Thursday, January 19, 2017

Local Footy Training GEMS from AFL/TAC S&C Coaches Burgo and Matty Part 1/9

You might recall I put some feelers out for footy training questions that could be answered by Port Adelaide S&C Coach Darren Burgess, who I've interviewed before.

I wanted to see what sort of training information was wanted and needed by L/A footballers of all grades, and I received plenty of responses.

In the end I had to categorise them all, then mix them together to make 1 "super question"!

I also shot them through to Matt Glossop, TAC S&C Coach at the Murray Bushrangers, to get a slightly different view. Matty also still plays L/A footy in the North East when the Bushrangers schedule allows him to and he's also been featured on this blog before.

I'll be posting the questions in separate blog posts so be sure to check back over the next week or 2 as there are 9 or 10 parts to this so it;s not 1 huge block of text.



BURGO - I think there will always be a requirement for all those aspects but as you drop down levels of footy I think skill becomes more relevant because strength, speed and endurance deteriorate with fatigue.


MATTY - In the North East of Victoria we have a couple of 2nd tier type leagues but 1 is played on bigger grounds with flat surfaces and the other on smaller, boggier grounds. So while both leagues have a high standard of footy, the type of footy (outside + running v inside + contested) and thus the requirements to play each style of footy (max velocity speed + repeat speed v acceleration speed + body contact), are very different.

A lot of athletes are genetically gifted in a certain strength/speed quality (speed, endurance, strength etc) and at the L/A level most can get away with just that, but as you move up levels of footy you need more and more tricks in your arsenal.

There are many L/A players with endurance levels comparable to AFL players but AFL players have far superior speed and/or strength levels.

Personally I think speed is king and if you possess superior speed then you have a chance at any level.

From a technical standpoint, tackling (both being the tackler and you being tackled but also being able to dispose of the ball effectively) is a huge jump as you go up levels as well.


- Skills win out above all else. GPS readings have show that teams that have superior skill levels perform much less work then teams with lesser skill levels. This means that less fatigue is induced throughout a game so you're are able to maintain greater levels of speed, strength and endurance which also feeds better decision making which all adds up to superior skill levels.

- If you have a proven strength in regards to skill, speed, endurance etc then at the L/A level you're number 1 goal is to keep it at a very high level at the very least. Coaches also need to recognise this and allow individual training time to do this and also not to train them the complete opposite way too often. On the other hand trying to improve something you're already extremely proficient in can result in a lot of hard work for little reward. When bringing up your weaknesses you need to do a needs analysis to determine what you need to bring up the most. For example if you you're a small forward picking balls off packs like Eddie Betts then do you need to spend 8 weeks trying to increase your vertical leap? Probably not. It would be great to be able to jump higher but how much will it improve your game in the long run versus getting faster or training repeat the superior speed you already have?

- Coaches need to develop game plans and thus training plans around their personnel and the ground they'll play on, preferably your home ground. If you can win most of your home games then you're almost finals bound right there.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Why Your L/A Men's Footy Team Should Train Like AFL Women's Teams Do

Not that I'm not always thinking about optimising training methods for footy, but I really did like the extremely efficient way the Collingwood coaches trained their women the past couple of Fridays I've been down there.

In a 2 hour session they train A LOT more training qualities then L/A men's teams do, even though they are using a shorter build up, and I'd also suggest that most players are coming from a lot further back then 95% of LA men's teams too.

Along with getting their stars up to elite fitness levels, they also are training up girls who have never even played a game of footy before in regards to the skill and physical requirements of AFL football.

Just think back to those training nights where a bloke has turned up from nowhere, having never played footy before, and how bad he was on the training track. He tried his guts out but didn't really make great strides throughout the year, making the same mistakes from lack of skill and lack of "game" knowledge.

This is potentially what the AFLW teams are dealing with to various degrees.

When you're training, your goal should always to get the most from the least and to use the minimum effective dose but unfortunately in L/A footy circles this a ridiculously foreign concept.

The mantra of how much you can do still rules the day at most LA footy clubs but this is seriously flawed.

Seeing how much you can do will ALWAYS result in decreased performance because of the fatigue factor. The longer you try and go at 100%, the faster you'll fatigue, and the more decrease in performance you'll see.

Let's use a few examples:

#1 - You have the a midfielder who can win the ball at will and is a competitive beast. He works himself into the ground every training session and every game but his kicking lets him down regularly. Essentially all his hard work, which is plenty, is undone by his poor skill level. He definitely needs some no-fatigued, specific skill work because he goes so hard everything he does is under fatigue, and fatigue blunts high performance. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

#2 - It's January and time to get "some run in the legs" (where else does it go?) so it's time to do some 400's, and the team heads off together and/or ins small groups. You've got the workhorse from the first example leading the way and lets say he completes his 4 sets of 400's in 60, 65, 68 and 72secs. He was able to maintain something close to the speed of his first set with a drop of less then 20% in times from set 1 to set 4. Not too bad at the L/A level.

You've also got Joe who is the speedster of the team and an explosive machine. For his 4 x 400m he clocks in at 70, 80, 90, 100secs which is a 30% drop in times from set 1 to set 4. Not great, but also look at his absolute time compared to workhourse - 60 to 70secs in the work horses favor. You're basically running the speed out of poor Joe, and thus not being very efficient with his 4hrs of training time a week.

To add to Joe's woes, he WILL NOT recover from these 400's during the actual training session and everything else performed afterwards is compromised. His speed will be decreased and his skill level will drop so what is he really training now? His training how to be slow with bad skills!

Here's a look at what the Collingwood Women did and how you can use what they did to streamline your training whether you're a player or a coach.

- 10mins of partner skill work like most teams do except the weekend chit-chatter and 10m kick on your good foot were replaced by loud voices and opposite side disposal for the most part
- Later on skills were trained within game simulation and under fatigue through the use of small sided games

- Everyone performs the same warm up which again cuts down time as a format to follow always works quicker then thinking it up on the spot. I do our teams warm ups and always provide 30 - 60secs to stretch out what they want to so there's not blokes hanging off to the side doing their own thing when it's "team time." If you have your won stuff you want to do then do it in your own time.

- I bet your team does a lap or 2 at the very start of the session yeah? Not this team - not 1 lap for the entire session! After floor based stretches that move into standing dynamic drills, the ladies went into a simple running drill that gradually increased in pace and distance. It would have taken as long as the 1 - 2 laps you currently do but emphasised far more aspects and specifics of the running action (sprinting mechanics, change of direction, eccentric control to name a few) then that shitty couple of laps with low knee lift going around in circles. The more intensive running also helps to get your players focused on training quicker as well.

- With the team broken into 2 groups (every L/A team should be doing this with potentially 50+ players on the track at this time of the year), half does some resisted sprinting work for speed while the other group does some agility cone work and then they switch. Training efficiency is increased by 50% right there with the 2 groups.

- No cones to cone drill here - just game simulation. Everything from here out is high intensity through the use of small sided games which allows you to train not only game specific conditioning and skills under game type pressure, but most importantly decision making - and decision making under fatigue.

I understand that as L/A teams you will need some drills using he cone to cone action but I suggest implementing chaos games as soon as you can and maybe again splitting the groups up into cone to cone and chaos groups with your starts and regular trainers in the chaos group, and the January/February flyers in the cone to cone group then slowly introduce them to the chaos group until mid Feb when everything is specifically game simulated.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Aussie Rules Training Inner Sanctum

The Inner Sanctum is the "soul" of every football club.

It's where the major decisions are made and where champions are born.

It's where you need to be fulfill your potential.

The Aussie Rules Training Inner Sanctum is the place where you want to to be, the place you NEED to be, to get ALL of the information that you will take you heights you've never been before.

By signing up up to the ARTIS you'll receive:

- the weekly newsletter every Monday detailing everything that has gone on across all ART platforms in the last 7 days

- the ART Information Bundle Pack that contains PDF files for Acing the Combine, The Speccy Challenge, 50 Tips for Becoming a Better Footballer, 10 Things You're Not Being, But Should Be, To Be a Better Footballer, ART Top 15 Posts Report and the Elite Strength and Conditioning Coaches Interviews from the best AFL, VFL and TAC clubs have to offer.

- 50% off the regular price for the "program of the week" chosen from the 7 player, 5 coaching and 17 specialty training programs available from the Aussie Rules Untouchable site

All of this for your email address!

Head to the sign up page and get all this today!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

AFLW is Here - First Practice Game

Yesterday was the very first AFLW practice game between the Fremantle Dockers and the Adelaide Crows all the way up in Darwin.

The game was streamed live on Youtube yesterday and I got up and watched it this morning.

Here's what I thought was note worthy:

- The Freo girls laid some big tackles and not many of them get broken which will be a huge asset.

- Adelaide looked like they wanted to play a handball game which will require a lot of hard running with only 16 players on the field per team.

- Disposal mistakes will also be far more costly when playing the running game with the less players as you'll have less players back.

- Freo ran hard early but seemed to tire in the 2nd quarter.

- Then both teams seem to tire in the 2nd half of the 2nd quarter which was to be expected.

- It is worth noting that the Crows are a amalgamation of South Australian and Northern Territory girls who have mostly trained separately except for the whole 2 times they've been together as a team, with  of those times the day before the game.

- For some reason they played 20min quarters even though the proper season will roll with 15mins + time on which also affects player fatigue.

- There was a fair bit of cutting the ground in half for both teams at various times which again with less players, will be seen a lot of the AFLW season proper it seems as it's harder to run it out with no  all your players in the back 50 or close to.

- Adelaide must have taken a good 5 - 6 high, pack mark which was great to see.

- Across the board Freo had the better skill level and decision making but again the Crows haven't really played together before which definitely affects decision making and thus skill level off the back of that.

If you'd like to check the game out you can watch it in full below:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coaches, You Can't Train Everyone the Same - Here's Why...

We've all got those jets at our footy club, they just have speed to burn and not just speed at a lower level, but speed that would be an asset at higher levels of footy where everyone is relatively quick.

There is a jet at my club, bleeds for the club, is the major sponsor now even, who fits this bill. He's ran an 11sec flat 100m with absolutely no training for speed, it's all natural.

And in his arse. His giant arse!

Off topic quickly, a former CEO named Jack Welch has a book called Winning where he talks about the typical breakdown of employees. You have your top 20% who are your stars, your middle 70% who are your workhorses and your lowest 10% who are your bottom feeders.

I bet you've heard the footy phrase "you're only as good as your bottom 6" and this is along those lines.

Now most people will look at it and think that focusing on your stars is the way to get better but you've all those workhorses who turn up week in and week out, and with enough resources thrown at them they can too become stars, potentially doubling your top end talent. It's a lot easier, and cheaper as L/A footy clubs to build your own starts then find them on the open market.

The 70% is where your potential stars are, and they're right under your nose right now, and it's actually most of your teams success comes from.

Getting back to our stars/jets, they to need something different. They possess a certain quality that sets them apart and is crucial that you continue to develop it, maintain it, or let them express it on a consistent basis.

Generally speed is what sets them apart so you need to make sure there is training time set aside for them to do this.

Doing too much "workhorse" training with them can "run the speed right out of them" and now they are just another workhorse.

Within your playing group you;re also going to get some different cats, at L/A footy level this is just a fact of life you need to get used to and not everyone will fall into line the exact same way we want them to when they are not getting paid to do so.

There is something called the Braverman Test that can help you determine what type of athlete you are based on neurotransmitter type.

Dopamine based athletes will have lots of energy they get stuff done, they can handle and display great intensity but overall training volume can decrease their output drastically. My mate from above is this to a tee.

Acetylcholine based athletes possess great creativity and will respond best to variations in training load. They also like to problem solve so discovery based training is big for them.

Gaba based athletes love consistency and the process of it all. They can sustain greater training loads for extended periods of time but they can't reach the intensity levels of the dopamine athlete.

Seretonin based athletes are you sit back, relax and enjoy life types which we all again, have at our footy clubs.

You add up all the true responses to the 4 sections and here what my results were:

Dopmaine - 22
Acetylcholine - 23
Gaba - 36
Serotonin - 25

As you can see I fit the Gaba mold which is almost 50% of the population - so much for being unique!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Women's Football - Introducing Anna Morrow


Yesterday an up and coming female footballer by the name of Anna Morrow started training in the studio.

Last year she played for the Brunswick Renegades where she was vice captain and for season has 2017 has moved to the Darebin Falcons to test herself at a higher level.

Our aim is for her to push herself into the senior/VFL side at some point as she is coming from a few grades lower.

She doesn't have glaring weaknesses but understands that to play a level you've never played at before, you must train like you've never trained before.

She is currently training in the studio with me personally but will shift to online training when team training starts back up.

Yesterday we tested her speed over 10m, will test her over 20m later in the week, as well as some lower rep strength work to improve her force output as most females will be generally elastic dominant (plyometric).

She timed in at 2.58secs from a 4 point starting position then 2.61secs from a standing position.

She's very dedicated to making this happen which makes it very easy to program for her and she'll pretty much do what I say!

She already has another 2 days of programming ready for her to complete before I see her again Friday.

I'll keep you updated with her progress throughout the year so if you want to join "Female Football Team Troy" then fill out this application form and I'll get back to you on the same day. There are in-person and online options.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Women's Football - Collingwood Womens's Football Team Training

So I went down and checked out the Collingwood Women's Team Training tonight in 32 degree heat, after my own sprints session of course!

Here's how it all panned out.

10mins of partner skill drills (kicking, handballing etc) with the aim to get as many touches of the footy as you can.

Warm Up
- As a group they stated with ground based warm ups being back rolls, single leg glute bridges, side lying hip abductions, single leg abductor, hip flexor and kneeling hamstring.

Dynamic Warm Up Up and Down a 50m Stretch
- Up onto the feet and still as a group they did walking quad mobilisation into jog, walking ham mobilisation with arm sweep, overhead walking lunge into jog, side shuffles to jump squats to jog, high knee run to jog, partner leg swings, butt kicks to jog, side step to carioca, calf mobilisation, stride to 30m, jog into changes of direction, stride to 30m, prime time to jog, stide to 30m x 2

Running Prep
- Still as 1 group they did 25m fprwards into 25m backpedal into 35m F/B into 45m F/B, 2mins rest, 15m F/B, 25m F/B, 40m F/B, 50m F/B, 2mins rest, 15m F/B, 25m F/B, 40m F/B, 50m F/B

That looked hard watching it!

Then they broke off into 2 groups which is a great idea to keep everyone moving all the time - remember they only have a list of 27 or so if you have 40 - 50 blokes at training some nights then there must be a lot of standing around time.

Speed / Agility

Group 1 - Partner Band Resisted Sprints x 7secs x 2 sets each (band resister switches to sprinter and vice versa every 2nd sprint), 3mins rest, repeat except after your 7sec sprint you go straight into 4 squat jumps then a 20m stride again for 2 sets each

Group 2 - T Agility Drill where you sprint out 5m, side shuffle 5m to the left marker, shuffle back to the right 10m to marker, shuffle 5m back to the middle marker then backpedal back to the start. This was in groups of 4 or 5 just going 1 after the other x 3 sets each.

Then the groups switched drills.

There were a few left on the ground after the agility drill!

After a good 5 - 7mins break they went own the opposite end, set up 4 groups and did some set and on the run goal kicking from 4 "area's" but no major structure just move around and get a lot of different angled kicks in.

Small Sided Games Conditioning

Game 1 Zone Kick Out 15 v 11 - the team of 11 kicks out against a zone of 15 opposition and it's simply game simulation until the kick out team gets the ball over every single zoning player, or the zoning team forces a turnover and scores a goal or behind for a reset. 2 x 10min games with 5mins rest.

Game 2 Ball Up Clearance 10 v 10 - whoever wins the clearance becomes the attacking team so then they try and score and the defending team again aim to get the ball out and over all the attacking players for a reset. If there was a behind then they simply threw the ball in from about 50m out. 2 x 10mins with 5mins rest

Game 3 Kick into Squares 9 v 9 - 2 Squares were set up about 35m apart with 4v5 in each (5v4 in the other for even numbers overall). The coach kicks the ball into one of the squares and nominates which team is to mark it and take possession. Whoever marks the ball starts the drill off with a forward thrust but remember it's 9 v 9 here, there's not players everywhere. It seemed to teaching the attacking team to spread, push forward and play some tempo footy when needed and the defending team needed to push to get numbers back to. This went for about 5mins.

I really enjoyed the small sided games as they can be easy and hard to implement depending of which one's you know of! Once the small sided games started then no one stopped moving until the rest breaks so their GPS units would have been going silly as it was quite intensive, not to mention the heat.

All up it was a 2 hour session, they looked good, ran well and their skills were pretty good most of the time even under fatigue.

If you want to be doing AFLW pre-season training this time next year, then start by filling out this application form.