England to board the night train?
June 11, 2013
Performance expert Matt Parker made his name as part of the dominant British Cycling support team © Getty Images
England may switch to training at night in a bid to boost their chances of winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The radical move is just one of the innovations being considered by England boss Stuart Lancaster having been tabled by performance expert Matt Parker, the man behind Britain's Olympic cycling dominance and Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France triumph last year.
Lancaster, who has made no secret of his desire to borrow successful coaching methods from other sports, recruited Parker earlier this year to bolster his side's chances of reclaiming the sport's biggest prize on home soil in a little over two years' time - and Parker has wasted no time in shaking up England's approach with a host of ideas that also include sleeping on specially-constructed mattresses and making better use of half-time. "Every day you are relentlessly pursuing elite performance," Parker told PA Sport. "New Zealand are number one in the world and we are after them."
It is expected that England will play all their World Cup matches in the evening and Lancaster is set to tailor his side's preparation accordingly. "Those are the demands of the competition, that is what you have got to prepare for and don't leave anything to chance," Parker said. "If the kick-off is a 3pm or 5pm or 8pm then that is what we train for. I am confident any challenges the World Cup throw at us we will be able to take it on."
In his previous role as the head of marginal gains for British Cycling, Parker introduced bespoke mattresses that the squad would travel with to ensure consistently good sleep - something he insists is key to achieving optimum results. "As time goes on it may be something we develop further (for England). We will look at that World Cup period and make sure we have got consistency in terms of our preparation as we won't be based in the same place all the time," said Parker.
Parker has also set his sights on making the half-time break more productive and aims to build on another element of British cycling's success. "We were the only team in the world to go faster in the finals than the semi-finals," said Parker, reflecting on such innovations as the heated shorts cyclists wore in downtime between races. "We will apply the same commitment and the same thinking to all aspects of the England team. We have had some really good thoughts (about half-time). We will certainly look to make it better."
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