Following on from the improvements of last season Shetland Rugby Club are approaching this next season with renewed vigour. This is the time of year where all rugby clubs regroup following summer break and the dreaded pre-season begins. However, this year is a little different for the club, new men’s team captain Jake Watt has brought his passion for rugby with him and has great ambitions for the season ahead. We spoke to Jake to find out some more:
Tell us a bit about yourself?
“Hi, I‘m Jake Watt (29) and I live in Gulberwick, Shetland. I moved to Aberdeen when I was 18 where I received a degree in mechanical engineering and started playing rugby. I played rugby for Aberdeen Wanderers until moving home just before Christmas 2017.
What position do you hold in the club?
For the 2018/19 season I was elected men’s captain. I am also a loose-head prop.
Why did you feel the squad needed a strength and conditioning program?
S&C is a huge part of any sport now aspiring for more. Moreover, a lot of people go to the gym with no real goal or focus, and many who have gone to the gym for years have no idea how to tailor gym exercise to their sport. I felt it was important for Shetland RFC to have a proper plan in place that would focus and increase performance on the pitch, reduce injury through improve mobility whilst also educating on the reasoning behind it.
What do you think this can bring for old and new players?
I feel that it will help to motivate the old players who perhaps have never had a goal outside of the pitch or understood what S&C involves. Whilst of the newer younger members it shows ambition of wanting to improve and strive for better in the future.
Have you started it?
I was eager to test the program developed for us by Jennifer Thomson. It’s very demanding. She asked us to focus heavily on the warm up, which has a large focus on mobility and developing weak areas. It really shows where you have had past injury’s which are not as flexible or powerful as other areas. I have been working hard on that, before the program ramps up into the strength and power phases.
One of our main changes to pre-season has been the introduction of a more structured approach to the season ahead, and with that bringing a new strength and conditioning programme from Shetland Ladies Rugby’s own Jennifer Thomson, we caught up with Jennifer to find out more:
“I started my new job as an active school’s co-ordinator at the start of this year (which has no relevance to S&C). Before this, part of my role as an advanced fitness instructor with the SRT included training as a physical prep coach with Sport Scotland as part of their Performance Development Programme (PDP). I've been involved with this for the last 3 years, coaching swimming and netball athletes in the gym.
I wanted the programme to focus on building the foundational movements first before any load is introduced. Technique is key for any S&C programme. If the foundations aren't there, it's difficult to progress without injury occurring at some point.
That's probably the biggest challenge - educating players that it's not all about heavy lifting. They need to learn to move in an efficient way first, for this to happen the focus should be on mobilisation, flexibility and technique after that they can start building strength and power.
I think my personal player experience helps as I have an understanding of the skills involved with rugby and how exercises in the gym can be transferred into game play. For example, players will automatically be hitting rucks with a flat back and landing from lineouts without their knees and ankles turning in.
This programme can be undertaken by any athlete, in any sport that wants to improve their foundational movements, especially the initial 12 week hypertrophy phase. The exercises will become more sport specific as the programme progresses.
The main benefits of an S&C programme are that it'll increase the structural stability and mobility of a player, reduce the likelihood of Injury occurring and develop strength and power. The overall outcome of this will mean players can optimise their skills both in team and individual performances.”
As always there’s lots happening within the Rugby club and we’re excited for the season ahead. Preseason continues with Mike Bradley from Tingwall Barbarians Training Club taking the cardio sessions every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm. We always have a warm welcome for new members, with training on offer for all ages from our junior version through to the men and women’s teams. Please feel free to message us for more info on joining the rugby family.