Skills in the Park

Skills in the Park

Gym monkey, meathead, too many weights, not enough skills!

These are just some of the tweets I get on a regular basis from those brave, but strangely name-shy keyboard warriors when it comes to rugby!

Now I don't mind. What other conclusion would you draw from the huge amount of topless photos and naked photo-shoots I have done?

This coupled with the fact I run my own fitness business, which entails me spending a lot of time posting videos of training sessions and gym sessions for fans of James Haskell Health & Fitness.

The reality is I actually spend very little time in the gym other than the prescribed amount from Wasps. The rest of my time I spend practicing skills; a good habit I learnt from my time playing Super-15 in New Zealand. Although I accept the dropped pass against Uruguay might not reflect this!!

Each day I aim to get slightly better in one area or across the board. Something I picked up from Matt Parker who was the Performance Director at British Cycling under Sir Dave Brailsford. Small, sometimes tiny gains across a wide range of areas, in the end all add-up to big bid gain. Well that’s the theory - sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn't.

As said whilst I was with the Highlanders in Dunedin, the percentage of time Jamie Joseph the coach had us spend in the Gym and then out on the park practicing our rugby skills, was the complete reverse of what happens with England. You can form your own judgment on this.

Suffice to say I liked his approach, so I spend as much time as I can focusing on the core skills of the game, passing, running, footwork, tackling and the like. The reason I don't post lots of videos about this stuff and tweet about it all the time is it’s very difficult to film yourself when there are just two of you and you are both doing that particular skill. However I decided to invest in a GoPro with a stand, to record some of the work that I do away from Wasps.

This week’s video is all about a rugby skills session I did in my week-off post RWC. I train with my rugby mad, kiwi friend and MAT trainer Travis Allan (twitter @TravisAllantt)

I apologise the video is longer than we usually put out, but I wanted to give you guys and idea of exactly what we were working on in case any of you wanted to follow suit.

In my latest EBook an “Introduction to becoming and remaining RugbyFit” I talk all about the importance of practicing skills over gym work.

I give readers at home a number of sample sessions to go away and execute. I also talk about the importance of working on your core skills and the great habit of making some extra time every day, post your regular training, to work on these.

Every good player in the team needs to make time to do this. The All Blacks have a voluntary twenty minutes; post their official training session, to focus on their individual skills.

If that example snippet doesn't tell you just what a worthwhile read it is, nothing ever will.  The book is in essence recounting most of what I have learnt being a professional rugby player having been in the pretty unique position of having played in all four of the leading domestic competitions in World Rugby

If you want to find out more about my eBook and sample some free chapters, then you can do it here

The plan of the session was to work on footwork, attacking the ball, separation (I.e. handing off and bumping the defending player) Dealing with a bouncing ball, general one- handed takes/skills and your first three steps before contact.

Unlike some of the videos we have done before, I am not going to break down the entire video into drills and exactly what I was doing.

I want it to be a visual thing, as this session for me was fun as well as important skill work. You can do as much or as little as you want and when you want.

You can take the whole thing as a formal session. Alternatively just take sections or small parts of it out and perform after training. I go into some considerable details about this kind of thing in the book.

The session went like this, and the video is split into the same sections:

- Warm up

- Dealing with a Bouncing ball

- Separation, hand offs, bumping

- Skills – 1 handed takes

- Ladder work/speed

- Putting all the session together

There are loads of different drills you can perform. You can do them with more or less people.

I hope you like the video. If you do, please send us your feedback on our social media channels twitter and instagram @jameshaskellhf.

Plus if you have any questions about the book or training in general, you can ask a direct question using #AskHask

Stay tuned, as we have so much more rugby stuff coming. There is whole dedicated section on the website which covers this:

– Entry was posted on November 2nd, 2015 by James Haskell

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