Effective Strength Training TechniquesCategoriesCoaches High Performance PLP Podcast

#262 – The Importance of Education and Mentorship for Strength & Conditioning Coaches

Mastering Effective Strength Training: Techniques for Optimal Results

John Mitchell is a seasoned professional with a passion for transforming coaches and driving professional growth. With an impressive background in strength and conditioning, John has honed his expertise in developing innovative strategies, including Effective Strength Training Techniques, that deliver outstanding results.

Effective strength training techniques are the cornerstone of a successful fitness journey. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting on your path to better health, understanding and applying the right methods can make a world of difference. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the strategies that can help you master the art of strength training, ensuring that you achieve the optimal results you desire.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Tips and advice for coaches looking to work with a mentor
  • Certificates and conferences he recommends for networking
  • How to simplify your feedback process
  • How to bring energy to your coaching sessions
  • The importance of being clear on your coaching philosophy

People mentioned:

  • Dan Baker
  • Kelvin Giles
  • Sean Mcrae
  • Ben Serpel
  • David Marsh
  • Charles Poliquin

Why Effective Strength Training Matters

Strength training forms the foundation of any well-rounded fitness routine. It not only helps you build muscle mass but also improves bone density, metabolism, and overall functional fitness. However, the key lies in doing it right. Without proper techniques, you might end up frustrated with limited progress or, worse, risk injuries. That’s why mastering effective strength training techniques is crucial.

The Principles of Effective Strength Training

Before delving into specific techniques, it’s important to understand the principles that govern effective strength training. These principles provide the framework upon which your workouts should be built. They include progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing resistance, and specificity, which focuses on targeting specific muscle groups with appropriate exercises.

Techniques for Optimal Strength Gains

  1. Compound Movements: Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. They maximize efficiency and result in significant overall strength gains.
  2. Isolation Exercises: Isolation exercises target individual muscles and are essential for achieving balanced muscle development. Examples include bicep curls and tricep extensions.
  3. Proper Form and Technique: Maintaining proper form throughout your exercises is paramount. It not only prevents injuries but also ensures that you’re effectively targeting the intended muscles.
  4. Varied Repetitions and Sets: Incorporating a mix of rep ranges and sets keeps your muscles challenged and promotes both strength and muscle growth.
  5. Rest and Recovery: Giving your muscles adequate time to recover is as important as the workout itself. Overtraining can lead to burnout and hinder progress.
  6. Nutrition and Hydration: Fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated supports muscle recovery and growth, enhancing the effectiveness of your training.

Creating Your Effective Strength Training Plan

Tailoring a strength training plan to your individual goals is essential. Whether you’re aiming for muscle hypertrophy, increased strength, or improved athletic performance, your routine should reflect your objectives. Consulting a fitness professional can provide valuable insights and guidance in structuring an effective plan.

Staying Consistent for Lasting Success

Consistency is the key to unlocking the full potential of effective strength training techniques. Results won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and adherence to your plan, you’ll start noticing positive changes in your strength and overall fitness. Remember that every person’s journey is unique, so be patient with yourself and celebrate every milestone along the way.


Mastering effective strength training techniques empowers you to take charge of your fitness journey and achieve remarkable results. By understanding the principles, incorporating proper techniques, and designing a personalized plan, you set the stage for optimal strength gains and improved overall well-being. Commitment, consistency, and a passion for growth will propel you toward success, making your fitness goals not just achievable, but sustainable in the long run.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Hamstring Injury Rehabilitation ProgramCategoriesPLP Podcast Weekly Updates

Episode 91 – Hamstring Resilience Navigating Safe Rehabilitation

Effective Hamstring Injury Rehabilitation Program: Navigating Recovery

Hamstring injuries can be both frustrating and debilitating for athletes and active individuals. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, a well-structured rehabilitation program is essential to ensure a safe and successful recovery. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through an effective hamstring injury rehabilitation program that covers a span of three weeks. This program, designed by experts in the field, emphasizes a gradual and systematic approach to help you regain strength, and mobility, and ultimately, get back to your regular activities.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Get the diagnosis right
  • Loading your hamstring
  • Maintain as much football load as you can
  • Start progressing with your running speed
  • Start progressing with your intensity
  • Return to playing

Understanding Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries are quite common in sports that involve explosive movements, such as sprinting, jumping, and sudden changes in direction. These injuries can range from mild strains to severe tears, and their recovery process can vary based on factors like the extent of the injury and individual differences.

Week 1: Laying the Foundation

During the initial week of the rehabilitation program, the primary focus is on accurately diagnosing the injury. This step is crucial as it guides the subsequent treatment plan. Typically, physiotherapists and sports doctors play a key role in diagnosing hamstring injuries. They rely on clinical assessments and scans to determine the severity and location of the injury. For those without access to a physiotherapist, seeking one’s assistance in the private sector is highly recommended.

Week 2: Gradual Progression

As you enter the second week, it’s essential to start loading the injured hamstring strategically. Even performing simple isotonic movements like hamstring curls can aid in the recovery process. If pain is a concern, you can opt for eccentric movements, which involve lengthening the hamstring. Additionally, isometric exercises can also be beneficial. The goal is to progressively increase the load on the hamstring, facilitating strength restoration.

Maintaining Football Load

Throughout the program, maintaining a certain level of football-related activities is crucial. During week 1, activities like jogging, slow speed running, and even ground ball exercises can be continued, provided they don’t cause setbacks or discomfort. These low-impact activities contribute to overall conditioning and prevent deconditioning during the recovery period.

Week 3: Integrating Football Program

As you approach week 3, integration into the football program becomes a focal point. You’ll aim to hit 85-90% of your maximum velocity during your main training sessions. Hard accelerations, such as 5, 10, and 15-meter sprints, are introduced to simulate game-like scenarios. These drills involve rapid shifts in force production and deceleration, training your hamstring to handle high-intensity movements.

The Road to Recovery: Week 4

By week 4, you should have achieved significant progress in terms of strength markers and performance metrics. At this point, you’ll likely be ready to return to play, having completed full training sessions and reaching above 90% of your maximum velocity. This transition should be gradual and monitored closely by your healthcare professionals to ensure that your hamstring is fully prepared for the demands of your sport.

Tailoring the Program to Your Needs

It’s important to note that every individual’s recovery journey is unique. Factors such as the severity of the injury, your sport, and your overall health play a role in shaping your rehabilitation program. Working closely with medical professionals, physiotherapists, and coaches will ensure that the program is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.


Hamstring injuries can be challenging, but with the right rehabilitation program, you can navigate your way to a full recovery. Remember that patience and consistency are key throughout the process. By following a structured and gradual approach, you’ll not only regain strength and mobility but also reduce the risk of re-injury. If you’re dealing with a hamstring injury, consult with healthcare experts and embark on this comprehensive rehabilitation program to get back to doing what you love safely and confidently.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify
Effective Strength and PowerCategoriesCoaches Medical PLP Podcast

#260 – How to Design a Strength & Power Program for your Sport

In the realm of athletic prowess, the pursuit of excellence knows no bounds. Every stride, every leap, and every tackle is a testament to the unrelenting dedication that drives athletes to reach their peak performance. In this journey, one cornerstone stands tall: effective strength and power training. This dynamic duo forms the bedrock upon which champions are built, allowing athletes to unleash their full potential on the field.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Key fundamentals of Strength & Power training that every athlete should be aware of
  • How he uses movement screens to individualize his strength and power programs
  • His advice for athletes when it comes to setting achievable goals in their Strength & Power training
  • How does he address the psychological aspect of training athletes to help them perform at their best
  • Top three pieces of advice for athletes who want to optimize their Strength & Power training

Effective Strength and Power: A Pathway to Athletic Supremacy

When it comes to designing programs that propel field-based team athletes, such as rugby and football players, toward their zenith, the key lies in the meticulous orchestration of their strength and power regimens. Brentan Parsons, a seasoned Strength & Power Coach at Gold Coast Titans, unveils the underlying philosophy that drives his approach.

At the heart of Parsons’ methodology lies a profound emphasis on establishing structural fundamentals. These fundamentals encompass an array of fundamental movements, including the likes of push-pull motions, overhead presses, squats, lunges, hip hinges, and the art of controlled landing. Each of these elements forms the building blocks upon which an athlete’s strength and power are harnessed and honed.

The Blueprint: Strategic Screening and Assessment

Parsons’ approach isn’t merely a shot in the dark; it’s a meticulously crafted symphony. To tailor his training protocols to the unique needs of each athlete, he employs a comprehensive screening process. This involves a battery of tests, evaluating factors such as hamstring flexibility, piriformis function, hip flexor health, shoulder rotation capacity, and the robustness of the shoulder cuff. These insights offer a roadmap for designing a program that addresses an athlete’s individual strengths and weaknesses, ensuring a solid foundation for future growth.

Setting the Course: Goal Setting for Optimal Gains

Goal setting is the compass that guides an athlete’s journey to success. Parsons sheds light on this crucial aspect, advocating for a multifaceted approach. The nature of goals, he explains, depends on an athlete’s phase, whether in the throes of competition or basking in the off-season’s respite. However, the crux of effective goal setting, according to Parsons, lies in identifying and prioritizing immediate needs. This hierarchy ensures that athletes focus their energies on what’s truly essential for their development.

Mastering the Mental Game: Navigating the Emotional Terrain

The realm of sports is a rollercoaster of emotions, and effective coaching extends beyond the physical domain. Parsons delves into the often-overlooked psychological and mental aspects of coaching. Drawing parallels between the stages of grieving and the stages of rehab, he elucidates the importance of maintaining emotional equilibrium. Striking a balance between highs and lows is essential for an athlete’s overall well-being and sustained success.

In a world where results are paramount, athletes sometimes find themselves succumbing to the allure of shortcuts. Parsons addresses this common pitfall with a seasoned perspective. He advises athletes to resist the urge to hasten progress by pursuing excessive supplementary sessions. Instead, he champions a steadfast faith in the training process, coupled with open communication with strength coaches. It’s a reminder that the road to excellence is paved with patience and diligence.

In Conclusion: A Holistic Approach to Athletic Eminence

As the sun sets on this exploration of effective strength and power training, a profound understanding emerges. Brentan Parsons’ philosophy is not merely a guide to building physical prowess; it’s a blueprint for nurturing the holistic growth of an athlete. By focusing on foundational movements, tailored assessments, strategic goal setting, and emotional resilience, athletes can chart a course toward unparalleled excellence. This journey, rooted in dedication and guided by wisdom, is the true hallmark of champions on and off the field.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Effective Football Strength ConditioningCategoriesPLP Podcast Weekly Updates

Episode 90 – The Science Behind Effective Football Strength & Conditioning

Unlocking Peak Performance: The Science Behind Effective Football Strength Conditioning

When it comes to excelling in the dynamic and demanding sport of football, effective strength conditioning is an essential component that can make all the difference. Understanding the science behind optimizing your strength and conditioning routine can significantly contribute to your peak performance on the field. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the key aspects of preparing for peak performance, establishing a robust routine, mastering the fundamentals of strength and conditioning, periodizing your training for finals, and adopting an elite lifestyle to ensure you’re at the top of your game.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Have a supportive team around you
  • Be clear of your routine
  • Fundamentals of S&C in AFL
  • Maintaining enough workload
  • Periodizing training cycle for finals
  • Elite lifestyle

The Foundation: Preparing for Peak Performance

Whether you’re part of a renowned league team or a dedicated individual player, building a supportive team around you is paramount. While elite setups provide access to professionals like sports dietitians, psychologists, and physiotherapists, crafting your own support network can be equally effective. Consider enlisting a knowledgeable strength and conditioning coach, and a skilled physiotherapist to keep you in optimal physical shape throughout your journey. These experts can guide you in creating a personalized and sustainable support system that aligns with your resources and goals.

Crafting Your Path: The Power of Routine

Central to your success is a well-defined routine that forms the backbone of your preparation. Each day leading up to game day holds significance, and having a structured routine in place ensures you’re consistently moving toward your performance peak. Whether it’s the day after a match or a few days before a crucial game, every day demands a specific focus. For instance, if your match is on Saturday, your Tuesday training session becomes pivotal. By meticulously planning your routine, you’ll optimize your readiness for training sessions and ultimately for your main game day.

Mastering the Basics: Fundamentals of Strength and Conditioning in Football

A holistic strength and conditioning routine encompasses various elements that contribute to your overall athleticism. A typical training session includes a performance prep phase, incorporating mobility and running drills, as well as plyometric exercises to enhance explosive strength. Maintaining a balanced chronic workload is equally crucial, acting as a safeguard against soft tissue injuries. This period is not about reducing intensity, but rather about ensuring your body remains conditioned and resilient, especially as you approach the demanding finals period.

Fine-Tuning for Success: Periodizing Training for Finals

As the finals draw near, a strategic approach to training becomes paramount. The focus shifts to maximizing intensity across all aspects of your football training regimen. Every warm-up, agility drill, and speed run-through must have a distinct purpose, aiding your minimum effective dose approach. The goal is to ensure you’re primed for each upcoming match, while also considering the broader context of the current season. It’s a time to fine-tune, refine, and direct all efforts toward immediate success on the field.

Living the Elite Athlete Lifestyle: Sleep, Nutrition, and Stress Management

Beyond the training ground, three pillars stand tall in an athlete’s quest for excellence: sleep, nutrition, and stress management. These pillars significantly impact your overall performance and recovery. Quality sleep ensures your body is rejuvenated and ready to tackle each day’s challenges. Proper nutrition, sourced from high-quality ingredients, fuels your body optimally, providing the energy and nutrients needed for peak performance. Meanwhile, effective stress management techniques keep your mind sharp and focused, enhancing your mental resilience under pressure.

In conclusion, effective football strength conditioning is a science that can elevate your game to unparalleled heights. By assembling a dedicated support team, adhering to a structured routine, mastering fundamental training principles, and adopting an elite lifestyle, you can position yourself for success on the football field. As you embark on this journey, remember that every aspect of your preparation contributes to your overall performance, and by harnessing the power of science-backed conditioning, you’re well on your way to achieving peak performance and making your mark in the world of football.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify
Injury Mitigation MythsCategoriesCoaches Medical PLP Podcast

#258 – The Resilient Athlete: Enda King’s Insights into Developing Strength and Mitigating Injuries

Key topic: The Resilient Athlete: Enda King’s Insights into Developing Strength and Mitigating Injuries 

Enda King is a highly accomplished and sought-after sports physiotherapist, researcher, and educator, specializing in Injury Mitigation Myths. With a wealth of experience in sports medicine and athlete performance, Enda has become a prominent figure in the field.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Common misconceptions for injury mitigation
  • Tips and advice for increasing player availability in field-based sports
  • Things he considers when adjusting the training load in his sessions
  • Exercises for athletes returning from a groin injury
  • Practical tips parents can apply to mitigate injuries

People mentioned:

  • Frans Bosch
  • Ian Jeffrey
  • Nick Winkelman
  • Chris Rictor


When it comes to injury mitigation, there’s no shortage of well-meaning advice and popular beliefs. From the idea that exercise alone is a shield against injuries to the pursuit of a magical solution that guarantees injury prevention, these misconceptions can lead athletes and coaches down the wrong path. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unpack these myths and reveal the science-backed truths that can help athletes build robust bodies and enhance their performance sustainably.

The Silver Bullet Fallacy

One of the most pervasive myths in the realm of injury mitigation is the notion of a “silver bullet” solution. This belief suggests that there’s a single approach or technique that can prevent injuries across the board. While it’s tempting to hope for a quick fix, the reality is far more nuanced. Every athlete’s body is unique, and their individual needs and vulnerabilities must be considered.

Individualization: Anatomy and Sport Demands

Enda King, Head of High Performance and Development at Aspetar, emphasizes the importance of individualization in injury mitigation. According to King, the focus should not solely be on exercise or a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it’s crucial to consider an athlete’s anatomy and the demands of their sport. Each sport places specific stresses on the body, and tailoring training regimens to these demands can contribute significantly to injury prevention.

Performance-Oriented Approach

Rather than fixating solely on injury prevention, a performance-oriented approach can yield more effective results. King advises athletes to focus on what they need to achieve in terms of performance and conditioning. By setting performance-related goals, athletes can work towards building their bodies to withstand the demands of their sport. This perspective shift can lead to more comprehensive and sustainable injury mitigation strategies.

Beyond Exercise: Mechanics and Explosive Strength

To truly dispel injury mitigation myths, it’s important to expand the focus beyond exercise alone. Mechanics and explosive strength play critical roles in an athlete’s ability to prevent injuries and perform optimally. Running mechanics, for instance, can impact an athlete’s susceptibility to certain injuries. Additionally, focusing on explosive strength can enhance an athlete’s overall resilience and ability to recover from intense physical demands.

Balancing Training Loads

One of the challenges in injury mitigation lies in finding the right balance between pushing an athlete’s limits and avoiding overexertion. King suggests that coaches and athletes need to strike a delicate balance between pushing and pulling back during training sessions. While having a structured training plan is essential, it’s equally important to listen to the body’s signals and adjust training loads based on an athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall condition.

Rehabilitation and Bridging the Gap

In the realm of injury rehabilitation, misconceptions can also cloud the path to recovery. King specifically addresses the rehabilitation of groin injuries, which often require careful attention and a strategic approach. He highlights the importance of targeting specific muscle groups to bridge the gap between gym exercises and on-field activities. Strengthening the muscle groups relevant to an athlete’s sport can prevent re-injury and ensure a smoother transition back to full performance.

Practical Tips for Athletes and Coaches

While professionals like Enda King provide invaluable guidance, not all athletes have access to a dedicated support team. For developing athletes or those without access to specialized coaches, practical tips can make a significant difference. Prioritizing rest and recovery, listening to the body, and avoiding the urge to overextend are key takeaways. By being mindful of their bodies and implementing consistent training routines, athletes can pave the way for long and successful careers.


In the journey toward injury mitigation, it’s essential to debunk the myths that often lead athletes astray. The truth lies in individualization, performance-oriented approaches, and a comprehensive understanding of an athlete’s body mechanics and strengths. By dispelling misconceptions and embracing well-informed strategies, athletes and coaches can work together to build resilient bodies that are primed for peak performance and long-lasting health. Remember, there’s no magic solution, but with knowledge and dedication, the path to injury mitigation becomes clearer than ever before.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

elite human performance leadershipCategoriesCoaches High Performance PLP Podcast

#256 – The Hidden Determinants Behind Human Performance

The Hidden Determinants Behind Human Performance

Greg, highly trained in leadership and elite human performance leadership, works globally, offering diverse skills to clients. He is the Managing Director of Lead the Pack, a consultancy for Leadership and Elite Human Performance leadership.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Common determinants from champions that contribute to athletic excellence
  • Effective ways to open up the mindset of athletes
  • Key principles to be an effective leader
  • How to develop resilient athletes
  • The significance of trusting your instinct

Building Athletic Resilience: Key Strategies for Success


Athletic excellence requires more than physical prowess. Success in sports depends on factors beyond talent and hard work. Building athletic resilience is crucial for triumph. In this post, we explore determinants of athletic success, maturing, raising consciousness, and effective strategies for resilience in athletes. We also discuss the power of intuition for better decision-making.

The Hidden Determinants of Athletic Success

Greg Muller, Managing Director at Lead the Pack, researched elite athletes to identify critical success determinants. Maturing and raising consciousness, or building athletic resilience, play a significant role in facing challenges and pressure.

The Power of Maturing and Raising Consciousness

Building athletic resilience involves growth beyond physical skills. Athletes learn, study, seek mentorship, and become well-rounded individuals. This approach enhances performance and nurtures future leaders.

Developing Resilience in Athletes

Resilience is bouncing back from adversity and maintaining mental robustness. Coaches focus on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects to instill resilience in athletes.

The Role of Intuition in Athletic Decision-making

Experience and time sharpen intuition in sports. Elite coaches make critical decisions effectively, even in uncertainty, thanks to finely tuned intuition.


Building athletic resilience involves continuous learning, maturing, and developing well-rounded individuals. Success requires mental strength, emotional fortitude, and spiritual growth. Embracing resilience and intuition leads to extraordinary accomplishments. Nurturing these aspects creates exceptional athletes excelling on and off the field.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

AFL strength & conditioning coachCategoriesPLP Podcast Weekly Updates

Episode 89 – How to work in the AFL as a strength & conditioning coach

AFL Strength & Conditioning Coach: Guide to Success

Are you passionate about sports and fitness, with a keen interest in Australian Rules Football (AFL)? Becoming an AFL strength & conditioning coach could be your dream career! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the essential knowledge and skills to excel in this dynamic role. From understanding the diverse responsibilities to qualifications and practical tips, let’s dive into the world of AFL strength & conditioning coaching.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Understand the roles
  • Develop your coaching skills
  • Social connection
  • Technology
  • Qualifications

1. Understanding the Roles and Opportunities

To begin your journey as an AFL strength & conditioning coach, it’s crucial to comprehend the various roles within the league. At present, the head of Fitness/high-performance manager assumes a pivotal position in this department. They focus on understanding the coaches’ strategies and the team’s needs, coordinating the medical and physical performance team, and managing support staff such as sports psychologists, dietitians, sports scientists, and data analysts. By grasping these roles, you can prepare yourself for the multifaceted challenges that lie ahead.

2. Embracing the Art of Coaching

Coaching forms the bedrock of a successful AFL strength & conditioning career in the AFL. You must cultivate a clear coaching philosophy that encompasses power development, conditioning prescription, and exercise progressions. From Plyometrics to max strength development, high-speed sessions to agility training, having a comprehensive database and tracking record of various exercise frameworks will be instrumental in your role as a coach. Stay focused on refining your skills and adaptability to be better each day.

3. Nurturing Social Connections

Football clubs, including those in the AFL, value social connections and camaraderie. Players endure long pre-seasons and intense competitive seasons, making it essential for them to feel a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment. As an AFL strength & conditioning coach, your ability to connect with players, build strong relationships, and maintain a fun and engaging environment can contribute significantly to the team’s overall well-being and performance.

4. Harnessing the Power of Technology

Technology plays a vital role in modern AFL strength & conditioning coaching. Depending on the team’s program, you may encounter a wide range of objective and subjective data. Some clubs, like Hawthorn, lean towards a more instinctual and personal approach, while others, such as Melbourne, place a greater emphasis on objective data and clear plans. Understanding and effectively utilizing technology will enable you to tailor training programs, monitor progress, and maximize player performance.

5. Pursuing Qualifications and Education

While passion and knowledge are essential, formal qualifications are equally crucial in establishing yourself as an AFL strength & conditioning coach. A sports science degree is the minimum requirement, providing you with a ticket to enter this competitive field. Many full-time staff members also hold a master’s degree in high performance, which can enhance your credibility and expertise. Volunteering at elite clubs, even while pursuing your education, can be a stepping stone toward your ultimate goals.


Becoming an AFL strength & conditioning coach is a rewarding and challenging career path. By understanding the diverse roles, embracing coaching as an art, nurturing social connections, harnessing technology, and pursuing the right qualifications, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic field. As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that dedication, continuous learning, and a genuine passion for the game will set you apart and pave the way for a fulfilling career in the AFL. Good luck on your path to becoming an influential force behind the athletes’ peak performance!

Listen: iTunes | Spotify
High-Performance EnvironmentCategoriesCoaches High Performance PLP Podcast

#254 – Creating a Culture of Excellence Strategies for High-Performance

Key topic:  Creating a Culture of Excellence Strategies for High-Performance

Simon Thomas, armed with years of experience and a relentless pursuit of greatness, uncovers the key strategies and principles that underpin high-performance environments. 

From fostering a winning mindset to implementing effective training techniques, Simon leaves no stone unturned in his quest to help you unlock your true potential.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Elements to create a high-performance environment and a culture of excellence
  • Effective Communication that drives high-performance
  • Importance of leadership in maintaining a high-performance environment
  • Strategies for managing setbacks, overcoming obstacles, and bouncing back stronger in the face of adversity
  • Practical tips to build awareness and foster personal growth

Building a Winning Culture: Key Insights from Simon Thomas, Head of High-Performance at Western Force


Simon Thomas, the Head of High-Performance at Western Force, shares valuable insights on how to cultivate a winning culture in different contexts. In this blog post, we will explore his thoughts on defining excellence for each group, the significance of effective communication, the diverse forms of leadership, and the importance of building resilience and optimism to achieve success.

Defining Excellence: A Tailored Approach

Simon Thomas emphasizes the importance of customizing the concept of excellence based on the specific group, considering factors like history, resources, and cohesion. By setting realistic and attainable goals, teams can foster motivation and create a culture of achievement that suits their unique circumstances.

Effective Communication: The Key to Unity

In any high-performance setting, communication is the glue that holds the team together. Simon Thomas underscores the significance of effective communication among staff members, players, and coaches. One common pitfall is overwhelming players with an abundance of information. To address this, Thomas advocates for clear and concise messaging, ensuring alignment within the organization. By streamlining communication channels, teams can eliminate confusion and ensure that every individual is on the same page, working towards the same objectives.

Leadership: Beyond Experience

Leadership is the backbone of any successful high-performance environment. Simon Thomas challenges the conventional notion that leadership is solely based on experience or seniority. Some individuals excel at leading by example, inspiring others through their actions and work ethic. Others possess exceptional narrative skills, captivating their peers with their vision and storytelling abilities. Embracing various leadership styles allows teams to tap into the strengths of different individuals and foster a collaborative and dynamic culture.

Building Resilience: Embracing Setbacks

Resilience is a vital quality for navigating the ups and downs of any high-performance journey. Simon Thomas highlights the inevitability of setbacks and challenges and the importance of learning from these experiences. To cultivate resilience, teams can invest in mindset coaching and optimism-focused courses. These resources equip individuals with the tools to remain focused, positive, and solution-oriented even in the face of adversity.


Creating a high-performance environment is a continuous and multifaceted process. Simon Thomas, the Head of High-Performance at Western Force, offers valuable insights into cultivating success in different contexts. By defining excellence tailored to each group’s circumstances, emphasizing effective communication, embracing diverse forms of leadership, and building resilience through optimism, teams can foster a winning culture that drives them toward greatness.

Incorporating these key principles into their approach, teams can set themselves apart in their respective domains and achieve sustained success. Let us take inspiration from these insights and embark on a journey of growth and excellence.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

AFL post-game recovery to prevent injuries.CategoriesPLP Podcast Weekly Updates

Episode 87 – Enhance Your Performance AFL Post Game Recovery and Body Management

Enhancing Athletic Performance: The Art of Post-Game Recovery and Body Management


Being an athlete is an exhilarating journey filled with triumphs, challenges, and the pursuit of excellence. AFL Recovery and Body Management play a vital role in achieving peak performance. In this blog post, we will explore the crucial aspects of post-game recovery and body management that impact an athlete’s performance. Being an athlete is demanding, requiring attention to both training and recovery. AFL Recovery and Body Management are key to consistent peak performance.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Fuel and hydration strategy on game day
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Passive recovery
  • Active recovery
  • Cold water immersion
  • Sleep hygiene

Fueling for Success

Kickstarting the recovery process begins with proper nutrition. As an athlete, your body is a high-performance machine, and it requires the right fuel to function optimally. On game day, make sure you are well-fueled by consuming a balanced meal that includes a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. A valuable resource for understanding how to fuel for performance is Jess Spenlove. She offers recipes, PDFs, and ebooks that can guide you in preparing the right meals to meet your athletic needs.

In addition to fueling before the game, it’s essential to refuel during the game to maintain energy levels. Hydration is also critical; however, striking a balance is crucial. Avoid over-hydration, which could lead to frequent trips to the restroom during the game. Similarly, don’t overload yourself with heavy foods that might make you feel sluggish. The goal is to feel energized and ready to attack the game.

Relaxation Strategies for Mental Recovery

After an intense game, your body isn’t the only thing that requires recovery; your mind does too. Relaxation techniques play a significant role in helping athletes recuperate mentally. Studies have shown that individualized relaxation activities work best for different athletes, so it’s essential to experiment with various strategies to find what works best for you.

Visualization activities and breathing exercises are some common relaxation techniques that can help calm your mind. Engaging in mindful activities can also aid in post-game mental recovery. After trying out different strategies, rank them based on their effectiveness and find the ones that suit your needs the most.

Embracing Passive Recovery with Massage

While the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of massage in post-game recovery may not be conclusive, many elite athletes swear by it. Massage offers a placebo effect that aids in full relaxation and promotes blood flow to the muscles. By soothing tense muscles, massage can expedite the recovery process, both physically and mentally. Consider incorporating massage into your post-game recovery routine to experience its potential benefits firsthand.

Active Recovery: The Power of Water Immersion

Active recovery is another valuable aspect of post-game recovery. Water immersion, specifically in a pool, can work wonders in promoting blood flow, reducing inflammation, and flushing out byproducts such as lactate, which accumulates during high-intensity activities like competitive sports. Even a short 10 to 15-minute recovery sequence in the pool can make a significant difference in how your body feels after a game.

Consider reaching out to experienced athletes or professionals for a pool-based recovery routine, or experiment with different water exercises like leg swings and mobility exercises. The accessibility of pools near most sports grounds makes it a convenient and effective recovery option.

The Science of Sleep: A Vital Recovery Tool

Perhaps the most critical factor in post-game recovery is sleep. The importance of quality sleep cannot be overstated when it comes to optimizing athletic performance. Sleep is the time when the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, both physically and mentally.

Depriving your body of adequate sleep can have severe negative effects on your recovery and performance. It can impair cognitive function, strength, endurance, and speed. After an intense game, prioritize a good night’s sleep to allow your body to recover effectively.


As an athlete, the pursuit of greatness is a journey that requires a holistic approach. Post-game recovery and body management play a pivotal role in achieving peak performance consistently. From proper nutrition and hydration to individualized relaxation strategies, from massage to water immersion and the science of sleep, every aspect contributes to the athlete’s overall well-being and success.

By embracing these recovery techniques and making them an integral part of your athletic routine, you can enhance your performance, minimize the risk of injuries, and ensure that you consistently perform at your best. Remember, taking care of your body is an investment in your future success as an athlete. So, fuel up, relax, recover actively, and get a good night’s sleep your body will thank you, and your performance will soar to new heights.





Listen: iTunes | Spotify
High Performance Athlete TrainingCategoriesCoaches High Performance PLP Podcast

#252 – Strategies for High-Performance AFL Athletes

Key topic: Building Champions: Strategies for High-Performance AFL Athletes

In this episode, we explore high-performance AFL athletes with Daniel Zaknich, Senior Physical Performance Coach at GWS Giants. Discover the science behind AFL excellence, mental resilience, and the strategies that create successful players. Join us for an exciting look into the world of high-performance athlete training.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Big rocks when preparing athletes to perform at a high level
  • Practical tips on strength training and recovery for young athletes
  • Deficiencies he notices in NAB athletes that prevent them from transitioning to AFL athletes
  • Future trends in intervention in AFL performance
  • How he gets coaches on board when he’s starting on a new club

People mentioned:

  • Jason Weber
  • Matthew Inness
  • Andrew Horabin
  • Robin Thorpe

High-Performance Athlete Training: Key Strategies for Success

Aspiring athletes dream of reaching the pinnacle of success in their respective sports. Whether it’s on the field, court, or track, the journey to becoming a high-performance athlete requires dedication, hard work, and the right training strategies. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential elements that contribute to achieving peak performance in sports. From routine optimization to effective recovery techniques, every step counts in the pursuit of excellence.

1. The Importance of Team Alignment

At the core of any successful high-performance training program lies a cohesive and aligned team. Teamwork isn’t just essential on the field; it’s equally critical behind the scenes. Coaches, physical performance experts, and support staff must work together with a shared philosophy to ensure athletes receive the best training possible. The key phrase, “high-performance athlete training,” emphasizes the centrality of this concept, where collaboration among team members enhances an athlete’s potential.

2. Prioritizing Routine Elements

One of the most overlooked aspects of high-performance athlete training is establishing and prioritizing routines. For young athletes just starting, routine elements like sleep cycles, nutrition, and weight management play a crucial role in their overall development. These building blocks set the foundation for more intense training later on and can significantly impact an athlete’s performance trajectory.

3. Moving Beyond Specificity

While honing specific skills is essential in sports, young athletes must also focus on developing movement variability. Overemphasizing specificity at an early stage can limit an athlete’s ability to adapt and grow. Encouraging diverse movements and exercises can foster better athleticism and prepare athletes for a more well-rounded performance on the field.

4. Future Trends in High Performance

The world of high-performance athlete training is ever-evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is vital for success. As technology and sports science progress, athletes and coaches can expect advances in recovery modalities and training interventions. Understanding the effectiveness of these new approaches and measuring their impact will be crucial in optimizing athlete performance.

5. Fostering Coach-Athlete Relationships

For a training program to reach its full potential, fostering strong coach-athlete relationships is paramount. Coaches need to engage in open and honest conversations with their athletes, seeking their input and feedback on training methods. Involving coaches in specific training scenarios and exercises can create a sense of ownership and alignment with the overall training strategy.


Becoming a high-performance athlete is a journey that requires dedication, discipline, and a comprehensive training approach. From building a cohesive team with a shared philosophy to prioritizing routines and embracing movement variability, every aspect plays a crucial role in unlocking an athlete’s true potential. As the landscape of high-performance athlete training continues to evolve, staying informed about future trends and optimizing coach-athlete relationships will be essential for achieving success on and off the field. So, aspiring athletes, embrace these key strategies, and set yourself on the path to becoming a high-performance athlete.

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