Mohotilal Jayatilake, the trainer of the champion S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, rugby team, says that professional sport can be adversely harmful to those who can’t afford adequate nutrition.
Sri Lanka is a country which has a big following for rugby and members of all top teams, schools and clubs, are known to train vigorously during training. The Thomians were put through their paces in the gymnasium by Jayatilake and rugby analysts believe that these lads are fit to graduate to club rugby, overnight.
Jayatilake in an interview with ‘Sunday Island – Sportstar’ said that professional sportsmen and women need to train at a level of high intensity, regardless whether they are still schooling.
"Sri Lanka quickly needs a professional training pattern and a scientific approach to training. Our sportsmen and women need to live the lifestyle of professionals in sport," he affirmed.
High Intensity Training –
He said that the majority of sportsmen and women in this country don’t have a clue of what high intensity training is and, as a result, opposed such training.
He added that there was also a group which knew the standards to meet with regard to training but didn’t have the means to support it.
Jayatilake said he observed members of most teams, clubs and schools, being unable to stand the challenges of modern rugby.
"Some schoolboys can’t stand the added duration (5 extra minutes each half) at matches and in general all rugby players who are small-made can’t survive a season beyond four to five matches," he said.
Fine Season –
The Thomians played exceptionally well this season under the coaching of Jivan Gunatillake and Technical Director Viraj Prashantha. A key feature in their play was the depth in their moves and fitness showed during the 2nd half of most matches.
"The idea in the physical training provided for rugby players is to delay the process of fatigue building up in the muscles," explained Jayatilake who has also undertaken to offer his services as the trainer for soccer, rowing and badminton teams.
According to Jayatilake, school rugby, this season, demanded the rugby players to be engaged in rugby for 42 weeks.
He linked the high commitment of the S. Thomas’ College rugby players to having had an outstanding performance in the league tournament and bagging the Milo Schools Rugby Knockout Tournament, later on.
Making ‘em Bigger –
"Each player was given individual training schedules, diet charts and their training was monitored during the season. The players also received additional nutrition supplements, without which such high intensity training wouldn’t have been possible," he said. Jayatilake opined that rugby is at present a very expensive sport.
He said that athletes need to be made for sport.
"Genes count a lot. It is very easy for the coach and fitness trainer if a player’s physical attributes suit a certain sport. When one considers the biological age of Sri Lankan sportsmen and women, most of them have not grown," he explained.
Word for Critics –
He said that a trainer’s duty was to make rugby players bigger, faster and stronger. But he said that this couldn’t be achieved if the fitness trainer hadn’t a theory and practical knowledge along with the experience of playing rugby.
Anywhere in the world, the new concepts that are found are subject to rejection. With the passing of time, people began to accept these new concepts when they realise that they have to make them a part of their lives, at work or professional sport.
Jayatilake is having the experience of seeing sports administrators opposing his training methods.
"I know for a fact that players like my methods of training them. I’ve just one thing to tell my critics. I tell them to come and talk to me and they’ll understand what I’m doing as a professional trainer," he said.