Notes from a Lion…

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an in-house session with Phil Pask with the University of Bedfordshire. Phil is world renowned physio who has been working with the England rugby union team for 17 years and travelled on the last 3 British and Irish Lions tours. Here are some little nuggets from the session.

Philosophies & Principles:

  • Rehab is about getting players ‘from plinth to pitch with confidence’
  • Players are used to inspiring others with what they do on the pitch. Injuries can be hard on them mentally – rehab/S&C team now have to inspire the player
  • Attention to detail is one of the keys of success
  • Return athletes to performance in a better condition than when they left
  • Make the injury seem small

The Multidisciplinary Team:

  • Rehab must take a multidisciplinary approach – get each of the different coaches involved as early as possible
  • Physios sit in on S&C sessions wherever possible – where issues identified these are then talked through with the coach and the player

Rehab & Training:

  • Ask ‘what can they do?’ rather than focusing on what they can’t – focus on developing other skills/qualities
  • Train movements not muscles
  • Prepare the athlete, not the injury
  • You must respect the physiology of soft tissue healing
  • Rehab can be a hard workout, it’s not a ‘light’ session
  • Quantities measures of performance (i.e. error scores) and elements of competition are good tools for motivation
  • Once rehabbed a quality then must be maintained – review issues periodically

Example Strategies:

  • Sand training – reduces loading but still allows hard training stimulus

Screening & Monitoring:

  • Administer club screening and constantly feeding back screening and monitoring information
  • Gym- and plinth-based screenings utilised but ‘functional’, position-specific screens incorporated too


  • Recovery strategies are individual – there is no gold standard
  • They operate a points-based system for recovery – players must reach designated number of points before they leave the changing room
  • Positive feedback can be a recovery technique in itself!
Coaching, Conferences, Performance, Prehab & Rehab, Psychology , , , ,

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