For a player to be physically prepared - to be truly Wheelchair Rugby Ready - basic functional competence must be in place. For example, a player must develop a good general base in terms of strength, stability, mobility and endurance as a platform on which to build enhanced speed and power qualities.
For an accurate and relevant needs analysis, a registered or accredited conditioning coach with knowledge and experience of Wheelchair Rugby and/or similar sports should be involved in the design and implementation of the training program. Primary considerations are:
- Identify the position specific needs of players.
- Determine the player’s current physical condition by using standardised physical tests and functional assessment.
- Investigate the player’s injury history.
- Training history: this needs to take into account training age (the number of years the player has been specifically preparing for Wheelchair Rugby) and fitness training age (the number of years the player has been supervised by an accredited strength and conditioning coach).
Identify the player’s individual needs based on these criteria. In this way, specific issues relating to perceived strengths and weaknesses can be addressed.
Once these areas are in place, then a training program can be designed and implemented to meet these needs.
Regular monitoring and evaluation of a player’s progress will require testing procedures to be in place. This will ensure that the program is constantly changing and progressing to meet new objectives and demanding positive adaptations from the player.