Monthly Archives: January 2016

John Pryor—What it Takes To Be a Winner

Everyone wants to be a champion until the time comes to do what champions do. Many people believe you train to be a winner, but that’s not exactly true. You are a winner simply by deciding to be a winner, but you train to be a champion. In rugby, both winners and champions are needed in order to succeed and you can’t be a champion until you decide to be a winner.

What does it take to be a winner? The answer you’ll get from this question depends on who you ask, but if you’re asking John Pryor, the answer is attitude. We all take our hits and our falls, even the greatest champions. The difference is that a winner keeps going and doesn’t backslide and a winner doesn’t quit. When you fall, and you will so it’s not a matter of if you fall, don’t stay down. Get up again and again because you know your worth.

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John Pryor’s Strength

When we think about some of the greatest athletes, whether in the past or the present, what do think about? Depending on if you are a sports fanatic or not, your opinions of these people can range from being super heroes to being merely impressive athletes. If we take a deeper look into the lives of our favorite athletes and even the coaches that direct them, we will see that their success didn’t come though over night, much like John Pryor.

Little is known about John Pryor and what motivates him to do his best while on the rugby field until this afternoon when he spoke about his passion that fuels his strength. “I know the feeling of watching someone you look up to fail. It’s disheartening, when it should be enlightening,” said Pryor. “Every game I play, I imagine my own child is there, watching me, cheering me on. I can’t fail in front of his eyes. If he’s anything like me, I know that would crush his spirit.”

John Pryor holds his family to the highest degree and admits they are his passion, his purpose, his reason for giving 102% everyday. “You can’t fail the ones who are expecting the most out of you. Imagine being a little boy in love with super heroes and your dad is your biggest hero. Seeing him fail would be like watching Superman die,” Pryor commented.

Mr. Pryor isn’t the only one with such a high regard for his family and sees them as the source of his power. In a recent survey hosted in 2014, 76% of men said they have give their best effort because they have a family while 21% of men said they give their best effort to keep their title or reputation and the remaining 3% say they do not care. If you are a man, it seems to show that through these figures, having a family to depend on you and look up to you forces you to strive for excellence and that is exactly what John Pryor does 24/7 365 days a week.

Passion comes in many many different forms. To some, passion may be in the form of what they do for a living and for others it could be what they are doing for other people. In John Pryor’s case, his passion and strength comes from providing for his family and being an example for his child which is what so few children have in this day and age.

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Advocating a Long-Term Approach to Rugby Training Programs

It seems that all too often athletes make the mistake of seeking the quickest path to getting bigger, faster and stronger without considering the long-term consequences of such a strategy. A long-term approach that preaches patience in developing a well-rounded athlete is the most ideal method regardless of the sport, but this is especially the case as it pertains to a complex and rigorous sport like rugby.

A fitness plan for rugby players at every level should include a focus on developing strength, speed, flexibility and endurance, with specificity based on the athlete’s role only coming after these basic athletic components have been fully developed. This is just as true with the most elite, world-class rugby players as it is with newcomers to the sport. Fitness gains can indeed be made quickly through a number of training methods, but these are rarely long-lasting gains and they may lead to an increased risk of injury.


Through the use of a long-term approach to fitness, trainers can identify areas of weakness and develop a program that brings the athlete into balance. With strength, speed, flexibility and endurance properly balanced and fully developed, training programs can then become highly specialized to maximize fitness gains as they relate to the athlete’s specific role with their rugby club. If training specificity is attempted too early, the athlete may become one-dimensional and will find it difficult to compete in a sport that requires dynamic athleticism to be truly successful.

For young players in particular, there may be a temptation to try to progress too quickly through a training program. Young rugby players are often best served by a training program that begins with body-weight exercises before progressing to movements involving an added external load. This encourages these young athletes to focus on developing proper form for each movement and ensures that the risk of injury is minimized significantly. It is in this way that training gains are ultimately maximized when it is appropriate to add an external load.

As rugby players progress to the highest level of sport, the use of proper training, nutrition and recovery becomes an even more important factor in determining athletic success. Even athletes competing at an elite level have room for improvement, particularly as it relates to nutrition and recovery. Athletes who develop an early understanding of the benefits of a balanced approach to all aspects of training are far more likely to reach their athletic potential and achieve success in the sport of rugby.

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