Volume 93, Issue 16
Friday, September 24, 1999
Rugby to train with other fall sports
GIVING SOME MUCH NEEDED ASS-ISTANCE. The Western men's rugby team will soon be getting cross training help from both the Western swimming and wrestling teams.
By Sean Maraj
If Western had it their way, the triathlon would not be swimming, biking and running but swimming, wrestling and rugby.
Led by Western's coach Gerry Slattery, the men's rugby team is about to embark on a cross training program with the help of swimming coach Glen Belfry and wrestling coach Ray Takahashi.
This crossover event will send the rugby team to swim practice with Belfry and wrestling practice with Takahashi. The hope is for the team to get a variety of training and perhaps improve their rugby skills.
"The wrestling allows them to focus in on the use of their bodies. It's a good work out and a good way to practice tackling," Slattery said.
Belfry also stressed the pluses of the team having a swimming practice. While there won't be any direct benefits to their rugby skills, the swimming will help enhance the team's stamina on the field.
"The rugby team will come in for 45 minutes. They work hard, without the impact and get a good work out," said Belfry.
While the rugby team is currently the only team at Western engaged in cross training with other sports, Takahashi had nothing but praise for the idea and was quick to compliment Slattery for initiating the concept. "I think its a great idea. As long as no one gets injured and they develop a routine, [Slattery] might be on the right track."
Slattery also pointed out other advantages cross training might have over field skills and physical stamina namely benefits for the mental side of the game.
"It gives a mental break from their game as well as gives some exposure to another sport. It's something new," he said.
Rugby team captain Aaron Abrams, a second-year administrative and commercial studies student at Western, said he was excited about the team's potential after joining in this cross training venture.
"It gives us more variety and teaches us technique and tactics. It also changes our routine a little bit," he said.
As the team begins their training, Slattery said he felt this would give him the opportunity to advance his own skills as a coach. At the very least, he said, the players get to see other coaching styles. "You get to hear the views of another coach and see how they deal with their athletes," he said.
While this may all seem new and innovative at Western, Slattery was quick to point out that cross training is an especially popular mode of training in rugby hotbeds throughout the world.
"Some of the more successful rugby coaches in Australia get players to develop different parts of their bodies through cross training. The Welsh national squad do a lot of cross training," he said.
Slattery attributed a lack of knowledge to why. "Cross training isn't new, just a lot of coaches don't know too much about it," he said.
The prospects of this kind of training expanding through Western athletics is still up in the air. Belfry pointed out it depends on the coaches and the type of sport. By necessity, some sports are not compatible with others. "I think in certain situations it would be good. It depends on the situation, but it's still a good thing," he said.
Coach Takahashi also reiterated that despite possible benefits, cross training as a tactic to improve athletic skill depends on the situation. "I think the bottom line is you have to do the sport. It's a good psychological break for the athletes. If you can do it more than once you can see some benefits."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999