The President of Ghana Rugby, Mr Herbert Mensah, has invited Mr Stuart Aimer, Strength and Conditioning (S&C) coach of London Scottish FC, to Ghana to assess and “fix” the conditioning of the Ghana Rugby national team, the Ghana Eagles.
This move follows closely on the just ended 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup that was hosted and won by Ghana Rugby on the Nduom Sports Stadium pitch in Elmina on 12 May 2018 when they beat Mauritius by 23 points to 17.
According to Mensah, the narrow victory highlighted to him that the real work only starts now and that the Ghana team was far from ready to meet its next challenges.
“It was evident that the Ghana Eagles not only lacked basic skills and techniques but that the conditioning of the players was far from ideal. You can be big and fit, but that does not mean that you have the necessary conditioning to compete at much higher levels. Stuart is here in Ghana to address that problem,” Mensah said.
Mensah, at the age of 58, is in super condition due to his religious attention to fitness and conditioning that is the result of the many hours he invests daily in his fully equipped gyms in both Ghana and at his UK home.
Aimer said that he is looking forward giving back to African rugby and helping to unleash the potential of the boys.
“I’m excited at the raw talent and is humbling to be a part of the journey. The main focus is developing players to become faster and more powerful for there sport. That, mixed with good determination and willingness to learn, will prepare the Ghana Rugby teams for the higher levels of the sport that they are about to embark on,” Aimer said.
According to Aimer, his first task is to do a needs analysis of the structure and the team to see what the strengths and weaknesses of the players are.
On the first day, he touched on speed mechanics and on testing the players. According to Aimer, he could already see an improvement and that the players have understood the ‘why’.
Aimer has been advising the Ghana Eagles coaches from a distance for some going back to the 2017 Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens Tournament in Kampala.
Two of the Diasporan players in the Ghana national team, Frank Sackey and Alex Akoto, hail from London Scottish FC and Aimer as ex-South African was so impressed with what was happening in Ghana that he offered his professional services to the Union on a pro-bono basis.
Rugby is a physical contact game and demands excellent conditioning regarding fitness, power, strength, agility and speed. It is the primary role of the S&C Coach to ensure that players are equipped with these abilities, and all professional Rugby Unions place a heavy emphasis on this aspect to get players in shape to meet the demands of top-level competitions.
The S&C coaching and conditioning is part of Ghana Rugby’s programme to prepare for the Africa Rugby Men’s Sevens tournament that will take place in Tunisia between twelve African nations, namely: Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tunisia, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Namibia.
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SHORT VIDEO SNIPPETS OF TRAINING
The Ghana Rugby Eagles are put through stringent conditioning drills by Stuart Aimer, S&C Coach
Warming-up session by the Ghana Rugby Eagles on day two of training with S&C Coach Stuart Aimer
Ghana Rugby Eagles in a gym training session with London Scottish FC S&C Coach Stuart Aimer