Saturday, November 23, 2013

5 Random Footy Training Tips Part 2

Random Tip #6 - Practicing Skills

Skills are king in footy, there is nothing surer. You can be fat, slow and unfit but if you have skills then you can still getaway with everything else you lack.


Because you don't have to do as much work. It's a known fact that the top 4 teams actually do less work then the other 14 teams.


Because they're skills and team work are the best. You know what they say, "lots of hands make light work"...or something like that.

Skills are required to be at their peak from the first bounce of the game til the final siren so it's a great idea to train them in a non fatigued and fatigued state.

I believe this should be actually programmed into your pre-season training.

For the first 3rd of your pre-season practice all skills (or the majority of them) in a non fatigued state and get as many reps per player in as you can.

For the middle 3rd introduce some skill work under fatigue and gradually ramp it up so by the last 3rd you're doing almost exclusively fatigued (to varying degrees) skill work.

Make sure to set a standard though which brings me to my next point.

Random Tip #7 - Test What's Important

When you test something regularly, there's a fair chance you'll get improvement out of most if not every player to some degree. Being held accountable is a very underrated part of local and amateur football.

You don't want to test everything unless you have enough coaching staff to do it all but the big one's for me would be:

  • Kicking
  • Repeat Speed
  • Aerobic Capacity 

Re-visit these test 3 or 4 times during the pre-season and another 3 or 4 times during the season. Keep your players honest!!

Random Tip #8 - Sprint Drills with Time or Distance Limits

Everybody has varying degrees of fitness and capacities for various qualities. Somehow you've got to cater for the blokes who aren't up to the level of your reigning best and fairest winning mid-fielder who can run all day. You can't just run them into the ground as they attempt to "catch up".

They'll get injured and not be able to play or they'll get demotivated and not want to play. Either you're a man down before you even start.

I've written about auto regulation training in the past and it's a perfect choice to use in this case. What it means is that you make  set point that players to get to in each drill and if they can't reach it, then they sit out the next set to allow them extra recovery. You wouldn't want them out on the ground when they can't run so why do it at training?

Alternatively you might have a 'fit" set point and an "unfit" set point to cater for more players.

Random Tip #9 - Hat Drill

This is a drill my old country team used to run in the 2000's. You'd set up hats that form a circle just inside the boundary line by about 5m that starts from about 20m out from goal and finishes on the other side in the same spot.  Break your team into 2 groups (doesn't matter the mix of fitness levels) and 1 group rests while the other goes and vice-versa.

The last 25 - 50m of the drill has different color hats laid out every 5m or so. The first different color hat is 1 point, the 2nd color hat is 2 points and so on til the last hat.

The aim is for everyone to reach the 1st different colored hat in 90secs or however fast you think most players should be able to cover the distance. That is the set point. If you don't reach that hat then you sit out the next set, rest up and jump in for the 2 sets later.

The beauty of this drill is that it caters for both fit and unfit players. The unfit players are striving to just make sure they get to do every set. The fit players are striving to get the maximum score for the entire drill. So if you have 6 different colored drills at the end of the course and you do 5 sets, the maximum score is 6 x 5 = 30 points.

Random Tip #10 - Keeping Track of Who's Training

This can be a fair bit of extra work but if possible keep track of who attends training and how frequently. This can give you an idea of where players should be with their fitness throughout the entire pre-season.

There's plenty of blokes who just glide along and don't want to push too much out of their comfort zone. By knowing that they've done the last 8 sessions in a row then you know that they've got some pretty good training volume under their belt and that where there is a split of the team for running drills, they can move up a grade.

This will hopefully push those middle of the pack players up into the top group providing you with more depth during the season when you need it.

On the flip side you get the blokes who have done no training but want to run their own guts out which will more then likely end up in injury so it also let's you know who "hold back" and work up gradually which takes us back to random rule +1 - avoid injuries.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 Random Footy Training Tips

Been away for a while unfortunately. We went camping over the long weekend then I had a bucks weekend the next one which hasn't affected my own training too much, but it has affected my updating consistency which is dicey at best anyway.

I have 1 week left of my 5 week Triphasic Training block which I will update you all on once I'm done.

I'm also putting together a "running for footy' report/manual thing which I'm not sure of what it will end up being yet but should hopefully get completed in some form in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime I have 2 pages of dot points on varying methods, drills and such to do with footy training. Some are in the gym, some are off the track and some are on the track. As the title suggest they are just random thoughts that I'll put out there, challenge the norm a bit, make you think a little about why you train like you train and how you might improve it to become a better player in season 2014.

Here we go!

Random Tip #1 - Number 1 Goal is to Avoid Injury

Whether you design programs just for you, a small group of footy mates or your actual club, the number goal to accomplish is to avoid injury to you or a teammate. What this means is that for everything you plan on doing, there must be some "risk vs benefit" assessment done.

Going back into the 80's and the old school 100 x 100 meter sprints looks great on paper but lets look at the risks versus the benefits.

Risks - hamstring tears, quad tears, chronic soreness, the inability to do anything else for a week let alone train for footy, performance drop, motivation drop, overuse injuries to name just a few.

Benefits - I actually can't think of any to be honest...maybe some mental toughness but that can be gained through a lot safer and efficient means.

Now I don't think that anyone does this shit anymore (well I hope not), but if you are a coach in charge of pre-season training then maybe spare a thought for the bloke who's just turned for his first run in mid Feb, or the "Plugger', the burly 110kg full forward for the 2's who probably need to be on a modified program for the time being.

Would you rather 30 really fit players and 10 team injuries or 40 pretty players and none?

Random Tip #2 - Game Simulated Drills

The AFL try and emulate game simulation as much as they can to be ready for game speed velocites and skill requirement. I don't think amateur and local teams do anywhere near enough. For early pre-season drills I don't have a problem with general drills where you handball to that hat and kick to that hat, drills where you know where to go next.

But as you edge closer to practice games and the season proper, there needs to be form of "chaos" training. Chaos training refers to not knowing what's going to happen next - just like a game - so you can set you're drills up where once you get the ball, the coach can direct you straight away to where you need to go and then you have 2 - 3m radius of which to dispose of the ball. Games based on modifications of your game plan are a great way to incorporate this.

Random Tip #3 - Repeat Speed

Local footy is full of repeated sprints, even more then AFL. With lesser skill development the ball hits the ground far more then the big boys who now have a more consistent running gamer going with the breaking of zones and Pagan's paddock type game plans.

The thing that has been overlooked forever is that once the ball hits the ground there is a race to get it. When there is a race there is a requirement of speed because whoever gets there first, gets the ball. Having the ability to run a 3km time trial in 10 minutes means bugger all when you can't sprint 20m in less then 3.5secs.

So for starters you need to work on speed development - this is huge and is the reason your best mate plays a higher grade then you even though you get the same amount of possessions and such - he's quicker. That is what separates the elite from the rest in 99% of cases.

Once speed is improved then you must work on being able to repeat that speed throughout a game. Remember though, you can't have great repeat speed without speed in the first place!!

Look at this example:

Player A has a "first bounce" 20m sprint time of 2.9secs and Player B 3.2secs. By quarter time slight fatigue has set in so those numbers might drop to 3.0 and 3.3 respectively. At half time they might drop away again to 3.1 and 3.4 and go into the final quarter at 3.3 and 3.6secs respectively.

As you can see player A has all the advantage because he basically finishes the game with the same amount of speed that player B started with.

So get fast then get fast over repeated bouts.

Random Tip #4 - Repeat Sprints + Skill Development

Tagging off the last tip, once you get the ball now you've got to do something with it! The next step is to add a degree of skill development to the drill. So you might do your repeated speed drill then immediately go to a skill based drill such as precise kicking into the forward 50. Initially you might start with lane work but as you progress through, make the skill requirement harder and more game simulated.

Random Tip #5 - Outnumbered Competition Drills

These drills aren't anything new - we all know the one where you pair up and the coach basically kicks the shit out of the ball and you spend the next 10 exhausting minutes getting the ball back! This is fine except it's not what really happens in a game.

A better way to do this might be to set up a number of zones on the ground with 2 teams placing them in the forward 50, back 50 and the midfield. For the first half of the drill, more players for the back and forward 50 teams but less for the midfield team. This means there is a battle for the outnumbered midfield team to get the ball into their forward 50 which will have more players then the opposition so you have to work hard to get the ball but then you only need to make the right decision to hit up the free target in the forward 50. From there you can just go back and start again from the middle.

Do that for 5 - 20mins then switch so no you have more midfielders but less forwards and backs. Don't be afraid to throw some spanners in the mix and even up lines or teams to see how they organise each other once the numbers are evened out.

This can be a great drill to teach your midfielders to work extra hard through the middle and for your forwards to work together in the 50 to free a player up and your backs to link up and run off the half back line.

Put some boundaries in for where players can go as you don't want 3 backs running into the midfield.

Let me know your thoughts on these and I'll hopefully pop some more up during the week.