For over a decade in assisting the Fijian 7’s team, Naca Cawanibuka has develop a firm understanding of a typical Fijian rugby player heading to high performance environment.
Something that distinguish a Fijian player who comes out of the Island, is the raw talent and natural flair they possess, but most of our players do not come in with the right mindset and attitude towards the high-performance environment they’re transitioning into.
All our previous 7’s coaches have shared the same sentiment on this issue and over the years Naca has tailor made a physical conditioning programme specifically for Fijian 7’s that will help with players transitioning and sets the right mindset for our players.
“I’ve been blessed for 16 years of this work, and working with different coaches, I have learnt to trade and harness these skills of working with Fijian players,” said Naca.
Naca explained how crucial it is for our local coaches to learn and understand the link between a Fijian player and the high level of physical conditioning needed from them, as most out our players tend to oversee this and not having the right mindset towards it.
Naca shared a pretty crucial point looking at the fact that players right attitude towards the game and its environment outweighs their proficiency, builds their character and sets the right tone for them to achieve greatness.
“Relationship, understanding and trust between us coaches and our players is very crucial so that you can set them on a journey, align them on the right path and they’ll do the job,” said Naca.
“And you have to be someone that can reason with your players and explain to them the journey, and the different level of environment so they can adjust their mindset, at the end of the day they’re playing and not you,” added Naca.
Naca emphasised on the most important aspect of their Olympic journey, which was physical conditioning at its peak, which he remembered how it didn’t go well with some of the players at certain times.
“Physical conditioning is one of the key determinacies of a performance, to win an Olympic gold then you’ll have to be super fit and that’s nonnegotiable, you have to be physically ready because where the body goes the mind goes, and you cannot deliver what you don’t have,” added Naca.
The Olympic gold medal win was just the end result and as a strength and conditioning head coach, Naca knows that the team must go to the extreme in order to reach that Olympics podium.
“Reaching that level demands work capacity, it demands robustness and durability, and you have to take the body to a really dark place in order to get to that highest podium, said Naca.
“You need to be physically fit and all the boys that comes into our environment will tell you that if you ask them what it’s like to be a Fiji 7’s players, you cannot deliver what you don’t have,” said Nice
“Whatever our training programme is, if it’s at the beach, the rugged hill, obstacle courses or at the sand dunes, there has to be a transfer to the infield performance, it’s a very targeted approach,” he added.