AFL ConditioningCategoriesFooty Tips

Mastering Year-Round AFL Conditioning: Strategies for Peak Performance

The Competitive Edge

In the Australian Football League (AFL), conditioning goes beyond fitness; it sculpts athletes for year-round peak performance. Periodization in training sharpens their edge and prevents injuries, ensuring a consistent performance across seasons.

The Science of Periodization Explained

Periodization divides the athletic year into phases, each focusing on different aspects of an athlete’s abilities. It targets strength, endurance, and skills, ensuring athletes peak at the right times.

Laying the Foundation: The Preparatory Phase

During the off-season, the preparatory phase ramps up, focusing on General Physical Preparedness (GPP) through various training methods. As the season draws near, the emphasis transitions to Sport-Specific Preparations (SPP). This ensures that every sprint, jump, and tackle directly enhances 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 starts, the competition phase takes precedence. Here, the goal shifts to maintaining the high-performance levels achieved in the off-season, while balancing the demands of peak physical condition and the challenges of regular competition. This requires strategic adjustments to training intensity and volume in order to navigate smoothly through the competitive season.

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 need a customized approach that sharpens their skills and builds a strong physical foundation to handle the demands of professional sport. By focusing on strength, flexibility, and motor control, along with injury prevention strategies, we pave the way for a lengthy and 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 testingCategoriesFooty Tips

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.

 

Click the link below to book a FREE footballer discovery call with Jack. 

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

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.

Don’t miss out on more content on football training and expert advice. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and register for the upcoming live podcast episode with Jack McLean for an in-depth discussion on strength training for footballers.

 

Click the link below to book a FREE footballer discovery call with Jack. 

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Why Strength & Conditioning is critical for developing footballersCategoriesFooty Tips

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

Don’t miss out on more content on football training and expert advice. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and register for the upcoming live podcast episode with Jack McLean for an in-depth discussion on strength training for footballers.

 

Click the link below to book a FREE footballer discovery call with Jack. 

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Playertek GPS reviewCategoriesAFL Players Elite Lifestyle Footy Program Footy Tips Get Better Plan High Performance Strength & Conditioning

Platform Review: Playertek GPS

Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the Playertek GPS football tracking system. This is a platform that allows you to track your performance on the football field, as well as monitor your team’s progress in real-time. We’ll be looking at how the system works, its features, and how it can benefit players and coaches alike. So, if you’re interested in learning more about this innovative new product, read on!

What is Playertek GPS?

Playertek is a wearable GPS tracker that monitors your on-field performance and provides real-time data and analysis (Boothype, n.d.). The device attaches to your jersey and has a small display that shows your maximum speed, distance covered, number of hard efforts, and other statistics like work rate. 

Playertek also has a companion app that provides more detailed information about your performance, including live data to monitor your training load as it happens.  The app also allows you to set training goals and track your progress over time. Whether you’re a professional player looking to gain an edge on the competition, a casual player who just wants to improve your game, or a strength & conditioning coach sports scientist looking to monitor your team’s progress, Playertek is a valuable tool.

Proof of the platform’s effectiveness is its popularity among all the AFL clubs. There are a few top-tier teams that have adopted Playertek GPS as part of their training regime. It is also widely used in the English Premier League and the United States by college, high school, and even professional teams in the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and Major League Baseball.

Playertek has proven to be a crucial tool for AFL and AFLW strength & conditioning coaching staff, allowing them to monitor player fatigue, recovery, and form. It has also been used by coaches to help plan training drills specific to the way they want the team to play and track player progress. On the other hand, strength & conditioning coaches have used Playertek to monitor athletes’ progress and ensure they are meeting their training goals.

In short, there is a lot that Playertek GPS can do for players and coaches at all levels of the game. If you’re looking to take your performance to the next level or simply want to get a better understanding of your game to better prepare yourself during the pre-season.

 

 

How Does Playertek Work?

 

 

The device uses a combination of GPS and GLONASS satellite tracking to monitor your movement on the field (Playertek, n.d.). It then sends this data to the companion app via Bluetooth, which is processed and displayed in an easy-to-understand format.

One of the key features of Playertek is its ability to track player load. The system uses a proprietary algorithm to monitor players’ movements and calculate their level of load. This information is then displayed in the app, so coaches can decide when to substitute players, or adjust training programs accordingly.

Playertek is also able to provide detailed heat maps of players’ routes, as well as heart rate data. This information can be used to identify areas where players are struggling or pinpoint areas of the field where they are most effective.

Other metrics that Playertek can measure and monitor are:

  • Activity Chart (speed every 0.1 seconds)
  • 5-minute breakdown (all metrics –great for reviewing performance within a game)
  • Season workload chart (view a player’s full season)
  • Player head-to-head comparison (same or another player, different periods or sessions, metrics, and heat maps)
  • Session Workload metrics – numbers and radar chart
  • Session Intensity metrics – numbers and radar chart
  • Daily Team charts –all selected players, all metrics in bar charts, and single-click PDF reports.
  • Monthly Team charts –all selected players, all metrics in bar charts, and single-click PDF reports
  • Field Coverage (Heat Maps)
  • Milestones and achievements (Maths, n.d.)

What are the Benefits of Having Playertek?

There are many benefits that come with having Playertek GPS. First, it provides coaches with valuable information about their players’ performance. This data can be used to decide on training programs, substitutions, and game strategies.

Additionally, Playertek is an excellent tool for player development. The platform can be used to track progress and identify areas of improvement. This information is valuable for coaches and players, as it can help tailor training programs and focus on specific areas.

Playertek is also a valuable tool for monitoring player fatigue. The system’s ability to track player movements and calculate work rate levels is an important tool for preventing injuries. By knowing when players are starting to feel fatigued, coaches can make decisions about when to substitute them or adjust training programs.

Finally, Playertek GPS is a great way to improve team communication. The platform’s ability to provide detailed heat maps and player routes is an invaluable tool for identifying areas of the field where players are struggling or finding success. This information can be used to make adjustments to game plans and strategies.

The Bottom Line

Playertek GPS is a powerful platform that can be used by coaches and players at all levels to improve performance. The system’s ability to track player movements, calculate work rate levels, and provide detailed heat maps is an invaluable tool for player development and game strategy. If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, Playertek is definitely worth considering.

Another way you can take your game to the next level is through Prepare Like A Pro. Whether you need personal attention or online training, Prepare Like A Pro can help Aussie Rule Football players prepare just like the pros do. Whether it’s through Melbourne strength training, online AFL coaching, or one-on-one sessions, we can help you take your game to the next level. Contact us today to learn more! 

Works Cited

Boothype. (n.d.). Retrieved from Playertek Review: Track and analyse yourself for greater performance

Playertek. (n.d.). Retrieved from Frequently Asked Questions 

Maths, W. U. (n.d.). Retrieved from PlayerTek: Sport Analytics

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Australias Leading High Performance Facilities for AthletesCategoriesElite Lifestyle Footy Program Footy Tips High Performance Podcast Strength & Conditioning

Australia’s Leading High-Performance Facilities for Athletes

Australia is home to some of the best sporting facilities in the world. From Olympic-standard venues to dedicated high-performance facilities for athletes, you can have access to everything you need to reach your potential.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some strength and conditioning coaches and hear their thoughts about the current state of training in the country today. Whether you’re an AFL player looking for a place to train or you’re just interested in learning more about our sporting infrastructure, this post is sure to interest you!

The engaging forum was led by Jack Mclean, a strength and conditioning coach who founded the premier training program for footy players, Prepare Like a Pro.

Present during the forum was a host of Australia’s AFL strength and conditioning coaches and physios such as Chris Perkin, Director of Westcoast Health & High Performance, Sean Baker, the founder of Peaq Performance Centre, Christian Woodford, the Director of Woodford Sport Science Consulting, Jarrad Kay, founder of The Sixth Principle Gym, Durham McInnis, founder of Core Advantage, Lachlan Wilmot, co-founder of Athletes Authority, Michael Crichton co-owner of Melbourne Fitness & Performance and Tim Schleiger, the director at Sports Clinic of Melbourne.

The group’s consensus was that Australia is on par with the rest of the world in terms of strength and conditioning knowledge and facilities. However, there is always room for improvement, which this group of coaches is constantly striving for. Jarrad mentioned the lack of facilities hinder athletes’ ability to develop their speed, compared to facilities in the United States where athletes, young and old, have access to numerous tracks and turf fields.

“We’ve gotten really good at strength and conditioning. I would say and now what we found that the speed project and why we started this business during COVID mainly because our gyms were closed and we were locked out of them. Speed was that necessary missing link to the total puzzle, and I’m going to talk about that puzzle and analogy a little more because, at the moment, I think a lot of us are constrained by our facility size,” said Jarrad Kay.

 “When I was over in America, I went to this gym for easy speed performance and they had a 60-meter mondo track in their facility so they could hit some kind of top speed work where all of us, size and space is a big limitation especially down here in Melbourne. We’re lucky if we have 15-20 meters of turf to access, so acceleration is something that’s really well-worked into programs, but if we think about what our athletes are doing week in week out, they’re just accelerating every time at training.”

 “That’s the main quality of sprinting that they’re going to continuously hit so max velocity becomes that missing piece of the puzzle and that’s where we say ‘all right, how do we layer sprint training and how do we include max velocity that exposure these high-speed loads into an athlete’s program when we’re battling all the barriers that are going against it such as sports training and gym and everything else on top of it?’ So that’s the part of the puzzle that we like to explore, and we sit down with our athletes and work out how we can best do this,” Kay explained.

Woodford also spoke at length about the importance of social media in spreading strength and conditioning knowledge.

“I can’t say this enough. My biggest tip is to use social media to get what you believe in. I think so many people don’t use social media enough. Let’s forget about the algorithm and all that stuff but I think higher level. And you look at my good mate Jamie Smith from Melbourne’s Strength Culture. They’ve started a new podcast on YouTube and it’s been fantastic. And I think that’s another area where we’re gonna pick up again,” relayed Woodford.

“We’re gonna start my show again in that YouTube area which so many people watch. It has so much reach. That’s why all these other social media means like on Instagram and Facebook, they’re chasing YouTube so I think YouTube’s a big one. Getting content out on YouTube’s critical, but it’s just pushing across a message of what you believe in, you know. Show your athletes training. Show your passion. Show what you’re believing. Show your knowledge. Don’t be afraid of giving away free information.”

“I think that’s a big one in the industry. Showing that you actually do care and you do want to get the best results for your client athlete. That’s a very important thing you’re showing because there are a lot of people out there who don’t care about results. They are kind of just doing it for the money. They’re my two biggest tips: show through social media in terms of what you stand for what you believe in your passion and the second, that you actually really do care,” said Woodford.

Wilmot also discussed how much of an impact strength and conditioning coaches have on athletes, whether they’re as young as nine years old, or veterans trying to hold on to their professional careers.

“In professional sport, you know, strength conditioning coaches, we probably have a percentage of athletes that we impact more than others. Typically, when it comes to the very talented superstars, our influence on them can often be less. The older athlete often our influence can be sustaining careers for a little bit longer. But obviously, in the private sector, we were getting athletes at 13 to 17 years of age. To be able to influence them was really big, and that’s what we do in the private sector,” shared Wilmot.

If you are an athlete looking for a facility that can help you take your performance to the next level, then look no further than Prepare Like a Pro. Our world-class programming and expert coaching staff will have you primed and ready to perform at your best. Contact us today to learn more about our programs or book a tour of our facilities. We can’t wait to help you achieve your athletic goals!

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Strength TrainingCategoriesFooty Program Footy Tips

Strength Training to Improve Australian Rules Footballers’ Physicality on the Field

Australian rules football is a physical sport. To compete at the elite level, you need to have a high level of physicality. One of the best methods to improve your physicality is through strength training. Strength training will help you increase your muscle mass, improve your power output and reduce your risk of injury. So, if you want to become a better Australian rules footballer, start strength training today!

Combat Training For AFL

 What is strength training, and how can it improve Australian rules footballers’ physicality on the field?

Strength training is a type of exercise that focuses on increasing your ability to generate a high amount of force. There are many different types of strength training, but most of them involve lifting weights or doing resistance exercises. The key to improving physicality by strength training is performing heavy compound movements. Compound movements are multi-joint exercises that increase muscle groups more than isolation exercises. For example, a bicep curl is an isolation exercise that only works your biceps. In contrast, a barbell back squat is a compound movement that works several muscle groups, including your quadriceps, trunk, and glutes.

 To perform well in Australian rules football and improve AFL upper body strength, it’s crucial to have a high power output level. Power output has three components: strength, speed, and endurance. Strength for a developing athlete is the most important of the three because it increases your maximum output which ultimately increases your speed endurance and overall power output. As you are physically mature you will need to focus on power training to improve your ability to generate force faster! 

To make sure you are maximising your efforts and time it’s important to become stronger and train with an experienced strength and conditioning coach. If you want to become a better Australian rules footballer, consider training with heavier weights because that will help you gain more lean muscle, which will help bolster your AFL physicality.

 Australian rules footballers need to be strong in their lower body as well. Any time you’re on the ground during a game, your legs are providing stability and power to help you stay upright or dominate your opponent. This is why players with good lower body strength tend to excel at AFL tackling. To improve lower body strength, you need to do trapbar deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, and barbell box squats because those exercises increase lower body strength while minimising the risk for injury. The best way to build power output in your legs is by doing explosive movements like jump squats or depth jumps.

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Australian rules footballers that want to improve AFL power should also focus on their posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves). You need to do Romanian deadlifts, glute bridges, back extensions, and reverse hypers to improve your posterior chain. Australian rules football players that perform heavy compound movements combined with explosive lower body exercises have the best chance of developing the physical attributes to be assertive in contested situations when playing Footy.

 How often should AFL players strength train to see optimal results on the field during matches and tournaments throughout the year?

Australian rules footballers need to train with weights 3-5 times per week for optimal results. Too many training sessions can lead to overtraining the nervous system, decreasing performance. During the season, footy players should train with weights 2-3 times per week and perform either total body sessions or split body parts i.e. upper body one day and lower body on the other day. Australian rules footballers need to avoid only performing isolation exercises while training with weights because they’re not as effective at developing strength and power.

For optimal results on the field, AFL players need to train with heavier weights for fewer repetitions. For example, six sets of 3 reps are better than 4 sets of 10 reps. It’s more important to do the exercises correctly with the guidance of experienced football strength and conditioning coach than to perform more sets or reps.

 Training Australian rules footballers is not different from training any other athlete. To see success on the field, athletes need to train with heavy weights for fewer repetitions to play stronger and faster during matches throughout the year. The off-season is the best time for athletes to work on strength and power because they can do extra work with no game load to recover from. The closer an athlete gets to game day, the closer they need to be working on speed and power with explosive movements like the ones listed in our YouTube playlist: 

 

What are some tips for ensuring that AFL players get the most out of their strength-training sessions?

Australian rules football players need to have a strong mind-muscle connection with all their exercises. If an AFL player can move heavier weights with proper technique, they’ll become more confident on the field, and that will help them be successful in performing tackling drills or being tackled by another player. As a result, strength training sessions aren’t just about lifting heavyweights. The main goal of strength training sessions is to build confidence in AFL players through quality movement and understanding the purpose of each exercise in the weight room.

Prepare Like A Pro offers premier training programs for footy players. We have face-to-face training that caters to the individual needs of athletes.

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