Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Should the season have begun already?

Looking at the clock there are still over 56 days to go before our season begins, but looking around at other clubs sites you may get the impression that the 2008/9 (or at least serious training for it) has already begun. Should we be doing the same here?

At Letchworth we have always had a clear break between seasons - an "early start" for us would be mid-August! And its pretty much the same across the club - weekly touch rugby aside - none of the teams, certainly none of the junior teams, will start training until well into next month.

So why do other clubs do this? Does this early training make any difference - are we at a disadvantage but not training in the summer? Its difficult to prove things one way or another - there are so many other variables, especially the ages and individual abilities of players - but going by last season the difference seems to be marginal. At the start of the season teams that have trained in the summer do tend to hit the ground running, but by season's end, when the major tournaments come round, the difference seems to be slight.

There is, however, one exception - and here it is quite relevant to this weekend. As mentioned earlier this week, Hayley and Sasha will be competing for places in the TDG this weekend and, while I do not know about Sasha who may have done some training at school, I am pretty sure that Hayley will barely have picked up a ball in recent weeks.

Obviously the HPA/TDG process is designed to identify raw talent, and so recent training (or the lack of it) should not make much difference. However all of the girls at Brunel on Sunday, and at the next session in a couple of weeks time, will be very talented - there will be little to choose between them. A few weeks extra training could make all the difference, especially as the process excludes consideration of reputations and past performances. Maybe, at the margins, it has made the difference in the past?

Its more than just Hayley and Sasha - it could also make a difference to the playing opportunities of others. County selection is very early in the season, but performances in these early September trails influence regional selection later on - because if you miss out on county then, however much you may later develop, you will also miss out on region too. Could summer training account for how under the old system we had girls who made it into regional squads but were not selected for county teams? Some of you have other "explanations" for such notable features of previous selections, but I suspect summer training may be a significant one.

So should we be training through the summer as well? Personally I still think not. I think the RFU is right to have a well-defined off-season, from June to August with its implication that players should take a break from the game. This is an amateur sport - a past-time not a life-time. There is the touch league if people want to keep fit and aren't doing anything else - maybe we might look at taking a more active part in that in future seasons - but I'm not sure we should follow other clubs down the route of formal summer training.

What do you think?


  1. Anonymous11:56 AM

    i think training through the summer seriously affects our performance in the beginning of the season and the first few matches. i know that a lot of clubs have already started training therefore they are going to be a lot fitter than us already. most of the girls i have spoken to are wanting to do some form of summer training, and wanting to be at the best of their fitness for the beginning of the season. i know that i do.
    thats my view anyway.
    rosie x

  2. We have been doing light 'fitness' based training during the summer both during the week and at weekends. As we are still a very new team this allows the squad to spend a bit of time together as well as work on skills and fitness.
    Also it's a good time to get new players interested and basic skills worked on before the tackle and contact aspects come in.
    Also from a club point of view it means there are people still there and involved and requenting the bar so we maintain income during the closed season.

    So from our point of view it's a bonus.

  3. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I think that we should, just so that we can keep up with the other sides and be able to get straight into the proper training as soon as the season starts, rather than taking until about february to get into it like we did this year. I've been going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week every week since the season finished, but I think the training should be there and available to the girls who wouldn't necessarily do any training throughout the summer otherwise. the display we did at ryhthmns has made me realise how much I miss the team already!

  4. In case anyone missed it (and for those not at the display at Rhythms today) Wonky has been investigating easing into training with some fitness sessions in the near future, with outdoor training starting mid-August.

    One problem is that holidays etc. are all planned. If we do want to have a summer programme in future then we probably need to start planning things a bit earlier - and as I have mentioned one thing we could look at in future would be entering the summer touch league (on Wednesday evenings at the club). Apart from anything else the current rules give teams a "bonus" try for each female player...


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