Lincoln Rugby Club are inviting new players to join the group — regardless of experience or fitness levels.
The rugby club, which recently moved to its new facilities at Longdales Park near Nettleham, is currently in its “pre-season” period, which means players’ fitness levels and skills are being built up before fixtures against other teams in September.
The group has three coaches: Andy Pringle, Ross Tarnowski (known as “Ski”) and Dougie Gordon.
The training regime, known as strength and conditioning, combines a variety of drills designed to warm current members back up into the season or raise the fitness levels of new recruits.
This includes a variety of sprint work, push-ups, tuck jumping, technical games and more, on top of contact drills to build strength for a game.
Strength and Conditioning coach Ross Tarnowski explained: “We’re preparing the group for our first matches. What we started doing a couple of weeks ago was a lot of aerobic interval conditioning, using what is called a maximum aerobic speed sessions.
“What we try to do is use integrated conditioning. Every week we will have an element of either aerobic work, speed work and gradually move into more repeated speed work as we come to the end of pre-season.
“Everything we do is then backed up with conditioned games, so the guys still get the enjoyment of some kind of touch element or a conditioned game, but also the element of actual running etc.
“What we’re introducing now to help with upper body strength is contact drills, which will become a focus now so we can gradually move into more “bone on bone contact” — so working from pad work and going on to more wrestling and grappling drills within the sessions.”
Coach Dougie Gordon continued: “We’re in week three of pre-season now, this first month or so of pre-season is all fitness based, with some ball skills stuff and touch games so there’s no real big contact yet. The technique stuff will also come in later before the season starts — there’s no point in injuring people now, so we’ll slowly build in contact between people, and slowly step up.
“We’re quite lucky we have good, qualified coaches here. Ski joins us from the RAF, he takes a lot of the fitness stuff, if he doesn’t then I am qualified to train to that standard as well.”
“It’s not a case of we ‘need’ a few more people, it’s more want. We want to get the sport played even more throughout the area. This is the biggest team in the city, so people in the city should want to be playing for Lincoln Rugby Club.
“It also helps get people involved more in the game, or those people who may have played at school or college and fell out of it, but want to get back in.”
Due to moving into Longdales Park, the club has had more room to grow the number if teams it can support, from children’s teams and an upcoming women’s team to three separate senior teams, separated by ability.
“We have three teams at Lincoln, so it would be good to have at least 45 players plus subs. The more the merrier! If more do join, we can add a fourth team as well.”
Gordon was keen to stress that the general fitness levels of those considering taking part are not the biggest requirement during pre-season.
He added: “It’s more the specifics — rugby players tend to be quite strong if you compare them to a football player.
“In terms of fitness, all the training you do is going to prepare you for playing a game. The coaches wouldn’t put you into a game if you weren’t fit enough. So even if you think you’re not fit enough now, you can either come just for the training or you can come and want to play games — but we wouldn’t put you into one until you are ready.
“No-one should be put off by thinking that they’re not fit or strong enough yet to play a game.”
See a preview of a typical early pre-season training session:
Despite the gruelling training sessions however, there’s strong camaraderie and respect amongst players.
Harry Cowles is a player for the club’s first team. He said: “Everyone is welcome, any age, whether you’ve not run for five years or work out non-stop.
“We play games on Saturdays, and also have social on the Saturday evenings at the club. We do themed events throughout the season, open days, balls, all sorts going on!
“Rugby is a great sport, it’s a lot about respect, it teaches kids a lot of positive attitudes and it’s good for team development. You get out in the air, get fit, let out some aggression out too with a hit here and there, it’s a great social activity too.”
Club Chairman Pete Small concludes: “It’s a good game for men, women, and all ages — from six to 60. There’s good camaraderie, and while injuries do happen, there’s good club spirit with a few beers on a Saturday night after games too — and that’s what it’s all about!”
Lincoln Rugby Club train from 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.