Enhancing Performance: The Ultimate AFL Running Program
The Australian Football League (AFL) is a physically demanding sport that requires players to possess a high level of fitness and endurance. To excel in this game, players need to undergo a well-structured running program that not only improves their aerobic capacity but also hones their technical skills and agility. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the key components of the ultimate AFL running program, covering in-season and pre-season training tips to elevate players’ performance on the field.
Highlights of the episode:
- Build your base
- Football Fitness
- Technical proficiency
- Microdose your speed and agility work
Building a Strong Aerobic Base: In-Season Training
Many footballers believe that focusing on running during the off-season is enough to build their aerobic base. However, neglecting running during the in-season can lead to a decline in fitness levels and hinder overall performance. The ultimate AFL running program emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong aerobic foundation throughout the season.
To achieve this, players must gradually increase their training load and incorporate extra running sessions strategically. It is crucial to avoid sudden spikes in training intensity to prevent overloading the players and risking injuries. The key is to time the additional running sessions around regular training and matches, ensuring players have enough time to recover and rest adequately.
Football Fitness: Challenging Abilities Under Fatigue
AFL players must be physically and mentally prepared to handle various challenges during a match, even when fatigued. Football fitness involves testing the athletes’ ability to concentrate and perform well under stress. The ultimate AFL running program introduces mixed Fizz sessions, which include a combination of football drills, high-speed running, sprint distance exposure, and aerobic work.
These mixed Fizz sessions mimic the game’s dynamic nature and help players adapt to the unpredictable scenarios they might encounter during matches. By training under fatigue, players can build mental toughness and ensure that their physical abilities remain sharp during intense moments in the game.
Technical Proficiency: The Key to Injury Prevention
While a strong aerobic base and football fitness are crucial, technical proficiency is equally important to prevent injuries and optimize performance. Players must move efficiently on the field to maximize the benefits of their training. The ultimate AFL running program focuses on proper foot-to-ground connection and coordination of foot, knee, and hip movements.
Efficient movement patterns are essential to avoid strain and reduce the risk of injuries. Coaches work closely with players to ensure they understand the correct techniques for running, acceleration, and deceleration. Emphasizing the importance of proper form helps players channel their energy in the right direction, leading to enhanced performance and reduced risk of injuries.
Pre-Season Preparation: Sprint and Agility Training
As the pre-season approaches, it’s time to fine-tune specific aspects of running to excel on the field. Sprint and agility training take center stage during this phase of the ultimate AFL running program. Players focus on acceleration and max velocity work on specific days of the week.
Acceleration drills with sleds, bands, and banded sprints help players develop explosive starts and quick bursts of speed. Max velocity work focuses on open-ended sprinting, allowing players to reach and maintain their top speeds effectively. These targeted exercises help players develop the speed and agility necessary to outperform opponents during the game.
The ultimate AFL running program is a comprehensive approach to enhancing players’ performance on the field. By prioritizing a strong aerobic base, football fitness, technical proficiency, and specific pre-season preparations, players can elevate their game to new heights. This well-structured program ensures that players not only excel physically but also develop the mental resilience required to succeed in the demanding sport of AFL. Embrace the tips and strategies outlined in this blog post, and take your AFL game to the next level. A disciplined running program will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in your success on the field. Train smart, play smart, and enjoy the rewards of improved running performance and overall success in the game you love.
Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.