Lindenwood Lauds Preparation In CRC Double
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Lindenwood Lauds Preparation In CRC Double

June 28, 2018

Lindenwood University from St. Charles, Missouri. captured both the men’s and women’s Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships held at Talen Energy Stadium on the Weekend of June 1-3. It capped off an impressive season for both teams as the women’s team won three national titles and the men’s team secured two.

The lady Lions won the DI USA Rugby national championship and, two weeks prior to winning the CRC, defeated Penn State to take home the USA Rugby college 7s title. The men’s team defeated five time defending CRC champs, Cal, in the USA Rugby 7s final and bested UCLA to win the CRC.

Both teams came into the season mapping out their goals. While winning a national title is always exciting, they were not the only goal each team set out to achieve.

“We sit down as a team at the start of each semester and come up with collective short and long term goals and we take the time at the middle and end of semesters to assess the goals the team has set forth. It can be overwhelming thinking how long a season can be without seasonality so we just focus on the next match or tournament ahead and what our preparation looks like for that,” said women’s coach Billy Nicholas.

Women’s coach Billy Nicholas addressing the team at the 2018 Penn Mutual CRC

Women’s coach Billy Nicholas addressing the team at the 2018 Penn Mutual CRC

The length of the season can be daunting in rugby, particularly when you are playing two versions of the game within weeks and heading to two major 7s tournaments in the span of four weeks. For the men’s team, they put together a plan that maximized their preparation for the tournaments. With a focus on fitness, game planning and recovery, the Lions helped put themselves in the best possible position to win.

“To improve our fitness we put together training blocks that mimic and surpass the environment of a sevens tournament. We knew going into the tournaments that we were prepared to play,” said men’s coach Josh Macy.

The training regimen included a daily wellness survey that gauged how the players were feeling and based on the results the training structure could be altered or a shifted in focus to strength and conditioning.

Strength and conditioning was paramount for the women’s team also. Coming off of a 15s title in early May, the team had a quick turnaround for 7s and coach Nicholas knew going in that the tough schedule would dictate their preparation. Due to the tremendous amount of rugby in five weeks, pushing physical fitness was not the number one goal but rather managing recovery and improving tactics.

“As soon as the 15s-season finished up we focused on our recovery and eased back into 7s systems and decision making based activities. After working with our great athletic training staff on campus and strength and conditioning coach we could push the tempo a bit more,” said Nicholas.

While the lead up to the tournaments were crucial to the team preparation it did not stop there. Both teams took part in film sessions at the hotel and at the stadium. Analyzing performance after the fact allows the teams to take an objective approach to performance.

“Sometimes when you are watching a game in real time you get caught up in the emotion of the game. Watching footage after the fact gives us a more rational approach to what occurred and allows to learn from our mistakes,” Macy said of his commitment to film study.

Whether it was fitness, recovery or game planning, both teams put in the hard work to be successful. As a result of their commitment to these areas of the game, Lindenwood has a closet full of trophies waiting for them when they return this fall.

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