Mastering Athletic Performance CoachingCategoriesCoaches PLP Podcast

#bitesize – Pete Burridge, First Team Athletic Performance Coach at Bristol Bears

Mastering Athletic Performance Coaching

Building Meaningful Connections

In the competitive realm of elite sports, the journey of an aspiring athletic performance coach is as challenging as it is rewarding. Mastering Athletic Performance Coaching is essential for success, as Pete Burridge, a seasoned First Team Athletic Performance Coach at Bristol Bears, shares invaluable insights from his path to success. Emphasizing the crucial role of internships and the art of building connections, Mastering Athletic Performance Coaching is showcased through his journey. This illustrates not just the pursuit of excellence but the human element that underpins successful coaching strategies.

Highlights from the episode:

  • How to get a successful internship in an elite club
  • How to make a good impact and positive influence on athletes
  • Why starting with the end in mind is key when planning a large group warm-up
  • Why bucketing athletes into groups can be helpful for athletic development
  • How does he provide explicit feedback and facilitate implicit learning to players

The Value of Presence and Networking

Burridge’s experience underscores the significance of staying engaged with key figures in the sport, even when physical proximity is a challenge. By leveraging breaks and utilizing opportunities to volunteer, he maintained a constant presence at Leicester Tigers, demonstrating commitment and eagerness to learn. This proactive approach not only provided him with hands-on experience but also kept him on the radar for potential opportunities, highlighting the importance of networking in the sports industry.

Relating to Athletes on a Personal Level

One of the cornerstones of effective coaching, as Burridge points out, is the ability to connect with athletes on a personal level. By finding common ground in interests such as gaming, relationships, and, of course, rugby, he was able to foster a supportive and engaging environment. This rapport-building facilitated open communication, allowing for a deeper understanding of the athletes’ motivations and challenges, thereby enhancing the coaching impact.

Tailoring Training to Individual Needs

In the quest to optimize athletic performance, understanding the unique needs of each athlete is paramount. Burridge’s approach to training preparation and execution showcases the delicate balance between general principles and individualized strategies.

Focusing on the “Why” Behind Training Activities

For Burridge, explaining the rationale behind each training activity is key to athlete engagement and performance. Whether it’s through warm-ups targeted at specific outcomes or drills designed to enhance max velocity, the emphasis is always on purposeful training. This clarity not only motivates athletes but also ensures that each session contributes meaningfully to their overall development.

Adaptive Group Training Strategies

Preseason preparations offer a prime example of Burridge’s tailored coaching philosophy. By categorizing athletes into groups based on their specific needs—stiffness, physical, or technical—he ensures focused training that addresses each athlete’s weaknesses and strengths. This method, rooted in detailed profiling, underscores the bespoke nature of elite athletic coaching.

Embracing a Holistic Coaching Approach

The final piece of the puzzle, according to Burridge, lies in balancing explicit instruction with implicit learning opportunities. This blended coaching style acknowledges the diverse ways in which athletes absorb and apply new knowledge.

The Power of Implicit Learning and Feedback

By integrating task-driven activities with explicit feedback, coaches can expedite the learning process without overwhelming the athlete. This strategy leverages the natural problem-solving abilities of athletes, allowing them to self-organize and adapt to challenges more effectively. It’s a nuanced approach that respects the individuality of the learning process while providing the guidance necessary for rapid improvement.


Pete Burridge’s journey and methodologies offer a rich tapestry of lessons for aspiring and established coaches alike. His emphasis on connection, personalized training, and a balanced approach to instruction provide a blueprint for nurturing elite athletes. In the high-stakes world of athletic performance coaching, these insights are not just strategies but principles that guide the development of both coach and athlete towards excellence.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Elite Insights Lessons from High Performance Sports ProsCategoriesBlog

Mastering Year-Round AFL Conditioning: Strategies for Peak Performance

Introduction: The Competitive Edge

In the high-stakes world of the Australian Football League (AFL), conditioning isn’t just about staying fit; it’s about sculpting athletes capable of peak performance year-round. Leveraging periodization in training not only sharpens their competitive edge but also fortifies them against the risk of injuries, ensuring a trajectory that spans seasons.

The Science of Periodization Explained

Periodization breaks the monotony of traditional training by dividing the athletic year into distinct phases, each with a targeted focus on building up different facets of an athlete’s physical prowess. This strategic division allows for focused improvements in strength, endurance, and sport-specific skills, paving the way for athletes to hit their peak when it counts the most.

Laying the Foundation: The Preparatory Phase

During the off-season, the preparatory phase kicks into gear, emphasizing General Physical Preparedness (GPP) with a variety of training modalities. As the season inches closer, the shift towards Sport-Specific Preparations (SPP) ensures that every sprint, jump, and tackle translates directly to in-game performance, setting the stage for a successful season ahead.

Bridging to Peak Performance: Transition Phases

Transition phases are the linchpins that connect the preparatory work to the demands of the competitive season. Initial transition phases focus on ramping up strength and power, tailoring training volumes and intensities to prime athletes for the rigors ahead without tipping them into the red zone of fatigue.

Maintaining Excellence: The Competition Phase

Once the season begins, the competition phase takes precedence. Here, the goal shifts to maintaining the high-performance levels achieved in the off-season, balancing between sustaining peak physical condition and navigating the gauntlet of regular competition with strategic modifications to training intensity and volume.

Recovery and Reflection: Embracing the Second Transition

Post-season, the second transition phase offers a critical period for physical and mental recovery. It’s a time for athletes to recharge, reflect on the season’s performance, and identify areas for growth. Balancing recovery with maintaining a base level of fitness ensures athletes remain primed for the challenges of the upcoming season.

Youth Athlete Considerations: Building Future Champions

Youth athletes require a tailored approach that not only hones their skill set but also instills a robust physical foundation capable of weathering the demands of professional sport. Emphasizing strength, flexibility, and motor control, alongside injury prevention strategies, sets the stage for a long, successful career in AFL.

A Year-Round Commitment to Excellence

Conditioning for AFL is a marathon, not a sprint. Adopting a year-round, periodized approach to training ensures athletes can consistently perform at their best, match after match, season after season. It’s a comprehensive strategy that balances intensity, recovery, and skill development, proving that in the realm of professional sports, preparation is just as critical as execution.

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AFL fitness testingCategoriesBlog

Maximizing AFL Performance: A Guide to Fitness Testing and Tailored Training Programs

In the highly competitive realm of the Australian Football League (AFL), achieving peak physical fitness and performance isn’t just a goal—it’s a necessity. The journey from an aspiring player to a professional athlete is laden with rigorous training routines, comprehensive fitness testing, and an unyielding drive to excel. This blog post delves into the pivotal role of fitness testing in the AFL, the design of effective preseason training programs, and how individualized training regimens can transform the way players meet the sport’s demands.

Fitness Testing: The AFL Benchmark

The Importance of a Multifaceted Approach

Fitness testing in the AFL isn’t a mere formality; it’s a cornerstone of player development and team strategy. By assessing various aspects of physical fitness—such as endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, and flexibility—coaches can tailor training programs to address specific needs, enhance player performance, and minimize the risk of injuries.

Key Fitness Tests and Their Relevance

From the shuttle run (beep test) for endurance to the vertical jump test for power, each fitness test provides invaluable data that informs training decisions. The agility test, for instance, isn’t just about quick movements; it’s about simulating game situations where rapid direction changes can be the difference between winning and losing a contest.

Crafting an Effective AFL Preseason Training Program

Balancing Group and Individual Needs

A successful pre-season program is one that strikes a balance between group sessions that foster team synergy and individual sessions that focus on personal growth areas. Incorporating a mix of shuttle runs, boxing circuits, squats, lunges, and core strengthening exercises ensures players are well-prepared for the demands of the season.

The Science Behind Repeat Effort Running

Understanding the body’s energy systems—anaerobic, lactate, and aerobic—is crucial for designing training drills that improve in-game performance. Repeat effort running drills, which mimic the high-intensity bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods seen in AFL matches, are particularly effective.

Tailoring Training to Meet Individual Goals

Setting Measurable Objectives

The foundation of any training program should be its alignment with the athlete’s goals. Whether it’s improving acceleration, enhancing the ability to change direction, or building endurance to maintain high performance throughout a match, clearly defined goals shape the training regimen’s direction.

Functional Training: Beyond Strength and Endurance

Training for AFL success transcends traditional strength and endurance workouts. It involves developing functional strength and movement patterns that translate directly to on-field performance. This includes exercises that enhance jumping ability, tackle strength, and the agility required for evading opponents.

Addressing Common Frustrations and Needs

Customization is Key

One of the primary frustrations among players—both amateur and professional—is the plateauing of fitness and strength gains despite diligent effort. The antidote? Customized training programs that consider the unique physiological and psychological needs of each athlete, ensuring continuous improvement and motivation.

Navigating the Path to Professionalism Without Direct Access to AFL Coaches

For many aspiring AFL players, direct access to AFL-qualified strength & conditioning coaches remains a significant barrier. Leveraging online resources, seeking mentorship from experienced players, and engaging with communities of practice can bridge this gap, providing valuable insights and guidance.

FAQ Section

  1. What is the importance of fitness testing in the AFL? Fitness testing is crucial in the AFL as it helps in assessing a player’s physical capabilities across various domains such as endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, and flexibility. This data aids coaches in designing tailored training programs to boost player performance and reduce injury risks.
  2. Which key fitness tests are used in the AFL, and why? Several fitness tests are pivotal, including the shuttle run (beep test) for endurance, vertical jump for power, and agility tests for simulating in-game situations. Each test offers specific insights that inform the creation of targeted training regimens.
  3. How does an AFL preseason training program differ from regular season training? Preseason training emphasizes a blend of group and individual sessions, focusing on building the physical foundation—endurance, strength, power, and agility—required for the season. It often includes high-intensity drills like shuttle runs, circuit training, and repeat effort runs to prepare players for game conditions.
  4. Why is repeat effort running important in AFL training? Repeat effort running drills are crucial because they replicate the game’s high-intensity activity bursts followed by short recovery periods. This type of training improves players’ anaerobic capacity, enabling them to sustain efforts and recover quickly during matches.
  5. How should AFL players set their training goals? Players should set measurable, specific goals aligned with their personal and professional aspirations. These objectives could range from improving acceleration and agility to enhancing endurance, with training programs tailored to these specific targets.
  6. What does functional training involve in the context of AFL? Functional training for AFL players focuses on exercises that develop strength, agility, and movements directly translatable to on-field performance. This includes drills that enhance jumping ability, tackle strength, and evasion skills.
  7. How can AFL players overcome plateaus in fitness and strength gains? Customized training programs that account for an athlete’s unique physiological and psychological needs are key to overcoming plateaus. Continuous assessment and adaptation of training routines ensure ongoing improvement and motivation.
  8. What options do aspiring AFL players have if they lack access to professional coaches? Aspiring players without direct access to AFL coaches can leverage online resources, seek mentorship from experienced athletes, and engage with communities of practice to gain insights and guidance on training and development.
  9. What role does injury prevention play in AFL training? Injury prevention is integral to AFL training, involving targeted exercises that strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance joint stability. Tailoring training to address specific vulnerabilities can significantly reduce the risk of common injuries.
  10. Can individualized training regimens make a difference for amateur AFL players? Yes, individualized training regimens can greatly benefit amateur players by addressing their specific needs, goals, and challenges. Personalized programs help in maximizing potential, improving performance, and ensuring that players continue to progress towards their professional aspirations.

Embarking on an AFL career is a challenging journey fraught with intense competition, rigorous training, and the constant pursuit of excellence. By embracing a holistic approach to fitness testing and training—one that is customized, evidence-based, and aligned with individual goals—players can maximize their potential, overcome common frustrations, and inch closer to their dream of becoming professional athletes.


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Football Game Day Preparation GuideCategoriesCoaches PLP Podcast

#bitesize – Football game day preparation – Primer sessions

Unlocking Peak Performance: Football Game Day Preparation Guide

For both seasoned players and newcomers, mastering game day prep, Football Game Day Preparation Guide, is vital for peak performance. This guide covers key aspects like training, recovery, mental prep, nutrition, Football Game Day Preparation Guide, and injury prevention.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Should you be lifting weights in season?
  • Recovery tips after the game
  • What you should do the morning of the game
  • Primer sessions
  • Pre-game power lift

Optimizing In-Season Training

During the season, players often debate the role of weightlifting. Balance is key—cutting loads by 30% from the offseason maintains strength without overexertion, crucial for peak performance during finals. Additionally, incorporating agility drills, speed work, and position-specific exercises enhance on-field abilities.

Strategic Post-Game Recovery

Recovery after a game is vital. Boost blood flow with mobility exercises, light stretches, and massages. Contrast therapy, like ice baths and hot showers, aids nervous system relaxation and faster recovery. Proper hydration and nutrition, including protein-rich snacks and supplements, also play a significant role in recovery and muscle repair.

Tailoring Game Day Preparation

Every player’s prep varies. Some prefer light activities or mental relaxation. Experimentation during practice helps find the best routine for peak readiness. Visualization techniques, mindfulness, and positive affirmations can also boost mental toughness on game day.

The Primer Day Advantage

Many teams use a primer day pregame, focusing on specific movements for each position. Rapid, targeted exercises enhance readiness without straining muscles, crucial for game day. Incorporating team meetings, film study, and tactical discussions during primer days can also improve game strategy and execution.

Exploring Pregame Powerlifting

Integrating powerlifting pregame is gaining traction. Minimal volume, focusing on explosive or heavy lifts like bench presses, can enhance performance without fatigue. However, proper warm-up and cooldown routines are essential to prevent injuries and optimize power output during the game.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Athletic Performance Optimization StrategiesCategoriesCoaches PLP Podcast

#307 – Dr. Matt Jordan, Player Health & Performance Consultant

Unlocking Athletic Performance: Understanding Neuromuscular Adaptations

In athletic performance, understanding neuromuscular adaptations, training methodologies, and technology is crucial. Athletic Performance Optimization Strategies play a pivotal role in maximizing athletes’ potential. Dr. Matt Jordan, a renowned Player Health & Performance Consultant, delves into the foundational aspects that coaches and athletes must grasp to optimize reconditioning processes and elevate performance. Athletic Performance Optimization Strategies are multifaceted approaches that encompass nutrition, recovery protocols, and biomechanical analysis. Dr. Jordan emphasizes the importance of integrating these strategies seamlessly into training programs for sustained success and injury prevention.

Key Topic: How to Maximise Athletic Development Through Neuromuscular Potential

Welcome to this enlightening episode of the High-Performance Podcast for AFL athletes & staff, where we dive deep into the realms of athletic development and neuromuscular potential. 

In this episode, our host, Jack Mclean, engages in a captivating conversation with the esteemed Dr. Matt Jordan, a pioneer in player health and performance coaching, and the founder of the Jordan Strength online sport science platform. This platform serves as a bridge between scientific research and practical application in sports. 

Dr. Jordan shares his journey, shedding light on the individuals and experiences that have shaped his career in High performance sport and research.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Fundamentals of neuromuscular adaptation that coaches and athletes need to understand for conditioning
  • Using a mailbox for athlete recovery and priming for an upcoming game
  • Technologies he uses for neuromuscular fatigue monitoring.
  • How does he program the training load if athletes have asymmetry and stiffness?

The Essence of Strength Utilization

Dr. Jordan emphasizes the distinction between possessing strength and effectively utilizing it. He states, “Just because you have strength doesn’t mean you use it, but if you don’t have it, you can’t use it.” This concept highlights the importance of translating physical capabilities into functional prowess on the field or court.

Creating Mailboxes: Understanding Athlete Phenotypes

The metaphorical framework of “creating mailboxes for athletes” categorizes athletes into different phenotypes based on physiological attributes and training responses. These phenotypes include the thoroughbred, workhorse, and bolter, each requiring tailored training approaches to unlock their potential and address specific performance nuances.

Harnessing Technology: The Role of IMUs in Load Monitoring

Dr. Jordan underscores the significance of IMU-based technology, especially when integrated into athletes’ footwear. These Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) offer insights into monitoring athlete loads, tracking movement patterns, and identifying asymmetries impacting performance and injury risk. This fusion of biomechanics and data analytics empowers coaches and practitioners to optimize training regimens effectively.

Addressing Asymmetries: A Constraints-Based Approach

A constraints-based approach identifies internal physiological constraints limiting the range of motion or strength asymmetries. Collaborating with athletic therapy or physical therapy professionals helps coaches pinpoint and rectify these limitations, enhancing an athlete’s ability to translate strength into functional movement patterns.

Unleashing Potential: Integrating Load Monitoring Strategies

Integrating load monitoring strategies is crucial for optimizing athlete performance. Dr. Jordan recommends bi-weekly counter-movement jumping tests with a force plate to assess mechanical muscle function and energy levels. This comprehensive approach tailors training loads based on individual responses, optimizing performance gains while minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury.

People mentioned:

  • Charles Poliquin
  • Dan Pfaff
  • Stuart McMillan
  • Sophia Nimphius
Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Strengthen Muscles, Load Patterns and Move through Planes (1)CategoriesBlog

Strengthen Muscles, Load Patterns and Move through Planes

In the high-intensity world of the Australian Football League (AFL), strength and conditioning stand as pivotal elements for success on the field. Beyond the basic requirements of stamina and agility, the intricate play of muscles, load patterns, and movement through various planes plays a crucial role in elevating an athlete’s performance while minimizing the risk of injury. This blog post delves into these foundational components of AFL strength and conditioning, offering insights into how players can fortify their physical prowess and achieve peak performance through strategic training.

Understanding Muscles in AFL

AFL is a sport that demands versatility and resilience, relying on a wide array of muscle groups for different facets of the game such as sprinting, jumping, tackling, and kicking. Central to an AFL athlete’s performance are the leg muscles—including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves—responsible for explosive speed and powerful jumps. Similarly, core strength, encompassing the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and hips, is essential for stability, balance, and the generation of force during gameplay.

However, muscle strength in AFL goes beyond the mere ability to perform. It’s also about injury prevention. A well-conditioned athlete is less likely to succumb to the common injuries plaguing the sport, such as hamstring strains or ACL tears. Therefore, understanding the specific needs of these muscle groups and tailoring strength training accordingly is vital for longevity in the sport.

The Science of Load Patterns

At the core of any strength and conditioning program is the concept of load patterns. This refers to the different ways in which muscles are challenged during training—be it through lifting weights, resistance training, or bodyweight exercises. In AFL, varying these load patterns is critical not just for muscle growth, but for enhancing muscle resilience and adaptability to the unpredictable demands of the game.

Load patterns can be categorized broadly into isotonic (movement of the muscle under load), isometric (muscle under load without movement), and plyometric (explosive movements) exercises. Each has its place in an AFL athlete’s regimen. Isotonic exercises, for example, build muscle mass and strength through typical lifting motions. Isometric exercises enhance muscle endurance and stability, critical for maintaining tackles or holding positions. Plyometric training, on the other hand, develops explosive power, a requisite for sudden sprints or leaps.

Understanding and implementing these various load patterns in training ensures a comprehensive development of muscle strength and function, preparing athletes not just for the physical demands of AFL, but for the rigors of competition at the highest levels.


Movement Through Planes for AFL Athletes

To fully harness their physical capabilities, AFL players must train in three-dimensional space, moving through the sagittal (divides the body into left and right), frontal (divides the body into front and back), and transverse (divides the body into top and bottom) planes. This comprehensive approach ensures athletes can handle the game’s dynamic demands, from straightforward sprints to lateral dodges and rotational kicks.

  • Sagittal Plane: Movements in this plane, such as forward runs and vertical jumps, are critical for charging towards the goal or contesting marks. Training might focus on lunges, squats, and deadlifts, emphasizing forward and backward movements that replicate on-field actions.
  • Frontal Plane: Sideways movements occur in the frontal plane, essential for side-stepping opponents or taking side catches. Exercises like lateral lunges and side planks can improve stability and agility in this plane.
  • Transverse Plane: The transverse plane is all about rotation, pivotal for powerful kicks and handballs across the body. Training in this plane often involves rotational exercises, such as medicine ball throws and twist jumps, to enhance core strength and rotational power.

By training across these planes, AFL players can develop a versatile skill set, enabling them to maneuver more effectively and unpredictably on the field.

Integrating Strength, Load, and Movement in Training

Creating a balanced and comprehensive training program involves merging principles of muscle strengthening, varied load patterns, and multi-plane movements. Such an approach not only elevates overall athleticism but also tailors physical development to the unique demands of AFL. Coaches and players should aim to:

  • Diversify Training Stimuli: Incorporate a mix of isotonic, isometric, and plyometric exercises to challenge muscles in different ways, ensuring all-round development and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Emphasize Functional Movement: Focus on exercises that mimic game-specific movements, enhancing the transfer of gym-based gains to on-field performance.
  • Periodize Training: Structure training cycles throughout the season to focus on building strength, power, and endurance at different times, aligning with the competitive calendar to peak at the right moments.

Case Studies and Success Stories

The effectiveness of a well-rounded AFL strength and conditioning program is best illustrated through the achievements of top athletes and teams. Consider the transformation of players like Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield, whose commitment to comprehensive physical conditioning has contributed to their explosive performance on the field. Their training regimes, focusing on a blend of strength, agility, and functional movement, underscore the importance of a holistic approach to physical preparation.

Actionable Tips

Strengthening muscles, mastering load patterns, and moving through various planes form the cornerstone of AFL strength and conditioning. These elements, when integrated into a thoughtful training program, can significantly elevate an athlete’s performance and resilience. As we conclude, here are some practical tips for players and coaches:

  • Start with the Basics: Ensure a solid foundation of strength and conditioning before specializing in more complex load patterns and movements.
  • Prioritize Movement Quality: Focus on executing movements with proper form to maximize benefits and minimize injury risk.
  • Incorporate Recovery: Adequate rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. Implement strategies such as sleep optimization, nutrition, and active recovery sessions.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Partner with experienced strength and conditioning coaches who can tailor programs to individual needs and goals.


Whether you’re an aspiring AFL player, a seasoned athlete looking to refine your physical capabilities, or a coach aiming to enhance your team’s performance, “Prepare Like a Pro” offers personalized training programs designed to meet your specific needs. Join us to unlock your full potential and prepare like a pro for your next AFL season. Reach out today to start your journey towards peak performance.

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Individualized Injury Mitigation StrategiesCategoriesCoaches PLP Podcast

#bitesize – Enda King PhD, Head of High Performance and Development at Aspetar

Unlocking Performance: Individualized Approach to Injury Mitigation

In sports performance and injury prevention, myths and misconceptions often cloud the path to optimal results. Individualized Injury Mitigation Strategies play a crucial role in this context. In this blog post, we delve into insights shared by Enda King, the Head of High Performance and Development at Aspetar, regarding the critical factors in injury mitigation for athletes. By understanding the importance of tailored strategies, broad components, workload management, specific exercises, and practical tips, athletes and coaches can pave the way for enhanced performance and longevity in sports careers. Individualized Injury Mitigation Strategies are not only essential but also customizable, ensuring that athletes receive the precise care and attention needed to thrive and excel in their respective disciplines.

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. 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

Tailored Strategies for Robust Athletes

Enda King highlights the necessity of individualized approaches in injury mitigation for athletes. Contrary to common misconceptions that one-size-fits-all solutions exist, King emphasizes the significance of considering athletes’ unique anatomies, sports requirements, and training loads. This personalized strategy aims to build robust athletes capable of withstanding the rigors of their respective sports.

Broad Components in Conditioning

When addressing injury prevention, King stresses the need to focus on a wide range of components beyond traditional aspects like calf weakness. Conditioning should encompass factors such as explosiveness, running mechanics, and specific movement patterns relevant to an athlete’s sport. By adopting a comprehensive conditioning program, athletes can enhance their overall performance while minimizing the risk of injuries.

Balancing Workload Management

One of the key challenges in sports performance is striking the right balance between pushing athletes to their limits and avoiding overexertion. King emphasizes the importance of workload management, considering athletes’ strengths, weaknesses, and training histories. This balanced approach ensures that each training session maximizes quality while allowing adequate recovery periods, thus optimizing long-term performance outcomes.

Targeted Exercises for Rehabilitation

In cases of injuries, especially groin injuries, targeted exercises play a crucial role in rehabilitation. King suggests focusing on strengthening the injured muscle groups, particularly hip adductors, and training movement patterns specific to sprinting and agility. This targeted approach helps bridge the gap between rehabilitation and on-field performance, ensuring a smooth return to competitive sports.

Practical Tips for Injury Mitigation

For athletes, especially young ones without access to professional support, King provides practical tips to mitigate injuries and foster long-term careers. These tips include maintaining a focused approach, avoiding overloading with multiple sports, and prioritizing consistent routines tailored to individual needs. By implementing these tips, athletes can reduce the risk of injuries and optimize their performance potential.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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Success in Strength and ConditioningCategoriesCoaches PLP Podcast

#306 – Yoshiki Sutherland,  AFL Strength & Conditioning Intern at North Melbourne FC

Maximizing Success: Yoshiki Sutherland’s Strength and Conditioning Journey

In the field of strength and conditioning, transitioning from theory to practice can present challenges. Yoshiki Sutherland, an AFL Strength & Conditioning Intern at North Melbourne FC, shares insights into his Strength and Conditioning Success Journey experiences and the key factors contributing to his Strength and Conditioning Success Journey success.

Key topic:  Strategies for Success: AFL Strength & Conditioning Intern Yoshiki Sutherland Reveals how he landed an internship in program sport.

In this episode, we sit down with Yoshiki Sutherland, a developing coach in the field of strength and conditioning, currently interning with the esteemed North Melbourne Football Club. Join us as Yoshiki shares his journey, insights, and strategies for breaking into the competitive world of professional sports.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Surprises he found in his first job compared to what he learned from uni
  • Insights into the application process and the qualities that set him apart.
  • Yoshiki shares his path to landing an internship with North Melbourne FC
  • Yoshiki’s approach to continuous learning and professional development.
  • How does he balance hands-on experience with academic knowledge?

Transitioning from Theory to Practice

Yoshiki faced challenges transitioning from academic learning to practical application. In the classroom, the environment is controlled, and students understand the basics. However, working with local sports teams requires adaptability and effective communication skills to teach athletes various movements, sets, reps, and recovery strategies.

Keys to Landing the Internship

Reflecting on what set him apart in securing the internship, Yoshiki emphasizes initiative, communication, and relevant experience. His problem-solving mindset and focus on solutions were crucial elements highlighted in his cover letter, which played a key role in the selection process.

Navigating the Internship Process

The internship process involved submitting a comprehensive resume and a well-crafted cover letter. This was followed by a Zoom interview with the manager at North Melbourne FC, assessing Yoshiki’s communication skills and passion for the field. His journey underscores the importance of preparation and understanding the organization’s goals and expectations.

Balancing Commitments and Pursuing Opportunities

Despite a busy schedule, including his sports science degree and community sport involvement, Yoshiki took on the internship at North Melbourne FC. He recognized the value of gaining practical experience early in his career, enhancing his skills and marketability in strength and conditioning.

Strategies for Managing a Busy Schedule

To cope with a hectic schedule, Yoshiki relies on strategic planning and prioritization. He recommends creating monthly schedules, utilizing tools like Google Calendar, and maintaining a clear focus on tasks. By prioritizing effectively, Yoshiki maximizes productivity in both academic and professional pursuits.

People mentioned:

  • John Leyden
  • Kieran Lester
  • Dylan Vizzarri
  • Daniel Cross
  • Kevin White

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Thank you for tuning in to this episode, we hope you enjoyed hearing from Yoshiki Sutherland and gained valuable insights into the world of strength and conditioning internships. Don’t forget to subscribe for more inspiring interviews and expert advice on reaching your peak performance. Until next time, keep striving for success on and off the field!

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Why Strength & Conditioning is critical for developing footballersCategoriesBlog

Don’t Get Left Behind: The Transformative Power of Strength Training for Footballers

In the realm of football, strength training is not just an add-on; it’s a fundamental pillar that supports the very essence of an athlete’s performance. Have you ever considered how strength training shapes a footballer’s career? In an upcoming podcast episode, Jack McLean, the visionary behind Prepare Like a Pro, delves into the critical role of strength training for developing footballers. This blog post explores the transformative power of strength training, from enhancing on-field performance to building mental and physical resilience.

Section 1: The Foundation of Football Fitness

Physical Fitness in Football

Football demands more than just skill with the ball; it requires a comprehensive physical fitness that encompasses strength, agility, endurance, and speed. Physical fitness acts as the backbone, enabling players to perform at their peak throughout the 90 minutes of the game.

Complementing Football Training with Strength Work

Integrating strength training into a footballer’s routine doesn’t take away from their sport-specific training; instead, it enhances it. Strength training complements on-field practice by improving muscle power, which is crucial for sprinting, jumping, and tackling.

  • Diving Deeper into Physical Fitness for Footballers: Explore the biomechanics of football, discussing how different types of strength (e.g., explosive strength, endurance strength) contribute to a player’s overall performance on the field.
  • Synergy Between Strength Training and Football Skills: Offer insights into how strength training enhances technical skills, such as ball control and shooting power, through real-life examples and scientific studies.


Section 2: The Benefits of Strength Training for Footballers

  • Advanced Performance Metrics: Introduce advanced metrics used by sports scientists to measure the impact of strength training on footballers’ performance, including VO2 max improvements, muscle hypertrophy, and fatigue resistance.
  • Injury Mitigation and Rehabilitation: Detail the role of strength training in rehabilitation from injuries, showcasing case studies of players who have successfully returned to peak performance levels following strength-focused rehab programs.
  • Psychological Empowerment Through Strength Training: Delve into the psychological aspects, discussing how overcoming challenges in the gym can lead to greater mental toughness on the pitch.

Section 3: Key Strength Exercises for Footballers

Core Workouts

A strong core is vital for footballers. It enhances stability, agility, and power, which are crucial for effective play. Exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises are foundational for building core strength.

Lower Body Strength

Powerful legs are non-negotiable in football. Squats, lunges, and deadlifts build the leg strength necessary for explosive sprints and powerful kicks.

Upper Body Workouts

Upper body strength is essential for winning physical duels and maintaining balance. Push-ups, pull-ups, and bench presses should be staples in a footballer’s strength training routine.

Section 4: Integrating Strength Training Into Your Routine

Starting Strength Training

For footballers new to strength training, starting can seem daunting. Begin with basics and progressively increase intensity to prevent overtraining and injuries.

Personalized Training Plans

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in strength training. Each footballer should have a personalized plan that considers their current fitness level, goals, and footballing demands.

Expert Insights from Jack McLean

In the upcoming podcast episode, Jack McLean shares his expert insights on strength training for footballers. McLean emphasizes the importance of a tailored approach, recognizing the unique needs of each athlete.

Strength training holds the key to unlocking a footballer’s full potential. From enhancing performance and preventing injuries to building resilience, the benefits are clear. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and register for the live podcast event with Jack McLean to dive deeper into the world of strength training for footballers.

Section 5: Nutrition and Strength Training for Footballers

  • Fueling for Strength: Cover the importance of nutrition in supporting strength gains and recovery, highlighting optimal foods, supplements, and meal timing for footballers.
  • Hydration Strategies: Emphasize the role of hydration in performance and recovery, providing guidelines for fluid intake before, during, and after strength training sessions.

Section 6: Recovery Strategies for Optimal Performance

  • Rest and Recovery Techniques: Explore various recovery methods, including active recovery, sleep optimization, and recovery technologies, that support muscle repair and growth.
  • Incorporating Rest Days: Stress the importance of rest days in a strength training regimen, discussing the physiological benefits of allowing muscles to recover.

Section 7: Technology and Innovation in Strength Training

  • Wearable Tech in Training: Examine how wearable technology is used to monitor performance and progress in strength training, offering examples of devices and their benefits.
  • Virtual Training Programs and Apps: Highlight the role of apps and online platforms in providing accessible, personalized strength training programs for footballers.

Section 8: Psychological Aspects of Strength Training

  • Building a Growth Mindset: Discuss how strength training challenges can foster a growth mindset among footballers, leading to improved resilience and adaptability.
  • The Role of Coaching in Mental Preparation: Highlight how coaches can support athletes mentally through strength training, including setting realistic goals and creating a positive training environment.

Section 9: Forward-Looking: The Future of Strength Training in Football

  • Emerging Trends and Practices: Speculate on future trends in strength training for footballers, such as the integration of AI and machine learning for personalized training plans.
  • The Holistic Athlete: Conclude with a vision of the future where strength training is part of a holistic approach to footballer development, emphasizing balance, wellness, and long-term career planning.

Call to Action

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Field Performance Physicality StrategiesCategoriesPlayers PLP Podcast

#bitesize – How to improve your physicality on the field

Improving On-Field Performance: Key Strategies for Athletes

In the fast-paced world of sports, athletes are constantly seeking ways to enhance their performance on the field. One crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is the importance of Field Performance Physicality Strategies. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into key strategies that athletes can implement to improve their physicality on the field, ranging from grip strength exercises to rotational power movements and tactical awareness. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, incorporating these Field Performance Physicality Strategies into your training regimen can make a significant difference in your overall performance.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Grip strength exercises
  • Pulling strength exercises
  • Rotational power exercises
  • Frontal plane strength exercises with legs
  • Practicing your physicality training with the biggest player in your squad


Enhancing Grip Strength for Better Performance

One of the fundamental elements of physicality in sports is grip strength. Whether you’re grappling with opponents in wrestling or trying to secure the ball in rugby, strong fingers and hands can make a significant difference. To improve grip strength, athletes can incorporate exercises like rock climbing or using rock climbing apparatus at the gym. These activities not only target finger strength but also enhance overall upper body stability and control.

Recommended Exercises for Grip Strength

For athletes looking to specifically target grip strength, plate carries are highly effective. Holding weight plates and going for a farmer’s walk not only challenges the fingers and hands but also engages the forearms and shoulders. Additionally, modifying traditional weightlifting exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses to focus on finger grip strength can yield excellent results. The key is to hold the weight at the fingertips instead of the palms, maximizing the engagement of finger muscles.

Developing Pulling Strength for On-Field Dominance

Pulling strength plays a crucial role in sports that involve grappling or pulling opponents towards you. Athletes can enhance their pulling strength through exercises such as dumbbell rows, bent-over rows, and chin-ups. These exercises target the lats, biceps, and forearms, essential for executing powerful tackles or maneuvers on the field. By gripping the weights or bars maximally and focusing on short rep ranges at heavy loads, athletes can significantly improve their pulling strength.

Unlocking Rotational Power for Explosive Movements

Rotational power is another key component of physicality, especially in sports that require sudden twists and turns. Athletes can develop rotational power by focusing on movements that engage the ankle, hip, and shoulder joints. Tools like torsor, power bands, and cables are excellent for practicing rotational movements while maintaining a stable core. This type of training not only improves rotational power but also enhances overall agility and coordination on the field.

Frontal Plane Strength for Lateral Movement Mastery

Lateral movement is often a crucial aspect of on-field performance, particularly in sports like soccer, basketball, and football. Athletes can strengthen their frontal plane muscles, including the glutes and adductors, to excel in lateral movements. Exercises such as lateral squats, Copenhagen or bench reductions, and side plank raises target these muscles effectively. Strong frontal plane muscles not only improve lateral speed and agility but also contribute to overall lower body strength and stability.

The Importance of Tactical Awareness and Mental Preparation

While physical strength and power are vital, they must be complemented by tactical awareness and mental preparation. Athletes should invest time in studying opponents, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and developing strategies to exploit them. Tactical knowledge allows athletes to make informed decisions on the field, maximizing their chances of success. Furthermore, mental preparation, including aggressiveness, competitiveness, and a strong drive to win, is essential for translating physical strength into on-field dominance.

Conclusion: A Holistic Approach to On-Field Physicality

In conclusion, improving physicality on the field requires a holistic approach that encompasses strength training, agility drills, tactical awareness, and mental preparation. Athletes who focus on enhancing grip strength, developing pulling and rotational power, and mastering frontal plane movements will undoubtedly see improvements in their on-field performance. By combining physical prowess with strategic thinking and mental toughness, athletes can elevate their game to new heights.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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