RAMS RFC strength and conditioning coach Joe Southwell is looking to improve his players’ ‘explosive power’ as they gear up for a third campaign in National One.

With the senior squad having returned for pre-season earlier this month, Southwell and fellow S&C guru Daryll Watson having been putting the players through their paces as they look to build on the sixth-placed finish last term.

Southwell said: “Everyone’s returned very well – including the new guys – and they’re all looking strong, fit and ready to go.

“National One is extremely physical and fast, and we’ve learned a lot since we came into it. One of the things we’re really looking to work on is the explosive power of the players, and that’s something we’ll be working on in pre-season.

“We’re looking to continue working on each individual player each season, building on the basics and adding things such as the mechanics of sprinting.”

He continued: “Every season we look to move a step ahead. We’re getting more of an idea of the demands of National One and making small tweaks on things we’ve identified as a coaching team to move forwards as an S&C team.

“We get all the anaerobic running and conditioning done early doors before increasing power and speed.”

Despite the success of claiming sixth place in the third tier last time out – building on the runners-up debut season before Covid hit in March 2020 – Rams suffered last-minute defeats on four occasions and Southwell has his sights set on ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

He concluded: “As we transition into the second cycle next month we’ll look to intensify in conditioned games, and we’ll also look at not just the physical side but also the psychological sides of finishing a game in the last 10 or 20 minutes – how can we keep out game, our tempo, our skillset under fatigue?

“We want to break the mental barriers a lot of teams have in the final stages.”