Three Tips to Reach Elite Level Performance

Article | James Utai-Cairns

Wests Tigers Head of Performance provides his insight into what it takes to be elite.

Written by Steve Hooper, Head of Performance at the Wests Tigers. 


At the West Tigers we ensure that everything we do is at a high intensity. The moment we hit the field for skill work or drills, it is intense.

That carries through everything; conditioning, strength training or tackle technique. Rugby league, more so than many other sports, is about explosive activities. Sure there is an aerobic factor there, but at its core, it’s about explosion.

In your sport specific training, aim to focus on fast and explosive movements which will maximize your ability to hit hard in a tackle, your left foot step or your leap. 

Training for resilience

Playing rugby league week in and out is extremely taxing on the body. Especially at the elite level, which includes travel and short turnarounds, how we approach injury prevention and conditioning is very important.

We have created a program here which builds resilience through the training paradox. The more that players train in an effective way, the more resilience and strength they build which in turn prevents injuries!


The biggest piece of advice I can give to players is continuity. The key to being an elite athlete is continuing to do the same correct activity which allows you to reach that level of performance. That involves setting up good routines for yourself. Whether that be weights, conditioning, cardio – if you do that every day you will get better.

Stretch. Train. Recover. Eat well. Sleep Well. Repeat.

This isn’t rewriting the book, but instead focusing on what is more important than any crazy new exercise – consistency.


About Steve
Steve Hooper is an experienced trainer and coach in the NRL. Beginning his first season with the Wests Tigers after a successful tenure with the Brisbane Broncos, Steve has increased the athletic output of a new look squad and is part of an exciting new chapter.