Changes in rugby league tackling ability during a competitive season: The relationship with strength and power qualities
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
NSCA National Strength and Conditioning Association
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Changes in rugby league tackling ability during a competitive season: the relationship with strength and power qualities. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3311–3318, 2017—This study examined the relationship between changes in tackling ability, and muscular strength and power during a semiprofessional rugby league competitive season. Twelve semiprofessional rugby league players (mean 6 SD age, 23.3 6 2.0 years) underwent tests of upper- and lower-body strength and power during the preseason period. Tackling ability was tested using video analysis of a standardized one-on-one tackling drill. Players repeated these tests after round 15 of a 25-match competitive season. Changes in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) squat (rs = 0.70; p, 0.02) and squat relative to body mass (rs = 0.73; p, 0.01) were significantly related to changes in tackling ability. Players with the greatest improvements in tackling ability (i.e., “responders”) retained 1RM squat (effect size, ES = 0.85, p = 0.09) and squat relative to body mass (ES = 0.82, p = 0.15) to a greater extent than the “nonresponders.” The results of this study suggest that players who retained lower-body strength were able to improve tackling ability during the competitive season, whereas reductions in lower-body strength were associated with decrements in tackling ability. This study highlights the importance of the development and maintenance of lower-body muscular strength for effective tackling performance throughout the rugby league season. © 2016 National Strength and Conditioning Association.