Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Thursday Sep 29, 2016

How To Create "Mental Toughness" For Rugby?

How To Create

Everyone wants to be tough in rugby. This week Rugbydump Academy’s TJ Jankowski breaks down exactly how we can train to be “tough” on the rugby pitch and why we should all train that way.

Something that often comes up in rugby is the idea of “mental toughness.”

A team wants a squad of players that are willing to do what it takes at the right times in order to win games. They want players who don’t get stressed during games, they keep their head and emotions in check all whilst never taking a backwards step.

They want players who don’t go missing when the game gets tough and they don’t want players who shy away from putting the work in.

But how on earth do we train for this mental toughness?

If you type it in to Google, you’ll most likely find military-style workouts, or some sort of grueling training session that is incredibly difficult to complete.

That should build toughness right? “Pain is weakness leaving the body” afterall.

Perhaps not. Lets look at a examples.

Who’s Tough?

Firstly we have a scrawny kid, playing his second year of men’s rugby. He mostly is on the wing, he misses nearly every tackle he makes and gets smashed every time he takes the ball into contact.

But you know what, this guy never stops, he’s always putting himself in the position to make a tackle (even if he misses it) and calls for the ball as often as possible.

On the other hand we have another winger. He’s been around the block, and has some good speed and size to him. When he wants to he will he miss a tackle or fail to get over the gainline, but his coaches complain that he goes missing in games. Sometimes it looks like he just doesn’t really want to play, hiding on the wing with his hands on his head gasping for breath.

Now, it’s the last play of a game and on the opposite side of the pitch the opposition has made a break from their own 22. Who would you rather have on your team to make the crucial try-saving tackle?

The answer is probably neither.

The scrawny kid, if he gets there, will more-than-likely miss the tackle. He’s spent 80 minutes getting smashed and is hardly in any condition to make such a crucial tackle. And the big guy is probably way too gassed to get there, that’s if he even bothers trying.

Now you could definitely make a case for the scrawny kid being “tough”, but that’s no use to us, because he is ineffective.

The big guy on the other hand seems to be more use, but he clearly has weaknesses that need working on. However is that weakness “mental toughness” or is it simply that he is very unfit.

Training for “toughness” is backwards in my opinion.

Toughness comes from being comfortable in your role as a player. It comes from having the ability to play well.

If you’re fit, mobile, strong and have a high skill-level (otherwise known as being well conditioned), then you’re more likely to back yourself when it matters, and more-importantly have success when backing yourself.

If you’re unfit, weak and unskilled (also deconditioned), then it doesn’t matter how much “mental toughness” you seem to have, you’re going to suck. Making key decisions will be difficult, it doesn’t matter how badly you want it, if you’re knackered you simply won’t be able to step up and produce when it counts.

Note: This is not to say that quality mental training will not help you in your rugby performance. We actually have videos from a sports psychologist for the great benefit of our guys in the Rugbydump Academy.

So How Should We Train?

In spite of what many may think, you don’t have to constantly beast yourself.

I’ve listed here and here some great ideas on how to get stronger and fitter.

Make no mistake, you should be prepared to work hard, but equally as important – work smart.

Fatigue can make a coward out of you in games, it can also make a coward out of you in training.

If you are doing lots of highly-stressful things in your training, you’re going to get fatigued. If you’re in a fatigued state, you simply cannot perform at your best.

Highly-stressful training could include:

–       Max effort sprints

–       Contact-heavy rugby training

–       Plyometric work

–       Heavy weight training (particularly lower body weights)

–       High-fatigue circuit/interval training

–       Light-weight speed training

–       Tough, intense interval training

If one day you decide to perform one of these “mental toughness workouts”, that has a mix of speed training, heavy weight training and high-fatigue circuit training, then you’re going to get fatigued. So fatigued that it doesn’t matter how tough you are, you’re not going to be able to train as hard in the following days.

The result is missed opportunities to make more improvements.

A better way to train for toughness would be to simply train smart. Set goals, goals that will make you a better player. Because if you’re a better player you’re a tougher player.

As for the actual plan, you should schedule high-fatiguing sessions days away from each other and perform them at your best. If you’d like to know more it’s called High-Low training and if you’re patient enough I’ll look at this in-depth next week.

In Summary

There is no tough, only trained or untrained. So go train.

About TJ Jankowski

TJ Jankowski is a former international rugby player for Poland rugby, who achieved their highest world ranking of 23 whilst he was part of the team.
Never the most talented player, he attributes the majority of his success to the hard work he put in at the gym, kitchen and training paddock. 

It was this reward from hard work that led him to become a coach and help other achieve greater success than he could. He prides himself on coaching and creating plans for people in the real world, not with robots.

TJ has worked with international rugby players from 4 different continents and we are thrilled to announce that he can help you as part of the Rugbydump Academy

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 95 WEEKS AGO

    Carlin Isles gym footage shows fascinating...

  • 221 WEEKS AGO

    Box Jump Guide - Do Them Right To Develop...

  • 222 WEEKS AGO

    Special Strength Training for Rugby - Why,...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Jamie Roberts turns back the clock with trademark midfield power for well taken try

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    The time Sivivatu dominated an All Blacks trial ahead of 2005 B&I Lions tour

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    WATCH: Springbok fans celebrate Liam Williams' game-losing error in 2014

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Huge brawl blows up in dugouts during 1999 Wales Test in Buenos Aires

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Liam Williams suspended despite on field protestations

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Kyle Sinkler banned for going full John McEnroe at referee

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 16 HOURS AGO

    Vakatawa blows crucial try in terrible blooper, similar to Kunitani in 2014

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Highlights and reaction to Saracens shock defeat to Championship regulars Ealing

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Zebo slams Folau over potential return to rugby union

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Steve Thompson's heartbreaking interview which shocked World Rugby in December

View All

Funnies

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: American reacts to brilliant Nigel Owens refereeing montage

View All

Amateur

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 48 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 48 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

View All
How To Create "Mental Toughness" For Rugby? | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos