Developing strength and confidence in a physically smaller rugby player.

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Developing strength and confidence in a physically smaller rugby player.

This case study focuses on a participant that is physically not as mature as his peers and who is lacking confidence in his ability to perform in rugby. However the participant enjoys playing and does not want to stop simply because he is viewed as too small. The case study will highlight areas in which the performer can be helped by coaching techniques and training methods available, which lead to an increase in performance and confidence from the performer.

Adolescents and puberty

At the onset of puberty weight gain occurs before height gain, certain parts of the skeleton develop more rapidly than other parts and body parts often do not grow at the same rate. When evaluating the effects of puberty on performance the implications for coaches include the following factors Douge (2000).

  • Due to growth factors the athletes rate of skill development may slow down
  • Delaying the introduction of resistance work until the muscle and skeleton growth can cope with weight gain
  • Providing the athlete with greater privacy and space while they learn to cope with the changes associated with puberty

Douge (2000) states that late maturers have a problem in achieving in a culture that applauds athletic achievement and gives attention to physical maturity. This presents a problem in this case as the participant is a late developer playing a sport where at this age physical development is important and can affect performance. Since the participant is physically smaller than his peers it can be difficult for him to be seen by them as a challenge or serious performer as they view his stature as a limiting factor to his performance. This has lead to the subjects confidence being undermined by his peer group. Although the subject does not want to stop playing he feels he cannot compete well enough to warrant playing in the same team as his more physically mature peers, however by employing certain strategies to the subject these feelings may be changed.

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In order to maintain the subjects interest in rugby it is important to make him understand that he will soon catch up or even surpass his peers when puberty begins. This will aid in him understanding that he will not be dwarfed the entire time he is playing rugby and that even now he will be able to compete with the bigger children in the group by learning the correct techniques and using them effectively. In order to do this more one on one time with the subject should be used to teach and perfect the basic skills ...

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