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The influence of training with heavy rugby balls on selected spin pass variables in youth rugby union players

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.09.005
  • Rugby
  • Spin Pass
  • Over-Weight Implement Training


Summary The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of training with heavy rugby balls on selected spin pass variables in youth rugby union players. Pre-training, 14 participants performed rapid spin passes (using right and left hands) at a wall-mounted target, from 7-m and 10-m distances. Horizontal (linear) and spin (longitudinal angular) velocities of the passes were recorded using a 25 Hz video camera. Participants also performed right- and left-handed spin passes for maximal distance. The participants were then randomly divided into two equal groups, to train twice weekly for eight weeks, using either normal or heavy rugby balls. Each individual performed 50–90 rapid spin passes ranging from 5 m to 12 m with each hand per session. Following training, participants were reassessed using the same pre-training protocols. Significant changes were found pre-to-post training for both the normal ball, and heavy ball groups, for 7-m right-handed horizontal (linear) velocities (9.80 ± 0.45 to 10.27 ± 0.82 m s −1, and 9.42 ± 1.04 to 10.19 ± 1.03 m s −1, respectively; p = 0.029), 10-m left-handed spin (longitudinal angular) velocities (5.13 ± 1.60 to 6.08 ± 1.30 revs s −1, and 4.39 ± 1.62 to 5.81 ± 0.65 revs s −1, respectively; p = 0.014), right-handed maximal distance passes (19.0 ± 3.6 to 20.6 ± 4.0 m, and 18.6 ± 3.4 to 20.7 ± 4.3 m, respectively; p = 0.001) and left-handed maximal distance passes (15.3 ± 3.2 to 18.1 ± 2.5 m, and 15.0 ± 3.0 to 17.6 ± 3.7 m, respectively; p < 0.000). No significant changes could be attributed to training exclusively with the heavy rugby balls. The results of this investigation suggest that intense repetitive passing practice increases a small number of selected spin passing variables in youth rugby union players.

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