Most athletic clubs unwind and rest during their time off. They use their offseason to relax and maybe recuperate. The Western Michigan University rugby team works non-stop; almost immediately after the season they’re back to conditioning.
There are two rugby seasons in one year, the “seven’s” season in the spring and the “15s” season in the fall. The rugby team prepares in the spring for the fall. Preparation is the biggest part of being on the rugby team. Leg strength is the most important aspect of their game. Circuits of max weights of squats, deadlifts and other leg workouts are regular morning works just to start the day. Then comes the core circuit at the end where the workouts are taken to another level.
After last season's crushing lost against to the University of Cincinnati in the Mid-American Conference Championship game, the rugby team is looking to bounce back even stronger starting with the spring season.
Head coach Dr. Mark Allen keeps these guys pushing forward. After the loss he gathered his team for a film session to go over key points in their playoff game then it’s right back to work immediately after the season. Allen plays a huge role in not only coaching the team but also making sure the team has the funds that are needed to support the team. With a lack of funding from the school Allen’s effects are even more impactful to WMU’s rugby team. Players recall the team receiving little to no support from the school with a lack of facilities to train, strength conditioning coaches, medical staff, health insurance and little to no equipment to help their game.
After the 2012 season the funds Allen put forward finally paid off as the team began to suddenly have success. Now, Allen looks to lead his team to another MAC Championship game coming off amazing season finishing 3-1 and 4-2 in the MAC.
During the 7’s tournaments in the spring Allen invited professional rugby players from South Africa to coach on new techniques to improve their skills and conditioning for the fall. Also the coaches lead them through competition facing teams all around the Midwest. They also put the players through as excruciating week of nothing but training and conditioning to prepare them for the fall season.
The rugby team seems to improve their program every year with little to no help. Rugby is growing as a national sport it’s about time we jump on the bandwagon too. The work they put in during the offseason shows in their performances during the season.