Utilising a tactical periodization framework to simulate match demands during rugby sevens training



Rugby sevens is a demanding sport that requires extensive physical preparation. Travel and logistical challenges in rugby sevens mean that coaches often have limited contact time with players, but must ensure adequate physical, technical and tactical preparation. Tactical periodisation (TP) presents a potential solution by simultaneously developing these aspects of performance, but this concept has not been empirically tested. To investigate the effectiveness of TP, microtechnology devices were used to measure total distance, high-speed distance, maximum velocity, mean acceleration, PlayerLoad and collisions in a group of international sevens rugby players (n=22) during four tournaments and two training camps. Differences in the mean and peak demands of matches and training session types (volume, quality, speed, collision) were determined using linear mixed models and effect sizes (ES) with 95% confidence intervals. Volume and quality training types simulated mean and peak match demands effectively with only PlayerLoad demonstrating a practically important reduction from match exertion (match vs. quality ES = -0.97, 95%CI -1.17 to -0.77). Speed training exceeded the peak high-speed running demands of matches over durations from 1 to 5 minutes (ES range 1.78 to 2.54). These results demonstrate that training guided by tactical periodization principles represents an effective method of preparation during the competition period.

SportRxiv. 2020; doi:10.31236/osf.io/d4jpm
Jason Tee
Jason Tee
Coach educator and performance consultant

Coach and sports scientist with an interest in player and coach development