One simple exercise locks should try to improve their game
Top advice from a man that has captained his country at a World Cup and against the British & Irish Lions.
We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Harlequins, and former Queensland Reds and Wallabies, captain James Horwill for The Hard Yards rugby podcast.
The Aussie lock was a font of knowledge about the game and spoke extremely well on Irish stars Paul O'Connell and Iain Henderson, being a captain at an early age and about playing on through the pain barrier... and convincing yourself it is a good idea at the time:
Not for the faint hearted https://t.co/TadvFnx8wA
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) December 22, 2017
As a veteran of over 200 games for club(s) and country, and one that is highly respected in the game, we sought Horwill's advice on some tips for any up-and-coming locks. He commented:
"The key thing for a lock is that you've got to do your core things right, particularly the set-pieces. They're critical. The scrums and lineouts should be your bread and butter.
"Something that you should continue to work on is making sure your core is strong as that is an important aspect. That means doing your planks in the gym, to make sure you scrummage well.
"As for the lineout, spending time studying tapes and observing the opposition. You can spend time to understand where your own weaknesses are and where their strengths are, so you can combat them.
"And just look to do work. Look at all the great locks around the world and they go through a massive amount of work in each game. It might not be flashy but they get through it and continue to get through it. So having a big engine is a critical part of trying to be a handy lock. Working on your base fitness levels helps there."
Do your basics right, do your homework and work on that core. Here is a great World Rugby video on what a good plank can do for you, and your game:
Of course, the plank comes highly recommended for all positions on the rugby field but it certainly benefits the front eight come scrum time.
We also asked Horwill for three captaincy tips that would help improve any team. He duly obliged:
- "Make sure you have your own back yard in order. If you are going to request those high standards from people, you need to make sure you are upholding those standards yourself."
- "Actions can speak louder than words. If you continue to set that right example, guys will follow organically. You might have to pull some guys with you but I think you'll be surprised by the amount of guys that visibly see people doing stuff and it becomes a catch-on."
- "Getting to understand your players is important, and understand that everyone is different. No-one is exactly the same so you have to be able to manage people differently."
Top, top bloke.
You can listen to the full James Horwill interview on The Hard Yards from 35:30 below: