One of the greatest things about rugby – whether playing or spectating – is the powerful bursts of speed that change the nature of the game in an instant, such as a player blasting through the line.
Speed might be a gift you already have; however, there is always scope to improve both net speed and the impact through acceleration. A rugby training drill video could help with this.
Acceleration is about short distances and impact, so practise over 10-30 metres to give yourself enough space to take off and reach speed without burning yourself out. Repeat your sprints, making sure you allow time to recover in between sets, and be sure to vary the distance so that your body becomes accustomed to accelerating quickly and maintaining speed over several distances.
Specialist companies such as Sportplan provide a range of rugby drill training videos designed to help you work on all sides of your game.
The next step to improve your acceleration will be to add in the force of gravity by sprinting up hill. This is far more challenging that running on the flat, and you can use this to your advantage. This will build muscle strength, and again repetition allows adaptation. In this version, sprint up the hill and take your recovery on the walk back down. Repeat as many times as you can, increasing the difficulty by running uphill for longer or by choosing a steeper gradient.
Hop, skip, jump
Plyometrics are increasingly being used by top-flight athletes. This is because they help muscles to reach their maximum strength faster than many other methods, thanks to the explosive contractions through exercises such as hurdles or long jumps. The key is to jump or stretch as high or far as you can each time, even if this means you can only manage a few. Repeat as powerfully as possible; over time, your strength and acceleration will grow.
You do not need to use any other equipment for these drills, although lifting weights can also help with acceleration. Building muscle and strength will build power, which is where acceleration and speed come from.
Rugby World has more ideas on how to improve your acceleration.
The important thing is to keep working on improving, varying things to enable you to do this.