Transition in Aussie RulesCategoriesFooty Tips Podcast

#314 – Maurice Contreras Aussie Rules Footballer for West Coburg FC

Mastering the Transition in Aussie Rules Football

Position Transition Challenges

Maurice Contreras, a dedicated player for West Coburg FC, discussed the intricacies of shifting from midfield to key positions in Aussie Rules Football. Transition in Aussie Rules presents unique challenges; the primary ones he faced were both physical and tactical. Contreras needed to build strength and explosive power to compete effectively against larger opponents, which required significant adjustments in his training and gameplay strategies. Transition in Aussie Rules demands not only physical adaptation but also a strategic mindset to excel in various roles on the field.

Training and Improvement

To address these challenges, Contreras emphasized the importance of specific gym work focused on enhancing explosiveness and strength. This targeted training has led to noticeable improvements in his performance, particularly in the initial crucial steps and during sprints. By incorporating these exercises, he has elevated his game, gaining an edge in critical moments.

Rigorous Training Routine

Contreras maintains a strict training regime, working out three to four times weekly at 5 a.m. This early schedule is necessary due to his demanding job in the concrete industry. Despite the setback of breaking his ribs during the preseason, he has consistently adhered to his workouts, demonstrating his commitment and resilience.

Program Benefits

A friend recommended Contreras to a specialized training program, which provided a refreshing change from traditional gym routines. This program focused on specific areas to enhance his athletic performance, making the workouts more effective and enjoyable. The targeted exercises have not only improved his game but also kept him motivated and excited to train.

Incorporating Priming Sessions

Inspired by professional players like Tom Mitchell and Scott Pendlebury, Contreras has integrated priming sessions into his routine. These sessions involve band work, mobility exercises, and foam rolling to prepare his body for game days. This preparation ensures that he is physically primed and ready to perform at his best every Saturday.

In this episode of the AFL High-Performance Podcast, host Jack McLean interviews athlete Maurice Contreras about his football journey, challenges, and successes. Maurice discusses his experiences playing in the Eastern Footy League and the ADFL, the impact of COVID-19 on his playing career, and his current stint at West Coburg.

He shares insights into his training routine, the importance of balancing football with work, and the motivational aspects that drive him to excel. Maurice also delves into the specifics of his fitness regime, including priming and recovery practices, and offers advice to young athletes. The episode captures Maurice’s commitment to the sport, his efforts to achieve team success, and his drive to push his limits.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Challenges when switching to different footy positions
  • How to improve your running explosiveness
  • AFL training routine and recovery going into gameday
  • How he learned about the Prepare Like a Pro training program
  • Benefits of priming before games
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Develop an AFL bodyCategoriesFooty Tips Podcast

#bitesize – How to develop an AFL body

How to Develop an AFL Body

Aerobic and Threshold Training for an AFL Body

To develop an AFL body, start with aerobic capacity work and threshold running. This involves low-intensity aerobic efforts at 60% of your heart rate, building your critical speed. Incorporate high-intensity intervals such as 400-meter and 600-meter efforts, or shorter 200-meter sprints with brief recovery periods. These exercises help improve cardiovascular endurance, crucial for meeting the demands of AFL gameplay.

Repeat Speed and Resilience Training for AFL Performance

Developing repeat speed is essential for AFL players. This training includes intermittent high-intensity exercises that prepare the body for the sport’s continuous and strenuous nature. By focusing on these aspects, you enhance resilience and player availability, enabling you to handle the game’s toughest moments with ease.

Strength and Power Training to Achieve an AFL Physique

Strength and power training are vital for building the lean, athletic physique typical of AFL players. Unlike traditional bodybuilding, focus on higher sets with lower reps, such as eight sets of four reps. This approach allows you to lift at higher intensities, improving maximal force production and overall strength.

Safe Weight Training for Junior AFL Players

For junior footballers aged 12-16, safe weight training is crucial. Addressing myths and fears around youth weight training, it’s important to develop athleticism with proper guidance. Parents and coaches should ensure juniors lift safely and consider seeking a strength coach to aid in their athletic development.

Comprehensive Training for AFL Athletic Development

A holistic approach to training, incorporating both conditioning and strength work, ensures players develop the necessary physical attributes for peak performance. This comprehensive training strategy is key to excelling in AFL and achieving a resilient, athletic body.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Key areas to develop on the conditioning side
  • Benefits of developing an AFL body
  • Areas to focus on strength and power point of view
  • Get Better Plan episode on how to safely develop athleticism for junior footballers
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AFL recoveryCategoriesFooty Tips

Best Practices for Managing Fatigue Throughout the AFL Season

Are you looking for ways to manage fatigue throughout the demanding AFL season? As an AFL strength & conditioning coach, I have developed strategies to help athletes maintain peak performance while preventing burnout. This comprehensive guide will explore the best practices for managing fatigue, focusing on strength & conditioning, high performance, and sport science principles to keep athletes fit and conditioned throughout the season.

Understanding Fatigue in AFL

– Acute Fatigue: Short-term, immediate fatigue resulting from a single session or game.

– Chronic Fatigue: Long-term fatigue that accumulates over weeks and months, often due to inadequate recovery.

Understanding the different types of fatigue is crucial for implementing effective management strategies. Acute fatigue can often be addressed with proper rest and recovery protocols, while chronic fatigue requires a more comprehensive approach, including monitoring and adjusting training loads and recovery practices.

Monitoring and Managing Workloads

– Track Training Loads: Use GPS devices and wearables to monitor running distances, speeds, and intensities during training and games. This data helps in understanding the physical demands placed on players and allows for adjustments in training to prevent overreaching and chronic fatigue [oai_citation:1, Sports | Free Full-Text | Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Basketball](https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4663/6/1/19).

– **Adjust Intensity**: Based on the collected data, adjust training intensities to ensure players are not overreaching. This proactive approach helps in maintaining performance levels while reducing the risk of injury and burnout.

**Regular Assessments**

– **Fitness Testing**: Conduct regular fitness assessments to monitor players’ physical conditions. These tests provide objective data on players’ fitness levels and help in tailoring individual training programs.

– **Wellness Questionnaires**: Implement daily or weekly wellness questionnaires to gather subjective data on players’ perceived fatigue and overall well-being. These questionnaires can include questions about sleep quality, muscle soreness, mood, and stress levels.

Recovery Protocols

 

Sleep Hygiene: Emphasize the critical role of sleep in recovery and performance. Adequate sleep is essential for physical and mental recovery, and poor sleep can negatively impact performance and increase the risk of injuries.

– Sleep Strategies: Encourage good sleep hygiene practices, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a restful environment, and avoiding screens before bed. Educate athletes on the importance of sleep and provide strategies to improve sleep quality.

– Nutrition and Hydration: Ensure athletes consume a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients to support recovery. A diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help meet the nutritional needs of athletes.

– Hydration: Maintain proper hydration levels, particularly during and after intense training sessions and games. Dehydration can impair performance and recovery, so it is important to encourage athletes to drink enough fluids throughout the day.

– Active Recovery:  Incorporate light activities such as swimming, cycling, or yoga to promote blood flow and aid recovery without adding significant stress to the body. These activities help reduce muscle soreness and enhance recovery.

– Stretching and Mobility:  Regular stretching and mobility exercises can help prevent stiffness and promote muscle recovery. Incorporate dynamic stretching routines before workouts and static stretching post-workout to maintain flexibility and prevent injuries.

 

– Cold water immersion (CWI) is a popular recovery strategy. It has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, and improve mood and interaction between brain networks [oai_citation:2, Sports | Free Full-Text | Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Basketball](https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4663/6/1/19) [oai_citation:3, Managing Mental and Physical Fatigue During a Collegiate Soccer Season in: International Sport Coaching Journal Volume 1 Issue 1 (2014) ](https://journals.humankinetics.com/abstract/journals/iscj/1/1/article-p24.xml).

– Effectiveness: Studies indicate that while CWI can aid in recovery, it might not significantly impact muscle hypertrophy or body composition. For instance, Piñero et al. (2024) found that CWI had no significant effect on muscle growth induced by resistance training [oai_citation:4, Managing Mental and Physical Fatigue During a Collegiate Soccer Season in: International Sport Coaching Journal Volume 1 Issue 1 (2014) ](https://journals.humankinetics.com/abstract/journals/iscj/1/1/article-p24.xml). However, other research has shown that CWI can be beneficial for reducing the perception of fatigue and improving psychological well-being [oai_citation:5, Sports | Free Full-Text | Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Basketball](https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4663/6/1/19) [oai_citation:6, Managing Mental and Physical Fatigue During a Collegiate Soccer Season in: International Sport Coaching Journal Volume 1 Issue 1 (2014) ](https://journals.humankinetics.com/abstract/journals/iscj/1/1/article-p24.xml).

Periodization and Training Adjustments

– Macrocycles and Microcycles: Implement periodized training plans that include macrocycles (season-long) and microcycles (weekly or monthly) to balance training loads and recovery. Periodization helps in optimizing performance and preventing overtraining.

– Deload Weeks: Incorporate deload weeks with reduced training intensity to allow for recovery and prevent overtraining. These planned periods of reduced training load can help in maintaining performance levels and preventing injuries.

– Tailored Programs: Develop individualized training programs based on each athlete’s needs, fitness levels, and recovery capacity. Tailored programs ensure that athletes are training at an appropriate intensity and volume, reducing the risk of fatigue and overtraining.

– Injury Prevention: Focus on exercises that strengthen muscles and joints to prevent injuries, which can contribute to fatigue. Include exercises that target the core, and lower body, and stabilizing muscles to enhance overall stability and reduce the risk of injuries.

Mental Health and Stress Management

– Psychological Services: Provide access to sports psychologists or counselors to help athletes manage stress and mental fatigue. Mental health is a critical component of overall well-being and performance, and addressing mental health issues can help in preventing burnout.

– Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Encourage mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. These practices can help athletes manage anxiety and stress, enhancing their overall performance.

– Positive Environment: Foster a positive team environment where athletes feel supported and motivated. A supportive team culture can enhance overall well-being and performance.

– Open Communication: Encourage open communication between athletes and coaching staff to address concerns and adjust training as needed. Open communication helps in identifying potential issues early and implementing appropriate interventions.

Utilizing Cold Water Immersion in Recovery

Cold water immersion (CWI) is widely used for recovery due to its potential benefits in reducing muscle soreness and inflammation. However, its impact on muscle hypertrophy and body composition is still debated.

– Positive Psychological Effects: Yankouskaya et al. (2023) found that short-term, head-out whole-body CWI facilitates positive affect and increases interaction between large-scale brain networks, suggesting psychological benefits.

– Effects on Muscle Growth: A systematic review by Piñero et al. (2024) concluded that post-exercise CWI might hinder resistance training-induced hypertrophy, indicating that while beneficial for recovery, it might not be ideal for muscle growth [oai_citation:7, Managing Mental and Physical Fatigue During a Collegiate Soccer Season in: International Sport Coaching Journal Volume 1 Issue 1 (2014) ](https://journals.humankinetics.com/abstract/journals/iscj/1/1/article-p24.xml).

– Performance and Body Composition**: Horgan et al. (2024) found no significant effect of repeated post-resistance exercise CWI on in-season body composition and performance responses in academy rugby players, suggesting its limited impact on these factors.

– Comparative Effectiveness: Moore et al. (2023) conducted a meta-analysis comparing CWI with other recovery modalities, finding that CWI effectively reduces perceived fatigue and soreness, making it a valuable tool for recovery.

Managing fatigue throughout the AFL season is essential for maintaining high performance and preventing injuries. By monitoring workloads, implementing effective recovery protocols, adjusting training plans, and supporting mental health, athletes can stay fit and conditioned all season long. As an AFL strength & conditioning coach, these best practices have proven invaluable in helping athletes achieve their peak performance while minimizing the risk of burnout.

For more insights and personalized training programs, visit [Prepare Like A Pro](https://preparelikeapro.com).

References

– Halson, S. L. (2014). Monitoring Training Load to Understand Fatigue in Athletes. *Sports Medicine, 44*(S2), 139-147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0253-z

– Kellmann, M., & Kallus, K. W. (2001). Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes: User Manual. Human Kinetics.

– Meeusen, R., Duclos, M., Foster, C., Fry, A., Gleeson, M., Nieman, D., … & Urhausen, A. (2013). Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome: Joint Consensus Statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine. *Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45*(1), 186-205. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318279a10a

– Luke, R. C., Morrissey, J. L., Reinke, E. J., Sevene, T. G., & Adams, K. J. (2014). Managing Mental and Physical Fatigue During a Collegiate Soccer Season. *International Sport Coaching Journal, 1*(1), 24-32. https://doi.org/10.1123/iscj.2013-0043

– Spiteri, T., Piggott, B., Bonhotal, J., Haff, G. G., & Joyce, C. (2018). Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Basketball. *Sports, 6*(1), 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6010019

– Piñero, A., Burke, R., Augustin, F., Mohan, A. E., DeJesus, K., Sapuppo, M., Weisenthal, M., Coleman, M., Androulakis‐Korakakis, P., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2024). Throwing cold water on muscle growth: A systematic review with meta‐analysis of the effects of postexercise cold water

AFL Strength TrainingCategoriesFooty Tips

#116 – Unleash Your Power The Crucial Link Between Muscular Strength and AFL Dominance

Unleash Your AFL Power

In this episode of AFL High-Performance Podcast, we delve into the essentials of increasing strength and power on the AFL field through AFL Strength Training. Topics covered include benchmark scores relative to body weight, key strength areas, the importance of Olympic lifting, and how to apply power in game situations with a focus on AFL Strength Training. We also discuss foundational strength, power training, and tackle techniques, and share resources and blog posts for further reading.

Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits

AFL training prioritizes the trap bar deadlift over the straight bar deadlift. This lift reduces back strain and offers flexibility, especially for taller athletes. For optimal performance, athletes should aim to deadlift 2.5 times their body weight if they are under 80 kg. Competing against various sizes without weight classes makes this crucial.

Box Squat Strength Goals

Box squats form a vital component of AFL strength training. The target weight varies by body weight: athletes under 80 kg should lift 2.5 times their body weight, those between 81-99 kg should aim for 2.2 times, and those over 100 kg should target 2 times their body weight. This exercise is performed at a faster speed compared to the trap bar deadlift.

Measuring Explosive Strength

To measure explosive strength, use force plates or simple jump tests. Athletes should jump to specific heights based on their weight class: 45 cm for under 80 kg, 42 cm for 90 kg, and 38 cm for 100 kg athletes. These measurements are crucial for assessing and improving explosive power.

Importance of Reactive Strength Index

The Reactive Strength Index (RSI) is essential for AFL athletes. Assess this through drop jumps, measuring how quickly and powerfully an athlete can react. Target RSI scores are 3.2 for under 80 kg, 3 for 90 kg and 2.8 for 100 kg athletes. Improving RSI helps athletes perform better in high-intensity situations.

Practicing Techniques in Training

Strength and power gained in the gym must be applied on the field. Practicing wrestling and tackle techniques, along with specific drills during training sessions, is essential. This helps athletes effectively translate their gym gains into game performance, improving their ability to fend off tackles and break away using leg speed.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Benchmark scores for trapbar deadlift
  • Benchmark scores for box squat
  • Force plates for measuring explosiveness
  • RSI (Reactive Strength Index) for measuring stiffness
  • Wrestling and tackle technique

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Screenshot 2024 05 31 at 8.46.17 PMCategoriesFooty Tips Strength & Conditioning Coaches Tips

How to Mitigate Common AFL Injuries Like Calf Strains

In the high-intensity world of the Australian Football League (AFL), injuries are an unfortunate but common occurrence. Calf strains, among other injuries, can significantly hinder an athlete’s performance and career longevity. But how can AFL players, both amateur and professional, prevent such injuries? This blog post will delve into various strategies and techniques to prevent common AFL injuries, with a particular focus on calf strains. Leveraging the expertise of sports clinicians and recent research, we’ll explore dynamic warm-ups, strength and conditioning routines, proper techniques, and recovery strategies.

Overview of Common Injuries

AFL is a physically demanding sport, with players frequently experiencing injuries such as hamstring strains, shoulder (AC joint) injuries, knee (ACL) injuries, and calf strains. These injuries often stem from the high-speed, high-contact nature of the game [oai_citation:1, AFL Injuries: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips](https://www.coastsport.com.au/common-injuries-and-prevention-in-afl/) [oai_citation:2, Injury Prevention and Strength & Conditioning for AFL Players. — Pace Health Management](https://www.pacehm.com.au/blog/injurypreventionforaflplayers). Understanding the specifics of these injuries is crucial for effective prevention.

Specifics of Calf Strains

Calf strains typically occur during explosive movements such as sprinting or sudden changes in direction. They often involve the gastrocnemius or soleus muscles, with the former being more common in sports like AFL due to the rapid, high-intensity activities involved [oai_citation:3, The Assessment, Management and Prevention of Calf Muscle Strain Injuries: A Qualitative Study of the Practices and Perspectives of 20 Expert Sports Clinicians | Sports Medicine – Open | Full Text](https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-021-00364-0). Symptoms include sudden pain, swelling, and difficulty in weight-bearing on the affected leg.

Importance of Warm-Up

A proper warm-up routine is essential for preparing the body for the demands of AFL. Dynamic warm-ups, which include stretches and movements that mimic the activities performed during the game, help increase blood flow to muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injuries [oai_citation:4, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance) [oai_citation:5, Prep to Play – Injury Prevention AFL – SquareOne Physio + Pilates + Exercise](https://squareonephysio.com.au/tips_and_exercises/prep-to-play-injury-prevention/). Key exercises include lane kicking, handballing and repeated sprints [oai_citation:6, Injury Prevention, and Strength & Conditioning for AFL Players. — Pace Health Management](https://www.pacehm.com.au/blog/injurypreventionforaflplayers).

Effective Cool-Down Techniques

Cooling down after training and matches is equally important. Techniques such as static stretching, light jogging, and mobility exercises help in gradually lowering the heart rate and relaxing the muscles. This process aids in reducing muscle stiffness and soreness, promoting quicker recovery [oai_citation:7, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance).

Strength and Conditioning

Strength and conditioning are crucial for injury prevention in AFL. Core strengthening exercises, such as planks and bridges, help in stabilizing the pelvis and reducing the risk of injuries like Osteitis Pubis, which is prevalent in running-based sports [oai_citation:8, Injury Prevention and Strength & Conditioning for AFL Players. — Pace Health Management](https://www.pacehm.com.au/blog/injurypreventionforaflplayers). Exercises targeting the core and pelvic region improve overall stability and performance.

Lower Body Strength

Strengthening the lower body is vital for preventing leg and knee injuries. Exercises such as lunges, squats, and leg presses should be incorporated into the training regimen. These exercises enhance muscle strength, improve joint stability, and prepare the legs for the rigors of AFL [oai_citation:9, Physical characteristics of players within the Australian Football League participation pathways: a systematic review | Sports Medicine – Open | Full Text](https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-017-0109-9).

Proper Technique in Tackling and Kicking

Correct technique in tackling, kicking, and jumping is essential to minimize the risk of injuries. Coaches should emphasize proper form and provide regular feedback to players. Ensuring that players adopt the right mechanics during these activities can significantly reduce overuse injuries and the likelihood of collisions [oai_citation:10, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance).

Feedback and Improvement

Continuous feedback from coaches and physiotherapists is crucial for refining techniques. Regular video analysis and one-on-one coaching sessions can help players identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to their techniques [oai_citation:11, Physio Tips- AFL Pre-season | Gippsland Physiotherapy Group Blog](https://www.gippslandphysiotherapy.com.au/blog/physio-tips-afl-pre-season).

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Effective recovery strategies are critical for maintaining performance and preventing injuries. Techniques such as hydrotherapy, which includes ice baths and hot-cold immersion, help in reducing inflammation and muscle soreness [oai_citation:12, AFL Injuries: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips](https://www.coastsport.com.au/common-injuries-and-prevention-in-afl/). Active recovery, involving low-impact activities like swimming or cycling, promotes blood flow and aids in muscle repair.

Ongoing Rehabilitation Practices

Regular manual therapies, such as massage, dry needling, and cupping, can help manage injuries and maintain physical condition. These treatments should be integrated into the routine care of AFL players to address any niggles early and prevent them from worsening [oai_citation:13, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance).

Ensuring Adequate Rest

Rest is a fundamental component of any training program. Adequate sleep and rest days allow the body to recover from the physical demands of training and competition. Incorporating rest into the training schedule helps in preventing overtraining and reduces the risk of injuries [oai_citation:14, Physio Tips- AFL Pre-season | Gippsland Physiotherapy Group Blog](https://www.gippslandphysiotherapy.com.au/blog/physio-tips-afl-pre-season).

Mental Resilience and Preparation

Mental resilience is as important as physical preparation in AFL. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, visualization, and cognitive-behavioral strategies can enhance mental toughness. These practices help players stay focused and composed under pressure, improving overall performance and reducing the likelihood of stress-related injuries [oai_citation:15, Physio Tips- AFL Pre-season | Gippsland Physiotherapy Group Blog](https://www.gippslandphysiotherapy.com.au/blog/physio-tips-afl-pre-season).

FAQ Section

1. **What are the most common injuries in AFL?**

   – Common injuries in AFL include hamstring strains, shoulder (AC joint) injuries, knee (ACL) injuries, and calf strains [oai_citation:16, AFL Injuries: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips](https://www.coastsport.com.au/common-injuries-and-prevention-in-afl/).

   

2. **How can dynamic warm-ups help in injury prevention?**

   – Dynamic warm-ups prepare the muscles for intense activity, improve flexibility, and increase blood flow, thereby reducing the risk of injuries [oai_citation:17, Prep to Play – Injury Prevention AFL – SquareOne Physio + Pilates + Exercise](https://squareonephysio.com.au/tips_and_exercises/prep-to-play-injury-prevention/).

3. What are some effective strength and conditioning exercises for AFL players?

   – Core strengthening exercises like planks and bridges, along with lower body conditioning exercises such as lunges and squats, are effective in building strength and preventing injuries [oai_citation:18, Injury Prevention and Strength & Conditioning for AFL Players. — Pace Health Management](https://www.pacehm.com.au/blog/injurypreventionforaflplayers) [oai_citation:19, Physical characteristics of players within the Australian Football League participation pathways: a systematic review | Sports Medicine – Open | Full Text](https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-017-0109-9).

4. How important is a technique in preventing AFL injuries?

   – Proper technique in tackling, kicking, and jumping is crucial in minimizing the risk of overuse injuries and collisions [oai_citation:20, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance).

5. What are the best post-game recovery techniques?

   – Effective post-game recovery techniques include hydrotherapy, active recovery, and manual therapies like massage and dry needling [oai_citation:21, AFL Injuries: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips](https://www.coastsport.com.au/common-injuries-and-prevention-in-afl/) [oai_citation:22, Tackling AFL Injury: Prevention and Recovery Strategies for Peak Performance — The Osteo Hub](https://theosteohub.com.au/theosteohub-blog/tackling-afl-injury-prevention-and-recovery-strategies-for-peak-performance).

Conclusion

Preventing injuries in AFL requires a comprehensive approach that includes dynamic warm-ups, strength and conditioning, proper techniques, and effective recovery strategies. By incorporating these practices into their training regimen, AFL players can significantly reduce their risk of injuries and maintain peak performance throughout the season. Stay proactive in your injury prevention strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful and injury-free AFL career.

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References

– Duhig, S. J., Bourdon, P. C., Hewitt, A., Leicht, A. S., & Evans, K. (2022). The assessment, management, and prevention of calf muscle strain injuries: A qualitative study of the practices and perspectives of 20 expert sports clinicians. *Sports Medicine – Open*, *8*(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-021-00341-8

– Gabbett, T. J., Hulin, B. T., Blanch, P., & Whiteley, R. (2016). The training—injury prevention paradox: Should athletes be training smarter and harder? *British Journal of Sports Medicine*, *50*(5), 273-280. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2015-095788

– Johnston, R., Devine, A., O’Sullivan, M., & Thomas, M. (2022). Physical characteristics of players within the Australian Football League participation pathways: A systematic review. *Sports Medicine – Open*, *8*(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-022-00388-3

– Orchard, J., Seward, H., & McGivern, J. (2012). Injury incidence, risk factors and prevention in Australian Rules Football: A review. *Sports Medicine*, *42*(4), 271-285. https://doi.org/10.2165/11630770-000000000-00000

– Bourdon, P. C., Cardinale, M., Murray, A., Gastin, P., Kellmann, M., Varley, M. C., Gabbett, T. J., Coutts, A. J., & McCall, A. (2017). Monitoring athlete training loads: A consensus statement. *International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance*, *12*(2), 161-170. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2017-0619

Harley ReidCategoriesFooty Tips

How to Build Strength Without Losing Agility: A Comprehensive Guide for AFL Players

In the fast-paced world of Australian Rules Football (AFL), achieving the right balance between strength and agility is crucial for optimal performance. As an AFL strength and conditioning coach at Melbourne Football Club, and with a Master’s degree in Applied Sport Science, I’ve dedicated my career to helping players reach their peak potential on the field. This blog post will delve into the strategies for building strength without sacrificing agility, providing insights backed by scientific research and practical experience.

Understanding the Balance Between Strength and Agility

Strength is a fundamental component of high performance in AFL. It contributes significantly to tackling, marking, and overall physical presence on the field. Developing muscle mass can enhance these aspects, giving players an edge over their opponents. Studies show that strength training can improve overall athletic performance by increasing muscle power and endurance (Granacher et al., 2016).

The Importance of Agility

Agility, on the other hand, is essential for quick direction changes, dodging opponents, and maintaining speed. It allows players to be elusive and maintain momentum during fast breaks. Agility training improves the body’s ability to move quickly and efficiently, which is vital in a sport where rapid changes in direction and speed are frequent (Stoica et al., 2022).

Strategies for Building Strength Without Losing Agility

Plyometric exercises, such as box jumps and explosive push-ups, improve power and speed. These exercises enhance muscle strength while promoting quick, agile movements, making them perfect for AFL players. Plyometric training involves rapid stretch-shortening cycle muscle actions, which significantly improve maximal power output during sport-specific movements (Haugen et al., 2020).

2. Utilize Compound Movements

Focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. These exercises work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting overall strength without overdeveloping specific muscles that could hinder agility. Compound movements are efficient in building functional strength that translates well onto the field.

3. Implement Functional Strength Training

Functional strength training involves exercises that mimic the movements performed during a game. Exercises like sled pushes, kettlebell swings, and agility ladder drills improve both strength and functional agility, ensuring players can translate their gym gains to on-field performance. This type of training ensures that the strength developed is practical and applicable in real-game scenarios.

4. Maintain Flexibility and Mobility

Flexibility and mobility are crucial for maintaining agility. Incorporate stretching routines, yoga, or pilates to keep muscles limber and joints mobile. This balance helps prevent injuries and ensures muscles can perform at their best. A study by Granacher et al. (2016) highlights the importance of balance and flexibility in overall athletic performance and injury prevention.

5. Periodize Your Training

Periodization involves structuring your training into cycles, focusing on different aspects like strength, agility, and recovery at various times. This method ensures players develop well-rounded physical capabilities without overtraining any single attribute. Haugen et al. (2020) emphasize the importance of periodized training for maintaining peak performance throughout the season.

6. Focus on Core Strength

A strong core is vital for both strength and agility. Core exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises help stabilize the body, improving balance and coordination, which are essential for agile movements. A solid core supports all other physical activities, enhancing both strength and agility.

7. Use Speed and Agility Drills

Incorporate drills specifically designed to improve speed and agility. Cone drills, shuttle runs, and zig-zag sprints enhance footwork and quickness, ensuring players can rapidly change direction and pace during a game. These drills are essential for maintaining the quick reflexes needed in AFL.

Eat for Performance

Nutrition plays a critical role in building strength and maintaining agility. A balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates provides the energy and nutrients necessary for muscle growth and recovery. Proper nutrition supports all physical training efforts and aids in quicker recovery times.

Prioritize Recovery

Recovery is as important as training. Ensure adequate sleep, incorporate rest days, and use recovery techniques such as foam rolling, massage, and ice baths to keep muscles fresh and prevent injuries. Recovery strategies are crucial for maintaining the balance between training and rest, ensuring continuous improvement without overtraining (Haugen et al., 2020).

Advanced Training Techniques

Proprioceptive training, which involves exercises that enhance balance and body awareness, is beneficial for improving agility and strength. This type of training can include exercises on unstable surfaces, like Bosu balls, which challenge the body’s stability and enhance muscle control. Studies have shown that proprioceptive training can significantly improve balance, strength, and agility in athletes (Stoica et al., 2022).

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or low-intensity periods. This type of training improves cardiovascular fitness, burns fat, and increases overall athletic performance. HIIT can be particularly effective for AFL players, who need to maintain high levels of intensity throughout the game.

Combining Strength and Endurance Training

Integrating strength and endurance training can help build overall fitness without sacrificing agility. Endurance training enhances cardiovascular capacity, while strength training builds muscle power. Combining these two forms of training ensures that players are strong and agile, with the stamina to sustain performance throughout the game.

Practical Applications for AFL Training

When designing a training program, it’s essential to include a mix of strength, agility, and flexibility exercises. Here’s a sample weekly training schedule:

Join our program for a free two-trial here 

#### Monitoring Progress

Regularly monitor progress by tracking performance metrics such as speed, agility, strength, and flexibility. Use tests like the vertical jump, 40-meter dash, and agility cones to measure improvements. Keeping track of these metrics helps in adjusting the training program as needed to ensure continuous development.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Overtraining can lead to injuries and decreased performance. Ensure to balance intense training sessions with adequate rest and recovery. Listen to your body and adjust the training intensity if necessary to avoid burnout.

Neglecting Flexibility

Neglecting flexibility can lead to stiff muscles and a reduced range of motion, which can hinder agility. Incorporate regular stretching and flexibility exercises into your routine to maintain optimal muscle function and prevent injuries.

Imbalanced Training

Focusing too much on either strength or agility can create imbalances. Ensure your training program is well-rounded, addressing all aspects of physical fitness. This balance is crucial for maintaining overall athletic performance and preventing injuries.

Balancing strength and agility is crucial for AFL players aiming to reach peak performance. By incorporating these strategies into your training regimen, you can build the strength needed for powerful plays without compromising the agility required to outmaneuver opponents. Remember, the key is to train smart, focusing on exercises and routines that enhance overall athletic performance.

For personalized training plans and expert advice, feel free to reach out. Together, we can elevate your game to the next level.

References

Granacher, U., Lesinski, M., Büsch, D., Muehlbauer, T., Prieske, O., Puta, C., & Behm, D. G. (2016). Effects of physical activity interventions on strength, balance, and falls in middle-aged adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. *Sports Medicine – Open, 2*(1), 1-37. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-016-0042-1

Haugen, T. A., Tønnessen, E., Seiler, S. K., & Sandbakk, Ø. (2020). The training and development of elite sprint performance: An integration of scientific and best practice literature. *Sports Medicine – Open, 6*(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-019-0238-x

Stoica, D. V., Badau, D., Stoica, M., Aron, A., Focan, G., Monea, D., & Calota, N. D. (2022). The effects of proprioceptive training on balance, strength, agility, and dribbling in adolescent male soccer players. *International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19*(4), 2028. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042028

Presenting skillsCategoriesFooty Tips

A Presentation Layout that Works: How to Stand Out in Interviews for Strength & Conditioning Roles

Are you preparing for an interview in the competitive field of strength and conditioning? Do you know how to present your skills and experiences effectively to stand out from the crowd? In this blog post, we will explore the essential elements of crafting an impressive presentation that highlights your qualifications and expertise in strength and conditioning. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with actionable tips to make a lasting impression on your potential employers.

The Significance of Presentation Skills

In the field of strength and conditioning, presentation skills are crucial. Whether you’re presenting your training methodologies to athletes or discussing performance metrics with other coaches, the ability to communicate effectively is a key component of success. As the profession has evolved, so too has the need for strength and conditioning professionals to be articulate and persuasive in their presentations.

The Evolving Profession of Strength & Conditioning

Strength and conditioning have come a long way from its early days when personal athletic prowess was often the sole qualification for the role. Today, it is recognized as a legitimate profession that demands a deep understanding of exercise science, biomechanics, and sports psychology. This shift has been driven by the integration of academic rigor into the profession, requiring coaches to undergo specialized training and continuous education [oai_citation:1, Strength & conditioning: A multi-faceted profession | Coach & Athletic Director](https://coachad.com/articles/strength-conditioning-career-advice/) [oai_citation:2,Hawkeyes in the Field | Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning – The University of Iowa](https://strength.athletics.uiowa.edu/hawkeyes-field).

Research and Preparation

Before stepping into any interview, thorough preparation is non-negotiable. Start by researching the organization you’re interviewing with. Understand their values, training philosophies, and recent achievements. This knowledge will help you tailor your presentation to align with their expectations and demonstrate your genuine interest in the role.

Structuring Your Presentation

When it comes to structuring your presentation, clarity, and organization are paramount. Begin with an engaging introduction that outlines what you will cover. Use clear and concise headings to guide your audience through your presentation. Ensure that each section flows logically into the next, building a coherent narrative that highlights your expertise and experiences in strength and conditioning [oai_citation:3, Presenting: Strength Coach Network Fundamentals 2 | Strength Coach Network](https://strengthcoachnetwork.com/fundamentals-2/).

Visual Aids and Technology

Visual aids can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your presentation. Use slides to highlight key points, showcase data, and provide visual examples of your work. Incorporate technology where appropriate, such as video clips of your training sessions or software that you use for performance analysis. However, ensure that your visual aids complement your speech and do not overwhelm the audience [oai_citation:4, Presenting: Strength Coach Network Fundamentals 2 | Strength Coach Network](https://strengthcoachnetwork.com/fundamentals-2/) [oai_citation:5, Hawkeyes in the Field | Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning – The University of Iowa](https://strength.athletics.uiowa.edu/hawkeyes-field).

Engaging Your Audience

Engaging your audience is crucial for a successful presentation. Use storytelling to make your points more relatable and memorable. Share anecdotes from your professional experiences that illustrate your expertise and problem-solving abilities. Encourage interaction by asking questions and inviting feedback. Practicing your delivery multiple times will help you build confidence and reduce nervousness during the actual presentation [oai_citation:6, Hawkeyes in the Field | Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning – The University of Iowa](https://strength.athletics.uiowa.edu/hawkeyes-field).

Overcoming Nervousness

Nervousness is a common challenge, but it can be managed with preparation and practice. Familiarize yourself with the content of your presentation to the point where it feels second nature. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself to identify areas for improvement. Additionally, consider practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises to help calm your nerves before the presentation [oai_citation:7, Strength & conditioning: A multi-faceted profession | Coach & Athletic Director](https://coachad.com/articles/strength-conditioning-career-advice/) [oai_citation:8, Hawkeyes in the Field | Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning – The University of Iowa](https://strength.athletics.uiowa.edu/hawkeyes-field).

Handling Difficult Questions

Anticipating and preparing for difficult questions is essential. Think about the potential questions your interviewers might ask and prepare concise, thoughtful responses. Practice answering these questions aloud to build confidence. If you encounter a question you are unsure about, it is better to admit that you do not have the answer at the moment but will follow up later, rather than attempting to bluff your way through it [oai_citation:9,Hawkeyes in the Field | Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning – The University of Iowa](https://strength.athletics.uiowa.edu/hawkeyes-field).

FAQs

**What are the key skills required for a strength and conditioning coach?**

– Essential skills include a deep understanding of exercise science, the ability to design effective training programs, and strong communication skills to motivate and educate athletes.

**How can I effectively communicate my experience in an interview?**

– Highlight your practical experiences, use specific examples, and demonstrate how your skills have led to tangible improvements in athlete performance.

**What are the best practices for using technology in presentations?**

– Utilize technology to enhance, not overshadow, your presentation. Use clear visuals, relevant data, and interactive elements to engage your audience.

**How do I handle unexpected questions during an interview?**

– Stay calm, think clearly, and respond honestly. If unsure, express your willingness to provide a detailed answer later.

**What are some examples of effective presentation structures?**

– An effective structure includes a strong introduction, clear section headings, supporting visual aids, and a concise conclusion.

Conclusion

In the competitive field of strength and conditioning, your ability to present yourself effectively can make all the difference in securing your dream job. By thoroughly preparing, structuring your presentation thoughtfully, and engaging your audience, you can stand out in interviews and demonstrate your value as a high-performance professional. Remember, practice makes perfect, so refine your presentation skills continuously to achieve success in your career.

References

Carson, F., Walsh, J., Main, L.C., & Kremer, P. (2017). High-performance coaches’ mental health and wellbeing: Applying the areas of a work-life model. *International Sport Coaching Journal, 5*(3), 293–300. https://doi.org/10.1123/iscj.2017-0078

Gearity, B.T., Szedlak, C., Kuklick, C., Mills, J., Feit, M.K., Callary, B., Feit, A, & Bergan, M. (2020). Enriching selves in S&C society: A multilevel proposal to enhance S&C psychosocial practice as part of the council on accreditation of strength and conditioning education. *Strength and Conditioning Journal, 43*(2), 92–103. https://doi.org/10.1519/SSC.0000000000000592

Gilbert, W.D., & Trudel, P. (2005). Learning to coach through experience: Conditions that influence reflection. *Physical Educator, 62*(1), 32–43.

Gillham, A., Doscher, M., Fitzgerald, C., Bennett, S., Davis, A., & Banwarth, A. (2017). Strength and conditioning roundtable: Strength and conditioning coach evaluation. *International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 12*(5), 635–646. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747954117707484

Kuklick, C.R., & Gearity, B. (2015). A review of reflective practice and its application for the football strength and conditioning coaches. *Strength and Conditioning Journal, 37*(6), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1519/SSC.0000000000000159

This comprehensive guide will help you excel in your presentations and interviews, ensuring you make a lasting impact in the field of strength and conditioning. Good luck with your preparations!

AFL Bye weekCategoriesFooty Tips

Maximize Your AFL Bye Week: Expert Training and Recovery Tips

The bye week in the AFL season is a pivotal time for players. It provides a unique opportunity to rest, recover, and recalibrate for the challenges ahead. As an AFL strength and conditioning coach, I’ve seen firsthand how strategic adjustments during this period can make a significant difference in a player’s performance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to effectively adjust your training schedule during the bye week to maximize performance and maintain peak conditions.

The Importance of the Bye Week

The AFL season is grueling, with players subjected to intense physical and mental demands. The bye week offers a brief respite that, if utilized effectively, can lead to enhanced performance and reduced injury risk for the remainder of the season.

Prioritizing Recovery

Active recovery involves low-intensity exercises that promote blood flow and muscle repair without adding additional stress. Activities such as swimming, light jogging, and yoga can be highly effective. According to research by Bompa and Carrera (2005), incorporating active recovery helps maintain mobility and reduce muscle soreness, allowing athletes to stay fresh and agile.

Quality sleep is paramount for recovery. Studies have shown that sleep plays a crucial role in muscle repair, memory consolidation, and hormone regulation. Aim for 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and consider naps during the day if needed.

Nutrition during the bye week should focus on foods that aid recovery. Protein is essential for muscle repair, while carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains in your diet to ensure you’re getting the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Adjusting Training Intensity and Volume

One of the key strategies during the bye week is to reduce training volume. This doesn’t mean eliminating workouts altogether but rather cutting back on the duration and frequency. For example, instead of a full-length intense session, you might incorporate shorter, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions. This approach helps maintain fitness levels without causing excessive fatigue.

While reducing volume, it’s beneficial to maintain or even slightly increase the intensity of specific drills. This keeps performance levels sharp and ensures that players do not lose their competitive edge. Focus on high-intensity efforts with ample recovery periods to mimic the demands of a game.

Incorporating Sport-Specific Drills

The bye week is an excellent time to focus on sport-specific skills that may need improvement. Tailor your training to include drills that enhance technical skills and tactical awareness.

Drills that improve kicking accuracy, handball precision, and marking under pressure should be prioritized. These skills are critical for on-field success and can be honed through repetitive, focused practice.

Improving game sense and decision-making can be achieved through simulated match scenarios. Use video analysis to review past games and identify areas for improvement. Tactical drills should mimic real-game situations to enhance cognitive processing and on-field intelligence.

Implementing Periodization

Periodization is a systematic approach to training that involves structuring your program into phases to balance intensity and recovery. This method can be particularly effective during the bye week.

Nonlinear periodization involves frequent variations in intensity and volume, which can be beneficial for maintaining peak performance and reducing injury risk. Research by Kraemer and Fleck (2007) highlights the effectiveness of this approach in promoting strength gains and overall fitness improvements.

Nonlinear periodization allows for adjustments based on the athlete’s current state, making it an ideal strategy for the bye week. By alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity sessions, athletes can optimize recovery while maintaining high-performance levels.

Block periodization divides training into blocks with specific focuses, such as strength, power, or endurance. This approach ensures that athletes are continuously improving in different areas while avoiding overtraining. According to Bompa and Carrera (2005), block periodization is particularly effective for managing workload and ensuring optimal performance during competition phases.

Monitoring and Adjusting Training Plans

Continuous monitoring of physical and mental conditions is essential during the bye week. Utilize performance metrics, such as heart rate variability and perceived exertion scales, to gauge recovery and readiness.

Tracking performance metrics helps in making informed decisions about training adjustments. Tools like GPS tracking, heart rate monitors, and sleep tracking devices provide valuable data on an athlete’s condition.

Regular feedback sessions with players are crucial. Discuss how they feel physically and mentally and adjust the training plan accordingly. Personalized adjustments ensure that each player gets the most out of the bye week based on their individual needs.

Case Study: Effective Bye Week Training

Let’s take a closer look at a practical example of how to structure a bye-week training schedule for an AFL player.

Day 1: Active Recovery

– **Morning:** Light jogging (20 minutes)

– **Afternoon:** Yoga session (30 minutes)

Day 2: Skill Development

– **Morning:** Technical skills (kicking and handball drills, 45 minutes)

– **Afternoon:** Video analysis and tactical review (1 hour)

Day 3: High-Intensity Training

– **Morning:** HIIT session (30 minutes)

– **Afternoon:** Strength training (focused on core and lower body, 45 minutes)

Day 4: Active Recovery

– **Morning:** Swimming (20 minutes)

– **Afternoon:** Stretching and mobility exercises (30 minutes)

Day 5: Sport-Specific Drills

– **Morning:** Marking and under-pressure drills (45 minutes)

– **Afternoon:** Rest

Day 6: Tactical Training

– **Morning:** Simulated match scenarios (1 hour)

– **Afternoon:** Team strategy meeting (1 hour)

Day 7: Complete Rest

– **All day:** Rest and recovery

This sample schedule balances recovery with skill and fitness maintenance, ensuring players return to training refreshed and ready to perform.

The bye week is not merely a break but a strategic opportunity to optimize performance for the rest of the season. By prioritizing recovery, adjusting training intensity, incorporating sport-specific drills, and implementing periodization, players can maintain peak condition and enhance their game.

References

– Bompa, T., & Carrera, M. (2005). *Periodization training for sports* (2nd ed.). Human Kinetics.

– Kraemer, W. J., & Fleck, S. J. (2007). *Optimizing strength training: Designing nonlinear periodization workouts*. Human Kinetics.

For more personalized training programs and professional advice, visit [Prepare Like A Pro](https://www.preparelikeapro.com).

Building Adaptable High-Performance TeamsCategoriesFooty Tips

#bitesize – Building Adaptability and Self-Awareness in High-Performance Teams

Key Elements for Team Collaboration

To foster effective collaboration in Building Adaptable High-Performance Teams, it’s crucial to understand team members’ perspectives. Asking questions to gain insight into their thought processes helps align interpretations of goals. A clear, mutual understanding of objectives ensures efficient teamwork in Building Adaptable High-Performance Teams.

Self-Awareness and Adaptability

Building self-awareness in team dynamics starts with self-reflection. Leaders should evaluate their contributions to any issues. This approach helps understand whether the need for adaptability lies within oneself or others, creating a more cohesive team environment.

Coaching Strategies for Adaptability

Effective coaching strategies involve continuously challenging athletes. Adjusting the difficulty of drills based on athletes’ progress keeps them engaged and focused. When athletes understand and help create their goals, their engagement and commitment increase significantly.

Developing Adaptability

Adaptability is nurtured through a mix of life experiences and job challenges. Developing critical thinking skills from a young age, facing adversities, and engaging in diverse experiences such as traveling and working in different cultural settings, all contribute to building adaptability.

Role of Coaches in Fostering Adaptability

Coaches play a crucial role in fostering adaptability. By supporting athletes’ initiatives, coaches encourage independence and critical thinking. High-performance sports programs focus on developing these skills to prepare athletes for the challenges they will face, both on and off the field.

Guest Speaker: Nathan Spencer, Strength and Power Coach at St George Illawarra Dragons

In this episode, Nathan Spencer delves into the essentials of working effectively within high-performance sports teams, emphasizing the importance of understanding team members’ perspectives, aligning on goals, and fostering adaptability. 

We discuss the significance of self-awareness in leadership roles, the role of blame culture, strategic coaching approaches based on athletes’ experience levels, and the value of purpose-driven training initiated by athletes themselves. 

Additionally, Nathan shares strategies to enhance adaptability and critical thinking in team members, highlighting the roles of life experience, formal education, and handling adversity.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Collaboration and goal alignment in high-performance teams
  • Self-reflection and accountability in leadership
  • Adapting coaching strategies for athlete development
  • Fostering engagement and ownership among athletes
  • Enhancing adaptability and critical thinking in teams
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Are you ready to enhance your coaching? Uncover the strategies to build a thriving online platform, liberating yourself from the time-for-money constraints while pursuing a career as an AFL S&C coach.

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Episode 81 - AFL Plyometric TrainingCategoriesFooty Tips

Plyometric Training for AFL Players: Enhance Power and Performance

Australian Football League (AFL) demands high levels of physical prowess, where power development is not just beneficial—it’s crucial. This comprehensive guide delves into the strategic application of plyometrics, employing a structured plyo framework to optimize power and performance in AFL players. Tailored for strength and conditioning coaches and high-performance staff, we explore effective methodologies that enhance explosive capabilities through specific training techniques.

Understanding Plyometrics in AFL

Plyometrics, or plyo, involves explosive exercises that enhance the stretch-shortening cycle of the muscles, crucial for rapid and powerful movements in sports. This type of training is especially pivotal in AFL, where activities such as sprinting, jumping, and quick directional changes dominate the gameplay.

Scientific Foundation

Evidence supports the significant impact of plyometric training on athletic performance, with specific benefits in leg power and overall explosiveness—key components for AFL athletes. According to Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2020), plyometric jump training substantially improves physical fitness in soccer players, closely paralleling the demands faced by AFL players1.

Creating an Effective Plyometrics Program

Designing a plyometrics program requires a deep understanding of AFL’s physical demands and the individual athlete’s capabilities. Here’s a refined approach to structuring a plyometrics regimen using the plyo framework.

Step 1: Plyo Framework and Deep Tier Coordination

The plyo framework begins with foundational movements, categorized under deep tier coordination rudiments. This involves basic skills like **hopping, bounding,** and **jumping** to develop coordination and condition athletes for more complex movements.

Step 2: Advanced Plyometric Techniques

As athletes progress, they engage in more advanced drills, such as **depth drops** and activities that incorporate **low, medium, and high amplitude vectors**. These exercises enhance the body’s ability to absorb and generate force, crucial for effective tackling and leaping in AFL.

 

Step 3: Exercise Selection

Selecting the right exercises is critical to target movement patterns and energy systems most utilized in AFL. For lower body power, focus on:

– **Jumping/Leaping Force:** Utilize drills that enhance vertical and horizontal leap abilities, integrating cues for precise execution.

– **Bounding and Depth Drops:** These are high-intensity drills that improve dynamic leg strength and explosive power.

### Step 4: Program Variables

– **Frequency:** Implement 2-3 plyometric sessions per week, with adjustments made for in-season or off-season periods.

– **Intensity and Volume:** Adjust intensity levels and volume according to the phase of training, focusing on quality and technique.

– **Progression:** Gradually increase exercise intensity and complexity based on the athlete’s improvement and conditioning levels.

### Step 5: Safety and Injury Prevention

Emphasize proper technique and gradual progression to prevent injuries. Ensure athletes perform exercises with correct form and adequate recovery periods are observed to handle the high-impact nature of plyometrics.

Integration with Other Training Components

Plyometrics should be integrated with strength, endurance, and skill training to ensure a well-rounded athletic development. This holistic approach addresses all physical aspects required for peak AFL performance.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

Studies such as those by Markovic (2007) and Komi and Bosco (1978) emphasize the importance of plyometric training in enhancing vertical jump height and leg power, which are directly transferable to AFL performance demands3】【4. Blagrove, Howe, and Cushion (2018) also illustrate the complementary nature of strength and plyometric training in sports5.

A well-structured plyometric program is essential for developing explosive power in AFL players. By adhering to a detailed plyo framework and focusing on deep tier coordination, coaches can significantly enhance their athletes’ performance capabilities. The key is not just to implement plyometrics but to integrate them strategically with other training elements to produce resilient and powerful AFL athletes.

 

References:

1. Ramirez-Campillo, R., Alvarez, C., García-Pinillos, F., Sanchez-Sanchez, J., Yanci, J., Castillo, D., & Loturco, I. (2020). Effects of plyometric jump training on physical fitness in amateur and professional soccer players: A meta-analysis. *Journal of Sports Sciences*, 38(6), 674-683. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1716687

2. Behrens, M., Mau-Moeller, A., Mueller, K., Heise, S., Gube, M., Beuster, N., Herlyn, P. K. E., & Bruhn, S. (2016). Plyometric training improves voluntary activation and strength during isometric, concentric and eccentric contractions. *Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport*, 19(2), 170-176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2015.02.007

3. Markovic, G. (2007). Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height? A meta-analytical review. *British Journal of Sports Medicine*, 41(6), 349-355; discussion 355. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2007.035113

4. Komi, P. V., & Bosco, C. (1978). Utilization of stored elastic energy in leg extensor muscles by men and women. *Medicine and Science in Sports*, 10(4), 261-265.

5. Blagrove, R. C., Howe, L. P., & Cushion, E. J. (2018). Effects of strength training on the physiological determinants of middle- and long-distance running performance: A systematic review. *Sports Medicine*, 48(5), 1117-1149. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0835-7