as the subject of this conversation is Weight Training, to find out how this peak condition is maintained, we talked to Glenn Workman, coach to the "Super League" outfit, The London Broncos. Workman is a typically gritty Australian; a hooker in his playing days, he has been on the Broncos' staff for six years and is now responsible for the physical conditioning of the team - a team that includes the likes of Martin Offiah, Edwards himself and Tony Mestrov.
We soon discovered that Workman has no special formula, no "secret" conditioning drills and theories. He uses tried and tested methods, but what he does is to wave his magic wand over them in order to produce a highly specific and effective training plan, which reflects the needs of the game and his players. As regards his pre-season conditioning methods, he explains: "It is pretty standard; we start on long endurance work and gradually build up, bringing in the shorter stuff with less recovery." The real difficulties, however, begin to be encountered in season, when the matches play havoc with the players' ability to undergo consistent training. It is a typical coach's nightmare. You have got team fitness and tactics to work on, yet at the same time you have got players with strains and knocks and you have to be worry about not burning the team out. As Workman explains: "Sometimes if you get a good enough break, you can try to improve fitness, but once the season starts and the players are into, say, their fifth or sixth game and they have got their match fitness, it is more about fitness maintenance." State of mind is also important in achieving the required intensity. A lot depends on how the team is performing. "If you are winning all the time and competing all the time, then the intensity will stay in your training as well."
The Broncos' main in-season fitness workout usually takes place on a Tuesday. Enough time has passed after the last game for players to regain some freshness and the next game is a couple of days away, which allows them time to mentally and physically gear up again. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the players have lots of days off - they can actually train up to six times a week in season and sometimes three times a day. What Workman does is to manipulate the intensity and contact aspects of training to allow for matches and players' needs. Because the season is so long, Workman says he is unable to go for too many playing peaks when structuring the players' training - a difficult task in a team game in any case - and only eases training intensity if a big game is approaching. This he believes will ensure minimum fitness drop-off throughout the season. I attended the Broncos' main weekly field workout and a gym session. The former was most impressive; Workman explained that it was designed to maintain players' fitness, strength, power, endurance and coordination.