Written by Nathan Pickworth, Head of Performance at the St George Illawarra Dragons.
A season in the NRL is extremely gruelling and taxing. One of our main focuses to keep players fit for the grind of the year is to have a good pre-season.
If they are able to get through the training we do in the off-season then the in-season periods seem easier and more manageable in comparison.
If a player isn’t able to go through a long period of hard training before the season then the season becomes a massive load that is more difficult for them to manage and get through.
That it is why the pre-season is so crucial to what we do and demonstrates that no matter the sport, preparation is key.
At the Dragons we really value two types of fatigue that we look to manage. Those are physical and mental fatigue. Both are equally important and you often see that the mental side is neglected. That is why we pay close attention to both in our program.
It takes a lot for players to get themselves up for at least 24 games a year, and countless training sessions.
We make sure that the players have plenty of down time, time to get away from each other and the environment and spend time doing things outside of footy.
Physical recovery is crucial, particularly to prevent injuries and get players through the season.
We use different things to help with that recovery, such as foam rollers and resistance bands, as well as beach sessions and other dynamic stretching.
HARD WORK LIFESTYLE
Obviously natural talent plays a big part in the levels you can reach as an athlete in any sport. However you can never rest on talent, and there are things completely separate that are still crucial in getting to a high level.
Being dedicated and committing yourself. It’s been said a million times but that’s because it’s true. It isn’t just about training either, it’s about what you do away from the field and training.
For footy players now it has to be a lifestyle.
You need to have everything in place to make sure you can have the opportunity to give your best on game day. That includes things like getting the right sleep and eating good food.
Basically you need to live a healthy and well-balanced life style.
That is the fabric of our culture at the Dragons. Real hard work is a part of every players lifestyle.
To get the chance to pull on the Red V jersey, you need to work hard in all aspects of your life.