Rate these 5 elements before you introduce or buy new equipment for rugby training

“A fool with a tool, is still a fool”

This article was brought about by a tweet from our friend Arend Neethling @ProvinceFan – a big supporter of the game of rugby.

The tweet related specifically to an American Football tackle training device (the Mobile Virtual Player, MVP), applied to rugby. Below are 5 elements to look out for and rate out of 5 (1=Not at all and 5=Maximal) before introducing or buying new equipment for rugby training.

Is it representative of match playing conditions?

It is an extension of the tackle bag (which we’ve recommended not using before https://rugbyscientists.com/2015/03/23/why-are-we-still-using-the-tackle-bag-to-train-tackling/). It has the element of moving towards the player and change direction. In the video, the speed does not seem match like and I can’t comment on the height, weight and feel of the bag.

Score  = 2.0

Is their potential for learning and transfer (to matches)?

For the young developing under the correct coaching instruction, potentially. However, based on the video, players seem to interact with it the same way they do with the other foam equipment – diving into contact, no hit-stick and leg drive.

Score  = 1.5

Will it improve the safety of player in matches (not only training)?

Based on the above the above two considerations, I highly doubt it.


Cost and Usability?

$825 dollars for one. That’s 579 GBP or 10 000 ZAR.


Does facilitate the coaching process?

For a young developing player, I think a coach with a good understanding of coaching contact techniques can use the MVP as a step towards 1v1 live contact. For the experienced youth player and upwards, not so much.


Based on the above evaluation, the MVP scores 7/25.

Let us know your rating based on the above 5 elements?


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