Could AFL football be the most demanding team sport in the world?
AFL football is a predominately technical & tactical sport however it’s also an incredibly challenging physical sport to play and becoming the best Aussie Rules footballer player you can be isn’t all about playing more football.
AFL most of the time is played on the largest grounds in the world, therefore the game demands elite running capacities.
GPS units are worn to track players walking/jogging/running/sprinting distances, this technology is increasing in reliability and has allowed us to better understand each individual player running demands.
Not only do you need to be aerobically fit but the sport also requires continual high-intensity efforts similar to Soccer such as repeat speed & acceleration.
The physical contact from tackles, bumps, and aerial collisions are high and only add to chaos nature of the game.
The game has the most amount of players competing on the ground (36) at one time.
This can make finding space to dispose of the ball effectively to maintain possession challenging and requires athletes to be agile, balanced, and strong in all different planes of motion.
The G forces aren’t as high as a sport like rugby, however the contact can come from any direction as the game is played in a 360-degree nature. The fact there are no weight divisions make it critical the training program develops enough body armour to protect from contact injuries such as fractures and or brain from whiplash/concussion.
The aerial contests require athletes to be tall and or have an elite jumping ability to out reach your opponents. Important that we develop your jumping qualities both on the run, at standing, and on either leg.
Strength conditioning and more specifically plyometrics program can help footballers reach their athletic genetic potential while reducing the likelihood of injury.
The funny shape ball can create unpredictable bounce and those that are mobile/flexible enough to easily bend over to pick up the ball are better able to do so at speed and in congested situations allowing for an increased ability to not only get to the ball first but collect it cleanly.
Is your physical capacity letting you down to perform at your potential?
Do you want to improve your game by improving your overall athleticism?
To achieve this, you need to run well. The more efficiently you run, the faster and longer you can run, the faster you can change direction, and the more mental energy you have to focus on the game. Whether you’re in a Nab league squad or community team now is no better opportunity to prepare yourself for a future combine. I have a range of programs that can help you reach your goals while improving your overall wellbeing.
I personalise your weekly strength and conditioning programs and guide you when its best to do your upper or lower body weights sessions with your conditioning sessions. It’s not just about having the best programs, it’s also about when you do them and the life you live in terms of stress – fuel & sleep to get the maximum effect.
Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.