Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Another article summary taken from my files this time from Rugby strength coach Kier Wenham-Flatt, who I've discusses a bunch of times on this blog.

This article of his looked at how athletes can get the same score on a particular test but get it in different ways, which you need to know, because it will then dictate how you train them going forward.

The points I took down were:

- 2 athletes can get the same score but in different ways

- In the Yo-Yo test they might both get 19.5 but athlete 1 spends most of his time below his anaerobic threshold but when he goes over it he dies in the arse very quickly

- Athlete 2 is raises above his anaerobic threshold pretty early but can hang on for a long time

- Athlete 1 is an aerobic based athlete and athlete 2 is anaerobic based

- You have bulldogs (A1) and greyhounds (A2)

- Physically there will be variations between how well athletes use the stretch shortening cycle and stiffness, what part of the force/velocity curve they are comfortable at producing force, the development of various strength qualities, how quickly they can develop force, heir ability to relax quickly, the mechanisms of the sporting skill, aerobic/anaerobic energy production balance and conscious/unconscious central nervous system tolerance of fatigue

- Don't be average at everything, be excellent at 1 or a small amount of things

- Coaches are judged to raise the performance of the individual, not the group

- Look at the qualities of each position as they may not be the same

- The reason you suck at 1 test might be why you dominate another test

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


This blog is taken from an article summary I read by cricket coach Paddy Upton, who lead India to the 2011 World Cup and also the #1 ranking in test cricket around the same time.

It's all about why coaching is about encouraging players to take responsibility and helping them understand what is best for them.

Here's what I took down from it:

- In high pressure moments, DM is more important than skill.

- Create your tram based on strengths, personal preferences learning styles etc so get this info from your players.

- Don't preach fear of failure or fear of repercussion of failure as then players will not try that skill again and it can halt mental/physical development.

- A coach needs to remove a fear of failure

- Don't focus on stopping the opposition because then you're asking your players to do things they might not be very good at in high pressure situations and you're essentially setting them up to fail.

- Instead work to their strengths and find what they are comfortable doing in high pressure situations.

- In high pressure situations it will be the quality of the decision made under that pressure that will get you in trouble rather then actual skill itself as the skills are practiced repeatedly, but high pressure situations might only occur rarely.

- Hypoxic underwater breath holding is one of the most direct feedback mechanisms you can experience because as soon as you feel out of breath the first thing that happens is a natural hiccup like a spasm in the stomach, you panic and then hold your breath for that amount of time repeatedly before panic sets in.

- As soon as you panic, then you worry, then you overthink, you leave the present and your body forces you to lift your head up but if you keep calm and stay in the present then you'll stay under for longer so it's actually a mental thing that makes you lift your head out, not a physical thing.

- Provide all the resources for the players and give them responsibility for preparation, performance and recovery and you as coach get them in the right frame of mind to carry it out

The full article can be found here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Joel Jamieson's book titled "MMA Conditioning" changed the game for me from a energy systems point of view and how I now go about training it.

Unlike many of the football fitness drills we do this actually explains what each drill does from a physiological stand point rather then doing something, getting knackered and hoping for the best as far as increased endurance is concerned.

Hoping is is not good enough by the way.

I can't find the link for this article right now but here's what I out in my files about this one specifically that might tick the old brain over a bit more then usual:

* There's a difference between fitness and conditioning

* Fitness is being strong, fast etc which sits on the energy output side of things

* Conditioning is a skill set that gives us the ability to utilise and manage our energy effectively and puts out fitness to work/energy expenditure

* For conditioning you need dynamic energy control which is the ability to control your heart rate/output so you need to actually know what you;re limits are and develop a strategy to work around it

*  Recovery/respiration is the ability to breathe better, recover faster and perform better

* Fatigued motor control is the ability to maintain technique under fatigue

Read this again and then think about what caches and players expect in footy.

W e want everyone to end the game totally f%&ked, give 110% and all that bullshit but at what cost - not getting the footy that's what.

Train smart to play smart!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


A few weeks ago I introduced you to track coach Stuart McMillan and his weekly blog called "A Very Stable Idiot" where he discusses all sorts of things each week in a ramblings sort of way.

This topic is from one his weekly blogs a few weeks back on the self management process that he read about written by Peter F Drucker.

At local/amateur levels of football there are players from all different backgrounds, vastly different playing abilities as well as playing for a variety of different reasons which usually ends up resulting in a fair bit of unevenness across the board and the coach and left to try and tie it all together each and every Saturday.

Here's what he talked about:

* Determine what are your strengths and focus on them

* Developing your weaknesses is required, but don't put in anywhere near as much time and effort as your strengths

* Putting a lot of time in your weaknesses might only result in going from poor to mediocre level rather then going from good to great

* Your strength/s define who you are

* Through an honest assessment determine what conditions you perform best under, are you a natural leader. are you assertive, are you a workhorse or are you a jet?

* You need to knowing your function within the team and hopefully this is noticed by your coach and teammates.

* Your values is your ultimate test so how do you want others to recognise you and how do you want to recognise yourself?

* Do you need to change to fit what you want it to be?

* Where, what and how can you contribute to your team based all of the above

* the change/s should be difficult to achieve, the results should be meaningful and the results should be visible and measurable

* Give yourself a lot of time to make and instill these changes, maybe up to 18 months

Sunday, May 13, 2018


This week is inter-league week so we have the week off, which I actually thought was a another week or 2 away.

As usual I alter my training as for  weeks I have nothing to plan around (i.e Saturday game + recovery).

My current schedule, when I could do it but was able to get it all in last week, is:

MON - Max Speed session at the athletics track

TUE - Footy Training

WED - Upper Body Gym Session

THU - Lower Body Gym Session

FRI - Upper Body Gym Session

SAT - Game

SUN - Off

With the weekend free I can overtrain myself (overreaching is a far better word though) slightly with more resources available for recovery in the back end of this week and early next week then usual.

With my lack of max speed training in the last 3 - 4 weeks I will take this time to focus on that for this week and then get back to something resembling my normal week above, next week.

3 times during the off-season I used a sled training program that resulted in my fastest ever standing 20m sprint of 3.00secs and I've use some of the principles from that program to develop this week's training.

I also want to use this time to get a fair bit of volume in as my volume drops dramatically in the in-season compared to my off and pre-season volume.

Here's how my next 2 weeks look:

MON - Sled Sprints @ 70% Bodyweight + Bodyweight Sprints 3 x 20m (each)

TUE - Sled Sprints @ 80% Bodyweight + Bodyweight Sprints 3 x 20m (each)

WED - Sled Sprints @ 90% Bodyweight + Bodyweight Sprints 3 x 20m (each)

THU - Sled Sprints @ 80% Bodyweight + Bodyweight Sprints 3 x 20m (each)

FRI - Sled Sprints @ 70% Bodyweight + Bodyweight Sprints 3 x 20m (each)

SAT - Max Velocity Sprints

SUN - Off

MON - Upper Body Gym Session

TUE - Footy Training

WED - Upper Body Training

*THU - Acceleration Sprints

*FRI - Lower Gym Power Session

SAT - Game 

I'm clearly going to have to see how my times and heart rate variability are tracking as to whether I stick with this 100%, what with doing the same thing for 5 days in a row.

If my performance is dropping faster then I want it to then I can easily insert a rest day if needed.

I could also throw some upper boy stuff in and around this week as well as my gym is at home so I can easily duck into the garage, do a quick 15 - 20mins on 2 or so days and that's all I need to do really.

The back end of next week is more unclear as I'll need to ripe for Saturday so whether I do 1 or both of those workouts, or a combination of them, we'll have to wait and see.

Regardless I like to train the Friday before a game in some capacity so maybe I could do another upper body gym sesh if the legs need some extra rest from the previous week.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Somehow this week I've been picked to play in the 1's for the first time since August 13th, 2014.

We have been nothing short of shattered with injury and unavailability this season in all grades, with 30 blokes out last weekend over all grades.

We seemed to get a few back this week but also some others out and it is killing us in a very competitive league this season.

Like all almost 40 year olds I'll be coming off the bench to spell a small forward I assume and I'm actually looking forward to it.

 This past Monday was the first day in weeks where I didn't have even 1 ache or pain (had a lower back then calf issue for a little while there) and was able to hit the sprint track for the first time in weeks.

Tuesday I was also able to train which went well and my speed seemed to be back to 100%.

Wednesday I did an upper body session.

Thursday I almost made it to training but the wife needed the car so I did a lower body gym session instead.

Today (Friday) I;ll do another upper body session as planned before the game tomorrow.

So I've actually completed a full week of training pretty much which again I haven't been able to do for a little while.

The only downside is that my exuberance for training this week has left me with a slight case of the sniffles, but nothing a little Sudafed on game day can't fix to tie me over for a couple of hours.

When I first arrived at the club in 2011 (I think), I was a backman and kickout specialist before coach Marndog threw me forward in 2015 and I've stayed there ever since.

I haven't played a senior game in the forward line since the early 2000's or even late 90's but I am looking forward to playing with a lot of the younger guys I haven't had a chance to play with even though they've been at the club for years.

Hopefully the weather report improves between now and then, I can hopefully snag a sausage or 2 and have our first win for the season.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I was getting into some of my "to read" file yesterday and came across an Eric Cressey blog where he talks about a firefighter study and how it has huge implications on performance training.

Here's a summary of it.

- 52 firefighters split into 3 groups

- Group 1 was movement based fitness who received a training program and coaching

- Group 2 was conventional fitness who received a training program only

- Group 3 was a control group that received nothing

- Before and after the 12 week program they were all tested on the usual strength/fitness qualities (strength, endurance etc)

- They also used 5 whole body tasks that were not actually trained at during the 12 weeks and looked specifically at spine and knee motion to gauge movement quality under various conditions of movement

- The movement based fitness group improved in spinal and frontal plane knee control

- The conventional fitness group exhibited less control in spinal and knee motion

- Only the movement based fitness group received positive changes through improved control  after the 12 weeks and fewer negative changes were also noted as well

So what does this all mean?


Training without coaching does not have as much upside as with caching and has more incidences of lower adaptation (i.e. actual results).

Actual performance results are so much more about just a good training program and/or a great training environment - it's about hammering home loads of consistent high quality reps of whatever it is you need to to get better, which greatly enhances your chances of positive movement quality adaptation.

Skill development is exactly all of the above and it might make sense to somehow break up your players into some form of "skill abilities" and have them practice kicking at their level.

Otherwise what you're left with is players trying execute skills in a drill, environment or at a speed that they are simply not ready for and they will never improve until they are given a situation they can thrive in.

Once an adequate level is reached then they can shift up a level and so on.