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Detailed analysis of rugby games can reveal special insights into the game.
You can look not only at stats such as tackle rate, counter-ruck success, and error rate, but even more obscure aspects of play.
For the USA 7s team, one of their focuses this week at training is how fast players get up off the ground.
It’s a huge aspect of fitness, but one not directly addressed. Analysis shows that there is a large disparity between the top teams and the middle-tier teams when it comes to speed off the ground.
Teams like New Zealand, South Africa, and Samoa get off the ground and on their feet (after making a tackle or getting into a ruck) in about 1.5 seconds. The rest of the teams in the IRB Sevens World Series regain their feet much more slowly - between 3 and 6 seconds.
The USA team is specifically targeting that aspect of play. Getting even one second better gives teams a huge advantage in reorganizing their defense, or getting back into support on attack.
USA Head Coach Al Caravelli along with Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave Williams are trying to get the players to be able to challenge the top teams in their speed-to-vertical.
That requires the players to not only be able to run, but to have the explosiveness and energy – even late in a game – to bounce off the turf and get back in the action.