AFLW Off-Season Training Tips

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *