Conference to showcase latest research into rugby
The event will take place on Sunday 24 January in the Lewis Jones Suite at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and will offer attendees the opportunity to find out more about current research in rugby in areas including coaching practice, physical development, nutrition and identifying and developing talent.
Organised by Dr Ben Jones and Dr Kevin Till from the School of Sport at Leeds Beckett, the conference will involve a number of speakers delivering short presentations on a range of topics. There will also be an opportunity for questions and the event will conclude with a round table discussion.
The conference will showcase research undertaken at Leeds Beckett in collaboration with Leeds Rhinos rugby league club and Yorkshire Carnegie rugby union club. The Carnegie Adolescent Rugby Research (CARR) project was set up in 2014 by Dr Ben Jones and Dr Kevin Till to investigate various aspects of youth rugby, ranging from the nutritional requirements of players, fatigue responses following match play, to the psychological development of youth players.
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Ben Jones, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Leeds Beckett, said: “In recent years, there has been an emphasis on developing young rugby players in the pursuit of sporting excellence. This has resulted in an increase in the application of development programmes and has allowed practitioners and academics to research associated areas. This conference offers the opportunity to hear about current research within coaching practice and network with others in the profession.”
There are currently twelve PhD students working on the Carnegie Adolescent Rugby Research project, as well as a number of Leeds Beckett academic staff involved with the research. Since the project was initiated, researchers have published a number of research studies, which can be used by practitioners and coaches working with youth athletes.
Josh Darrall-Jones, a PhD student and strength and conditioning coach at Yorkshire Carnegie, has published research papers investigating the physical characteristics of youth rugby union players, the sprint and running profiles of academy rugby union players, the impact body mass has on fitness performance and the reliability and usefulness of linear speed testing). Josh’s research can be used by practitioners and coaches working with youth players during the identification and development of young rugby players.
Greg Roe, who is a PhD student and strength and conditioning coach at Yorkshire Carnegie, is investigating the fatigue responses of youth players following training and match play. Greg has published research demonstrating the change in specific muscular strength following a rugby match and also the reliability of commonly used fatigue tests, meaning that practitioners working with youth players can consider the normal day-to-day variability when monitoring the recovery profile of players.
Dr Ben Jones and Dr Kevin Till have also recently published research articles investigating the hydration status of professional rugby union players, Super League referees and female international rugby league players. The research provides practitioners and sports scientists working with different rugby population groups’ recommendations on their optimal hydration strategies.
They have also published research articles on the physical characteristics of female international rugby league players, academy rugby league players, how they develop over the season and during a player’s academy career. The researchers have investigated how the physical characteristics of players influence the career attainment of rugby league players and how maturation impacts physical performance.
These series of research studies provide practitioners with a comprehensive evaluation of junior rugby league players’ physical characteristics, allowing practitioners to be well-informed when identifying and developing the next generation of Super League players.
Within rugby, researchers have also investigated the body composition differences between Super League and Championship players, senior and junior players and undertaken research to advance current body composition methods Understanding the body composition of rugby players is key given the physicality of the sport and increases in size of current rugby players. Researchers from Leeds Beckett University have also investigated the physical demands of rugby league referees and how it influences penalty accuracy.