Episode 45 – Dylan Vizzarri

Dylan Vizzarri’s High-Performance Coaching Journey in Football

In the 45th Prepare Like a Pro podcast episode, we embark on a High-Performance Coaching Journey of Football with Dylan Vizzarri, tracing his path from playing football to leading Box Hill Hawks FC. Unveiling his coaching philosophy developed at Western Bulldogs, Oakleigh Chargers, and Hawthorn Football Club, Dylan emphasizes the essentials in physically preparing players for AFL football at Box Hill.

Throughout our discussion, the High-Performance Coaching Journey of Football emerges as more than a phrase for Dylan; it encapsulates his career’s essence. Repeatedly emphasized, it shapes players, team culture, and success, serving as a constant reminder of dedication and passion in football coaching. In summary, Dylan’s narrative is a captivating journey blending passion, experience, and expertise, guided by the core principles of High-Performance Coaching Journey Football.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Dylan’s strength & conditioning journey from the start to now
  • The importance of sticking to the basics and training lower body power in the gym.
  • His learnings from his Cadetship at Western Bulldogs
  • How personal training has helped his coaching experience and rehabilitation knowledge
  • The challenge, the 2020 COVID season brought
  • Key tips for developing footballers wanting to play at the highest level
  • The importance of having an individualized strength & conditioning program for working on your strengths as well as managing past injuries
  • The importance of internships for strength & conditioning coaches and how to make the most of them.
  • Why he has decided to study master of teaching and how it’s helping his coaching already.

Discovering Strength & Conditioning

Dylan’s odyssey began on the football field, playing from under-nines to Box Hill Hawks in the VFL. The realization that strength and conditioning could be a profession hit around 2015-2016. A fervent trainer and personal trainer, Dylan’s journey took shape pursuing a Cert IV in Fitness in 2014. University in 2016 marked a turning point, shaping his understanding of the profession and igniting his passion for strength and conditioning intricacies.

Personal Training to Strength Conditioning Pivot

Starting personal training in 2014, Dylan’s foundational experience came from a studio in Mitcham. Early years were crucial for honing skills, especially in movement and rehabilitation. Exposure to diverse cases fueled growth, offering a valuable stepping stone in coaching. The dynamic environment allowed interaction, building relationships pivotal in his journey.

Exploring High-Performance Space

Dylan’s introduction to high performance came during football days with Oakley Chargers and Box Hill Hawks. Awareness dawned in his second year with Box Hill, sparking exploration. Exposure to different high-performance managers and strength conditioning coaches at Box Hill ignited curiosity, paving the way for Dylan’s venture into coaching.

Educational Pursuits: Sports Science Degree

Choosing strength and conditioning over tactical aspects, Dylan enrolled in a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Vic Uni in 2016. The turning point came in his final year with a strength and conditioning cadetship at the Western Bulldogs. This invaluable experience offered a firsthand view of an AFL program, setting the stage for Dylan’s dive into professional sports.

Crucial Cadetship: Hands-On Learning

The Western Bulldogs cadetship, secured in his final year, provided Dylan with unparalleled insights into AFL program workings. Working two days a week, he engaged in team training, observing and assisting under guidance. Exposure to gym equipment, force plates, and real-time program administration laid the foundation for his high-performance manager role.

Navigating Development Coaching Path

Dylan’s coaching journey continued with Oakley Chargers, working closely with young talents. The hands-on experience involved programming, rehabilitation, and understanding athlete development. However, the experience was cut short by COVID-19 challenges, highlighting the nature of sports industry nature.

Masters of Teaching: Bridging Education and Coaching Gap

COVID-induced lockdown in 2020 prompted Dylan to reflect on educational pursuits. Aspiring for a Master of High-Performance Sport, circumstances led to a Master of Teaching. This decision aligns with personal interests and highlights teaching and coaching interconnectedness, especially in football and sports.

Balancing Act: Teaching, Coaching, and Shaping Futures

Teaching placements, particularly with young individuals, offer a unique perspective for Dylan. Challenges differ from coaching high-level athletes, as these students might lack gym enthusiasm. Nuanced education mirrors tailored strategies essential in high-performance coaching. Dylan’s ability to navigate both worlds enhances his effectiveness as a mentor.

Reflections on Development Coaching and Professionalism

Reflecting on time with Oakley Chargers, Dylan acknowledges the stark differences between professional and semi-professional environments. Box Hill Hawks, being a highly professional club, demands a meticulous approach with high stakes. Balancing expectations and fostering growth is a delicate yet crucial aspect of Dylan’s role.

Teaching, Coaching, and Nexus of Skill Enhancement

The nexus between teaching and coaching is evident in Dylan’s journey, enriching each other. Experience from Western Bulldogs and coaching at Oakley Chargers brings a holistic perspective to Box Hill Hawks. The synthesis underscores the multifaceted nature of shaping young talents into elite athletes.

Programming and Mistakes: Learning Curve in Coaching

Dylan’s foray into programming at Oakley Chargers offered a platform to learn from mistakes. Freedom to experiment, coupled with guidance, allowed refining skills. The contrast between semi-professional and professional environments brought diverse challenges, shaping Dylan’s approach to high-performance coaching.

Striking the Right Balance: High-Performance Manager Role

As a High-Performance Manager at Box Hill Hawks, Dylan’s role demands precision and adaptability. Navigating a professional club requires more administrative responsibilities, but Dylan cherishes hands-on experiences. Administering gym equipment to supervising rehabilitation sessions, he ensures the team’s physical readiness for VFL challenges.

Dylan’s Unique Insights: Balancing Expectations

Insights Dylan shares reflect a deep understanding of the game’s physical aspects and an empathetic connection with players. Acknowledging player fatigue after a game, he understands the delicate balance between expectations and player well-being. This nuanced approach sets him apart, creating an environment where athletes thrive physically and mentally.

Looking Ahead: Dynamic Future in High Performance

Dylan Vizzarri’s journey from a young football enthusiast to a High-Performance Manager at Box Hill Hawks is a testament to sports careers’ multifaceted nature. Commitment to continuous learning, hands-on experiences, and a holistic understanding positions him as a dynamic force. Navigating challenges and victories, Dylan remains an inspiration for athletes, coaches, and anyone passionate about sports, education, and personal growth.

People mentioned:

  • Matt Inness
  • Luke Boyd
  • Sean Murphy
  • Sam Mitchell
  • Marcos Bellos
  • Zane Leonard
  • Ben Janson
  • Nick Jack
  • James Serong
  • Daniel Napoli

Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify

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