AFL Strength Training Guide

In the fast-paced world of the Australian Football League (AFL) and sports science, the demand for skilled strength and conditioning coaches is rising. Whether you’re a budding professional in footy or a seasoned high-performance staff member, success in this niche is competitive. This article, guided by insights from Jack McLean, an experienced AFL strength & conditioning coach at Melbourne Football Club, aims to be your comprehensive AFL Strength Training Guide.

Leveraging practical knowledge and industry insights, this post will not only enhance your understanding of strength and conditioning essentials but also provide actionable strategies to elevate your sports science career. If you’re passionate about AFL and eager to optimize athletic performance, this AFL Strength Training Guide is for you—from foundational fitness principles to advanced conditioning techniques.

2024 High-Performance Questionnaire results from some of Australia’s most experienced Strength & Conditioning Coaches in pro sport!

How many years of Semi-Pro/Community sport did you complete before your first full-time contract in Pro sport?

Years experience strength & conditioning

What was your first full-time role?

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What Academic Qualifications had you completed for your first full-time contract?

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Key Takeaways

  • Strength & Conditioning: Essential practices and cutting-edge techniques to enhance athletic performance in AFL.
  • High Performance: Strategies to develop and implement effective high-performance programs that lead to successful outcomes.
  • Applied Sport Science: Insights into how sports science integrates with daily coaching to improve player welfare and performance.
  • Career Advancement: Tips on education, networking, and practical experience to build a successful career in sports science and strength & conditioning.

Understanding Strength & Conditioning

What is Strength & Conditioning?

Strength and conditioning (S&C) are crucial in AFL, focusing on improving physical strength, endurance, speed, agility, and performance under pressure. Effective S&C programs are scientifically backed, tailored to athletes’ specific needs, and vital for injury prevention and peak performance.

The Role of a Strength & Conditioning Coach

As a coach, your role extends beyond the gym, collaborating closely with sports scientists, physiotherapists, and dietitians. Understanding human physiology, exercise science, and sports psychology is crucial to enhancing athlete performance and longevity.

Applied Sport Science in AFL

Integration with Daily Training

Applied sport science structures training regimes based on data-driven insights, balancing intensity, volume, and recovery for optimal performance and injury reduction.

Technology and Innovation

Technology integration, from wearable tech to software applications, transforms sports science, setting you apart in strength and conditioning.

Career Advancement in Sports Science

Educational Pathways

Degrees in sports science, human movement, or related fields, along with certifications in strength and conditioning, are beneficial for starting a career.

Gaining Practical Experience

Practical experience is crucial. Internships with sports teams, voluntary positions, and shadowing experienced coaches are excellent ways to gain real-world skills. Networking within the industry can also open up opportunities for mentorship and job placements.

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When: Thursday, April 18th
Time: 4:30 PM AEST
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This event is ideal for strength & conditioning coaches and sports science students who are serious about their career growth and professional development. Mark your calendar and prepare to join a community of winners.


Embarking on a career in sports science and strength & conditioning within the AFL requires a blend of technical knowledge, practical experience, and a deep passion for sports. By understanding the fundamental aspects of strength and conditioning and utilizing the latest in sports science, aspiring coaches can significantly improve their prospects. Remember, continuous learning and adaptation to new techniques and technologies are your best strategies for success.

Keep pushing your limits, stay updated with the latest research, and never hesitate to seek guidance from experts like Jack McLean. Your journey to becoming a top-notch strength & conditioning coach in AFL is just beginning!


What qualifications are necessary to become a strength and conditioning coach? To become a strength and conditioning coach, typically a degree in sports science or a related field is required, along with specific certifications like those from the ASCA or NSCA.

How important is technology in modern strength & conditioning programs? Technology plays a crucial role in modern S&C programs, offering precise data that helps tailor training sessions to individual athletes’ needs, thus optimizing performance and reducing injury risks.

Can you start a career in AFL strength & conditioning without a sports science degree? While a sports science degree is highly beneficial, several pathways, including certifications and practical experience, can also lead to a career in AFL strength & conditioning.

What are the best ways to gain practical experience in this field? Securing internships, volunteering with sports teams, and networking within the industry are effective ways to gain practical experience in strength & conditioning.

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