Rugby Coach Implements

VBT in a team setting

Best Velocity Based Training (VBT) tips are from Coaches who use it themselves. That’s why we’re stoked to bring to you a Q & A session with Coach Ryan Clayton who is Head of Strength and Power at Brumbies (Australia). Coach Ryan implements VBT on a regular basis in a team environment. This is a great VBT case study to refer to for Coaches who lead Professional teams and considering implementing VBT themselves. Check out the Q & A below and note down your favorite tips:

Q. Tell us a bit about your role with Brumbies
A. The main role is Head of Strength and Power. Hence I plan, deliver and analyse all Super Rugby Players’ strength and power sessions, ensure peak performance throughout the year, maximise athletic potential by individualising strength and power sessions.

Implementing Velocity Based Training with teams - Coach Ryan Clayton, VBT case study with Rugby Coach

Q. How many athletes do you have in a session and how often do they hit the weights room?
A. In Pre season there are 4 main strength power sessions (2 upper body and 2 lower body). Then in season programming is varied and depends on a lot of variables; the schedule, turnaround from last game and time of the year. But a standard week would entail 1 lower body strength power, 1 upper body strength power and 1 power session in the week.

Q. Do you use a range of technologies in training? Do you think technology has changed the weights room?
A. Yes, We currently use GymAware, Teambuildr and some Vald products (nordboard and force plate). There is definitely more technology prevalent in the weights room these days. It has streamlined data collection and enabled practitioners to make informed decisions based on real time data more than instinct.

Q. Is there such a thing as ‘too much’ data – how do you use the data?
A. No I don’t think there is a thing as too much data, but I would recommend working out what is important to the game / squad or individuals and concentrating on that.

Q. How do the players respond to real time-feedback? Are Leaderboards the ultimate motivator?
A. The players I’ve worked with all love the leaderboard as it creates competition and adds intensity to your sessions. Professional players are competitive by nature so real-time feedback and leaderboards play a big part in my strength power sessions. This in turn creates lifting intent which is important in improving athletic performance.

Q. What tips would you give to anyone wanting to start out with GymAware?
A. Do some reading around the force velocity curve, work out what physical qualities you are wanting to work on, keep it simple and start with one exercise per session and build from there.

Q. Describe a training session using GymAware
A. Reliable real-time data, accurate, creates competition and intent.

Q. What are your favourite GymAware Cloud features?
A. Leaderboard to create competition and Reporting to share feedback with the players.

Q. How does the Cloud data help you make changes to your program? How granular do you get with the metrics and data available?
A. It informs me how the players are improving and what velocity we are concentrating our training on. Additionally, it informs my exercise selection and which exercises are giving the players the biggest output at certain targeted velocities. I try to keep the data simple for Coaches and players to interpret.

Q. When training a group of athletes, what features do you use for workflow management? How do you ensure a smooth training session with the tech involved? It seems intimidating to a lot of Coaches…
A. I aim to limit the human error with the set up. I ensure all GymAwares are connected and tethers are attached with the correct warm up weight,  I pre-select the lifts that I’m using in the session and ensure the correct Target Velocity is entered prior to the players starting their weights session.

For workflow management, I also use auto skip to try and ensure the players are lifting on the correct profile. GymAware client service support is a good place to start if you are feeling intimidated.

Also, do some reading around the force velocity curve, work out what physical qualities you are wanting to work on, keep it simple and start with one exercise per session and build from there.

Q. How did you incorporate GymAware and why? Do you have any tips for Coaches who are getting started with the system?
A. I only program the power exercises at the minute within session to give real time feedback to players and create competition. Keep it simple, fun and user friendly.

Q. What summary reports do you find the most useful?
A. I like to use Set Ranked Graph Report and Exercise Summary when I’m reporting or providing feedback to players.

Q. What impact has VBT had for your athletes?
A. I believe VBT training has a big impact in transferring the weight room gains into athletic field based gains to improve on field performance. I’m a big believer if it doesn’t transfer to performance on the field then you might consider changing the focus.

Check out GymAware software solutions here.