CategoriesBlog Training Program

Kelvin Giles | An Athlete Development Model | Prepare Like a Pro

I know I seem to just be meddling again but with the new UKA Coaching Development Strategy underway it is important that everyone keeps on trying to make a contribution as each new step is taken. The words contained in the strategy are being driven to their destination by Mark Munro and Jackie Newton (I am guessing that there are many others behind the scenes as well). I applaud much of what is contained in the document but also know the difficulties that will surround just about every step forward. Some of these difficulties will be physical, some financial others human but most will require a deal of patience, adaptability, and open-mindedness. Transforming words into action must always go through a process of ‘interpretation’ and so it is vital that everyone who is interested make enough contribution to ensuring that the ‘interpretation’ is appropriate. I have already sent these thoughts through to the decision-makers.

The strategy mentions, “Define and publish an Athlete Development Framework with clear coaching roles mapped.” This is of particular interest to me and many others who see the clear link between ‘what has gone before and ‘what is yet to come in terms of the progression of an athlete along their chosen pathway.

It is a very big step to consider trying to create a model that satisfies the demands of the 21st century and the demands of a fledgling coaching strategy. We have all seen hundreds of these in the past and it makes me think that if you are going to create a major change in things then maybe there are some questions to ponder before any decisions are made.

So far, every attempt at creating this model has led to a very nice-looking diagram/flowchart as illustrated below.

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Maybe it is appropriate to consider more than just another flowchart. Don’t get me wrong there is much to be gained by all coaches by offering them some type of diagram that makes things easier to understand. No doubt that without such an overview it is likely that coaches will continue to ‘race to the right’ as they succumb to fast-tracking, quick-fixing, and ‘winning at all ages’.

My point is that we have seen these diagrams since the mid-1990 and yet we are still facing all the limitations that the use and understanding of these diagrams were meant to eradicate. It begs the question ‘are there some smarter things to consider?

Do we need to flesh out the flowchart with initiatives that can make a difference? Do we need to see the journey in a different way? The following diagram was created to form the context of all those elements that form the journey of each athlete. I have always used this chart to act as a template for the courses and workshops I have delivered. Letting this template guide me reduced the chance of me presenting information out of context. It also helped me get things in the right order so that the athlete’s journey was always one of progression and ‘earning the right.

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Notes:

·        I use this diagram to ensure that whatever courses, lectures, and workshops are created, they are in a progressive context. Try to see each box as being the foundation around which the courses are being created.

·        The vertical columns indicate the pillars that support the detail. The General to Related to Specific modules illustrate the ever-changing structure of training as the athlete progresses toward HP. The boxes illustrate some of the content detail.

·        The right-hand side deals with the sports-specific technical journey while the left-hand side deals with the physical journey. This is not to say they are treated as silos, far from it. Coaches will be taught how activities can be chosen and integrated into a valuable prescription.

·        Obviously, the early stages that appear in the top half of the page are those that are applicable to the Children and Youth stages. As each athlete and coach navigate down the page so the content becomes more relevant to Talent and HP – but don’t forget the ever-cycling General to Related to Specific system.

·        You will notice that there is no mention of chronological steps. While all the previous Athlete Development (LTAD) models link quite strongly to chronological age groups (and can offer a semblance of guidance to inexperienced coaches) such reference has done harm in interpretation at times. The Children and Youth sectors are dependent upon maturation/adaptation rates and not on chronological age.

·        When considering the move towards a modular approach to the Coach Education / Development strategy I would suggest that enough time is spent on ensuring that before a coach can make the choice of which journey they wish to undertake they have completed the required introductory courses. “Get them to know what they don’t know”.

·        My first recommendation is to deliver a course that outlines the full fabric of what the coach is about to experience. I call this the Toolbox Course where things like the Maturation Journey, Physical Journey, Skill Journey, Learning Journey, and Behavioural Journey are outlined and experienced by the coaches. Added to these components are things like Planning. All in all, they should leave this introductory course with the tools to conduct at least part of a training session.

·        Obviously, this first step into the world of coaching needs to be immediately backed up when they leave the course. The development of handheld multi-media resources that they can turn to in their first-ever session would be an advantage. Housing appropriate resources (human and physical) at their Club will also be vital so that their first coaching steps are fully supported.

·        Further support should be available locally by the national roll-out of supporting mini-workshops at the Club level all coordinated by the future Club Coaching Directors. These are particularly important in the Physical and Technical components. One can envisage these workshops (30min to 120min) fleshing out the details of the activities designed for each sector. Consider rolling these out via handheld resources, online, and via intra-Club mechanisms.

·        Here it is important for me to make some comments about what you see on the right-hand side and left-hand side of the two journeys (Physical and Technical – two of the building blocks of all journeys)

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a.    There is a continuous linking of both sides of this learning continuum.

b.    The ability to integrate elements from both sides into a coherent, progressive training session is vital.

c.    This is where the ‘workshop’ curriculum plays its part.

·        I have a list of tried and tested modules in the form of courses, lectures, and workshops that might be of value for you to scrutinise. If there is any value in them they can be examined by your experts to see if they fit into what you intend to have as the modular structure.

·        I think it safe to say that some of the principles contained in these thoughts are applicable to the Talent and HP pathways also. The content may be different but the continuous link between the Physical and Technical must prevail and is a proven element of Talent Development and HP. The ‘Competition and Arena Skills Journey’ forms the backbone of the transition from Talent Development through to HP and this pillar will require the best minds to assemble the content.

·        This link between the Physical and Technical journey will be a vital component for the Director of Performance to facilitate when the methodology of High Performance in the Tournament setting is examined. However, if the athlete and coach development model (Children – Youth – Talent) is created effectively then the HP pathway should naturally be enhanced.

Happy to share all this with everyone. I hope it stimulates much discussion and that more people add their thoughts so that your decision-making is enhanced. The Coaching Forums that service the Event Group Advisory Panels will be a source of valued information for all coaches.

 

How to build an AFL body 1CategoriesBlog Training Program

Jack Mclean: How to Develop an AFL Body | Prepare Like a Pro

1. Jack Mclean is a professional AFL strength & conditioning coach who knows a thing or two about preparing athletes for the rigours of the season
2. In this blog post, he shares his top tips on how to develop an AFL body
3. He explains that it’s not just about going to the gym and lifting weights – diet and recovery are just as important
4. He outlines a typical week in his training regime, including conditioning, strength, and skills work
5. Finally, he offers some advice on dealing with injuries and staying motivated throughout the season

  1. What muscles do you use in the AFL? 

Hips: 

The pelvic area is an important component in the AFL due to the high demands of running. High degrees of stability reduce muscle imbalances and improve biomechanics, reducing injury rates for football players who typically kick with only one leg over time.
As you build up your own imbalance from kicking as all the stress goes onto its opposite side through muscular strength alone – thus putting greater force onto this area–you’ll develop pain in what would otherwise be perfectly healthy tissue.

Shoulders: 

The shoulder is an open, unstable joint that requires strength to keep it strong and safe. In many cases where athletes have been injured or unable to perform at their full potential due to injury their shoulders were not able enough stability so they ended up getting hurt more than once even if everything else seemed fine with them! This leads us to why you need delt exercises like rear and lateral raises which will provide support for this important muscle group as well help protect against further injuries from happening.

Knees: 

Knee injuries are a very common occurrence in football, especially when changing direction or looking to give off the ball. The most severe of these is the “ACL” (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). It can be injured by direct contact with another player during twisting motions such as stopping suddenly and then changing direction.

Strengthening muscles around your foot and hip complex in conjunction with efficient running and jumping techniques develop stability and reduce the load on an athlete’s knees.

Check our injury mitigation exercises here:

  1. Does size matter in the AFL? While some successful AFL players come in all shapes and sizes, there are a few physical attributes that seem to be important. For instance height gives an advantage when trying reach for the ball or jump higher than your opponent because it takes less energy for you do so with greater altitude; arm length can affect balance since longer arms mean more time spent balancing on one foot before running back into position. Due to the large running demands of the game it helps to be around 10 – 15% body fat and as it’s a heavy contact sport having enough critical muscle mass around the torso to protect the internal organs and assist in contested ball performance is key. Overall each player will have their preffered optimal weight and this will largely depend on their role for the team and their individual strengths.

  2. How do AFL players gain weight?                                        You should eat around your training times to optimise gains. You’ll be fuller for longer, so don’t worry about trying too hard with food or not being able eat in between meals; just focus on getting some good nutrients into each one! A great way of doing this while still following the rest of our guide is by adding extra scoopfuls into whatever you’re eating at that moment – whether it oatmeal during breakfast time slotting right before workouts…or a protein shake after weights session has ended. You can also improve the nutritional content of your workout by adding further nutrients to the food you already eat. For example, if training early in the morning then try eating breakfast before going to the gym floor so that it contains enough energy for intense workouts and adds a rich sources of necessary vitamins such as Vitamin B12 which is only found naturally occurring within bodily fluids (such as sweat).

  3. How much sleep should I get each night?Professional athletes typically need more than most—it’s recommended that they get 8-10 hours every night.Individual sport athletes are reported to sleep on average 6.5 hours per night while team players get 7 hrs, according to an article from The Conversation. It was also revealed that individual sportspeople were more prone than groups who played together for long periods of time at any given moment due in part by their unwavering commitment towards regular sleeping routines, high quality mattresses and pillows as well most importantly naps during the day which helps them stay fresh before returning back into competition later on throughout tournaments or seasons respectively. Everyone needs sleep in order to feel restored and function their best the next day. Other physical benefits include:
    Allowing your heart rate or breathing patterns, which are controlled during waking hours by thoughts and emotions; these change back as you fall asleep so that they may be re-established on an even keel throughout slumber’s restorative cycles. This helps promote cardiovascular health by stabilizing blood pressure levels at night similar to what occurs when we lie down after being upright for awhile

  4. What type of diet does an AFL footballer need to lose weight? 

The pre-fueling for a training session or a game is a time when athletes must think about their energy needs, carbohydrate intake, and protein consumption. In addition, fruit vegetables provide important micronutrients which assist the immune system with high-stress levels prevalent in this phase of training.
The more you put into it, the better your results will be. It’s important that during training days eat foods like protein-based meals or snacks with wholegrain carbohydrates because this helps ensure adequate recovery from workouts so athletes can back up training sessions with energy and focus!

 

I elaborate more on tips you can start actioning here:

 

 

dean benton 003 300x300 1CategoriesBlog Training Program

Dean Benton: Sprint running for football codes | Prepare Like a Pro

Dean Benton

  1. Who has influenced your coaching philosophy the most?

I have always tried to maintain a balance between developing my experience-based knowledge and knowledge-based experience. With the former being practical and the latter theoretical. Although, far from being world-class, having a background as a track athlete gave me a great sense and perception of what speed, power, and strength training aimed at enhancing running should feel like. I have benefited from some amazing mentors over the years who have been more than generous with their time and knowledge. Vern Gambetta’s GAIN faculty has had a big influence on how I think and what I do. These professionals include Frans Bosch, Gary Winckler, Jimmy Radcliffe, Bill Knowles, John Pryor, Kelvin Giles, and Vern himself of course. Others include Bill Sweetenham, Frank Dick, and Esa Peltola. One professional I would have loved to have met was the late Charlie Francis.

 

  1. What are some key considerations for sprint running for football codes?

Track athletes aim to have perfect mechanics in a predictable, ‘closed-skill’, and stable environment. Sprint running in field sports creates the best mechanical outcome in a highly unstable, ‘open-skill’, and unpredictable environment. Coaching and programming based on this philosophy is something John Pryor does better than anyone I know.

 

There needs to be a balance in how acceleration and max speed is addressed depending on the sport and position played. Whilst acceleration development must be principle-based, field sport athletes typically accelerate from an upright posture. As such, training/teaching acceleration must orientate around creating pre-tension and hip projection from standing and rolling starts. Sometimes max speed requirements in field sports are underestimated. However, how it is trained and coached is certainly different to track sprinters. A footballer needs to obtain max speed or a high % of max speed over shorter distances, whereas a track athlete is intentionally delaying the attainment of max speed as long as possible. Practically speaking, I believe we should aim to develop max speed in field sport athletes from a stride frequency standpoint rather than a stride length standpoint. Noting that, a field sport athlete can develop a substantial max speed based on stride frequency rather than prioritizing the development og a long stride length. This approach will transfer best to a field-sport environment, as a field-based athlete must have one foot on the ground to change direction, accelerate/decelerate, resist and break contact.

 

Running must be approached as a skill that can be taught and enhanced. As we know, running in field sports doesn’t occur in isolation; handballs, catching, passing, and kicking all need to be executed at speed. As such, when appropriate running and sports skills should be trained concurrently. This requires upper/lower body independence when executing ball skills at speed.

 

I elaborate more on field sports here: https://www.hmmrmedia.com/2021/10/rethinking-speed-development-for-team-sports/

 

  1. Can you explain your approach to holistic preparation?

To improve speed we must create appropriate and adequate training stimuli. Only providing field sport athletes with 1-2 brief speed-based warmups is an inadequate stimulus. There are many indirect methods of speed development that are often overlooked, including flexibility, leg power, and removing counterproductive modalities.

 

Flexibility – often our single greatest limitation to speed. You can become faster simply by getting more flexible. Furthermore, a lack of hip extension is one of the greatest predictors of injury.

 

Leg power – unless you can produce it vertically then you don’t have it to apply horizontally. Acceleration is the easiest speed quality to improve, as it is most affected by strength qualities. Having a good countermovement jump usually enables an athlete to accelerate well over 10m. In short, unless you have leg power you will not be able to develop an athlete’s speed potential

 

Often an opportunity that isn’t taken advantage of is in a return-to-play set. Medium to long-term injuries can be utilized to improve a player technically and athletically.

 

Removing counterproductive modalities – the disproportional use of cycling is one sure way of dulling speed development. Remove ‘junk’ running from all aspects of the program. In particular, jogging has no application as an endurance mode for any field game. Jogging reinforces poor running mechanics, and poor posture and tires athletes in between high-quality running efforts. Jogging should be seen in the same light as walking, in that, it should not be prescribed or coached. Faster, high-quality running training develops all the endurance required for all aspects of sub-maximum locomotion.

 

  1. What would you recommend as areas of focus for developing coaches hoping to improve their application of sprint running for pro sport?

Develop an understanding of how to TRAIN and TEACH speed. Training is below the shoulders and teaching is above the shoulders. Developing athletes are often told how ‘fast’, how ‘far’, and which ‘direction’, but not ‘how’ to run. Real coaching requires knowledge of running and the skill of seeing and teaching athletes how to execute technical elements of training.  The attention to detail and coaching skill required to develop sprint running at an elite level puts some coaches off, especially those coaching at the youth level. Consequently, mediocrity is routinely accepted with many young athletes adopting a poor running technique. These poor habits can be carried through their careers.

 

  1. What would you recommend as areas of focus for developing athletes?

I believe there are five primary areas of functional and technical capability that must be addressed in conjunction with the appropriate progression of athletic qualities. These five critical areas will be apparent in various degrees across ages, gender, sports, and individuals. Importantly, these five areas are not mutually exclusive and are very much interdependent.

  1. Running technique
  2. Strength training technique
  3. Flexibility
  4. Postural strength
  5. Force reduction ability

 

Other key growth and development considerations:

  • Develop key physical capabilities before puberty to minimize the loss of coordination during puberty. Place an emphasis on moving body weight at a young age to prepare for changes due to puberty and continue to reinforce this throughout puberty
  • Children grow up and then grow out; we must take into account the strength-to-length relationship. Get them strong before they grow long
  • Establish pristine movement patterns through full ranges of motion and through all planes from the youngest age groups on
  • Understand the difference between developmental age and chronological age

 

  1. What are common challenges performance practitioners can make in developing speed?

Under the training and not challenging athletes. As an example, I see so much programming of jumps and plyometrics for developed elite athletes that would be applicable to 14-year-old kids. Furthermore, athletes can often ‘sleepwalk’ through sessions, not being challenged. Research shows us that unless we have an error rate of 15-20% then we aren’t challenging our athletes. Unless we have ‘success or failure’ consequences built into our sessions then learning will be very limited.

 

  1. How do you measure speed development in team training?

The obvious one is GPS. I discuss this in detail at: https://www.hmmrmedia.com/2021/10/rethinking-speed-development-for-team-sports/

Coaching observation is a dying art. I do feel that current technology is ahead of coaches’ capability to apply it. However, hardware/software platforms are becoming a lot more accessible and easier to use. To measure speed properly we must isolate it as a quality. I have always assessed speed formally with timing gates and assessed specific leg strength qualities with jump mats and via the speed bound index. Ultimately a coaching eye, experience, and judgment are still required to interpret video/data and apply it to the practical environment. What can be heard, seen, or sensed, still largely cannot be measured. In many ways, it is better initially to learn how to coach speed without the use of technology.

  1. What is the relationship between general running capacity and speed?

This relationship is very important. It is often not well understood and often overlooked. Some considerations:

  • It makes sense to profile players that are either ‘fit-not fast’ or ‘fast-not fit’. General running capacity is not a difficult quality to attain or maintain. Speed, however, takes longer due to the higher degree of motor skill involved. As such, ‘fit-not-fast’ players should have speed training and complimentary strength programs as their primary training direction, whereas ‘Fast-not fit’ players should continue to be allowed to run fast for maintenance.
  • Maximal aerobic speed (MAS) training does not have to be distance dependent. Field sport athletes do not have the ability to maintain good running form at a constant speed for any longer than 3-4 seconds. Therefore, setting long intermittent distances at 100m or greater develops and reinforces poor running mechanics, which in turn, develops poor running economy
  • Running drills were originally designed to specifically strengthen the muscles in postures and actions that are like those that occur during the sprint action. It is through strengthening in the specific positions that technique is improved. Running drills promote good posture, specific lumbopelvic strength, and functional flexibility drills. These drills can also be used very effectively as a local lumbopelvic conditioner and general conditioning modality

 

  1. What does a typical speed session look like?

Probably an oversight I see a lot of younger coaches is proper planning going into a session. By that I mean, clear objectives and consideration of appropriate methods. Good-detailed planning should take just as long as the session takes to coach – often twice as long. If coaching a larger group of players implicit methods are essential. Implicit coaching is infinitely more effective, but session preparation requires much more foresight. Implicit, or outcome methods are where the exercises and drills are the coaches. This increases effectiveness and task-intrinsic-based learning, which is more permanent and effective. Consideration in terms of the type of feedback is also important. Whether this is extrinsic, intrinsic, or a mix of both.

The structure and sequence of the session require thought. John Pryor’s motor racing analogy is brilliant and a great way for young coaches to conceptualize the planning of a session:

 

  • Where will you pump up the tyres? – a warm-up can be utilised for more than it implies. It takes about 10mins before an athlete is ready to undertake speed and leg power development. Therefore, this period can be utilised for specific mobility and functional development via specific drilling that develops calf and lumbopelvic integrity. If done well, there is a seamless blending of mobility and drilling that escalates to more dynamic movement. We all accept athletes can’t sprint in the part of the session, but they should be under challenge either
  • Where will you build the motor? Elastic and reactive leg strength developed through jumps and plyometrics not only underpins speed qualities, it is also a great way to prepare the nervous system for speed development. We must not forget too: if you want to get faster you must run fast. Having an appropriate and adequate speed of volume is essential but requires judgment
  • Where will they learn to drive the car? Running is a skill and drills don’t equate to skill. If you want to improve your running skill you must teach it directly whilst running. The primary benefit of running drills is to specifically strengthen athletes in postures and actions similar to those that occur during the sprint action
  • Where will they race the car? The best way to facilitate training intensity is competition. Matching players of similar ability to race against each other creates a great atmosphere and energy

 

AFL pre season runningCategoriesBlog Training Program

How to Optimize Your Football Clubs Preseason Training

As a strength and conditioning coach or sport scientist, you know that preseason is a crucial time for athletes. This is the time when they need to be in top form to perform their best during the regular season. Here are four elements to keep in mind for a successful preseason:

1. Have a plan.
The first step to a successful preseason is to have a plan. You need to know what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. Without a plan, it’s easy to get sidetracked and waste valuable time.

2. Keep players in condition during the off-season.
It’s important to keep athletes in shape during the off-season so they’re ready to hit the ground running when preseason starts. This means making sure they’re doing some sort of training, whether it’s lifting weights, running, or playing other sports.

3. Monitor performance progression.
As preseason progresses, it’s important to monitor how athletes are performing. This will help you adjust your plan if necessary and make sure everyone is on track.

4. Meet the specific needs of individual players.
Each athlete is different and will have different needs during the preseason. It’s important to tailor your program to each individual so they can get the most out of it.

Preseason is an important time for athletes and coaches alike. By following these four tips, you can set your athletes up for success and help them reach their goals.

Are you a coach wanting to make an impact in elite sport join our Coaches Academy

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How to Prepare Like an AFL PlayerCategoriesBlog Training Program

Why you need to prepare like a pro if you want to make it to the AFL

If you want to play professional Australian rules football, you need to prepare like a pro. This 8-week training plan will help you develop the speed, strength, and stamina you need to compete at the highest level. With three strength training workouts and three speed/energy systems development sessions per week, this program is designed to get you football ready. You’ll need access to weights for the strength training workouts and a football oval or park for the speed and conditioning elements. So if you’re serious about making it to the AFL, start preparing like a pro today.

Week 1:
3x Total Body Strength Training Workouts + 2x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 2:
3x Total Body Strength Training Workouts + 2x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 3:
3x Strength Training Workouts + 3x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 4:
3x Strength Training Workouts + 4x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 5:
3x Strength Training Workouts + 4x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 6:
4x Strength Training Workouts Workouts + 3x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 7:
4x Strength Training Workouts Workouts + 3x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Week 8:
3x Strength Training Workouts + 4x Speed/Energy Systems Development Sessions

Professional athletes didn’t get to where they are by accident; they put in the hard work and dedication required to hone their skills and perfect their craft. If you want to make it to the AFL, you need to prepare like a pro. This 12-week training plan will help get you on the path to success. So what are you waiting for?

AFL Athletic Development Training for the Youth
AFL Athletic Development Training for the Youth

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How many hours do AFL players train in seasonCategoriesBlog Training Program

What Footy Players Do During the Off-Season

The off-season is a crucial time for footy players. They use this time to rest and recover from the previous season, but they also continue to train and work hard to maintain their high level of fitness. Players also take this time to coach and help out with elite summer training programs for young upcoming players.

During the off-season, footy players focus on both resting and training. Rest is important for players to allow their bodies to recover from the previous season. However, players cannot rest for too long as they need to maintain their high level of fitness. As a result, players continue to train during the off-season, although at a lower intensity than during the regular season.

Players also use the off-season to coach and help out with elite summer training programs for young upcoming players. This helps them stay involved in the game and give back to the community.

The off-season is an important time for footy players. They use this time to rest, recover, and train so that they can come back even stronger for the next season. Players also take this time to coach and help out with elite summer training programs for young upcoming players.

***

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What You Really Need to Know as a Strength Conditioning Coach 1CategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players

Does player wellness affect AFL individual match day performance?

 

Aim and hypothesis

The aim of my research is to investigate whether players’ self-reported wellness metrics such as Sleep quality, Mood, Muscle soreness, and Body fatigue have a correlation with individual AFL game day performance.

 

Game day performance will be measured by coaches and player self-rating of 1 – 5 1 being a poor gamed and 5 excellent and champion data.

 

Wellness is critical for an athlete’s recovery between games and physical preparedness for performance in the upcoming game. (5)

 

There is research (2) on the impacts of wellness leading up to the game on running performance however no wellness data collected from AFL players on gameday.

 

My hypothesis would be that certain metrics would have a stronger influence on certain players than others. There may be a strong correlation between certain metrics that influence other wellness scores for example mood and body fatigue maybe closely link to quality of sleep.

 

Players are more likely to buy into something that they believe will help their game day performance.

Using this data will be helpful for support staff such as medical and high performance to provide AFL athletes with relevant wellbeing metrics and game day performance.

Staff informing players of this research can encourage athletes to discover or continue effective practices like sleep hygiene and mindfulness to improve their quality of mood and sleep.

 

Study design and participants

This study will be a primary prospective cohort study with mixed methods of quantitative & qualitative data. Realistically the study would be conducted at one AFL club over two seasons and due to small cohort having a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach would be appropriate to assist in applying and understanding the findings.

 

The source of this study will be AFL players playing from the Melbourne Football Club. The whole team over 22 rounds and finals would be required in this study which is up to 40 – 60 AFL players depending on how many listed players play over 2 seasons.

 

Measures and variables

From a quantitative approach using a number scale of 1 – 5 asking each player to rate the respective wellness question.

And from a qualitative point of view asking the athletes pregame “how satisfied they are with their weekly preparation regarding sleep, stress and how their body feels”.

 

Data collection will be gathered pre-game where each player included in the study will answer the following questionnaire:

Key wellness metrics:

rate (1 – 5) 1 = poor 5 = great

Sleep quality: players are educated to factor in, how many times they woke up during the night, how long it took them to get to sleep and the duration.

Mood players are educated to factor in if they feel flat, irritable, or overwhelmed or relaxed and content

Muscle soreness players are educated to factor in how sore their muscles feel barely being able to walk being 1 and 5 feel normal

Body fatigue players are educated to factor in their motivation and energy levels. Are they feeling fresh or drained?

 

Rating performance will be a mix of subjective and objective data 3 separate rows to help with analysis:

Row 1 Player rating from 1 – 5,

Row 2 Coaches rating from 1 – 5

Row 3 Champion data total score from the game.

 

After the first 4 games z scores can be calculated for each wellness metric to help determine the effect of individual fluctuations within each wellness rating.

 

To calculate a z score you simply create the following excel function: weekly rating (4) – minus the four-week average (3) divided by a rolling 4-week deviation of recent 4-week (0.8) z = 4 – 3 /0.8 = 1.02 in percentage %102.

 

Performance will be determined by looking at each player’s total

AFL player rating score using the Champion data algorithm in addition The Melbourne football coaches will rate performance for each player from 1-5. (1 – 5 1 = poor 5 = great)

 

Data collection protocol

On player arrival for each home and away game players will fill out a questionnaire displayed below table A via a wellness app like edge 10. Athletes would also be followed up by staff post-game during if they rated below 2 to further investigate the context behind the poor rating. We can then export the data from edge 10 to an excel pivot table which can help us collate the data and make it easier to analyse the player’s wellness data when looking for correlations and trends in performance.

 

Table A

 

From there champion data player rating and coaches’ votes are collected and collated and z scores are calculated for analysis.

At the end of the 2 years of study closely going through the data and looking for trends in the data such as high z scores of sleep result in a high probability in in consistent performances on game day. Applying the findings to back up the hypothesis or challenge it. The key part of this research will also be making sense of the qualitative comments made by the players that rated below 3 for any wellness metric. This may come in handy for staff to help finding solutions for the players.

Data analysis

The issue this research is trying to solve is how much subjective markers influence game day performance and therefore what are the key ones to focus on from a development point of view.

How do we analysis the data? Interpreting the data to help determine answer questions such as:

What is the relationship between wellness metrics and high performance?

What might be the key causes from a preparation point of view for high performance in AFL football?

Does one factor have a significant affect or is a mix of all metrics that need to be taken into context.

Strength & conditioning coaches in the AFL recognize the importance of wellness as research shows most teams have some form of wellness data collection for load monitoring. Why not add it in as a performance measure as well?

Perhaps we find some info that challenges assumptions like body fatigue and muscle soreness increases match day performance.

Ethical considerations

Limitations of this study would be getting every team on board and even if we could get every team on board for the 2-year study gathering the data in a timely manner would be another issue, as some if not most clubs would want to keep the data to themselves.

From an ethical point of view the club may have a clause on when the data can be released as this is a prospective study over a few years hopefully this wouldn’t delay the publish doubt.

The high turnover rate of Australian Rules Football playing lists will be an issue as we won’t have the same playing list every week and the list will change slightly each year.

Another limitation and potentially why no team has researched game day data on record is due to the players not wanting to be interrupted from their game day routine, potentially some players may refuse to be involved in this study further reducing the cohort size.

Further exclusion considerations if someone is struggling with a mental health issue than the wellness data will likely be compromised and therefore the player would need to be e removed from the study and any player coming back from a long-term injury for example players that have been out of the game for a year will also have different experiences to the playing group as they adjust back to the game.

Anticipated outcomes

Anticipated outcomes I think individual variance will be high amongst this small cohort some may report poor wellness and perform highly others may report great wellness and perform well.

Other factors other than wellness will influence therefore these outliers will no doubt pop up through the study.

Hoping we can find some clear findings such as how important consistent rating scores are and therefore low z score fluctuations for the playing squad. Suggesting how important players’ routines are.

Looking at how factors such as away games, the shorter time between games, and wins or losses affect the data. I would suspect finals and or big games may have a gap between experienced players’ wellness reporting and new players.

References

  1. Gallo TF, Cormack SJ, Gabbett TJ, Lorenzen CH. Pre-training perceived wellness impacts training output in Australian football players. Journal of Sports Sciences [Internet]. 2016 Aug [cited 2022 Jun 3];34(15):1445–51. Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=115584834&site=eds-live&scope=site
  2. Ryan S, Crowcroft S, Kempton T, Coutts AJ. Associations between refined athlete monitoring measures and individual match performance in professional Australian football. Science & Medicine in Football [Internet]. 2021 Aug [cited 2022 May 24];5(3):216–24. Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=151190664&site=eds-live&scope=site
  3. Lathlean TJH, Gastin PB, Newstead SV, Finch CF. A Prospective Cohort Study of Load and Wellness (Sleep, Fatigue, Soreness, Stress, and Mood) in Elite Junior Australian Football Players. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance [Internet]. 2019 Jul [cited 2022 May 24];14(6):839–40. Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=137415757&site=eds-live&scope=site
  4. Gallo TF, Cormack SJ, Gabbett TJ, Lorenzen CH. Self-Reported Wellness Profiles of Professional Australian Football Players During the Competition Phase of the Season. Journal of strength and conditioning research [Internet]. 2017 Feb [cited 2022 May 24];31(2):495–502. Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mdc&AN=27243912&site=eds-live&scope=site

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Is Jaspa Fletcher the Next Big Thing?

There’s no doubt that Jaspa Fletcher is one of the most promising young Australian rules football players in this year’s draft. The 18-year-old has a natural talent for the sport and is looking to take the next step in his career with the 2022 AFL Draft looming on the horizon.

Showing that the apple certainly did not fall far from the tree, Fletcher is a second-generation player, being the son of Adrian Fletcher, who played 231 games for the likes of Brisbane, Geelong, Fremantle, and St Kilda. The young balanced midfielder showed off his skills in the recent NAB AFL Under-18 Championships where his Allies team finished with a 1-3 record during the carnival.

Fletcher was particularly spectacular in the Allies’ win over Western Australia at the Thebarton Oval. Showing his readiness for the next level, the talented youngster racked up 26 disposals, four tackles, and six clearances in a best-on-ground performance. He also showed uncanny leadership qualities, often being one of the first to put his hand up for a smother.

While he may not be the biggest player on the ground, Fletcher’s athleticism and determination more than make up for it. He has an impressive vertical jump and is extremely quick over short distances. His speed and agility make him hard to contain when he’s on the attack and he’s also very good at finding space in congestion.

Fletcher is set to be one of the most sought-after players in this year’s draft and it will be interesting to see where he ends up. Experts peg Fletcher to be in the 20-25 range when it comes to the final order of the draft, but with his impressive skillset and bloodline, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him snapped up sooner than that. Off the field, Fletcher has a cool demeanor and is very popular amongst his teammates, who he considers to be like family. 

“In my eyes, the best thing about the game of football is developing those close relationships with your teammates which creates that fun element of footy but also pushes you to become better. Always a great feeling running out and playing for them on gameday,” said Fletcher.

The pandemic was a crucial period for Fletcher as he took the time to stay active and work on his game. He says the documentary “The Last Dance” resonated with him and Michael Jordan’s commitment to becoming the best served as inspiration.

“I don’t have a movie off the top of my head, but the last dance with Michael Jordan had a big impact on me – especially through the quarantine period this movie was very impactful because it showed me how much time and effort goes into mastering the skills in the sport. With it being lockdown also, it inspired me to keep working hard at training so when games were to resume I knew I was ready. This period was key in my development pathway,” added Fletcher.

When he’s not training or playing, Fletcher enjoys spending time with his family and friends, as well as playing golf. He also enjoys heading over to Gippsland to visit his grandparents and enjoy the water.

“Being from Victoria, my favourite destination would have to be Lakes Entrance in Gippsland. My grandparents own a beach house down there so every Christmas my close family and I stay for about 3 weeks. The weather is always great for boating and plenty of space to use the jet-ski.”

Fletcher’s focus is firmly on making the AFL, but he says he’ll continue to enjoy his life away from the game regardless of what happens.

“I’ll just keep living life to the fullest, taking each day as it comes and see(ing) what happens. If I don’t end up playing AFL then that’s fine, I know I gave it everything I had.”

There’s no doubt that Jaspa Fletcher has what it takes to be a star at the AFL level and he will no doubt be one of the most exciting players to watch in the years to come. If he can continue to develop his game and reach his potential, there’s no reason why he can’t be one of the best players in the league. Only time will tell if Jaspa Fletcher is the next big thing, but he’s certainly off to a good start.

If you’re an AFL player who wants to take your game to the next level, be sure to check out Prepare Like A Pro. You can find more information on our services page via our website or follow us on social media.

 

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How many hours do AFL players train in seasonCategoriesBlog Training Program

How many hours do AFL players train during the season? | Prepare Like a Pro

AFL players are some of the fittest athletes in the world. They train hard throughout the season to make sure they are in peak condition when they take to the field. But how many hours do they actually train? And what do they do during their training sessions? Keep reading to find out!

  1. AFL players train for a minimum of 25 hours per week during the season
  2. The training schedule is divided into three sections – physical, skill-based, and tactical
  3. Players are required to do a lot of strength and conditioning work to maintain their fitness levels
  4. Skill-based training includes practicing handpasses, kicks, marks, and tackles
  5. Tactical training focuses on how the team will play in different situations
  6. Recovery is just as important as training, so players get plenty of rest and eat the right foods

Monday:

Two days after game day is when we do our light run-around session. 

Then we have a skill-based session in preparation for our main training session that week. This might include some light touch drills, kicking circuits, or handball games depending on what’s being played at the club where you’re attending school! The purpose of this one-hour practice period is to get your body moving again so it will be ready when the real work starts later that afternoon

The best part about all these extra activities? They never fail–they always make me feel better afterward no matter how successful I was during individual play

Upper body weights in the afternoon followed by more recovery sessions like hot/cold and pool time will help you get back on your feet after a tough workout.

Tuesday: 

The forwards, midfielders, and defenders all get together for a session where they focus on specific aspects of their game. The three-player team workshopping focuses mainly on goal kicking or one versus ones with an instructor who specializes in marking practice targets that will be put up at varying distances from each other depending on what type it is being practiced upon (close range if its close range), long distance if practicing shooting remotely over longer ranges, etc., so there’s always something new every time you come back!

Even though Australian rules footballers have a wide variety of workouts depending on their talents and shortcomings, they are all functioning at an exceptionally high level. It’s very common for professional athletes to exercise five days per week with several hours each day spent in training or practice sessions alone!

The day ends with a cross-training session for those who need it. Some guys will go box while others might take up swimming or biking depending on what their fitness staff thinks they should top up from today’s exercise routine!

Wednesday:

A day where we train hard, but it’s also important that you take care of your body. Having had time since playing our last game to recover from all the action-packed weekend-long event has made this Wednesday just about as good as Monday or Tuesday for me!

The main training session for today will be focusing on skills and match practice before getting ready ahead of next weekend’s game – no matter what level they may start off at (small/medium sized).

After the field session, we have our main lower body strength and power session for the week. 

The main focus of today’s workout isn’t just on the legs. In fact, we’re utilizing lots of different muscles including those found in the arms and back so there will be no one part feeling left out as they fatigue throughout each set

Thursday: 

A day off is a time for relaxation and self-care. After three days on their feet, it’s imperative that we take some extra steps in order to make sure the footballers remain healthy!

You should try exploring different activities or spending more quality one on ones with teammates before making another big push toward success

Friday:

The pre-game session is commonly known as the captain’s run its all about training intensity and minimal volume. The more ball movement within this short session the better to allow players to hone their kicking skills. This will help you prepare for tomorrow’s game!

Saturday: 

Gameday routines are very important to the players on game day. Some might go for a light run or bike session, while others decide they want some time outdoors by taking their own walk, and yet more may use this opportunity as a chance break from all that hard training with mindfulness exercises in mind too!

The importance of nutrition during competition can’t be overstated – it has been shown again to increase mental performance dramatically so eating well before competing will give you energy highs without crashing afterward thanksgiving dinner-but what about hydration? Make sure both drinks enough water throughout matchday because dehydration causes feelings

Sunday:

The players are in charge of their own recovery after the game, and on days off. Some might choose to do Pilates or yoga for increased flexibility with extra trunk work if it’s been a while since they last touched an instrument; however, most guys go straight home from practice instead of doing anything physical because that would be silly!

 

The Australian Football League is a unique sporting event where players have to be versatile and durable. In order for them not only to perform well on the field but also stay healthy, they need plenty of exercises that will keep their bodies in top physical condition no matter what type or intensity level it takes! 

In addition, running shorter distances such as sprints with high speeds can help improve coordination skills while building muscle strength all at once–this means more energy when you’re tired after practice sessions because your engine never stops?))) Plus who doesn’t love interval training? It’s perfect if

 

Some players are lifting weights three times per week, while others do it twice. The frequency at which they lift depends on their goals and needs for keeping their body healthy and football training as well!

AFL players train extremely hard to be the best in the sport. Their training schedule is divided into three sections – physical, skill-based, and tactical – and includes a lot of strength and conditioning work as well as practicing handpasses, kicks, marks, and tackles. If you want to become a better player or just increase your speed, endurance, and running ability, our program can help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started!


If you’re looking to improve your AFL running performance, then check out our Online AFL Training Program. Our program is designed to help you increase your speed, endurance, and running efficiency. Contact us today to learn more!

How many hours do AFL players train in season

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking to improve your AFL running performance, then check out our Online AFL Training Program. Our program is designed to help you increase your speed, endurance, and running efficiency. Contact us today to learn more!

How far do afl players run in a gameCategoriesBlog Training Program

How Far Do AFL Players Run In A Football Game? | Prepare Like a Pro

AFL players are some of the fittest athletes in the world. They need to be able to run long distances at high speeds, change direction quickly, and have the endurance to last for an entire game.

Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into playing AFL than just running. Players need to be able to think on their feet, make quick decisions, and jump high enough to catch the ball. But it’s still fascinating to think about how much distance they cover over the course of a match. 

There are some really fit players in the AFL, and it’s amazing what their bodies can do. Some players have even been known to cover up to 18 kilometers in a game! It just goes to show that if you want to be good at AFL, you need to be physically prepared to cover a lot of distance. 

So just how far do AFL players run in a football game?

Thanks to GPS technology, we now have a pretty good idea. AFL players cover an average of 12-14 kilometers per game, with some players running as much as 20 kilometers in a single match.

And it’s not just the amount of distance that AFL players cover that is impressive, it’s also the speed at which they do it. AFL players can reach speeds of up to 35 kilometers per hour when sprinting!

Hear from Harry Sheezel AFL 2022 Draft top 10 prospect about his preparation for Aussie rules football: 

AFL players typically run between 3 and 7 kilometers during in-season training sessions and 5 – 16 kilometers during pre-season training sessions. Interval sprinting is a key part of their conditioning, as it helps them develop the explosive speed and agility required for the game. AFL players typically do several short sprints (20-40 meters) at maximal effort, followed by a brief rest period. This type of training not only improves their on-field performance but also helps them build the endurance needed to play an entire game.

AFL players need to have a high level of aerobic fitness to be able to run around the oval for an extended period of time. AFL conditioning programs, therefore, need to include a lot of running, both long slow distances and shorter sprints, to build up the players’ aerobic capacity. 

Aerobic capacity can be improved by doing interval training, which involves periods of high-intensity activity followed by periods of lower-intensity activity or rest. This type of training helps the body to use oxygen more efficiently and therefore improves endurance. 

Incorporating fitness into training drills is a good way to keep players motivated and help them improve their aerobic capacity. For example, you could start a drill with a short burst of speed followed by a period of jogging or walking. This will help the players to get their heart rates up and then recover before going again. 

Increasing the intensity and duration of aerobic training over time will help players to improve their fitness levels and become better AFL players.

High-speed running is a key component of AFL training, as it helps players develop the necessary capacity to run up and down the ground. On average, AFL players will run between 300 and 600 at high speeds during in-season training sessions and anywhere from 500 to 3000 in pre-season sessions. This type of conditioning not only helps improve their on-field performance but also reduces the risk of injury.

Aerobic fitness testing is an important part of AFL player conditioning. By regularly assessing aerobic fitness, players and coaches can monitor training improvements and identify areas that need more focus.

There are a number of different tests that can be used to measure aerobic fitness in AFL players. Some of the most common include the beep test, yo-yo intermittent recovery test, and multistage shuttle run test.

The beep test is one of the most commonly used aerobic fitness tests in AFL. It involves running between two points 20 meters apart at increasing speeds, as dictated by a series of beeps. The level at which the player can no longer keep up with the beeps is their score.

The yo-yo intermittent recovery test is another popular option for AFL players. This test involves running back and forth between two points, with varying degrees of intensity. The aim is to see how quickly the player can recover from periods of high-intensity activity.

The multistage shuttle run test is another option that can be used to measure aerobic fitness in AFL players. This test involves running back and forth between two points, with the distance increasing each time. The aim is to see how far the player can run in a set period of time.

Overall, these tests are a good way to measure the aerobic fitness of AFL players and can help coaches and players alike to identify areas that need more focus. By regularly testing fitness levels, players can ensure that they are making progress and working towards their goals. 

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If you’re looking to improve your AFL running performance, then check out our Online AFL Training Program. Our program is designed to help you increase your speed, endurance, and running efficiency. Contact us today to learn more!