Effective Athlete Development WaysCategoriesHigh Performance Podcast Strength & Conditioning Coaches Tips

Episode 220 – The Most Effective Ways To Physically Develop Athletes

Effective Athlete Development Ways: Key Strategies for Success

Aspiring athletes dream of reaching their peak performance and achieving greatness in their chosen sports. The journey from a promising talent to a successful athlete requires dedication, hard work, and the right guidance. In this article, we will explore effective athlete development ways that can unlock the full potential of young athletes and set them on the path to success.

1. Emphasize Unified Vision and Communication

One of the most critical factors in athlete development is a unified vision and effective communication throughout the club or team. Coaches, assistant coaches, strength and conditioning specialists, medical staff, and other stakeholders must share the same ideas and vision for the club’s future. This cohesion ensures that everyone works towards the same goals and supports the athletes in their journey.

2. Strength Training for Older Youth Athletes

For older youth athletes who have gone through puberty and developed muscle mass, strength training plays a vital role in their physical development. Implementing well-structured and consistent strength sessions can improve their overall athletic performance, injury resilience, and competitive edge.

3. Football-Specific Training in Soccer

In soccer, athletes and coaches can benefit from incorporating football-specific drills and technical aspects into their strength and conditioning programs. By blending skill-focused training with physical development, athletes can improve their performance on the field and elevate their game to the next level.

4. The Potential of Under-23 Leagues in Australian Rules Football

Australian Rules Football (AFL) has a rich tradition of player development through various pathways. Exploring the potential of under-23 leagues can provide young players with more opportunities to compete at a higher level, further honing their skills and gaining valuable experience against seasoned athletes.

5. Avoiding Mistakes in Academy Programs

In the pursuit of excellence, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes in academy programs. Young athletes, especially those who seem physically mature, need to follow well-structured training plans to prevent overuse injuries and other medical issues. Consistency in training should be prioritized to ensure their long-term development.


Effective athlete development requires a collective effort from all involved in a sports club or team. By fostering a unified vision, emphasizing strength training for older youth athletes, blending football-specific training in soccer, exploring under-23 leagues in Australian Rules Football, and avoiding common academy program mistakes, we unlock athletes’ full potential. These strategies lead to continuous growth, peak performance, and goal achievement. Success isn’t just about winning games but nurturing talent, passion, and dedication, shaping exceptional players and individuals. Coaches, SNC specialists, and sports club members all play a crucial role in this process, contributing to the champions of tomorrow.

Highlights from the episode:

  • What he learned from successful clubs from different leagues
  • His key focuses or big rocks for his daily and weekly training sessions
  • Advice for new coaches to get buy-in from athletes
  • Benefits of under-23 Australian rules footballer
  • Common programming mistakes S&C coaches make and how to prevent them
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Journey Within Personal GrowthCategoriesAFL Players Podcast

Episode 35- Josh Dunkley

Unveiling the Path to Personal Growth: A Journey Within

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, amidst the responsibilities and obligations, it’s easy to lose sight of one crucial aspect—Journey Within Personal Growth. The journey within, often overlooked, holds the key to unlocking our true potential and leading a fulfilling life.

In this episode of the Prepare Like A Pro Podcast, I am speaking with Josh Dunkley, Elite Midfielder for the Western Bulldogs. Recruited from Gippsland Power, Josh is a strong and courageous tall midfielder. He continues to establish himself as a prime mover in the Bulldogs’ on-ball brigade. Along with his Journey Within Personal Growth, we discussed with Josh his love for the game and when his drive to be an AFL footballer began at the age of 13. Mentorship played a vital role in his journey, from his father Andrew Dunkley to peers at the Western Bulldogs. Josh provided insight into his approach to preparing himself for AFL football, emphasizing the importance of using his off-season to trial different training or lifestyle methods, such as nutrition and work in the gym.

Journey Within Personal Growth is a continuous process, and Josh Dunkley’s story highlights the significance of self-discovery and development. Beyond the on-field prowess, his commitment to evolving as an individual showcases the transformative power of prioritizing personal growth. As we navigate our paths, let’s remember the value of the Journey Within Personal Growth, an integral element in realizing our full potential and embracing a more enriching life.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Josh’s football journey from the beginning to now
  • His learnings from traveling with the Bont to America for a training camp with an Olympic speed & power coach
  • His business JKLD he runs with his sister & brother
  • The challenge 2020 COVID season brought
  • The lessons Josh learned from the experience from valuing downtime to the importance of family and friends
  • The importance of having an individualized strength & conditioning program for working on your strengths as well as managing past injuries
  • What has worked and what has and hasn’t throughout his career
  • How he values life balance and tips and tricks for young developing footballers

Understanding the Essence of Personal Growth

Embracing Change: Personal growth is synonymous with change. It’s about willingly stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing the unfamiliar. Whether it’s acquiring new skills, adopting a healthier lifestyle, or cultivating positive habits, change is the catalyst for personal evolution.

Mindset Matters: At the core of personal growth lies the mindset. Developing a growth mindset, as coined by psychologist Carol S. Dweck, is pivotal. It involves seeing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, fostering resilience, and understanding that abilities can be developed over time.

The Role of Self-Reflection

Mindful Awareness: Self-reflection is the compass guiding us on our journey within. Taking the time to introspect and be mindful of our thoughts, actions, and emotions allows us to identify areas for improvement and understand the motives behind our choices.

Learning from Adversity: Life’s challenges are not roadblocks but lessons in disguise. By reflecting on our experiences, especially during adversities, we gain valuable insights into our strengths and weaknesses. Each setback becomes a stepping stone towards personal development.

Nurturing Relationships

Social Growth: Personal growth isn’t a solitary endeavor. Our interactions with others contribute significantly to our development. Building meaningful connections, fostering empathy, and learning from diverse perspectives enrich our lives and expand our horizons.

Surrounding Yourself with Positivity: The people we surround ourselves with influence our mindset and, consequently, our growth. Cultivating relationships with those who inspire, support, and challenge us ensures that our journey within is marked by positivity and encouragement.

Strategies for Personal Development

Goal Setting: Setting clear, achievable goals provides direction and purpose. Whether they are short-term or long-term, goals serve as milestones, motivating us to stay committed to our journey of personal growth.

Continuous Learning: A commitment to lifelong learning is a cornerstone of personal development. Whether through formal education, self-directed study, or acquiring new skills, the pursuit of knowledge enhances our capabilities and broadens our perspectives.

Mindfulness Practices: Incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, fosters self-awareness and emotional regulation. These practices enable us to navigate the complexities of life with greater ease.

Celebrating Progress, Embracing Imperfection

Acknowledging Achievements: On the path to personal growth, celebrating small victories is crucial. Acknowledging our achievements, no matter how minor, reinforces positive behavior and motivates us to persevere.

Embracing Imperfection: Perfection is an unattainable ideal. Embracing imperfection allows us to accept our flaws and learn from mistakes. It’s through these imperfections that we grow, evolving into more resilient and compassionate individuals.

The Key to a Fulfilling Life Lies Within

In the relentless pursuit of success and external validation, it’s easy to lose sight of the profound journey within. Personal growth is not a destination but a continuous process of self-discovery and improvement. By nurturing a growth mindset, engaging in self-reflection, fostering meaningful relationships, and implementing strategies for development, we unlock the door to a more fulfilled and purposeful life.

People mentioned:

  • Andrew Dunkley
  • Kyle Dunkley
  • Lara Dunkley
  • Sam Skinner
  • Nash Homes
  • Jacob Weitering
  • Darcy Parish
  • Josh Schache
  • Jacob Weitering
  • Reece Shaw
  • Adam Goodes
  • Jordan Roughead
  • Robert Murphy
  • Marcus Bontempelli
  • Mitch Wallis
  • Matt Critts
  • Andy Barnett
  • Nick Stones
  • Michael Jordan
  • Lebron James
  • Adam Treloar
  • Luke Bridge

Listen: iTunes | Spotify