

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One of the students at Leeds University Rugby League recently asked me how he could improve his offload and was there any exercises he could practice…

For you as a coach, the easiest and one of the most effective ways to teach your players ‘Offloading’ is the Hit & Spin Technique, which is actually poorly named because you actually Spin and then Hit. To teach this technique:

a. Have a player with a shield standing 5 metres in away from the play the ball, in the ‘A’ defenders position (one off the ruck);

b. Have a runner come through and take a pass off the dummy half and run straight at the ‘A’ defender;

– Just before the runner gets to the defender he starts to spin, and here is the critical part:
– If he is on the LEFT side of the ruck he will carry the ball in two hands and lead (or hit) with his LEFT shoulder;
– If on the RIGHT side he will lead with his RIGHT shoulder;
– This will ensure that he is able to deliver the pass correctly to his support.
– The dummy half scoots out from the play the ball and while running behind the ball runner, he takes the offload.
– The dummy half then becomes the next ball runner and the drill continues;

c. When coaching offloads, you should also teach the correct ball carry:

– Many players these days are carrying the ball for the spin pass. Get them out of this habit
and get them back to holding the ball in the middle, with fingers spread underneath and
thumbs on top.
– To demonstrate the effectiveness of this ball carry, have a player turn his back to you and
you bear hug him, but holding his arms ‘above’ the elbow, he can now flick his wrists and pass the ball 5 metres with a wrist flick.

There are plenty of other ways of offloading, passing under the arm pits, passing around a defender, the one handed back flick, but most of these are high skill sets. The hit and spin is relatively simple and can easily be taught, you can then build it into a pattern or a play such as the dummy half scooting and dummying to an inside runner, then passing to a straight runner who hits and spins and picks up the dummy half on the loop who fires the pass out to his backline.

Enjoy Your Rugby


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