Playmaker’s Insight: Why ‘mini pre-season’ is key to return

Raiders veteran Sam Williams looks at why it takes time to prepare the body for an NRL return.

Playmaker's Insights

In this week’s column, I’ll look at the return to play process, what needs to be done as a player to get back onto the field and why we can’t just head back and start playing from day 1.

As much as we as players don’t enjoy or look forward to pre-season too much, this ‘mini pre-season’ is an exception.

This break has given a different perspective of life for many rugby league players, whether it is finding work or just everyday living, but the main thing it has done is reiterate how much we enjoy the game or simply being around our mates each day.

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The everyday banter and laughs and all working towards a common goal is sorely missed.

So as much as these pre-seasons are tough, it is much more than just getting back to work. So why can’t we just go back and play immediately?

To try and put it as simply as I can without being too scientific, as I am not the brains behind it all, I will try and explain it as best as possible.

Basically, we need to ‘fill the tank’ in order to reduce the prospect of injuries.

We need to get the bucket from being empty to the top and this needs to be done incrementally over a few weeks without increasing by any more than 20%-30% per week and avoiding spikes in our training load.

This load will ensure that we can handle the load that is demanded from training and playing once we get back into it.

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By increasing the training load incrementally based on a well prepared program, the likelihood of sustaining soft tissue injuries reduces significantly.

Every club will be judged on how they look when the competition resumes. It is important that individually we do what is given to us by the performance staff, so that once back at training we can come from a good starting base and not put our bodies under more stress than they can handle.

There is talk of being back on May 28 and if that can be achieved why not?

I have no doubt that we will be under very strict quarantine restrictions and will be regularly tested.

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I do understand that it is setting a precedent on who can leave isolation, but I can guarantee that for the fans at home games of football will not only give them something to look forward to, but also keep them inside watching the games rather than looking to leave due to boredom.

It must be a positive for the mental health and wellbeing of families in isolation and if these strict protocols are adhered to than I can only see positives.

I hope you are all handling this pandemic as best as you possibly can and are not going too stir crazy.

We all want to be back to normal and although it isn’t a normal Easter weekend, I hope you are enjoying your time at home with your family.

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