“We’d been in a different space for a number of years here at Rugby Park and I’m fortunate to be here in the time that we got the opportunity to expand our space to something a little bit larger as the squad size has been growing.
We just needed something to change the way that we train our athletes rather than a smaller gym to be able to develop rugby players. We need a decent field to train on, that’s kind of number one, and then to have a decent gym/performance room facility is right up there with that as well.
So when it came to fitting out a whole new facility as we did here, we wanted to do the basics really well in terms of good bars, good plates, good racks and platform space so that we could lift. I guess nailing the simple stuff really well was a key sort of driver for us so that’s what we wanted to do.
They take a lot of pride in their work and putting it together and wanting it to look exactly how we’ve envisaged, so, to sit back after that and look down the space and see it all come together was pretty cool and it looks exactly how you pictured it when you scribbled it down on a piece of paper. The players love it, they walk into a new space and they get pretty excited and pretty inspired as well.
You can run and sprint and throw balls around and kick and things inside here. It definitely changes our ability to put more rugby into our strength and conditioning programme. We have to move in a forward plane and a horizontal plane as well as vertical so a good sled to be able to push and pull and drag around is pretty critical for us too.
If we need something made slightly different or to some specific requirements they’ve got engineers that can do that for us so that’s also a strength rather than just going down the normal retail path.
To get the quality of gear that can handle a high amount of usage, especially when you’ve got a particular budget to start with, you need to know that stuff you’ve got is going to last you and is going to be fit for the use that you’re going to put through it. So I think that’s highly important whether it’s an amateur environment or professional, especially in a school or an amateur environment where you only get a certain amount to spend every so often – to make sure that that’s wisely invested and that you’ve got something that you’re proud of and you’re happy with and is going to last you, is really critical.”
Strength and Conditioning Coach
“The old set up was a lot smaller, it was under a grandstand so it wasn’t a specific design, wasn’t built for it to be a gym it was just a gym put in a spare space I guess.
I guess it’s just that wow factor you know, you walk in and the layout’s impressive, the sheer amount of equipment thats in here, and that track, you know having that indoor space where you can train whether it be skills or speed work or sleds.
You can have a whole team in here training at once which is great – great for energy and great for that team environment – we’re all training hard we’re all working at the same time and it creates a good buzz in the team and just makes it more time efficient. You know with these bars that every time you use them they’re nice and they last and you’re not going to have any issues with them. Particularly if you’re trying to lift quite heavy, it’s important that the bar is good and moves the way it should.
I have a broken hand I’ve still been able to get a good session in even though you’re limited in some exercises but because of the amount of equipment to be able to vary or adjust your programme accordingly and still be able to get a good session in and and work at a level you need to work at is crucial. It makes a big difference in culture and environment in a team – you see everyone working hard together and you feed a lot off each other and the energy that you create when the place is full and the music’s up, and everyone’s working hard, you know it’s a great vibe.
It’s a great space and we’re lucky to have it and it certainly makes a big difference, that’s for sure.”