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.


– 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](

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
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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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

AFLW Off-Season Training TipsCategoriesFooty Tips

Maximizing Your Position and Selection Chances

For many aspiring AFL players, the path to the draft is fraught with challenges, including not playing in preferred positions and missing out on representative side selections. This comprehensive guide, underpinned by my expertise and relevant scholarly articles, provides actionable advice and strategic insights to help athletes and their parents navigate these hurdles effectively.

Understanding the AFL Landscape

In AFL, coaches and selectors look for players who excel in their current positions and demonstrate versatility and strong team ethos. Knowing this can help you turn your frustrations into opportunities by understanding and adapting to the broader needs of the team and the game.

Embrace and Excel

Whether it’s a defensive role, a stint in the midfield, or a forward position, each offers unique opportunities to develop different aspects of your game:

– **Defensive positions** enhance resilience and defensive tactics.

– **Midfield roles** improve endurance and game intelligence.

– **Forward positions** refine attacking instincts and goal-scoring skills.

Communicate and Collaborate

It’s crucial to have open discussions with your coaches about your position preferences and developmental goals. Showing a willingness to adapt while expressing a desire to eventually play in your preferred position can demonstrate both flexibility and ambition—traits highly valued by selectors.

## Overcoming Rep Side Selection Challenges

### Enhancing Visibility and Skills

– **Increase Exposure:** Engage in trials and camps where scouts and selectors are present.

– **Skill Enhancement:** Focus on speed, agility, and tactical skills that are vital for excelling in rep teams.

Physical and Mental Preparation

– **Strength & Conditioning:** Customized training programs that improve both general and position-specific physical abilities are crucial. As Burgess and Naughton (2010) highlight, talent development in team sports necessitates a comprehensive approach that considers the specific demands of the sport and the athlete’s growth potential1.

– **Mental Resilience:** Developing mental toughness is essential for coping with setbacks and maintaining confidence during trials and competitions.

## Leveraging Sport Science for AFL Success

### Customized Training Plans

Utilizing sport science to develop tailored training plans can significantly enhance performance efficiency and effectiveness. This includes:

– **Biomechanical Assessments:** Understanding the mechanics of your body can optimize physical performance.

– **Nutritional Guidance:** Proper diet is essential for peak performance and recovery, as discussed by Gabbett et al. (2012), who explored the physical demands and necessary recovery protocols in professional athletes2.


Injury Prevention

Staying injury-free is crucial for maintaining consistent performance. Effective injury prevention strategies include:

– **Proper Warm-ups and Cool-downs**

**Balanced Training Loads**

– **Regular Physical Assessments**

## Advanced Techniques and Monitoring

Performance Analytics


Adopting advanced monitoring techniques can help track progress and make necessary adjustments to training. Gastin et al. (2013) discuss the importance of monitoring wellness to adapt training and competition loads for elite athletes, emphasizing the role of perceived wellness in managing training adaptations3.

Long-term Athletic Development

Incorporating principles of long-term athlete development ensures that training remains effective throughout an athlete’s career. This approach aids in maintaining improvement trajectories and peak physical condition as athletes mature.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

Investigating specific cases where plyometric training and other methodologies have been successfully integrated can provide practical insights. For instance, Saw et al. (2016) highlight the benefits and challenges of monitoring athletes through self-report measures, which can be an effective tool for tracking subjective wellness and fatigue in players4. Additionally, Young and Pryor (2007) demonstrate the correlation between pre-season fitness measures and performance outcomes in junior AFL players, underscoring the importance of fitness in early career development5.

Facing the challenges of not playing in your preferred position and not making the rep side can indeed be discouraging, but they also represent opportunities for growth and development. By embracing a comprehensive approach that includes versatility in skill development, advanced sport science applications, and effective communication with coaching staff, you can enhance your chances of achieving success in the AFL draft.

Remember, every player’s journey is unique. Stay committed, adaptable, and proactive in your development. Your efforts will lay the groundwork for success in the competitive world of AFL.


1. Burgess, D. J., & Naughton, G. (2010). Talent development in adolescent team sports: A review. *International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance*, 5(1), 103-116.

2. Gabbett, T. J., Jenkins, D. G., & Abernethy, B. (2012). Physical demands of professional rugby league training and competition using microtechnology. *Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport*, 15(1), 80-86.

3. Gastin, P. B., Meyer, D., & Robinson, D. (2013). Perceptions of wellness to monitor adaptive responses to training and competition in elite Australian football. *Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research*, 27(9), 2518-2526.

4. Saw, A. E., Main, L. C., & Gastin, P. B. (2016). Monitoring athletes through self-report: Factors influencing implementation. *Journal of Sports Science and Medicine*, 15(1), 144-150.

5. Young, W. B., & Pryor, L. (2007). Relationship between pre-season anthropometric and fitness measures and indicators of playing performance in elite junior Australian Rules football. *Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport*, 10(2), 110-118.

These articles provide a mix of insights into physical training, the importance of monitoring wellness in athletes, and the relationship between fitness levels and performance in team sports.

AFL fitness training methodsCategoriesFooty Tips

#114 – AFL Best Fitness Training Methods & Exercises


Fitness is crucial in excelling at Australian Rules Football (AFL). Effective AFL fitness training methods, which focus on endurance, agility, strength, and speed, significantly enhance performance on the field. These methods are integrated into tailored training programs that target specific skills needed in the sport, such as cardiovascular fitness, plyometrics, and strength training. AFL fitness training methods also encompass recovery strategies like ice baths, massage therapy, and ample rest, which are emphasized to maintain peak physical condition throughout the AFL season. Overall, emphasizing AFL fitness training ensures players are prepared for the sport’s demands, leading to optimal results.

Analyzing AFL Performance

Research papers delve into the nuances of AFL, examining how players expend energy during different game phases. Utilizing data analysis from Champion Data provides insights into player performance metrics, aiding in optimizing training strategies.

Optimizing Training Methods

Effective training methods are essential for AFL players. Incorporating aerobic and anaerobic workouts, such as 25-30% ASR programming and aerobic intervals, helps in building endurance and explosive power.

Injury Prevention Strategies

Preventing injuries is crucial for maintaining peak performance. Targeted exercises for calves, quads, hamstrings, and ACL neurodevelopment contribute to overall player wellness and longevity on the field.

Strength and Power Training

Strength and power are cornerstones of AFL fitness. Implementing structured lifting routines, rotational power exercises, and loaded carries enhances players’ ability to perform at their best during intense game situations.

Highlights of the episode:

  • 3 research papers on different phases of playing AFL
  • Anaerobic Endurance Training for AFL
  • Aerobic Endurance Training for AFL
  • Strength and power drills for AFL
  • Contest drills for AFL
  • Plyometric Training for AFL


1. Physical and technical demands of offence, defence, and contested phases of play in Australian Football:

  • This study provides a detailed examination of the different phases of play in AFL, focusing on the specific physical and technical demands during offensive, defensive, and contested phases. It uses data from Champion Data to analyze performance metrics, helping to understand where and how players expend their energy during a game [oai_citation:1, Physical and technical demands of offence, defence, and contested phases of play in Australian Football | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text (

2. Physical and technical demands of Australian football: an analysis of maximum ball in play periods:

  • This research analyzes the demands during the maximum ball in play periods using microsensor data. It includes metrics like total running distance, high-speed running, and acceleration, offering insights into the intense physical requirements during continuous play phases [oai_citation:2, Physical and technical demands of Australian football: an analysis of maximum ball in play periods | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text](

3. Evaluating match running performance in elite Australian football: a narrative review:

  • This narrative review discusses the variations in running performances across different phases of a season and how these are impacted by training volumes and playing experience. It highlights the need for strategic planning of training loads to optimize performance during matches [oai_citation:3, Evaluating match running performance in elite Australian football: a narrative review | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text] (
  • These articles contribute valuable insights into the varying physical demands across different game scenarios and periods, useful for tailoring training programs for AFL athletes. They emphasize the importance of understanding specific game phases and the physical outputs required, which can help in designing more effective strength and conditioning programs for AFL players.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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AFLW Off-Season Training TipsCategoriesFooty Tips

#bitesize – AFLW Off Season Training


Off-season training is crucial for AFLW athletes to maintain peak performance. Let’s delve into key strategies to optimize fitness, endurance, and skill development during this critical period. AFLW Off-Season Training Tips can significantly enhance an athlete’s performance and readiness for the upcoming season. These tips encompass a range of physical and mental techniques designed to maximize potential and minimize injury risks. Incorporating these strategies into your off-season regimen can improve strength, agility, and overall game proficiency. Consistency and dedication are key; make sure to prioritize recovery and nutrition alongside your training routine. By focusing on these areas, you’ll be well-prepared to excel when the season kicks off. AFLW Off-Season Training Tips should be a cornerstone of every athlete’s preparation strategy.

Speed and Endurance Focus

Efficiently working at 80-90% speed is vital for sustained high-intensity efforts on the field. Incorporate short, intense sprints with adequate rest intervals to enhance game-ready stamina and speed.

Aerobic Capacity Building

Longer duration efforts with appropriate work-to-rest ratios are essential for improving aerobic capacity. Gradually increasing intensity and setting distance targets based on benchmark tests ensures progressive development.

Customized Gym Training

Tailor gym sessions to strengthen contested skills like ground balls and posterior chains for enhanced performance during game situations. Utilize exercises like RDLs and trap bar deadlifts for optimal results.

Plyometrics and Running Mechanics

Incorporate plyometric drills to improve ankle stiffness and master loaded acceleration positions. Focus on generating power efficiently through proper running mechanics for agility and speed.

Upper Body Strength and Core Stability

Enhance fend-offs and create space on the field with targeted upper body exercises. Strengthen core stability for better bracing during contests, ensuring optimal performance in critical game moments.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Improving your ability to achieve 80-90% of your speed
  • How to build your aerobic capacity
  • Effective football ground ball drills in the gym
  • Drills for shoulder work to improve your fend-off skills
  • Drills to strengthen your trunk and improve your bracing skills

How Australian Rule Footballers in Season Gym Program Should Look

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Top AFL Conditioning StrategiesCategoriesFooty Tips

#113 – Maximize Your Game: Dive into the Best Rated AFL Conditioning Tips!

Our guide on AFL conditioning covers preseason essentials, in-season fitness balance, movement efficiency, recovery strategies, and tailored training for rookies and veterans. Let’s dive in! Top AFL Conditioning Strategies are crucial for players aiming to reach peak performance. Understanding these strategies can make a significant difference in player endurance and overall game impact. Top AFL Conditioning Strategies also play a pivotal role in injury prevention and maintaining consistency throughout the demanding AFL season.

Maximize AFL Conditioning Tips

Preseason Preparation

Preseason training is the foundation for success in the AFL. It’s where players build their fitness base and work on skills crucial for the season ahead. This phase is essential for developing the strength, endurance, and agility needed to perform at peak levels during the season. Coaches emphasize the importance of consistency and dedication during preseason, as it sets the tone for the entire year. Players are encouraged to push their limits, both physically and mentally, to prepare themselves for the demands of competitive matches. Additionally, preseason is a time for team bonding and establishing a strong camaraderie among players, which can be invaluable during challenging games.

In-Season Fitness Management

During the season, managing fitness becomes a balancing act. Players need to maintain their fitness levels while ensuring they don’t overtrain or risk injury. One key strategy is incorporating speed work into training sessions to improve explosiveness and agility on the field. Monitoring maximum velocities using technology like GPS units helps track progress and adjust training accordingly. It’s also essential to focus on recovery between games, with structured rest days and active recovery sessions to keep players fresh and ready to perform at their best.

Movement Efficiency

Efficient movement is critical for AFL players to maximize performance and minimize the risk of injury. Coaches work on refining players’ techniques to ensure they move efficiently during games. This includes focusing on running mechanics, change of direction, and body positioning to optimize performance. By improving movement efficiency, players can conserve energy and maintain peak performance levels throughout matches, giving them a competitive edge over their opponents.

Fatigue and Recovery Strategies

Managing fatigue and recovery is crucial for AFL players to sustain their performance levels throughout the season. After a game, players focus on recovery strategies like ice baths, massage, and stretching to reduce muscle soreness and accelerate recovery. Active recovery sessions, such as light jogging or swimming, help flush out lactic acid and promote circulation to aid in recovery. Additionally, players pay attention to nutrition and hydration, ensuring they fuel their bodies with the right nutrients to support recovery and performance.

Training Approach for Different Players

The training approach varies for rookies and veterans in the AFL. Rookies require more structured training programs to develop their skills and fitness levels. Coaches focus on teaching fundamental techniques and gradually increasing intensity as rookies adapt to the demands of professional football. In contrast, veterans have more experience and autonomy in their training. They may have personalized programs tailored to their specific needs and goals, incorporating advanced techniques and strategies to maintain their performance levels. However, both rookies and veterans benefit from staying updated on the latest sports science trends to optimize their training and performance.

Highlights of the episode:

  • How to get fitter in season
  • How to get faster in season
  • Best conditioning prescriptions in the season to maximize fitness
  • How players can manage fatigue in the season
  • How does training change from rookies to veterans
  • Latest in sports science and trends in AFL

AFL Strength & Conditioning Tips to Make an Impact in Pro Sport

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AFL Draft Combine PreparationCategoriesFooty Tips

The Science of Success: How AFL Teams Scout and Develop Emerging Talent

Are you ready to dive deep into the world of AFL draft prospects? Each year, teams vie to select the most promising young athletes, aiming to sculpt the future of Aussie rules football. This comprehensive exploration will take you through the essential elements of the AFL draft system, the critical role of strength & conditioning, and how sports science is revolutionizing talent scouting.


Understanding the AFL Draft System

The AFL draft is a cornerstone event for Aussie rules football, determining the destiny of teams and players alike. The **draft criteria** establish eligibility and guide the selection process, ensuring a fair and strategic distribution of emerging talent across clubs. The **selection process** itself is meticulous, involving extensive scouting reports and player assessments to inform decision-making. Historical data from previous drafts show patterns and outcomes that help predict future success (Smith & Johnson, 2019).

Clubs invest heavily in understanding these processes and analyzing past drafts to refine their strategies. This section draws heavily on insights from scholarly articles, highlighting the systematic approach teams take to maximize their draft outcomes.

The Role of Strength & Conditioning in Developing Prospects

Strength and conditioning programs are pivotal in preparing athletes for the rigors of professional AFL. These programs focus on **physical preparation**, enhancing athleticism, and reducing injury risk. **Injury mitigation** is particularly crucial, as maintaining player health across the season directly correlates with team performance. Furthermore, **performance enhancement** strategies are tailored to individual player needs, optimizing physical capabilities and game-day performance (Williams & Brown, 2021).

The evolution of training methodologies, underpinned by advanced sports science, has transformed how players prepare for the AFL. Coaches and trainers leverage cutting-edge research to continually adapt and improve training regimens, directly impacting the development of draft prospects.

Key Metrics in Evaluating Football Talent

Scouting AFL prospects involves a multi-faceted approach, assessing **physical attributes**, **skill assessment**, and **psychological factors**. Physical metrics such as speed, endurance, and strength are quantifiable and critical for success in football. However, skill assessments provide a deeper insight into a player’s game intelligence, decision-making, and technical abilities.

Psychological resilience and mental toughness are increasingly recognized as determinants of a player’s adaptation to professional levels and their long-term success in the league (Thompson & Craig, 2020). Scouts and teams now incorporate psychological profiling into their evaluation processes, ensuring a holistic view of each prospect’s potential.

Profiles of Top Draft Prospects

This year’s draft class is brimming with talent, each bringing unique strengths and promising career trajectories. Profiles of these athletes reveal their backgrounds, from junior leagues to senior-level performances, and analyze their on-field roles. By discussing their **strengths and weaknesses**, this section provides a forecast of how these young athletes might shape the future of AFL teams.

Drawing from current trends and expert analyses, predictions about their potential impact in the AFL are grounded in data-driven insights and historical comparisons, providing readers with informed perspectives on each prospect.

How Clubs Prepare for the Draft

Preparation for the draft is a year-round endeavor for AFL clubs, involving rigorous **scouting** and strategic **strategy sessions**. Teams assess their needs and align them with the available talent pool, often involving complex trade negotiations and future planning. The integration of **team needs** with draft strategy is critical, as clubs seek to balance immediate requirements with long-term goals (O’Connor, 2018).

The use of technology and data analytics has profoundly changed how clubs prepare for the draft, with teams employing software and statistical models to predict player success and career longevity.

Impact of Applied Sport Science in AFL

Applied sports science has revolutionized the AFL, introducing technological advancements and data analytics into everyday practice. Teams use technological advancements like GPS and motion-capture systems to monitor player performance and tailor individualized training programs. **Data analytics** are employed to analyze game statistics, and player health, and even predict future performance trends.

Case studies of successful interventions illustrate the practical applications of sports science in the AFL, emphasizing its importance in maintaining player health and optimizing performance (Lee & Harris, 2022).

FAQ Section

Q1: What is the AFL Draft?

The AFL Draft is an annual event in which the Australian Football League (AFL) clubs recruit eligible players to join their teams. This system is designed to maintain a competitive balance among the teams by allowing lower-ranked clubs from the previous season to access the most talented young players entering the league. The draft involves multiple rounds, and clubs take turns selecting players based on their finishing positions in the season, with the aim of achieving fair and equitable distribution of emerging talent.

Q2: How are players evaluated for the draft?

Players are evaluated for the AFL Draft based on a comprehensive set of criteria that includes physical skills, past performance in matches, athletic abilities, and psychological assessments. Key performance indicators such as speed, endurance, agility, and strength are measured during combines and other testing events. Scouts and team officials also review game footage, assess players’ roles in their teams, and their ability to adapt to different game situations. Additionally, interviews and psychological evaluations play a part in understanding the players’ mental resilience and readiness for professional sports.

Q3: What role does psychology play in scouting?

Psychology plays a crucial role in scouting as it helps teams understand a player’s mental toughness, work ethic, team orientation, and ability to handle pressure — essential traits for success in professional AFL. Psychological assessments might include personality tests, mental resilience tests, and situational judgement tests that provide insights into a player’s character, decision-making abilities, and potential for personal growth. Understanding a player’s psychological profile helps teams predict how well they will integrate into a team environment and cope with the demands of professional sports.

Q4: How do strength and conditioning affect player development?

Strength and conditioning are fundamental to player development in the AFL, as the sport demands high levels of physical fitness, endurance, and resilience. Effective strength and conditioning programs help players improve their performance on the field, reduce the risk of injury, and extend their careers. These programs are tailored to the individual needs of players and typically focus on core strength, cardiovascular fitness, speed training, and agility drills. Continuous development in these areas is essential for players to withstand the physical challenges of the game and to execute their roles effectively during matches.

Q5: What technological tools are used in sports science for AFL?

Technology plays a significant role in advancing sports science within the AFL. Various technological tools are employed to enhance player performance and team strategy, including GPS trackers, heart rate monitors, and video analysis software. GPS trackers are used to measure distance covered, speeds, and player positioning during games and training, providing data to optimize performance and recovery strategies. Heart rate monitors help assess cardiovascular performance and recovery, while video analysis software allows coaches to analyze gameplay, improve tactics, and assess individual and team performances. More advanced tools like virtual reality (VR) are also being explored for training and player development, offering immersive experiences that can simulate match conditions without physical strain.


The AFL draft is more than just an annual event; it’s a pivotal moment that shapes the future trajectory of teams and players. Through strategic preparation, comprehensive player evaluation, and the integration of sports science, clubs strive to uncover and develop the next generation of AFL talent. As we’ve explored, the process is intricate and multi-dimensional, reflecting the evolving landscape of Aussie rules football.

By staying informed on these processes and developments, fans and professionals alike can gain deeper insights into the exciting world of AFL draft prospects.


1. Smith, J., & Johnson, A. (2019). *The influence of high-performance programs on AFL draft selections*. Journal of Sports Science, 37(11), 1239-1245

2. Williams, T., & Brown, H. (2021). *Physical preparation strategies for elite AFL players*. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 43(3), 54-60

3. Thompson, P., & Craig, S. (2020). *Psychological profiling of AFL draft prospects: Predicting professional success*. Australian Journal of Applied Psychology, 48(2), 142-149.

4. O’Connor, D. (2018). *The role of sport science in AFL football*. Sports Medicine Australia, 18(4), 325-340.

5. Lee, M., & Harris, R. (2022). *Data analytics in sports: How AFL teams use data for drafting*. Journal of Sports Analytics, 8(1), 1-13.

6. Foster, G. (2021). *Scouting and developing talent in Australian Football League*. Journal of Talent Development and Excellence, 13(1), 1097-1112. Retrieved from

Footballer DevelopmentCategoriesFooty Tips

Unlocking Potential: Why AFL Strength & Conditioning is Critical for Developing Footballers

Meet Jack McLean, a leading AFL strength & conditioning coach with a Master’s in Applied Sport Science from Melbourne Football Club. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the sophisticated world of AFL training, tailored to propel both current and aspiring AFL athletes, coaches, and high-performance staff to the pinnacle of their capabilities. This article, crafted by an expert in the field, is your stepping stone to understanding the nuances of Footballer Development AFL strength & conditioning, Footballer Development conditioning, and sports science without any mention of competitive entities.

This guide delves into:

  1. Strength & Conditioning Fundamentals: A holistic approach to enhance physical prowess. Physical characteristics of players within the Australian Football League participation pathways: a systematic review
  2. Applied Sport Science in AFL: Integrating technology and research for optimized training. Evolution of Physical Demands of Australian Football League Matches from 2005 to 2017: A Systematic Review and Meta-regression
  3. Conditioning Drills Specific to AFL: Simulating game scenarios to improve player skills. Strength and Conditioning in Football: Driving Physical Performance through Research and Innovation
  4. Off-Season & Pre-Season Regimens: Building foundational strength and enhancing fitness. A systematic review on the effects of resistance and plyometric training on physical fitness in youth- What do comparative studies tell us?
  5. Nutrition & Recovery: Supporting intense physical demands with tailored plans.
  6. Leveraging Technology: Utilizing technology for tracking and analysis.
  7. Periodization: Planning training cycles for optimal performance.
  8. Success Stories: Real-life examples of successful training programs.


Jack McLean’s guide offers a blend of scientific insights and practical applications, essential for athletes, coaches, and high-performance staff in AFL.

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Liam Hewett's Football EvolutionCategoriesFooty Tips

#309 – Liam Hewett, Aussie Rules Footballer for Wantirna South Football Club

The Evolution of Liam Hewett: From Training Routines to Role Changes in Aussie Rules Football

“Liam Hewett’s Football Evolution” explores the transformation of Aussie Rules Football, deeply embedded in Australian culture, which demands physical prowess, strategic agility, and mental resilience. One player who embodies these qualities is Liam Hewett, a rising star for the Wantirna South Football Club. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Hewett’s training routines, mental preparation techniques, injury management strategies, and how the team recently changed his role. Liam Hewett’s Football Evolution delves into the transformation of Aussie Rules Football, deeply embedded in Australian culture, which demands physical prowess, strategic agility, and mental resilience. One player who embodies these qualities is Liam Hewett, a rising star for the Wantirna South Football Club. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Hewett’s training routines, mental preparation techniques, injury management strategies, and how the team recently changed his role.

Highlights from the episode:

  • What his in-season schedule look like
  • Tips to be mentally prepared on game day
  • Roadblocks that prevent him from playing all games and his advice
  • Things he would do to recover faster from his niggles
  • How he overcomes his current challenges in the next six months

Training Routines

Hewett follows a carefully structured training regimen that balances intense workouts with crucial recovery time. During the season, he focuses on in-season training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Matches are played on Saturdays, marking the culmination of the week’s efforts. On Sundays, Hewett prioritizes recovery, engaging in activities like gym sessions, ice baths, or light jogging. Mondays are for additional recovery or preparatory jogs, ensuring his body is primed for the upcoming week. Consistency is key; therefore, he integrates pre-training gym sessions on Tuesdays and optional running on Wednesdays into his routine.

Mental Preparation

While physical fitness is essential, Hewett understands the significance of mental preparedness. He employs various techniques to get into the right mindset before a game. Friday nights are reserved for carb-heavy meals and hydration, ensuring his body is fueled and ready. On game days, Hewett starts with a morning walk, using the time to clear his head, set goals, and visualize his performance. These rituals help him focus and mentally prepare for the challenges ahead.

Injury Management

Injuries are an inevitable part of any athlete’s journey, and Hewett has faced his fair share of challenges. He adopts a pragmatic approach to managing injuries, prioritizing long-term health over short-term gains. When dealing with niggles, such as tight lower back or ankle issues, Hewett listens to his body and doesn’t hesitate to take a break if needed. He understands the importance of being fully fit and prefers to miss a game or two rather than risk further damage.

Role Change

Recently, the team made significant changes to Hewett’s role within the team. With a new coach emphasizing a more dynamic playing style, Hewett’s versatility has become an asset. The team’s focus on running and agility, rather than height, has led to Hewett being deployed higher up the ground. This new role allows him to contribute more to the team’s overall strategy, utilizing his fitness for overlap runs and providing options both in offense and defense.


In conclusion, Liam Hewett’s journey in Aussie Rules Football exemplifies the dedication and adaptability required to excel in the sport. His training routines, mental preparation, and injury management strategies underscore his commitment to continuous improvement. As he embraces his evolving role within the team, Hewett showcases not only his athletic prowess but also his ability to thrive amidst change. With each match, Hewett’s evolution as a player unfolds, leaving an indelible mark on the sport and inspiring future generations of footballers.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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