How to Stay Safe Playing Rugby in the Cold Weather

October 27 2014

We may have had some pretty wet and mild weather recently, but even with spring approaching, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see another cold snap around the corner.

All of which makes me think about my middle son who is rugby training for the first time today. He is extremely lucky to have as his coach, the legendary Wales and Lions player John Bevan.  You do not achieve Mr Bevan’s level of greatness by allowing a bit of rain or ice, frozen ground or howling winds to get in your way of training!

So today I thought we could discuss how to combat the cold weather. How can you dress to ensure that you’re comfortable at all times and minimise damage to your body?

Get your training kit right

Put simply, you can’t train or play to your potential if your body is cold. What’s more, playing with cold muscles and limbs risks injury as your muscles will be cold and prone to tearing.

The technological fabrics that are used in the manufacture of base layers, skins, compression items, thermals (call them what you will) have made it far easier to train in these conditions. This specialist training kit is an absolute must if you’re looking to make an impact on the pitch in the cold months.

Properly fitting undershorts, leggings and long or short sleeved skins will support your muscles and keep them warm in this weather – maximising your performance.

Protecting against hard ground

As a mother, I am also concerned that my flanker son, who loves nothing more than hurling himself about the pitch, is likely to cause himself some serious damage landing on rock hard ground without any padding.

At the very least, the inevitable bruising will be familiar to anyone with a rugby player in the family, but broken bones – most commonly the good old collar bone – worries me more.  If you wear padded skins, shoulder guards, body armour, scrum cap, padded undershorts they will protect you as much as is possible when a 6’7” wing or a prop built like the proverbial brick house, decides he wants the ball you are carrying.

Joking aside, in this weather to have honeycombed or plain padded under garments is pure common sense.

Stay warm after the match

When you come off the pitch, do NOT let yourself get cold, this will lead to the muscles seizing up and is not the way forward! Invest in some warm off-field wear such as a good thick hoody, preferably fleece lined, and a pair of thick jogging bottoms to chuck on over your kit if you do not have the luxury of being able to shower, or just to keep you warm when you’ve changed if you are able to wash off some of the mud...

Frankly chaps, if you get injured you will be off for weeks if not months, so be sensible and invest in the right training kit for the right conditions. Simple!