What We Can Learn From The Greatest NRL Player Of The Past Decade & Future Immortal
Cameron Smith officially retired from Rugby League before the opening round of the 2021 NRL season. What was the secret to his success?
Undeniably Smith's availability.
In his 430 NRL game career playing majority in the Number 9 jersey, arguably one of the most physically demanding positions, he missed 15 games due to injury, suspension or being rested. Add on his representative honours, 42 games for QLD, 56 test for Australia and 4 NRL All Star matches you're looking at 532 games at the highest level. Smith went for over 6 years without major injury until late 2020.
Over his 18 year career, he was available for 97% of games.
It's to no ones surprise that he is the highest point scorer, has the most goals kicked, most tackles made, most grand final points and most wins in NRL history. Despite the incredible success of the Melbourne Storm as a club over the past 10 years, Smith not only participated, but played a pivotal role. All external factors aside (genetics, training, diet, recovery etc) - the best ability any player can have is availability.
The less a player is injured, the more time they can spend on the tactical skills of the sport, and that's the most "sport specific" training any athlete can have.
As S&C Coaches our number one role in any athlete development is keeping the athlete on the field. This might come as a surprise to some, but no one wins premierships in the gym.