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High Performance Rugby Union Workshop at Otago Polytechnic

A High Performance Rugby Union Workshop at Otago Polytechnic in July has attracted high-level practitioners from around the world.

The world-class workshop, which focuses on High Performance Conditioning, has drawn participants from Argentina, Spain and South Africa as well as from within New Zealand. It will cover all aspects of strength and conditioning training and related activity including sports psychology, movement analysis, gym-based strength/power and sport nutrition.

The top-level presenters including Mat Blair, Otago Polytechnic’s Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader, Dr Ken Hodge from Otago University and Argentinian strength and conditioning expert, Alejandro Pastor.

The event, from 12-14 July, holds global significance, with the launch of GPSports newest product, EVO. This is the world’s first GPS unit that meets World Rugby’s new specifications for match play. Otago Polytechnic is the first institution in the world to have the accredited units.


Event: High Performance Physical Conditioning Workshop

When: 12-14 July Please see schedule below

Where: Sargood Centre, Otago Polytechnic

Who: Eight of Otago’s top level sports practitioners. Please see bios below

Attached Photos: Alejandro Pastor & Mat Blair. Please contact me if you would like high res versions.

For further information, please contact:

Mat Blair (NB Mat is overseas until 11 July, so email or skype is best)

Otago Polytechnic Senior Lecturer in Sport

skype: live:matblair_1


Hayden Croft has expertise in a variety of areas, all focused on advancing rugby coaching through the use of innovative technology. This has included work with the All Blacks, Highlanders, Otago Rugby, Oceania Rugby and Southern Steel Netball. Hayden is currently working on his PhD and holds the chairperson role with the NZ Performance Analysis Society.

Dr Ken Hodge is a Professor in sport and exercise psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand. He has worked as a Mental Skills Trainer (MST) for a number of rugby players and teams including the New Zealand Rugby Union and the IRB Sevens Rugby Referees squad. Ken is the co-author of a rugby sportpsych book entitled Thinking Rugby: Training Your Mind for Peak Performance (Reed Publishing, Auckland, NZ); and co-author of a book on rugby training entitled Smart Training for Rugby: The Complete Rugby Training Guide (Reed Publishing, Auckland, NZ).

Alejandro Pastor completed his undergraduate at Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina and post-graduate qualifications at Universidad del Salvador, Argentina in 2000. His specialty area is conditioning elite-level athletes (rugby union). Related roles over the last 20 years include tertiary level teaching, conditioning for amateur - professional rugby and football players and Head of S&C in diverse rugby levels.

Brendon Timmins completed his undergraduate (1993) and post graduate qualifications (2015) at Otago University and his Diploma of Teaching with the Dunedin College of Education in 1995. His specialty area is coaching and conditioning elite-level athletes (rugby union). Related roles over the last 25 years include personal training, intermediate and tertiary level teaching and coaching and conditioning for professional rugby players.

Simon Body has a Bachelor of physical education from the University of Otago (1997) and completed the Graduate Diploma in Physical Conditioning at Otago Polytechnic (2011). He has been involved with three international rugby teams, the latest being Fiji from 2014-2016. He lectures at the Institute of Sport and Adventure and is currently completing his Masters in Professional Practice.

Matthew Blair completed his undergraduate and post graduate qualifications at Otago University and Otago Polytechnic in 2010. His specialty area is conditioning elite-level athletes (rugby union). Related roles over the last 25 years include tertiary-level teaching, personal training, conditioning for professional rugby players and officials.

Dr Kirsty Fairbairn completed her Nutrition and Dietetics undergrad and MSc at Otago University and her PhD degree in Skeletal muscle physiology at the University of Sydney. She has been Consultant Sports Dietitian for the Manly Sea Eagles NRL Squad, the Highlanders Super Rugby Squad and Head of Sports Nutrition at the Singapore Sports Institute. Kirsty continues to work with Singapore’s Olympic Gold Medallist swimmer Joseph Schooling. Recently she joined the All Blacks as support to their full-time Sports Dietitian, Kat Darry.

Joe Cole is the founder of Profiler Corp and the creator of the Smartabase athlete management system used in over 150 professional and Olympic teams globally. He completed undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and statistics and has further qualifications in computer science and statistics. His passion has always been elite sports performance and he has worked with hundreds of sports performance professionals in varying fields. Joe’s main interest area is explosive power development in athletes.


Day One Wednesday July 12

8:30 - 9am Accreditation
9 - 9:10am Māori Welcome - Janine Kapa-Blair
9:10 - 9:30am Refreshments
9:30 - 10:40am Keynote speaker – Dr Phil Hancock
10:40 - 11:40am Movement Screening - Simon Body
11:40am - 12:30pm Schedule Planning / Physical Monitoring - Matthew Blair
12:30 - 1:30pm Lunch
1.30 - 3pm Physical preparation - Alejandro Pastor
3 - 3:30pm Refreshments
3:30 - 4:00pm Data - Joe Cole
4 - 4:30pm Analysis - Hayden Croft
4:30 - 5pm Coaching skills - Brendon Timmins

Day Two Thursday July 13

8:30 - 9am Review Day One - Matthew Blair
9 - 10am Sport Nutrition – Dr Kirsty Fairbairn
10 - 11:20am Gym-based Lifting - Brendon Timmins/Joe Cole
11:20 - 11:30am Refreshments
11:30am - 12:30pm Acceleration - Deceleration - Alejandro Pastor
12:30 - 1:30pm Lunch
1.30 - 3pm Direction change / Reactive Agility - Alejandro Pastor
3 - 3:30pm Break
3:30 - 5:00pm Game changers - Joe Cole

Day Three Friday July 14

8:30 - 9am Review Day Two - Alejandro Pastor
9 - 10am Training Motivation – Professor Ken Hodge
10 - 11:20am Field-based running - Alejandro P / Matthew B
11:20am - 11:30pm Refreshments
11:30am - 12:30pm Building a Team - Brendon Timmins
12:30 - 1:30pm Lunch
1.30 - 3pm Performance Analysis - Hayden Croft
3 - 3:30pm Refreshments
3:30 - 4:00pm Conditioning Games / Recovery - Brendon Timmins
4 - 4:30pm Workshop Review - Alejandro P / Matthew B

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