Rehab running successCategoriesElite Lifestyle Podcast

#313 – Back on Track: The Complete Guide to Rehab Running Success

The Complete Guide to Rehab Running Success

Recipe-Based Approach for Rehab Running Success

For new strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches, starting with a recipe-based approach to rehab running success is crucial. This method involves following experienced guidance, allowing beginners to build foundational knowledge without the pressure of critical decision-making. By doing so, they can focus on mastering the basics and developing effective coaching techniques.

Progression to Framework-Based Methods for Running Rehab

After gaining initial experience, transitioning quickly to a framework-based method is essential for running rehab success. This approach encourages critical thinking and individualized adjustments during rehab sessions. By moving away from a strict recipe, coaches can better adapt to the unique needs of each athlete, fostering a more dynamic and effective rehab process.

Balancing Injury Prevention and Performance in Rehab Running

A recipe-based approach primarily focuses on preventing injury recurrence. However, a framework-based approach can be tailored to enhance performance and prepare athletes to perform at their best when returning to play. This balance ensures that athletes are not only safe but also ready to hit the ground running from their first game back.

Individualizing Rehab for Running Success

Most lower body rehab can be generalized to about 80%, but the remaining 20-30% should be highly individualized. This customization is based on the specific injury and the tissue’s requirements during running activities. By understanding these needs, coaches can create a more effective and personalized rehab plan.

Utilizing Technology for Effective Rehab Running Programs

Utilizing technology like force plates is essential for assessing various performance metrics. These tools help prepare athletes for running by mimicking the forces required in running through gym-based exercises before actual running. This approach ensures that athletes are adequately prepared and reduces the risk of re-injury.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Advice to new rehab coaches when running a rehab session
  • Individualizing rehab for athletes
  • Things to consider when handling specific injuries
  • Essential technology for rehab programs
  • Strategies for calf injury rehab

People mentioned:

  • Nick Poulos
  • Alex Natera
  • Bill Knowles
  • Terry Condon
Listen: iTunes | Spotify


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Effective Athlete Recovery StrategiesCategoriesElite Lifestyle Podcast

#bitesize – How training load determines the best recovery method

Key Mentors Shaping Career

Throughout my career journey, I have been fortunate to have strong mentors who have significantly influenced my philosophy. Effective Athlete Recovery Strategies have always been a critical aspect of my learning. One standout mentor is Ben Sapelle, my current supervisor and former boss at the Brumbies. His humility and vast knowledge have profoundly shaped my approach to athlete performance and recovery, emphasizing the importance of Effective Athlete Recovery Strategies.

Assessing Athlete Recovery

In the NBA, measuring athlete recovery can be challenging due to the absence of wellness metrics like heart rate variability. Consequently, we often rely on subjective check-ins and conversations with the athletes. Despite these limitations, understanding how players feel and respond to training is crucial for their performance readiness.

Context-Driven Training Load Decisions

Deciding whether to reduce a player’s training load is highly context-dependent. While balancing performance and injury risk, our primary goal is to maintain consistency in training. Sometimes, minor adjustments, such as modifying the intensity of a speed session, can help prevent overtraining without compromising overall performance.

Encouraging Behavioral Change

Implementing principles from behavioral economics has proven effective in encouraging athletes to adopt healthy behaviors. By structuring the environment thoughtfully—such as strategic food placement and optimizing the gym layout—we make it easier for athletes to follow healthy routines without much conscious effort.

Engaging Athlete Education

Effective communication is key when educating athletes. Using visual aids, minimal text, and personalized content, like videos of the athletes themselves, significantly enhances engagement and retention. This approach ensures that athletes absorb crucial information and apply it to their training and recovery routines.

Podcast Guest

Carmen Colomer, Performance Sports Science Coordinator at Gold Coast Titan

Highlights from the episode:

  • Strong mentors and influencers who shaped her philosophy today
  • Effective methods for measuring training load in team-based field athletes
  • Criteria when adjusting training load for athlete recovery in preseason
  • Non-negotiables to ensure athletes maintain an elite lifestyle
  • How to make group presentations engaging and actionable
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Mental Fatigue in SportsCategoriesElite Lifestyle

#bitesize – Mental Fatigue in Elite Sport

Understanding Mental Fatigue in Sports

Mental Fatigue in Sports is a complex psychobiological state that impacts the mind and body. Unlike physical fatigue, which stems from strenuous physical activity, mental fatigue arises from prolonged periods of demanding cognitive tasks. This can include activities requiring sustained mental efficiency, whether cognitively or emotionally demanding. For athletes, understanding and managing Mental Fatigue in Sports is crucial for maintaining optimal performance.

Effects on Athletic Performance

Athletic performance can significantly decline due to mental fatigue. One of the primary mechanisms is the increased rating of perceived exertion. This is believed to be caused by the accumulation of adenosine in the brain, which affects dopamine levels and motivation. Consequently, athletes perceive tasks as more effortful, leading to decreased performance, especially in endurance tasks.

Recognizing Early Signs

Identifying mental fatigue early is essential for athletes. Early signs include subjective experiences such as feeling mentally drained and behavioral changes like slower response times and decreased accuracy in cognitive tasks. While neurophysiological changes provide valuable insights, they often require specialized equipment, making them less accessible for everyday use.

Strategies to Combat Mental Fatigue

Effective strategies to manage mental fatigue involve self-identification and coaching staff support. Techniques such as listening to specific music frequencies, like relaxing string music or binaural beats, have shown promise. These methods can help athletes reduce mental fatigue and improve their overall performance.

Influencing Factors

Several factors influence the extent of mental fatigue in athletes. Experience and exposure to the sporting environment play significant roles. New or unfamiliar environments can be more cognitively fatiguing, especially for inexperienced athletes. Personality traits, such as introversion, also affect how overwhelming and fatiguing an experience can be.


Mental fatigue is a critical aspect of athletic performance that requires attention and management. By understanding its impact and implementing effective strategies, athletes can mitigate its effects and perform at their best.

Highlights from the episode:

  • What mental fatigue is and how it differs from physical fatigue
  • How does mental fatigue impact athletic performance
  • Common signs or symptoms of mental fatigue
  • Effective strategies to tackle mental fatigue
  • How personality traits and coping strategies impact an athlete’s susceptibility to mental fatigue
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Nutrition for Athletic PerformanceCategoriesElite Lifestyle

#310 – Georgia Bevan, Sports Dietitian at Adelaide FC and Adelaide Thunderbirds

Maximizing Athletic Performance: The Role of Nutrition

Nutrition is crucial for athletic performance and recovery, whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior. In this article, we’ll explore the key aspects of sports nutrition, including carbohydrates, calorie tracking, weight management, sugar, and hydration.

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to the body, especially for athletes. Sports dietitian Georgia Bevan recommends consuming 7-8 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight on game day. For example, a 70-kilogram athlete would need around 400 grams of carbs. Carbohydrates fuel muscles, providing the energy needed for intense physical activity.

While some athletes track calories, it’s not common practice. Instead, focusing on educational approaches like monitoring macronutrients or portion sizes is recommended. By understanding the nutritional composition of food, athletes can optimize their performance without getting bogged down in calorie calculations.

Athletes often struggle with weight management, falling into the trap of excessive restriction. Georgia advises against this, emphasizing the importance of fueling training with complex carbohydrates. Restrictive diets can lead to overeating post-game, so athletes should focus on nourishing their bodies with nutrient-dense foods to support training and recovery.

Despite its bad reputation, sugar plays a crucial role in sports nutrition as a fast fuel source. Georgia educates athletes on its importance during training and games. Sugary foods like Gatorade provide quick energy, vital for maintaining performance levels during intense physical activity.

Proper hydration is vital for athletic performance. Georgia recommends monitoring urine color as an indicator of hydration levels. Clear urine may indicate overhydration, while a pale yellow color suggests optimal hydration. Additionally, strategies like electrolyte supplementation and timing meals can help athletes stay hydrated during training and competition.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Best foods to eat before and after a game
  • Should footballers be counting calories?
  • Advice to reduce body fat and body weight
  • Nutrition misconceptions and how she educates athletes
  • Tips to prevent overhydration and finding the right balance
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Elite Sports Physiotherapy InsightsCategoriesElite Lifestyle

#bitesize – Nick Kane, Head Physiotherapist at Essendon FC

In the dynamic world of sports physiotherapy, practitioners are continually challenged to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of elite sports. Through their experiences and interactions, they glean valuable insights that shape their approach to rehabilitation and performance optimization. Elite Sports Physiotherapy Insights are at the forefront of this transformative process, guiding practitioners towards innovative techniques and strategies. As athletes push the boundaries of physical excellence, the demand for cutting-edge physiotherapy grows exponentially. Within this demanding milieu, Elite Sports Physiotherapy Insights serve as beacons of knowledge, illuminating the path towards enhanced athletic recovery and peak performance.

Nick is the Physiotherapist at Essendon FC and owner of Complete Balance Physiotherapy & Pilates in Maribyrnong & Tullamarine. Holding a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from La Trobe University, he is also the Managing Director of The Sports MAP Network delivering relevant, practical, and evidence-based courses for experienced physiotherapists.

Highlights from the episode:

  •  People who influenced him in elite sports
  • What discipline should physios start if they want to work in elite sport
  • Key pillars as a physio working in elite sport
  • His overarching rehab principles
  • How he started Sports MAP

Influence and Experience

Reflecting on their journey, many sports physiotherapists acknowledge the profound influence of mentors and colleagues. Working alongside seasoned professionals provides a wealth of knowledge and perspectives that contribute to their growth in the field.

Simplicity in Rehab: A Strength-Based Approach

One prevailing theme echoed by practitioners is the importance of simplicity in rehabilitation. Amidst the complexities of elite sports, maintaining a strength-based approach and avoiding unnecessary complexity is paramount. This principle, instilled by mentors like Myron Jones and Cullen Ball, emphasizes the efficacy of straightforward methods in achieving optimal outcomes for athletes.

Key Disciplines for Elite Sports Physiotherapy

Entering the realm of elite sports requires a multifaceted skill set encompassing various disciplines. From strength and conditioning to sports science and physiotherapy craft, aspiring professionals must hone their expertise in each area to thrive in this competitive field.

The Foundation of Assessment: Attention to Detail

At the core of sports physiotherapy lies the ability to conduct comprehensive assessments with meticulous attention to detail. By systematically evaluating athletes and identifying subtle changes, practitioners can tailor interventions to address specific needs effectively.

Principles of Rehabilitation: Correct Loading and Addressing Contributing Factors

Effective rehabilitation hinges on principles such as the correct loading of injured tissue and addressing underlying contributing factors. By understanding the intricacies of tissue repair and resilience, physiotherapists can facilitate optimal recovery and minimize the risk of recurring injuries.

Empowering Learning through SportsMap

Recognizing the need for practical and in-depth learning resources in sports physiotherapy, professionals have established platforms like SportsMap. Through courses and workshops led by industry experts, SportsMap aims to empower practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their careers.

Navigating Challenges in Nutrition: An Evidence-Based Approach

In the realm of elite sports, nutrition plays a pivotal role in optimizing performance and recovery. However, practitioners often face challenges in navigating misinformation and fad diets. By advocating for evidence-based practices, they strive to empower athletes with the knowledge to make informed dietary choices.

Embracing Growth and Perspective

Beyond the technical aspects of sports physiotherapy, personal growth and perspective play a significant role in professional development. Cultivating gratitude, openness to learning, and a willingness to ask questions are essential attributes that contribute to success in this dynamic field.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Athletic Performance Optimization StrategiesCategoriesElite Lifestyle

#307 – Dr. Matt Jordan, Player Health & Performance Consultant

Unlocking Athletic Performance: Understanding Neuromuscular Adaptations

In athletic performance, understanding neuromuscular adaptations, training methodologies, and technology is crucial. Athletic Performance Optimization Strategies play a pivotal role in maximizing athletes’ potential. Dr. Matt Jordan, a renowned Player Health & Performance Consultant, delves into the foundational aspects that coaches and athletes must grasp to optimize reconditioning processes and elevate performance. Athletic Performance Optimization Strategies are multifaceted approaches that encompass nutrition, recovery protocols, and biomechanical analysis. Dr. Jordan emphasizes the importance of integrating these strategies seamlessly into training programs for sustained success and injury prevention.

Key Topic: How to Maximise Athletic Development Through Neuromuscular Potential

Welcome to this enlightening episode of the High-Performance Podcast for AFL athletes & staff, where we dive deep into the realms of athletic development and neuromuscular potential. 

In this episode, our host, Jack Mclean, engages in a captivating conversation with the esteemed Dr. Matt Jordan, a pioneer in player health and performance coaching, and the founder of the Jordan Strength online sport science platform. This platform serves as a bridge between scientific research and practical application in sports. 

Dr. Jordan shares his journey, shedding light on the individuals and experiences that have shaped his career in High performance sport and research.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Fundamentals of neuromuscular adaptation that coaches and athletes need to understand for conditioning
  • Using a mailbox for athlete recovery and priming for an upcoming game
  • Technologies he uses for neuromuscular fatigue monitoring.
  • How does he program the training load if athletes have asymmetry and stiffness?

The Essence of Strength Utilization

Dr. Jordan emphasizes the distinction between possessing strength and effectively utilizing it. He states, “Just because you have strength doesn’t mean you use it, but if you don’t have it, you can’t use it.” This concept highlights the importance of translating physical capabilities into functional prowess on the field or court.

Creating Mailboxes: Understanding Athlete Phenotypes

The metaphorical framework of “creating mailboxes for athletes” categorizes athletes into different phenotypes based on physiological attributes and training responses. These phenotypes include the thoroughbred, workhorse, and bolter, each requiring tailored training approaches to unlock their potential and address specific performance nuances.

Harnessing Technology: The Role of IMUs in Load Monitoring

Dr. Jordan underscores the significance of IMU-based technology, especially when integrated into athletes’ footwear. These Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) offer insights into monitoring athlete loads, tracking movement patterns, and identifying asymmetries impacting performance and injury risk. This fusion of biomechanics and data analytics empowers coaches and practitioners to optimize training regimens effectively.

Addressing Asymmetries: A Constraints-Based Approach

A constraints-based approach identifies internal physiological constraints limiting the range of motion or strength asymmetries. Collaborating with athletic therapy or physical therapy professionals helps coaches pinpoint and rectify these limitations, enhancing an athlete’s ability to translate strength into functional movement patterns.

Unleashing Potential: Integrating Load Monitoring Strategies

Integrating load monitoring strategies is crucial for optimizing athlete performance. Dr. Jordan recommends bi-weekly counter-movement jumping tests with a force plate to assess mechanical muscle function and energy levels. This comprehensive approach tailors training loads based on individual responses, optimizing performance gains while minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury.

People mentioned:

  • Charles Poliquin
  • Dan Pfaff
  • Stuart McMillan
  • Sophia Nimphius
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Protecting Young Athletes in AFL – A Concussion Prevention Guide for ParentsCategoriesElite Lifestyle

Navigating AFL Concussion Injuries and the 12-Day Recovery Protocol

The AFL’s 12-Day Concussion Protocol

The AFL’s approach to concussion management is structured and meticulous, ensuring that players receive the care and time needed to fully recover before returning to the field. The protocol is a testament to the league’s commitment to player safety, encompassing a comprehensive 12-day process that begins the moment an injury occurs.

The Australian Football League (AFL) takes player health and safety seriously, especially when it comes to concussion injuries. Concussions are a significant concern in contact sports, and the AFL’s 12-day concussion protocol is a testament to the league’s commitment to player welfare. This article delves into the specifics of the protocol, the research backing its effectiveness, and how emerging technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Machine Learning (ML) are shaping the future of concussion management in sports.


Concussion management is a critical aspect of player health and safety in the Australian Football League (AFL). As a sport known for its high-impact collisions and fast-paced action, the incidence of concussion is a significant concern. This blog post explores the intricacies of concussion in AFL, highlighting the league’s 12-day concussion protocol, the role of technology in managing these injuries, and the future directions for concussion management in the sport.

In-Depth Analysis of the 12-Day Protocol

The protocol is designed to monitor symptoms and recovery through a phased approach that carefully balances rest and gradual re-introduction to physical activity. This ensures that players are not rushed back into play, reducing the risk of long-term health issues associated with concussions.

Innovations in Concussion Management

Emerging research and technologies, such as Virtual-Reality Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening and machine learning models, are at the forefront of enhancing concussion management. These innovations offer new ways to assess and predict concussion outcomes, potentially revolutionizing how concussions are handled in sports.

The Role of Technology in Concussion Protocols

The integration of technology into concussion protocols represents a significant leap forward in personalized and precise concussion management. The AFL’s adoption of these tools reflects a broader trend in sports towards leveraging technology to improve player health and safety outcomes.

Player Experiences with the 12-Day Protocol

Personal accounts from players who have undergone the concussion protocol shed light on its effectiveness and areas for improvement. These stories highlight the critical importance of adhering to the protocol and the role of medical professionals in guiding players through their recovery.

Comparative Analysis with Other Sports

Examining how concussion protocols in other sports stack up against the AFL’s can provide valuable insights into best practices and potential areas for enhancement. Learning from the experiences of other leagues is crucial for the ongoing evolution of concussion management strategies.

The Future of Concussion Management in AFL

The landscape of concussion management in AFL is poised for continued evolution, driven by advances in research and technology. The league’s commitment to incorporating the latest findings and innovations into its concussion protocols is vital for safeguarding player health and well-being.

The AFL’s structured approach to concussion management, underscored by the 12-day concussion protocol, reflects a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the risks associated with concussions. Through ongoing research, technological advancements, and a dedication to best practices, the AFL is leading the way in concussion management, ensuring the safety and longevity of its players’ careers.

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Coaches Monthly


    1. Virtual-Reality based Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening for Concussion Detection using Machine Learning (2022-10-13)
    • This paper explores the use of virtual reality (VR) to standardize Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) for concussion detection, showing that machine learning models can achieve high accuracy in identifying concussion symptoms based on VR-generated data. Link to paper
    1. Predicting Post-Concussion Syndrome Outcomes with Machine Learning (2021-08-04)
    • This study uses machine learning models to predict outcomes for patients with persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS), finding predictive factors such as PTSD, perceived injustice, and symptom severity. It demonstrates that machine learning can accurately predict PCS outcomes. Link to paper
    Sport-related concussion (SRC) depends on sensory information from visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems. At the same time, the current clinical administration of Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) is subjective and deviates among administrators. Therefore, for the assessment and management of concussion detection, standardization is required to lower the risk of injury and increase the validation among clinicians. With the advancement of technology, virtual reality (VR) can be utilized to advance the standardization of the VOMS, increasing the accuracy of testing administration and decreasing overall false positive rates. 
    In this paper, machine learning models are used to predict outcomes for patients with persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Patients had sustained a concussion at an average of two to three months before the study. By utilizing assessed data, the machine learning models aimed to predict whether or not a patient would continue to have PCS after four to five months. The random forest classifier achieved the highest performance with an 85% accuracy and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.94. Factors found to be predictive of PCS outcome were Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), perceived injustice, self-rated prognosis, and symptom severity post-injury. The results of this study demonstrate that machine learning models can predict PCS outcomes with high accuracy. With further research, machine learning models may be implemented in healthcare settings to help patients with persistent PCS.
Nutrition Tips for Young AthletesCategoriesElite Lifestyle Podcast

#285 – Ben Parker, Sports Performance Dietitian at Gold Coast Suns

Introduction: Nurturing Young Athlete Potential

As a young athlete, the journey towards reaching your full potential involves more than just physical training. Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring you can compete at the highest level. In this guide, we’ll explore essential Nutrition Tips for Young Athletes tailored specifically for young athletes, with a focus on gaining lean mass, maintaining optimal hydration, and strategically fueling your body for peak performance.

Elevate your sports nutrition with Ben Parker, AFL Sports Dietitian from the Gold Coast Suns. Join the workshop on December 17, 2023, at 10:00 AM AEST for just $50. Discover nutrition’s impact on performance, boost recovery, and have your questions answered. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn firsthand from an expert in Nutrition Tips for Young Athletes!

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Highlights from the episode:

  • Optimizing nutrition for first year athletes
  • How to gain muscle mass for athletes
  • Hydration mistakes for athletes in hotter climates
  • Main sources of electrolytes
  • How to prepare for a 2k time trial from a nutrition perspective

Fueling Growth: Gaining Lean Mass

One of the critical factors for young athletes is gaining lean mass efficiently. Ben Parker, Sports Performance Dietitian at Gold Coast Suns, emphasizes the importance of this aspect in preparing for the pre-season. While it can take years for some to see results, the right nutrition plan can significantly expedite the process. This section will delve into practical strategies, including preparation techniques, equipment, and recommended foods, to help young athletes make gains in lean mass effectively.

Hydration: The Key to Endurance

Dehydration is a common culprit behind fatigue during training and competitions. Understanding the significance of proper hydration, particularly in warmer climates, is crucial for young athletes. This section will shed light on the science behind sweat rates, metabolic heat, and the primary methods of heat dissipation. Learn how to manage your hydration levels to ensure you can maintain peak performance throughout your athletic endeavors.

Electrolytes: Balancing Essentials

While electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium are vital for performance, getting them from natural food sources is often sufficient. Ben Parker advises that under normal circumstances, additional electrolyte supplements may not be necessary. This section will guide young athletes on making the right food choices to meet their electrolyte needs. Discover how simple dietary adjustments can help maintain optimal electrolyte balance for improved athletic performance.

Mastering the 2K Time Trial: Nutrition Strategies

Preparing for a 2K time trial requires careful planning and attention to nutrition. This section outlines specific steps young athletes should take in the 24 hours leading up to the event. From carbohydrate loading to pre-fueling strategies, you’ll gain insights into optimizing your performance for this endurance challenge. Learn how to approach the 2K time trial with confidence and ensure you’re set up for success on the track.

Conclusion: A Holistic Approach to Athletic Success

As a young athlete, your journey to success is a multifaceted endeavor. While training and skill development are crucial, nutrition forms the foundation that supports your growth and performance. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you’ll be equipped to maximize your potential on the field or track. Remember, it’s not just about what you do during practice, but also about how you nourish your body to thrive in the competitive world of sports. Start applying these nutrition tips today and pave the way for a successful athletic journey.

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AFL Performance Recovery TipsCategoriesPodcast Recovery Weekly Updates

Episode 64 – Top 10 Tips for AFL Performance Recovery

Performance Recovery

AFL players know that performance recovery is a key factor in success. But it’s not always easy to achieve in the midst of a grueling schedule. That’s why we want to help equip players with the tools needed for effective recovery with our presentation on AFL Performance Recovery Tips.

Our presentation will focus on the physical and mental demands of AFL, and how to best manage them for successful recoveries. We’ll be covering topics such as measuring what you want to improve, coping strategies for mental and emotional stress, measuring your HRV, meditation techniques, and active recovery methods.

We don’t just want to give you a few tips – we’re going to arm you with valuable knowledge so you can stay ahead of the game when it comes to performance recovery with our AFL Performance Recovery Tips. So, get ready for an engaging and witty presentation that will help you tackle the physical and mental demands of AFL like never before!

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to supercharge your recovery capability with our AFL Performance Recovery Tips – join us today!

Happy recovering! 🙂

Highlights of the episode:

  • Measure what you want to improve
  • Coping strategies for mental and emotional stress
  • Measure your HRV
  • Meditation
  • Active recovery

In the fast-paced world of the Australian Football League (AFL), optimizing performance and ensuring a swift recovery are paramount for athletes striving to excel. AFL Performance Recovery Tips offer a comprehensive guide to enhancing your game, both on and off the field. In this article, we will delve into effective strategies that can make a significant difference in your performance outcomes.

Coping Strategies for Optimal Performance

Managing the mental and emotional aspects of sports is as crucial as physical preparation. Coping strategies act as a shield against the inevitable stressors that athletes encounter. Be it the pressure of a high-stakes game or off-field responsibilities, having effective mechanisms to handle stress is key. These strategies prevent a surge in heart rate, cortisol levels, and blood pressure, all of which can impact your overall health and performance.

Measurement Techniques: Monitoring Progress

The old adage “what you measure, you improve” holds true in AFL performance as well. Just as a person trying to lose weight tracks progress through scales, athletes too can benefit from measuring specific indicators. Consider heart rate variability, a valuable tool for gauging the body’s response to stress. By tracking this metric, athletes can gain insights into their recovery state and adapt their training regimen accordingly. Keeping a subjective diary of how you feel at the start and end of the day can also provide valuable data. Over time, patterns may emerge that shed light on the impact of different factors on your performance.

Meditation: Nurturing Mental Resilience

Meditation isn’t just a practice for the yogis; it holds immense potential for enhancing athletic performance. Engaging in regular meditation sessions contributes to mental clarity, focus, and emotional stability. In the high-pressure environment of AFL, these attributes can be game-changers. Meditation not only equips athletes to handle stress but also cultivates the ability to concentrate during intense training sessions. By incorporating mindfulness techniques, athletes can harness the power of the mind to overcome challenges and maintain a competitive edge.

Active Recovery: The Power of Movement

When it comes to recovery, the body thrives on movement. Active recovery is a valuable approach that promotes blood flow, reduces muscle stiffness, and accelerates healing. Engaging in low-intensity exercises such as yoga, Pilates, or leisurely walks aids in flushing out metabolic waste and supplying nutrients to tired muscles. These activities should leave you feeling rejuvenated, not fatigued. The emphasis here is on gentle, restorative movement that restores the range of motion compromised during intense gameplay. Integrating active recovery into your routine can significantly contribute to long-term performance gains.

In conclusion, AFL Performance Recovery Tips encompass a holistic approach to elevating your performance trajectory. By honing coping strategies, utilizing measurement techniques, embracing meditation, and adopting active recovery practices, athletes can unlock their full potential and excel in the dynamic world of AFL. Remember, success on the field is not solely determined by physical prowess; the mind and body must work in harmony to achieve greatness.


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What You Really Need to Know as a Strength Conditioning Coach 1CategoriesAFL Players Elite Lifestyle Footy Tips

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.


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  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:
  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:
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