There was no dipping their toes in the pool for Truro College, as they jumped straight into their pre-season training, which took place throughout the summer. While the halls of the College were ghostly quiet compared to term time, the rugby field was alive with hard-working players running drills and perfecting their form.
During term time, the schedule for the Truro College players is in-depth and dedicated. Monday morning kicks off with weights sessions between 8am and 9am before lessons. Lunchtime sends the students out onto the field for rugby specific team skills before the end of the day sees the lads back in the gym doing weights.
Tuesday lunchtimes they are out on the field again while Wednesday afternoons are set aside for fixtures. Thursdays are where the players can really dig deeper in terms of their game as they get to watch the previous day’s game, an invaluable tool in analysing their game. Indeed, this in-depth look at how they play means that Friday’s sessions can look at individual skills, a time to work on whatever they found went right or wrong during Wednesday’s game.
This programme then repeats for the next week, ensuring a continuous focus on improvement and team work through two to three hours a day of training, which focuses on different areas of their game such as line-out, scrum, Backs moves and team-related plays.
Steve Larkins, Lecturer of Sport and Rugby Academy Leader at Truro and Penwith College, says: “As it’s the best U18 league in the country, and we are playing against an opposition that is getting bigger, stronger and better, it’s important that we’re prepared.” One of the ways the team prepares for the season is by playing pre-season friendlies, which allow the team to meet and play against as many players as they can.
Of course, this vigorous training programme has multiple benefits. Every year, as a new cohort joins the players, they must be brought up to speed quickly so that they can play seamlessly with the second year players. One way in which the College combats this is through the Developing Player Programme (DPP), which runs in accord with the College’s ties with the Exeter Chiefs. This programmes means that the lecturers and coaches are familiar with the players coming to them from a young age.
Another way Truro College support their players is through the coaches themselves. The College believes in education through experience, so having coaches that contribute to the sport regularly is hugely beneficial. They have one who also coaches Redruth RFC, two who are involved with the Exeter Chiefs in the A League and one that plays up at Plymouth Albion. These ties mean that the students can get to know the coaches and their experience, which leads to them playing the same patterns and undergoing the same strength and conditioning.
This training programme boasts clear results. The College, which wasn’t even among the best in Cornwall 20 years ago, has gone from being the best in England to being the second best at the world championships, a true testament to the talent and dedication of the College’s players.