Contact Sport – Rugby Union, League & AFL Athletes

Why did we start the Rugby Program?

Lachlan Howell, Australian Stockmans Rugby Union Team 2017

Director Coaching at Vector Health, Glenn Hansen has spent countless hours researching and developing this specialised program for contact sport athletes to help improve your game through better physical preparation.

“I get really frustrated with the lack of proper preparation especially in regional Australian athletes.  Its like sports science is too good for regional Australia.  My aim is to bring the same science as is used in any professional organisation and apply it to every player I can in regional Australia, starting with Rockhampton,” Glenn says.

It is important to note that our aim is to treat each player individually even though they work in a group. This is our biggest point of difference as an athletic development facility.  We do not do “templated” or “standard” programs.

In essence the why is seen below:

  1. Prevent injuries (mainly shoulder, knee, back, ankle)
  2. To increase physicality of all players encountered to increase the physical standard of the game.
  3. To improve self-confidence in players, and to help with competing against metro players, who traditionally have been fitter, faster, stronger and more mentally conditioned to hard work.

Who can or should do this program?

It is important to note that these age levels are approximate. We use age as an indicator but the most likely determinant of levelling in our programs is training age, movement capacity and demonstrated maturity in training.

First Starters Program 5-8 years of age

The younger an athlete, the more plastic their brains are, meaning learning is accelerated.  From experience, we find this is the case due to a lack of pre-conceived ideas or beliefs on what training should be.  We want to put more focus onto developing good patterns of movement, with the goal of helping young athletes avoid serious injury and stay on the paddock for longer during especially their teenage years.

We want to teach proper movement with an emphasis on fun.

First Stage Athletic Development 9-12years 

In this age group we focus on:

  • Movement patterns – doing the basics at a high level
  • Core Strength and Mobility (gives the ability to progress to strength and power training)
  • Work capacity – starting to build the capacity to player a faster, more powerful game.

We do NOT push external load but moving your own bodyweight first.  We measure based on bodyweight to power ratios more than external load at this age group.  We also learn how to train hard and stay on track.

The focus is also on running, teaching technique, teaching it right the FIRST time so we are not having to correct teenagers on how to accelerate, change direction and just plain run.

Still the emphasis is on fun, and just getting in and having a go.

Second Stage Athletic Development Program 13-15yrs

In this age group we focus on:

  • Continuing improvement in movement capacity, especially in running, speed, and acceleration work.
  • Starting to progress to external load activity and set goals based on ability for strength and power.  We use velocity as a big measure rather than the actual load (speed of movement focuses on developing highly developed central nervous system capacity) which focuses on power development.
  • Still work really hard here on building that work capacity so being able to apply effort on effort.

The focus on velocity makes sure the weights we lift move at a speed that we set, to promote power and the ability to repeat this in a game like situation.  Technique is the biggest factor in regression or progression.

Bigger focus in this age group on work capacity, and taking everything we learn off the field onto the field and using it to be effective and consistent.

Third Stage Athletic Development 16yrs + 

In this age group we focus on:

  • We can provide benchmarks for athletes wanting to move to another level for them to aim at (based on a professional or semi-professional level).
  • The focus is still on movement first, load second.
  • Speed, agility and work capacity is still looked at favourably, especially as we start to progress programs based on an athlete’s position on field.
  • Injury Prevention with a lot of older athletes becomes the number one priority due to work commitments.
  • We work online with a number of our athletes due to working arrangements in regional Australia.  We are well set up for this to work well.

It does not matter the age, we still take a senior player and assess movement. We still aim to do the basics but at a really  high level. We expect your commitment and drive for success to be entrenched and to help set that standard across the program to our younger athletes.


Program Success Stories

  • Liam Fletcher was contracted to the Western Force – Future Force Academy Program in 2017.
  • Lachlan Brown-Bates has been contracted into Wests Rugby Union Premier Grade side.
  • Josh Wells – U20’s Redcliffe Dolphins Rugby League Squad
  • Lachlan Howell – selection in the Australian Stockmans Rugby Union Squad to tour New Zealand and Argentina in October 2017

We also have a number of boys and girls at representative levels – including Sam Lohse, Lachlan Hubner, Aarre Hirsmaki (cowboys development program) and a number of Capricornia Representatives, Queensland Representatives as part of our program. In 2017, we have had Theo Fourie, Blaine Steele, Callum Robertson and Mackenzie Reid selected in state or national sides.

Are you interested?

If you are interested please click on the form below, or just email with your phone number and if you can include a bit of info about where you are, (or if you are a parent, as much info as you can about your child’s current situation) that is great.  You can call our office between 9-3 and speak with Kate Dyne, our Front Desk Manager for more information and to book a time with Glenn or Harry Gambling (Strength and Conditioning Coach) to get started.