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Top 10 Tips for the All Blacks to defend the 2015 RWC

Top 10 Tips for the All Blacks to defend the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Ten days out from the kick-off to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Massey University is counting down with its top ten tips to retain the title. It has brought together specialist opinion from across the University on how the All Blacks can best go the distance, and bring the trophy back to New Zealand.

#10 - What are the added pressures for the team wanting to give Richie McCaw and other All Black veterans the best send off?

Warrick Wood, Sports Psychology

“The challenge in sport, particularly at pinnacle events, is to avoid focusing on uncontrollable elements and remain “locked in” and engaged with the performance, therefore shifting attention away from the external pressure and maintaining focus on what is within the team’s control. I expect they will be directing their attention towards the process they need to follow to be successful, and the outcome should take care of itself. Focusing on anything outside of their control during the games such as winning for Richie, is essentially a distraction.”

Warrick Wood is a sport psychology lecturer based in Auckland. He has extensive coaching experience and works with a number of elite and junior athletes/teams in the area of applied sport psychology. His research interests include coach behaviour and performance enhancement.

Contact: 09 213 6663
W.wood@massey.ac.nz

#9 - Food – What’s the best food for winners?

Miriam Mullard, Dietitian

“Eating the right foods will optimise your energy levels and help you recover more quickly. Good hydration is key and it is important that you drink plenty before, during and after the game to avoid dehydration. Make sure you “fuel up” with carbohydrate rich foods like cereals, breads, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Stick with what works for you in training and don’t try anything new.”

Miriam Mullard leads the Nutrition and Dietetics Centre at the Auckland campus. She has extensive experience in weight management, cardiovascular health and lifecycle nutrition.

Contact: 09 213 6189
M.H.Mullard@massey.ac.nz

#8 - What does the legacy of the All Blacks mean to today’s team? Does that kind of pressure help or hinder?

Andy Martin, Sport Management and Coaching

“The key to maintaining a winning culture is to focus on the pride in that legacy and winning, which is linked to a learning culture and collective leadership involving coaches, the captain and senior players. No one wants to let the jersey down. The jersey, the silver fern, and the Haka help reinforce, through symbolism or by process, the values, beliefs and attitudes of over 100 years of All Blacks legacy ... that's hard to beat.”

Associate Professor Andy Martin is based at the Palmerston North campus. His Applied Learning research is related to Sport Management Education, Coach & Physical Education, Outdoor Experiential Education and Work Integrated Experiential Education.

Contact: 06 356 9099 ext 83823
A.J.Martin@massey.ac.nz

#7 - Sleep – How many hours sleep does an All Black need?

Dr Karyn O’Keeffe, Sleep/Wake Research Centre

“Getting enough, good quality sleep will be key to a good performance. Sleep is especially important for athletic performance, decision-making and mood during a game, as well as recovery between games. I imagine the All Blacks will be establishing a regular sleep routine in the new time zone, making sleep a priority and avoiding things that can disrupt sleep like using electronic devices in the evening and excessive caffeine intake.“

Dr Karyn O’Keeffe is a physiologist with clinical experience in monitoring sleep and managing sleep disorders. Her research interests include fatigue-related risk in healthcare professionals and improving sleep in the general population.

Contact: 04 801 5799 ext 63260
K.M.OKeeffe@massey.ac.nz

#6 - Mind preparation/relaxation – what are the proven techniques for defending a world title?

Professor Gary Hermansson, Sport Psychology

“The team needs to focus attention on the mental things they can control – like attitude, desire, presence, competitiveness, confidence, focus and, especially, enjoyment. Historically we have shown in various sports that when we are the underdogs we will beat anyone on our day, but make us favourites and typically we struggle. Every four years we face this dilemma at the Rugby World Cup and every time we have struggled. How well we manage this mental hurdle will be critical again this year.”

Professor Emeritus Gary Hermansson has more than 35 years active involvement in social work, psychotherapy, counselling, and sport psychology. Having worked at Massey University for more than 30 years as a counsellor educator, he now works in a private practice with an emphasis on performance coaching and counselling.

Contact: 06 356 9099 ext 83821
G.L.Hermansson@massey.ac.nz

#5 - Does size matter? Looking at the mass of the All Blacks over the years.

Jeremy Hapeta, Physical Education and Coaching

“It appears that, in Rugby World Cup Pool play at least, size matters. All Blacks players’ height and weight have increased rapidly since the sport turned professional in 1996. Since then, in Rugby World Cup years, trends show that we tend to “stack” and “beef up” our team and there’s evidence which suggests a direct correlation between weight and winning. For example, research clearly shows that the heavier teams in pool play, made the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2011 (Barr, Newton & Sheppard, 2014). But be wary of the semi and final stages – they are a completely different beast, as we all know.”

Jeremy Hapeta lectures in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at Massey University’s School of Sport and Exercise on Palmerston North’s campus. His research interests include enhancing sport performance with a focus on Rugby and Athlete-centered, player empowering, teaching and coaching methodologies.

Contact: 06 356 9099 ext 83820
J.W.Hapeta@massey.ac.nz

#4 - Alcohol – to drink a little or not at all?

Professor Sally Casswell, Alcohol researcher

“The general advice for drinking alcohol is “less is better”. Certainly the kind of drinking the All Blacks were doing in post match euphoria (or dysphoria) ten years ago shocked their newly appointed coach. It’s likely things have improved since then but clearly the team and other top rugby players, have their share of those who find it hard to control their drinking. My advice for the All Blacks is seek professional help if you need it, and get rid of the alcohol sponsorship you have enjoyed for the past 30 years. It’s not a good fit. Other sponsors will step up as they did when tobacco sponsorship was banned.”

Professor Sally Casswell is the co-director of SHORE (Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation) and the Whariki Research Centre. She has extensive interests in social and public health policy, especially in relation to alcohol and other drugs. She has carried out research on the development and implementation of public policy at the national and community level and in the evaluation of these initiatives.

Contact: 09 366 6136
S.Casswell@massey.ac.nz

#3 - A scandal in the team – how should the All Blacks deal with it?

Dr Chris Galloway, Communications Expert

“It’s important the All Blacks keep their heads down and their eyes off the media chatter. They don’t want to attract negative attention for off-field antics and other media commentary needs to become background noise. It’s there, but doesn’t warrant focus – until after they’ve won the game!”

Dr Chris Galloway is an expert commentator on risk and crisis communication, public relations and local government communication.

Contact: 09 213 6319
C.J.Galloway@massey.ac.nz

#2 - Fitness - What is the best recovery between successive games to avoid injury and fatigue?

Dr Sally Lark, Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation

“Active recovery methods to help remove the toxic by-products in the muscles aids recovery between matches. Things like lots of stretching (while still game warm or after that hot shower), then massage followed by more stretching. Cold and ice packs will alleviate the pain short-term but may mask a more serious muscle injury, so listen to your body.”

Dr Sally Lark is a senior lecturer at Massey University’s School of Sport and Exercise. Her research interests include Musculoskeletal Physiology, Injury and Rehabilitation, Clinical Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Exercise Rehabilitation.

Contact: 04 801 5799 ext 62503
S.Lark@massey.ac.nz

#1 – The Haka – what edge does it give the players?
Malcolm Mulholland, Haka historian

“When I think of the All Blacks performing the haka, I’m reminded of the Maori proverb ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini’ - ‘My valour is not that of the individual but that of the multitude. No one can survive alone’.

If they perform the haka as one, and stay unified, no one can defeat them. The boys need to act as one, play as one and win as one. And remember, when they walk onto the playing field, they walk as one with every man who has gone before them, wearing the black jersey.”

Malcolm Mulholland's research interests include Maori rugby, the relationship between Maori and the State, and symbols of nationhood. He is a member of the New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel, and is the author of Beneath the Maori Moon: An Illustrated History of Maori Rugby.

Contact: 06 356 9099 ext 86016
M.G.Mulholland@massey.ac.nz

ENDS


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