Highlights of the episode:

  • Applying a full-time approach in a part-time training program
  • Importance of what topics get covered and actioned when leading a meeting
  • How often should semiprofessional athletes train each week
  • Common misconceptions in the part-time program

#stevemoore #preparelikeapro #plplivechats #podcast #melbournestrengthcoach

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Interview Transcript

Jack: And last but not least, we have Steve Moore on the show. He’ll be discussing a full-time approach in a part-time program. He’s a strength & conditioning coordinator at the Carlton Football Club. Welcome, Steve. Thanks for jumping on, mate. 

Steve: Thanks, Jack. Thanks for having me on. As Mitch said before, it’s been a great night so far.

Jack: Looking forward to you wrapping it up for us, mate. Let’s get straight into your topic. What does it mean to have a full-time approach in a part-time program? 

Steve: Essentially, what we’re looking to achieve here is the ideal. And I think, in AFLW world in its current status, whilst we would love it to be full-time, we’re dealing with the part-time approach. And essentially, what we’re looking to do is to take everything that you’d get out of a full-time elite sport environment and then filter through all the stuff, and take a bit of a holistic approach and filter through the fluff and apply that to that part-time approach as best you can.

Obviously, time constraints are the biggest staff limiting factor in that regard. But I think what we do or what we look to do a fair bit is try to look for windows of opportunities. And Jordy’s spoken about it tonight already, and so has Ben, about where we can actually microdose some of this work and get little bits of work in over the week, so it takes the pressure off other nights or those training sessions or your lifting session at a certain stage. So, where can you look at those little windows of opportunity to take what you need and really get some good quality work in at the same time?

Jack: And on that note, if you’re leading a meeting for all those, whether they work in sport or not, but if you’re facilitating the meeting, how important is it to prepare what you want to cover in the meeting? And then how important is it to make sure that what comes up in that meeting is an action? 

Steve: I think, like anything, it just comes back down to that time management. And making sure that in a meeting sense, where you’re going to be dealing with multiple different key stakeholders in that instance, and each person’s obviously try and pinch as much time as they can, and just getting your key points across, and a bit of education to different areas on why your time is important and why you should be allocated that certain amount of time is really important.

But I think from a realistic and a whole program point of view, making sure that having a schedule set, so that you know when you are going to get your time. Now, we all know working in sport that coaches and professionals don’t stick to those timelines very well. And the nights blow out pretty quickly, and things don’t go to plan. But at least if we know, we can plan as best we can going into those sessions, then we can scale back if we need to, if things push over time or whatever it may be. 

Jack: And from the athlete’s perspective, that maybe they’re not in the semi-professional program yet, but they’re working hard to get in there. How often do you think they should be training? I know it’s a really broad question, but, let’s say, they’ve got two footy sessions a week and then game day. As they’re sort of weak at the moment, how much extra work craft, and in the weights room, on the field, do you think they should be doing?

Steve: As you said, it is quite broad from that regard. It’s going to depend on a lot of different things and weather, particularly in development pathways and things like that, if they are offering strength & conditioning as a part of the program or do they need to go and outsource that.

How many suggestions along that lines? I mean, as long as they’re probably looking to get at least one to two good quality sessions in, and then the link to those sessions can be determined on the program that they’re in and the time that they may have available and the rest of the factors that go on outside of their life, from school or university, or work, whatever that may be, and trying to work things in.

So, I think coming back to that scheduling point of view, as I spoke about before, if we can get those at least probably two quality strength sessions in a week and really look at, I suppose, it’s probably almost a reverse engineering what the training sessions look like themselves. So, if you can reverse engineer and almost pick apart: okay, what am I getting from that program or that time at the club? And then look to try and find other avenues throughout the week to tick off those factors. 

Jack: Awesome. Thanks, mate. That’s great. And then for those two gym sessions, typically what should some of them be focusing more on? On strength or is it more speed-based stuff? What’s the upper body lower body split? Let’s say, for a 16-year-old developing female footballer. 

Steve: Again, I think you’re probably trying to cover all those things if you can. And again, time is going to be the biggest factor. Whether you do have the time in the week outside of trainings and everything like that, to be able to fit it all in.

But if you’re getting at least, as Mitch was saying before, from a speed and agility and an on-field perspective, from a movement capacity side of things, if you’re really trying to focus in on one particular aspect and hitting that for a period of time before moving on to the next one, and then blending that in like you would in your normal strength program and filtering it down from the top into your main call list for the session.

And then, depending on what the athlete particularly needs, filtering that out with a little bit more accessory work in one session. But if you’re getting an aspect of that speed or that athletic development component from your club, you might put more time and effort into your strength & conditioning or your strength and power stuff away from the club by working in a private sector facility or hiring a coach.

Jack: And for the strength & conditioning coaches that are listening in to the podcast, or maybe live as well, take us through your role. It sounds like there’s a fair bit going on. And football certainly has changed over the last few years now. And it seems like you’re involved with the men’s program and women’s program, is that right? 

Steve: Yeah, it’s a little bit messy. There’s a bit going on. It’s a bit all encompassing in a way. But the variety is what I enjoy within that role. So, from the AFLW component, we also have the strength and power components, and I suppose a lot of the stuff that Mitch has just spoken about before. Big shoes to fill since he’s moved on. Pretty stressful times there.

Helping out with the men’s program two to three days a week when I can, and then looking after the Carlton College Sport Program. My role is quite seasonal. The one program will run and then it will finish, and then something else will pick up and then the other one will drop off. 

It’s good from a time management point of view. I don’t have too many clashes, which is nice. But the variety of exposure to all different types of athletes and all different types of levels, then for a coach, it’s a great way to develop and learn and build on that.

Jack: Ben mentioned that there is rumors that the season is changing it, the release date for the next four to five weeks. But, effectively, we can see where footy is going. It’s going to be all year round now, where it’ll be in the papers. So, for your role, how do you manage that prospect where there’s not really enough season, I guess?

Steve: It’s a tough one. And I think we’re all sitting here and patiently waiting for potential start date and things like that. But it’s one of those things. Like in previous years, the off-season was too long. I think you can get lost in that situation, where you’ve probably got all these ideas and you have too much time to be able to put things in place. And you’re trying to find that right balance between giving the athletes a break and then also bringing them back refreshed, but still get that good work in over the off-season.

Whereas at the moment it’s been quite good off on finding our athletes are quite motivated and quite excited by the season coming up. Like they’ve had their little three to four week break, where we have said, ‘Look, you’re going away from doing your structured work. Go on holiday. Go do something different. Exercise for leisure sort of thing. And then be able to come back in, let’s say, end of June, or wherever we may be starting, and work back a month from there and start to provide a little bit more structure as we’re building.’

So, I think that factor that I spoke about previously in regards to the burnout,  the factor of being present early in the preseason or later in the preseason, hopefully, might be there this year. Because I’ll be keen to just keep rolling, since I’ve had a little bit of a break. 

Jack: And what are the common misconceptions with the part-time program, do you think, from the athletes or coaches perspective?

Steve: I spoke about time as being a bit of a limitation before. But I think time is a bit of a cheap, easy option out. I think what you get and give in regards to your training sessions and the hours within the club, that’s what it is. So, I think being able to be creative around that and actually get a little bit smarter around it and work out, as I said before, where are these little windows of opportunity.

And we spoke about it before, and Jordy touched on it as well. We split out our lifts pre and post training. So, they’ll do half their gym session pre training. And then they come off the track and therefore there’s only their lower body and accessory work to do there. So, right there and then, rather than going, ‘Oh, we have only got 20 minutes for gym post training,’ we’re doing 20–25 minutes pre training as well. All of a sudden, they’ve got 40–45 minute hit two or three times a week and being able to build on that.

So, that’s probably one of the things. And I think at the end of the day everyone’s going to have their reservations, whether it’s the athletes themselves or the coaches, on the importance of the gym and the athletic development stuff and everything that we do as coaches. But again, as it’s been a bit of a common theme tonight through the whole presentation, talking about that education factor. Being able to solely go, ‘Okay, if we’re going to roll something out to these athletes or within our program, we’re educating the people involved on what we are trying to do or why we need that time for it.’

Again, we microdose that. From an education point of view, it might be a 10-minute hit of an education theme before the coaches get into their meeting. This is why we’re doing this thing, this strength stuff, or this is why we’re doing this, when we get down onto the ground, whatever it may be. And, hopefully, over time, we’ve felt that the players have bought into it because they understand it a bit more. 

Jack: And then take us through, how does that flow? So, if the players start in the gym, do they then go into team meeting for a training meeting and then go on the field? Or if they had that team meeting before the gym session and it’s all just bang, bang, bang, all the physical stuff in a row.

Steve: I think because the players are obviously doing quite a vast range of things throughout the day, it impacts on their time that they can get to the club. Some are at university or doing other things. They may be working in the morning, so they’re free earlier and might get in a bit earlier than other athletes. They’re utilizing a good hour and a half prior to team meetings kicking off, to go on and do things like strength, go get treatment or do anything else that they need to do from a prep point of view.

Whereas some other athletes, they might be getting there at 5:15 or 5:30 for a 6:00 start. But we, hopefully, try and allow enough time and talk to those athletes. We talk about being able to offset their days in a way, so that if they, again, I keep coming back to it, those little windows that we can go, ‘All right, where can we get this working for you that suits your time management? So you don’t feel rushed, stressed when you arrive at the club.’ And therefore go and impact the way they train. 

Jack: Awesome. Fantastic, mate. Well, thank you so much for jumping on the show and sharing with us your knowledge and expertise. For those that want to get in contact and pick your brain some more, where’s the best place to get in contact?

Steve: Not Twitter, mate. I’m not really on there.

Jack: The Twitter. Hopefully, they create a new app.

Steve: Yeah, I think Elon might rebrand it now. So, just Instagram, mate. Click on @coachstevemoore. That’s probably the easiest way. 

Jack: Fantastic. Awesome. Well, like I said earlier, guys, we’ll add them all in the show notes.

Well, that’s it for tonight’s show. I’ll pop one question in to you, guys. I know it happened throughout the year with the AFLW season, essentially a bit of stick with injuries. The ACL gets popped up all the time. There’s always a bit of media, unfortunately, in our industry as well, which tend to put pressure on ourselves, and people make comments when they probably don’t have a place to, with not having experience. Does anyone want to talk up on that topic and help shedding some light on injuries and some of the things that do get popped up in the media?

Ben: Oh, I guess I’ll just say that I think some of you know Nemphis, is it how you say her last name? She’s got some pretty good articles on it. It’s a hugely complex topic. There’s a lot of misconceptions around it. If you’re able to have water heats and all that stuff, like that’s just bullshit. It’s been shown to not really have a factor. Footwear, the hardness of grounds. Like these are all you’re majoring in the minor, looking at that stuff.

Women’s footy is so new. The pathways, whilst they’re coming in, we haven’t had young girls playing footy since five, coming through to the pathway yet, and spend 5, 6, 7, 8 years playing AFLW footy. I’ll wager, once everything goes full-time and the pathways are a bit more equal, it’ll regress to the rates that we see in some other sports.

It’s a hugely complex topic. It’s not just as simple as some people in the media or even within the S&C community make it out to be. Girls aren’t getting the same opportunities or haven’t for a very long time had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, coming through the system. And I don’t think we can really accurately quantify the effects that that has on them coming into AFL system.

I think coach Sean Potter, he made public some data around his Tassie Devils preseason. They’re doing 4 to 6k sessions. Jumped straight into, bring an 18-year-old straight into an AFLW preseason. It’s a relatively short preseason compared to the boys’ too. They got from doing 4 to 6k sessions. That might be the smallest session they do all preseason in AFLW program. The demands are just that much higher. It’s going to take time. That’s my two cents on it. I really recommend reading Sophie Nemphis’s articles. I think they’ve nailed him. 

Jack: You could send me the link.

Mitch: It’s about access and opportunity, doesn’t it?

Ben: Yeah, absolutely.

Mitch: It’ll be very interesting to see once all things being equal in terms of access and opportunity for 10 or 20 year period, what the statistics will be.

Jack: Awesome. Well said, guys. And is there any other topic that we want to wrap up the show with, in regards to athlete development in AFLW? We covered a fair bit.

Mitch: I think just going back to your previous point, Jack. I think sticking up for the coaches that are currently in the AFLW system is a big one after coping  with a bit of flack or what is perceived to be flack. It’s less of a quality of coach point of view and more of a time and resources that those coaches have available to them with those athletes point of view.

Jack: A hundred percent. Well said, mate. Like Ben said, it’s so complex that you could spend hours on hours just analyzing one particular injury, let alone trying to find trends.

Ben: I think we’ve all spent time doing that. I mean, I know I do. I spend hours and hours looking at vision. There’s some really interesting people to follow on Twitter. This guy from Clemson, can’t remember his name off the top of my head. He’s a sport science guy from Clemson, who’s doing some really interesting studies or just making them a bit more public. It’s certainly what I’m discovering. And a guy called Rich Clarke. I think it’s like Rich Clarke Agility or something. A couple of really good guys there. I can’t remember his name, I wish I could remember his name, the guy from Clemson.

There’s evidence suggesting that vision is now a huge contributing factor to ACLs now. So, being able to actually pick up cues, if you’ve got deficit in a certain part of your vision that that may place you at a high risk. I don’t think we’ve really scratched the surface on ACL side. They’re so complex. They’re gone in 50 milliseconds. That’s not enough time to consciously contract a muscle to stop it. It’s going to take time to sum up Mitch’s point. It’s going to take a lot of time.

Hopefully, the research can delve into some of that context stuff in, when we talk about agility, what separates someone that’s a good mover in an open, chaotic field from someone who’s not. Hopefully, the research can start to weed that out, so we can try to train that into the people that aren’t as good, without a better way of defining it, I guess. 

Jack: It’s your colleague, Mitch. Is that the name?

Ben: Potentially. I mean, he’s pretty good, Mitch. So, I’m going to back him in there.

Jack: We’ll back him in. There you go, Mitch. Thank you. We should add Mitch down there as well. 

Ben: Maybe another time.

Jack: We’ll do an AFLW strength and power one. So, stay tuned. Well, thank you, guys. Thank you for jumping on and sharing with us. It’s been awesome. I know I’ve got a lot out of it, learned heaps. And it’s been great to connect as well.

For those that have tuned onto the live show late, make sure to listen from the very start. You can watch it now on our YouTube channel. And then we’ll post a bite-size episode of everyone’s discussion from tonight, 15 minutes segment on our podcast on a Friday for the next five to six weeks. So, stay tuned on our socials.

Our next ‘Prepare Like A Pro’ live chat show will be with the director of West Coast Health And High Performance, Chris Perkin. He’s a therapist, who’s worked with West Coast Eagles for over a decade, and he’s now running the facility out there that’s next to the West Coast facility. So, make sure to tune in 8:30 PM, May 6th, live on our YouTube channel. I’ll see you guys then. Cheers.

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