The aim for this study is to see if massage
helps increase a rugby players speed. Speed and acceleration are essential
requirements within rugby, players have to sprint and accelerate to different
positions. (Duthie, Pyne
and Hooper, 2003) Speed refers to the ability to produce a movement in it
quickest possible time, rugby players need to focus on speed and acceleration
because they run for short bursts of 5-10 metres. (Pook, n.d.) When a player
has speed behind them it separates them from average players this means they can
out run players and break the lines. As speed is essential I would like to
conduct this study to be able to gather evidence to see if massage should be
used to help improve a player’s performance and work alongside a warm up.
Findlay, (2010) Says that pre-event
massages have the following functions; optimises performance, warms up and
increases blood supply to the muscles, decreases muscle tension, encourages
range of motion in the joints, creates a state of readiness in the muscles and
allows mental preparation. These are all benefits on the body. Also, the closer
to an event the more massage can be used to enhance players warm up, massage
shouldn’t be used instead of a warm up but to go alongside it.
involves two types of main responses: a mechanical response as a result of the
pressure and movement and a reflex response where the nerves respond to the
stimulation of a massage. (Ward, 2004)
Massages produce mechanical pressure
which helps improve range of motion by increasing muscle elasticity and decreasing
stiffness. (Weerapong, Hume and Kolt, 2005) By improving a person’s range of
movement and muscle elasticity before activity will help with mobilisation and
flexibility, this means the muscles and joints will be warmed up and able to
move properly leading to an athlete performing to their best ability with no
pain or stiffness. A pre-exercise massage should be light and gentle effleurage
techniques focusing on the muscle groups being used there should be no pain
involved. (Speer, 2005) Any
deep muscle and tissue massages before exercise may result in soreness and
muscle tightness which will have a negative effect on performance.
Having a massage before any type of
fitness testing or game like scenario will have a positive psychological effect
this can help reduce anxiety and encourage relaxation which will help with
overall performance. Pre-event massage right before activity should have more
of a psychological effect and give a player an extra confidence boost. (Cash,
n.d.) Having two different groups taking part in this test should show that the
difference in preparation before activity has an overall effect on performance.
Preparing the muscles by stimulating the
fibres should help to increase the speed of an athlete. With all the benefits
from massage there should be a clear difference in results.
To my knowledge no recent studies have
been conducted to see the outcome of massage and too see if it does actually
increase speed. This is one of the reasons I would like to conduct this study.
Massage has many benefits as shown as above, with these benefits and how
crucial speed is in rugby I want to conduct this study to see if I can make a
difference in the future.