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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Skill Variability

Last week I tried some long jumps at the track I train at when I do sprints.

I've not performed a long jump since year 10 or 12 which at least 20 years ago and it showed with my stuttering approach run up to the pit!

Suffice to say my return to the pit won't win me any medals but it did make me think about skill variability.



Skill variability is the ability to perform a lot of different skills at a pretty good level.

Sprinting is as specific to footy as you can get so let's have a look at what relates to:

  • Acceleration
  • Max Velocity
  • Change of Direction
  • Acceleration + Change of Direction
  • Max Velocity + Change of Direction
  • Change of Direction into Acceleration
  • Change of Direction into Max Velocity
  • Change of Direction into Change of Direction
This list could go on forever.

Let's now look at what each of these requires as far as strength and fitness qualities are concerned:

Acceleration - high force capabilities, concentric strength, isometric/starting strength, relative strength, mechanics, hip extension strength, coordination

Max Velocity - high velocity capabilities, mechanics, hamstrings strength, muscle/tendon stiffness, coordination, mobility

Change of Direction - high force capabilities, eccentric strength, isometric strength, concentric strength, mechanics, stability, coordination

That's 13 different components you need to perform these movements optimally right there - and that's only the "big rocks".

Footy is as eclectic sport  as there is with it's extremely high active demands and 360 degree nature.

If you train by running slowly in a straight line for the greater part of your pre-season, then how can you expect to improve on the parts of the game that are the most important.

In the Plug-In Fitness Formula for Coaches I'm working on - there will be a chapter on kicking variability which is crucial for local/amateur players.

The ability to perform a variety of kicks is what WILL win you games or lose you games because it's the decision making of those kicks that matter, not the quantity.

It's no secret that the best teams do less work because of skill efficiency and this across the board from underage footy to AFL level.

I have pretty good kick variability myself but I do know that short kicking is not a major part of my repertoire.

Reasons for that might be that I played back for the middle part of my career often being in charge of kick out duties requiring long kicking. In the last 3 years I've played deep forward so any kick that isn't a shot on goal is short in nature to a teammate in a better position.

If I wasn't ale to perform these kicks then I'd often be having lower % shots at goal then we should be and a scoreline of 12.3 is far better then 6.15 (more points but less scoring shots).

When you head out to train in the next 4 or so weeks have a think of where you can slide some variability into your training to make you a more well rounded player.

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