Thursday, March 22, 2018


Apart from the high mark, the greatest spectacle of individual play in the AFL these days is the fend-off, or the "DON'T ARGUE."

As footy has become more and more congested and contested, being able to create some space, any space, to get an effective handball or kick away is of great importnace.

AFL superstars such as Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, DON'T ARGUE newcomer Sam Powell-Pepper and to a lesser extent Nat Fyfe and Josh Kennedy, also use variations of the DON'T ARGUE to free the arms or to create space in tight confines.

Those 5 players all have 1 thing in common - strength at the contest.

They also have great size but size doesn't always correlate with strength, if the size can't be utilised correctly.

The DON'T ARGUE is a product of full body strength, and that's exactly what this program will focus on.

It will also use specific exercises to target the specific muscles and actions of the DON'T ARGUE, to allow for maximum carryover from the gym to the playing field.

Bench presses are great but they are a very general exercise for footy as the action, position, load and speed of the movement is not directly applicable to footy - not even close.

This program will literally walk you through the steps you need to take to perfect your very own DON'T ARGUE.

30 sessions for $20 - you can't go wrong!

Click the link below to purchase at the $20 early bird special - available for just 7 days.


Sunday, March 18, 2018


Late last year I read the book released by Paul Roos titled "Here It Is" which follows his tenure with the mighty Sydney Swans, including his 20 Points of Success, and ended with his tenure rebuilding the Melbourne Football Club.

While reading that book and almost venturing into coaching myself I started compiling a list of idea's and thoughts with part 1 being posted last week.

Here's part 2.

#11 - Your footy jumper does not touch the ground...EVER!

#12 - Put your culture name on a sign, put above the door of the change rooms and every player touches it, pledging to it essentially, before they run out not just for games but for training as well.

#13 - Ask the players to pick their best side sometime before the actual season starts to give you an idea of who they believe uphold the values of the club the best and it can also assist you in identifying leaders in the club.

#14 - Trial all your midfielders in inside and outside roles to see if some excel at one more then the other and plan your clearance work around their abilities and it also allows you to use different combinations effectively rather then hit and hope.

#15 - Introduce a catchphrase your team uses when things aren't going as planned that signals to everyone to forget about it, and see what you can do about it now rather then focusing on what's already happened.

#16 - All elite teams use visualisation so as a player, sit quietly and visualise yourself doing the things you want to do within games on a daily basis.

#17 - Have every player set a goal or 2 and put it up in the rooms for all to see - make goals REAL.

#18 - Make a list of stats you want to take and store them away each week which will allow you to analyse what you do well each and every week and what you do against, lower, similar and higher quality opposition which then may result in you tracking different data for those 3 category of team depending on where you sit in the pecking order.

#19 - Determine if your style will be territory or possession based which might ebb and flow at different times of the year depending on weather and opposition based but make sure your style fits your personal above all else.

#20 - Your first goal should be to win enough games to make the finals and once you achieved that, then you can now start looking forward to winning enough games to finish with the double chance and once you've done that then start looking to finish top of the table.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


All the way back in 2015 I posted a video n the Consolidation of Stressors.

What this refers to is how you apply stress to the body over a long period of time.

Footy has a requirement to train to probably more aspects of physical fitness then any other sport in some shape or form, during a 12 month period which can make it hard to fit everything in, thus leaving what I call "performance gaps" in your game.

A lot of players are still yet to train speed correctly and thus have a performance gap of breakaway and top end speed during games.

If you don't train it then I really can't see why you;d expect to just display a physical aspect you never have before just because "you're trying to".

In the coming weeks we'll all see blokes we haven;t seen at footy training rick up to practice games and think they'll be good to go but the reality they then are the "performance gaps" within a team and will often be the weak link/s in the chains.

Unfortunately that's a part of local/amateur football.

Anyway I want to go through my training and show examples of how I consolidated stress to "get the most from the least" which should always be your aim.

That doesn't mean to try and get away with 1 hour of training per week, it means to try and organise "similar" types of stress as close together as possible which is why I'm a fan of block training.

My first session back after season 2017 was August 30th, 3 - 4 days after our season finished.

Block 1 was a GPP phase which has no specific goal other then to get the body back into some low intensity training using a lot of different movements that it may not have been exposed to for a long period of time.

This went for 4 - 5 weeks.

After some testing it was time for block 2 that had 3 main focuses being deadlift strength, sprint specific isometric holds and repeated speed aerobic capacity built through high intensity continuous training.

They were all of equal importance but as I'm a strength/power type, that type of work doesn't take much out of me physically and mentally but the aerobic stuff does so I had to plan my stress around the aerobic capacity workouts.

To do that I would do the deadlift and isometric holds on 1 day, aerobic capacity on the next day and then lay off legs completely on day 3 and do exclusive upper body.

As you can see I consolidated my lower body stress to 2 days in a row, and followed by a complete rest day.

To be honest I find upper body training quite boring these days and really use mostly as a filer day as I still like to do something almost everyday. So i was doing 2 set for about 7 - 10 exercises on these days to get an aerobic capacity effect but off legs, as well as building some strength back.

It was critical that this day allowed for some work to be completed but to not have any residual fatigue that would go into the 2 main lower body days.

This is how consolidating stress works - I lowered the stress on the upper body days to accommodate for the high stress of the lower body days - you can't do high stress every day, not should you.

Moving to more recent training, yesterday I completed the 6th and last session of my lactic capacity block which is THE total opposite of a strength/power athletes favorite activity type.

This means that this almost literally destroys me and I expect a performance decrease in all other forms of training from the residual fatigue, which did happen.

I times far slower in sprints then I usually do and HRV/general tiredness was noted as more more severe but again, to be expected.

What I couldn't try and do here was try and set speed and upper body lifting records while going through this block so everything went on hold.

I could have gone to footy training once but that would have put me over the edge and potentially wrecked my entire training block, and possible future training blocks.

Yep, even just 1 session, this is how far out of my comfort zone this type of training is.

I organised the block to last as short as possible to to lessen the effects of residual fatigue as much as possible, plus we have practice game this Saturday and I did not want it to run into that block either as games are priority 1, 2 and 3 right now.

So although the main focus was the lactate retention sessions I was also running a short 1 legged squat cycle after reading something from GWS Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Natera so that was priorty number 2 and one that also needed to be completed prior to the practice game.

So I had to fit in lactic capacity, 2 legged squat, sprints and upper body all in this 2 week block.

Here's how that mini block played out:

#1 - Upper Gym x Low Volume/Moderate Intensity
#2 - Acceleration Sprints x Low to Moderate Volume/High Intensity (I can handle these days any day really) + 1 Legged Squat + Hamstrings
#3 - Lactic Capacity
#4 - Upper Gym x Low Volume/Moderate Intensity
#5 - 1 Legged Squat + Hamstrings + Lactic Capacity
#6 - OFF
#7- Max Velocity Sprints x Low to Moderate Volume/High Intensity
#8 - Lactic Capacity
#9 - Upper Gym x Low Volume/Moderate Intensity
#10 - 1 Legged Squat + Hamstrings + Lactic Capacity
#11 - OFF
#12 - Max Velocity Sprints x Low to Moderate Volume/High Intensity
#13 - Lactic Capacity
#14 - Upper Gym x Low Volume/Moderate Intensity
#15 - 1 Legged Squat + Hamstrings + Lactic Capacity
#16 - Upper Gym x Low Volume/Moderate Intensity
#17 - Acceleration Sprints x Low Volume/High Intensity (Friday the day before the practice game)

So as you can see I put my 2 main focus points on the same day (1 Legged Squats + Lactic Capacity) so my high stress was placed on just 6 out of 17 days with low to moderate stress placed on the other days.

As mentioned my sprinting speed was already compromised by these 6 days, imagine ho slow I'd have been if I'd have placed more stress on those other 11 days? It really wouldn't have been worth doing (the sprinting sessions), and in the end I'd have lost speed that might take longer to regain with a future compromised training plan, as you don't how you'll pull up from games (injuries, soreness etc).

So the lesson is this:


You simply can't keep adding stress and adding stress as it will result in a performance decrease, sickness, injury or all 3.

You need to look at your training, decide what the priorities are, and put all your big ricks into them, and scatter the other stuff around it, micro dosing if you will (future post that one).

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Late last year I read the book released by Paul Roos titled "Here It Is."

It followed his tenure with the mighty Sydney Swans, including his 20 Points of Success and ended with his tenure rebuilding the Melbourne Football Club.

Definitely well worth the read.

From that book and my potential foray into coaching that didn't eventuate as I can't commit to training 2 nights per week, I started jotting down various idea's of my own, from the book as well as idea's of my own from idea's from the book - I think I typed that correctly!

Some of them I've touched on in my Pre-Season series and to be honest I thought I already did a post on the Paul Roos book but I can't find it so I must not have so here we go.

#1 - When players do something good, other players HAVE to get to them whether it's 1 or 21

#2 - Every player has the same amount of responsibility once they're on the ground, there's no hierarchy once the siren goes.

#3 - If you're closest to the ball then you have to simply win the ball or make the tackle, because everyone should be waiting out to receive the ball or stop an opposition attack but if you do not do either of those 2 things, then everything else breaks down.

#4 - Develop a relationship with every player regardless if you;re a player or a coach

#5 - Ask players how they think the team is perceived and then how they want to be perceived

#6 - Have the group choose 3 values that they want to live by and give it a name (Bloods Culture) 

#7 - Don't base your team solely on talent as you can't control talent like you can pressure (Richmond)

#8 - Develop specific roles for each player and some might have dual roles depending on their skill set

#9 - Put players in position to do what they do best as often a they can

#10 - Have 3 - 5 team rules for each line (forward, back, midfield) and address them each break plus rate them during the game if possible, but at least half time and full time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


If you've read my other 29 posts on pre-season training do's (a book in the making surely?), then you must be aware of how I think it's best to structure your running.

Most teams will spend little, if any time building a base/foundation of aerobic capacity which is just plain stupid.

The base/foundation training is what will enhance your ability to recover between bouts of sprints and without it, you'll go full glycolytic (blow up) in the 1st quarter and you're essentially done once you hit that point.

You will NOT be able to hit your top speed, your recovery will be way SLOWER and you're endurance is compromised because of the fatigue already in your system - that shit doesn't just go away during a quarter time break you know?

Once it's in there it's pretty much stuck in there if you don't have the aerobic capacity to deal with it.

If you;re gonna remember anything about these 30 posts then remember this - it's how much you can do once your tired (sweet FA), it's how much you can do before you get tired.

Anyway, if you have done your training correctly,and you've built up your acceleration and max velocity speed and aerobic capacity to levels higher then this time last year, then you're ready to get all lactic.

The lactic energy system is the one in the middle - you have alactic at one end (speed x 1 - 6secs @ 100% with full rest) and aerobic at the other end (10 - 30mins @ 60% continuous).

The middle child is always the black sheep and it's no different here as lactic training is where you reach a point during activity where your speed slows dramatically, blood pooling in your muscles start to burn, neuromuscular activity starts to cut out and your activity level has also reached a level where you your demands for oxygen in your muscles cannot be sustained - all this results in a performance drop.

Right now there are practice games being played all around the county, or you're about to have them.

Ideally you'd have the lactic phase completed BEFORE any practice games but if you need to carry this phase into the first or second practice game then no biggie.

We had a practice game 3 weeks ago (yep very early!) and we have our second one next weekend so I'll have my lactic phase completed before then.

The point of the lactic phase is to simply expose the body to high levels of fatigue with incomplete rest of a general nature.

Once you hit the practice games, you'll be exposing the body all the same but in a much more game specific/simulated way.

The program I'm doing is a 6 session phase using a method from Cal Dietz called the lacate retention method.

For the lactic phase you might do sets of 60 - 90secs where you can barely move after each set you're so out of breathe but you know what, the lactate retention method makes this EASIER.

Yes, easier.

Instead of doing 1 entire set of 90secs, Cal suggests doing a 20 - 40sec set and then immediately following the set, go down into a bottom squat position and hold it there x 40secs.

So you build up maximal fatigue by going as hard as you can in the work set, then by holding the squat position you "trap" the fatigue by-products in the muscles so you build up the same amount of fatigue in half the time.

This decreases overall fatigue and body stress and you'll achieve the holy grail of training - getting the most from the least - leaving more time for skills and tactical training.

As I said it's 6 sessions and this is how I'm doing mine:

Session 1 - 4 x 20secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

Session 2 - 4 x 30secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

Session 3 - 4 x 40secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

Session 4 - 4 x 20secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

Session 5 - 4 x 30secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

Session 6 - 4 x 40secs + 40secs squat isometric, 90secs rest

I'm doing bike sprints for this to decrease body load even more.

If you have time then try and do this before your practice matches where you could do 6 sessions in 2 or 2.5 weeks.

If you will start practice matches during this phase then do 2 sessions in the weeks you don't have a game and 1 session in the weeks that you do.

If you want to do this with your team, then I;d recommend doing the goal posts drill where you start on the point post and sprint to the goal post and back, goal post and back then far point post and back.

I think we all know the drill but I'd make one little change by backpedalling back, instead of turning around 180 degrees just to decrease the load a little - plus the backpedalling will keep constant tension on the leg muscles the entire set which means more fatigue which is exactly what we're after.

If in there is more time then these 3 up and backs allow then start going back down the ladder to fill the time so goal post, goal post, point post, goal post, goal post, until time is up.

The go straight down into your squat position holding onto the goal post and.or boundary fence to hold yourself up.

This can be run very easily in a team setting.

This might be the last one of these as once practice games start, then you should enter the in-season training model as the fatigue in early practice games are far higher then anything you'll see during most of the in-season and needs to be accounted for so running volume needs to decrease and you need to be even more diligent in getting the most of the least.

Here's a vid by Cal Dietz on the lactate retention method:

Monday, March 5, 2018


So far we've covered the 20m Sprint, Yo Yo and Agility tests with today being the final installment of the TAC Combine series.


For the standing vertical leap you are to stand, dip and explode up with no other foot movements.

The eccentric, or lowering portion of the jump, is what sets up your concentric, upward phase so it's a good idea to practice different eccentric heights and speed to see what fits you right now., hence the deeper dip.

For example if you are a strength jumper then you'll typically require a slightly deeper eccentric then a speed jumper, as you want to use the great force you can produce, but this takes more time to produce (not an issue in this test).

As we have no time to determine what type of jumper you are, then practicing to see what feels best and also what seems to provide more better and consistent results is a good thing to do in the next few days.


Like the sprint, it's surprising how many people use the backwards method of reaching with the hand of the foot you jump off which I couldn't do on purpose if I tried.

I'm not sure what goes in the brain when people do this but you're robbing yourself of precious cms that's for sure.

It may seem similar for going for a mark but it's not so you will need to practice and make sure you nail down reaching with the opposite hand of the leg you jump with so left leg/right hand or right leg.left hand.


You'll have a 5m distance that you can get a run up from so like a long jumper you'll need to step it out to fond an approach that suits you.

The general rules are:

- Gradually increase speed of each step you take

- ZERO shuffling steps, especially going into the penultimate step

- The penultimate step is the one right before take off which sets you up for your jump so a slow or braking penultimate step will result in a poor jump, so you must ensure that you not only plant hard, but you can still maintain and transfer the speed you've built up to use in your jump. Look what happens when you do this:

- Jump UP, not across

- Hit the marker things at the top of your jump, not on the way up


You'll get 3 jumps which I can't remember are all in a row or 1 at a time but use your first jump at least, as a feeling out jump.

Hopefully you've already got a fair idea of where you'l test so you can gauge how your tracking based on that which will enable you to alter your technique depending on your result (faster eccentric, reach better, relax more etc).

Make the 2nd jump your top jump then go for broke on jump number 3.

Jumping is a skill like everything else so of course you'll need refine your technique to get the best result you can, regardless of your power output.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


The main TAC Combine is coming up this coming weekend (that I'm helping out with) so we're looking at each test and how to get the best result you can from it.

Even though there is a pre-draft combine, which most people are aware if, it's actually the results from this one that recruiters look at the most.

It's a mammoth day and with Rookie Me leading the way, we'll test 600 players over 5 tests throughout the day.

So far we've looked at the 20m Sprint and the Yo Yo Test and today is agility.


As you can see in the image above, there's little distance between turns and you'll only get about 2 steps of actual acceleration from turn to turn so you'll want to stay "low".

Staying low ensures that your will be in a decent position to decelerate, change direction and re-accelerate, which is not something you can do well if you're standing up straight.

If you stand up tall during this drill then it will take more time to decelerate as you'll need to change position before any deceleration occurs, and in an 8sec drill any wasted time can have huge implications.


In straight line sprinting, coaches will always say that positioning is the most important aspect and once you lose positioning, especially in the first few steps, then you simply don't have time to make make whatever went wrong right.

I'll put the agility test right here as well.

You want to hit that first turn with a near perfect step count (for you) to minimise any shuffling steps which is essentially a lot of tiny steps that are taking you nowhere.


Shin angle refers to the direction of your shins upon acceleration.

A shin angle pointing towards the roof indicates a vertical vector which is what you want for jumping and max velocity sprinting.

For agility and acceleration, you want a shin angle angling towards the horizontal vector which in reality is something about 45 degrees or so.

During a turn in this particular drill it might be as low as 20 - 25 degrees.

As the drill requires 5 change of directions, your shin angle on each one is crucial.


Last year there was a kid doing this test (I was manning this test last year), and he was trying to go so fast, he kept sliding out.

In this test you can only go as fast as you decelerate, and this kid had a huge eccentric deficit, even though he was moving concentrically faster then everyone else.

In the end he had 5 - 6 goes at the test where you normally only get 3, and his time suffered because he couldn't self organise his body to do what he wanted it to do.

If he'd have relaxed his mind and body, he wouldn't have been so "mechanic" in his movements and he could have recorded one of the best times of the day (I can't remember his time now but it wasn't in the 7's which all the tops cores were).

Like I said in the 20m sprint post, run fast, but don't try to run faster.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


For the next few days we're looking at the TAC Combine that I'll be assisting with again this year through Rookie Me and yesterday we looked at the 20m Sprint, with today's focus being the Yo Yo Test.
The Yo Yo test has replaced the dreaded Beep Test for the aerobic component for the AFL, but has actually been used in Soccer for years, s it more replicates team sports running patterns.

Wanna ace it?


The beep test was a real man maker being 15 - 20mins long of gradually faster runs that when watched, seems to go forever, let alone while you're doing it. 

From a running pattern point of view it never made any sense (going faster each level until you drop out), but with so much data on it for players from over the years, it was hard to let it go.

The Yo Yo is only 7 - 8mins long and even though it ramps up much faster, it has a slightly less psychological aspect then the beep test so if you can lock in for that shorter time span (perfect for today's youth!), then you're half way there.


You gotta take every advantage you can get in these tests so when you toe the line, you wanna do so in the most efficient way possible. 

1 way to do this is to determine how far from the line you can be and still touch the line, and organise your steps around that. 

If you can stop and plant 30ms from the line, rather then go right yo to it, that will ave you huge in the long run wouldn't it?


Finding a rhythm for your up and back sets is also crucial as you want to do at least some of the test on the autopilot, which will minimise early fatigue from a psychological aspect. 

Again get out and practice and try and count how many steps you need to cover the distance and try and hit that rhythm as soon as possible.


The change of directions at the midpoint of each rep is the big one here.

You must be able to decelerate into the turn, stop your body from moving in 1 direction, ad redirect it into the oposite direction.

This is hard work if you can't do it efficiently and makes up a lot of your payer load in your GPS readings, right up there with high speed running as far as load in concerned.

Practice your turns and if possible take some videos of yourself to have a look at your mechanics, in particular your shin angles, at some of te faster levels.

Your shin angles determine where your body goes (vertical v horizontal), so if you're too upright going in and out of your turns then you'll essentially be going up and down, rather then forwards.


The course is your run from point B to point C (20m) in the time allocated, the the line, then immediately turn around and get back to point B (20m) , again in the allocated time.

At this point you have point B to point A (5m) of walking time where you  must walk around the cone and get back to point B and be in a stationary position in the allocated time (10secs).

Making sure you are in a solid starting position will be crucial at the top end of this test as your acceleration does heavily depend on your starting position, so any advantage you can get, take it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


I'll be assisting with testing again for the TAC Combine run by the guys at Rookie Me.

We had the induction today where we went over the tests, especially the new aerobic test, the Yo-Yo Test, which is new for a lot of us who have done the beep test in previous years.

We'll be testing:

- 20m Spint
- Yo Yo
- Agility
- Standing Vertical
- Running Vertical

Here are some tips to maximise your 20m Sprint test before next weekend.


They mentioned this in the induction but I;ve seen it from a lot of blokes in my team that I've been doing the fitness work for this year, but you need to start with the opposite arm to your lead leg in front.

It's actually how you walk - try and walk with the same arm and leg swinging forwards at the same time, I bet you can't.

So it stands to reason you probably won't post your fastest time with this method either.


You'll have been taught to start with your arm way up in the air to avoid passing through the starting lasers too early but when I've tried it I find it to be too long a lever plus it takes some of your acceleration mechanics out of play from starting to upright.

Before you get to the testing day, try starting with your hand up on your head, making your lever shorter yet still allowing you to start n a more acceleration dominant, forward leaning position.

You can see what I'm talking about if you pause the very start of this video:


This one seems counterproductuve but what I mean is don't "strain" yourself to try and run fast.

Strain = Tension.

Tension + Explosive Contractions = Potential Injury + Slower Times

Drive hard for your first 5 - 6 steps, taking you to the 10m mark then continue to drive hard, but not harder as you arrive at, or hit, max velocity.

This is worth practicing before the testing day.


Each of the combine tests is a specific skill in itself.

Practice your starting stance.

Practice your explosive first step.

Practice horizontal displacement.

Practice driving the middle portion of the test.

Practice running fast, but not trying to run fast.


Get out and time yourself this week to give you a ball park figure of where you're at.

Say you get a 2.9secs hand held time, then going by Jimson Lee at, add .24 to that for 3.15secs and tere's your estimate.

Now if your first run is slower then that then you need to quickly determine your error and fix it up before your next run and again if needed for run 3.

You might just need to make your first step better, drive for a little bit longer or relax just a little bit better to drop your time. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Below is the 5th installment of the blog series called "1 Line Training Gems" which are quotes I've gathered from the notes from all 85 of the podcasts on Joel Smith's Just Fly Sports website.

Like the other 3 parts of this series I'll simply use 1 line quotes from various strength coaches and you can put can try and interpret it the best you can.

If you need any further clarification or wan to add something to the quote then simply comment over at the Facebook page where this will be as well.

CHRSTIAN THIBADEAU - training in accordance with your specific neurotype is the next frontier of individualised training (future post on this as I've read a tonne of stuff on it lately) and explains why some players respond to different coaching then others

CAL DIETZ - after the 3rd step of initial acceleration there's nothing you can do in the weight room to mimic the speed you're travelling at

DR EMILY SPLICHAL - foot stiffness, which can be built, leads to faster ground contacts which leads to greater speed

DR EMILY SPLICHAL - power comes from rotation and spirals so the more rotational power you can harness through the foot, the faster you'll be

DR EMILY SPLICHAL - the posterior tibialis is the most powerful locking muscle of the foot and not being able to lock the foot results in pretty much every injury you can think of

CHONG XIE - elite athletes have callouses on top of their toes and a prominent anterior tibialis tendon

CHONG XIE - eliminate the heels when squatting

Well folks that's all there is for now but s new podcasts come out (they come out weekly), I'll do more posts on these.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Below is the 4th installment of the blog series called "1 Line Training Gems" which are quotes I've gathered from the notes from all 85 of the podcasts on Joel Smith's Just Fly Sports website.

Like the other 3 parts of this series I'll simply use 1 line quotes from various strength coaches and you can put can try and interpret it the best you can.

If you need any further clarification or wan to add something to the quote then simply comment over at the Facebook page where this will be as well.

DAVID EVERLY - the more exercises you have in the program, the longer it will take to adapt and reach peak performance and the sooner you can peak the sooner you can go into a rest cycle and start again, resulting in more peaks and thus growth, per year

 YOSEF JOHNSON - if you start with training that is more intensive then you need at that point in time, then you get stuck in the intensity cycle and you can now not use low intensity means to improve fitness so your recovery will be compromised all the time.

DR. DANIEL CHAO -  there's the type of practice when you just mindlessly go through the motions which is nowhere near deliberate, quality practice because all training reps are precious

BAS VAN HOOREN - improving strength without a subsequent improvement in coordination results in a performance decrease

JEFF MOYER - more doesn't equal better, better equals better

JEFF MOYER - chase improvement, not capacity

RICK BRUMMER - don't use supplements that will make training easier

STEFFAN JONES - don't vary your basic gym strength exercises too much and just focus on strengthening the muscles you need to us but do vary the technique used for the competition exercise

SCOTT SALWASSER - why would the first time you have your players run 50m at top speed be with the opposition trying to chase them down while holding a football?

JOE DEFRANCO - be great today and all those days will add up and over time success will come

SHAWN MYSZKA - if you're fast but still get tackled then you're not a very good decision maker

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Every year in the AFL the assistant coaches do the rounds with a lot being retained but also a lot moving clubs.

From a club and assistant coach point of view this is critical as you need to be exposed to different environments, coaches and players to fully evolve into the coach you want to be.

Staying put at the 1 club under the 1 coach with the same players will only allow for as much development and you only need to look as far as Richmond, who changed all assistant coaches from 2016 and came from 10th to winning the Grand Final in 2017.

Same players for the most part but different idea's from new coaches.

I was looking at my training session from just yesterday and realised just how many tidbits from different coaches went into just the warm up, let alone the entire session, again showing the importance of being open to as any idea's as possible, then based on your past experiences and basic knowledge, identifying what seems like better idea's then others.

Yesterday was a basic acceleration training session for me which I don't do very often in isolation but it's a session wedged between footy training and my max velocity session booked in for tomorrow and with a practice game last Saturday, 4 max velocity sessions in 7 days is too much for anyone, let alone at 39 years old.

Here is the session in full:

BE ACTIVATED ZONE 1 - I believe I first read this in a Joel Smith article and I'm a disciple of his, anything he mentions that I don't know about, I'll research. In the end I splurged $200 on a 6-CD set of Douglas Heel's Be Activated System, still one of the best secrets for performance 5 years later. The basic premise of BA is to "reset" the body to a pre-stressed state so it can work in the "order" that is most optimal and it serves as part 1 for my warm up for all lower body training sessions and even games, and has been for about 4 - 5 years now.

BUTT BUNGI EXERCISES - I think I got this add on to the BA warm up from track coach Chris Korfist and/or Tony Holler, who was wanted to connect the enhanced firing pattern of the body through the BA sequence, into movement patterns that will then transfer to dynamic/ballistic actions. The butt bungi is essentially a heavy band that you could get from any sports shop really.

POSTERIOR TIBIALIS ANKLE LOCK - Canadian strength coach Dean Somerset initially put me onto training the posterior tibialis some years back but I was provided a new idea on how and why to train this particular lower leg muscle by Dr. Emiliy Splichal, a US based foot specialist. This ankle locking exercise is her go-to posterior tibialis exercise and as stiffness is a huge predictor of speed, I had to start doing this exercise.

HYPER ARCH JUMP - once the foot has been locked and loaded then like the butt bungi exercises above, you want to integrate it into some form of performance based movement. Chong Xie is a self made foot performance specialist who I don't actually know too much about to be honest (I just signed up to hos mailing list yesterday). He was on a podcast from Just Fly Sports (the 1 line training gems series I'm doing) who believes the feet can unlock limitless performance potential. I've done a bunch of foot stuff before (I'll train the feet in some capacity for most training phases of the year) but again Chong was able to show me some different exercises to use along with a "makes perfect sense" explanation for it.

ALTIS WARM UP - ALTIS is a track and field specialist company who have probably the best site for track the field information from coaches of actual Olympians and Olympian quality athletes. This is actually 1 portion of the warm up but I just call it the Altis warm up in my programming. It uses sprinting mechanics drills to nail down "positioning" and to also prime the nervous system for sprint work to come. There was an actual video of this but there's so much stuff on there I can never find it again. You should really follow these guys, Stuart McMillan in particular and I need to do their foundation course as well once I can actually pay for it!

SPRINT SESSION - nothing to write about here but I believe I set records over all distances...actual world records...although the most impressive things was the chick Hammer throwing ridiculous distances on the field area which was tearing my ribs apart just watching her.

REVERSE HYPEREXTENSIONS - 2 off-seasons ago I put my training i the hands of US based Rugby strength coach DJ Williams who had me do about a million of these and I set my fastest max velocity time ever when I was doing them. My max velocity is lacking a little behind this year with a major focus on acceleration so I've popped these back in to see if they will assist in bringing it back up before practice games in 4 weeks.

PISTOL SQUATS - Late-ish last year on Joel's site (why haven't you visited it yet?) an Aussie coach Alex Natera was interviewed on there who just weeks later, was named the new GWS Giants strength coach for season 2018 and beyond. I began following him and even did a full round of his isometrics program for sprinters pre-Xmas. He posts videos of GWS training in the gym pretty much weekly and in one of them showed the players earning the right to bilateral lifts (2 legged lifts like squats and deadlifts) by perfecting pistol squats which when performed with an external load of 25% bodyweight, equates to a 1.75% bw squat or deadlift. As my max effort lifting days are pretty much over except for months September through to November, this alternative seemed a nice way to boost my relative strength levels without any CNS fatigue so I've popped these on to the end of my sprint days with the aforementioned reverse hypers.

I'm not sure if you noticed but I named 11 coaches who have all had input into this single training session.

As a coach, trainer or player, if you wanna really excel at your sport then you spread your reading wings and over time you'll have a solid database of go-to resources who you can trust to get the right information from.

I write a lot about Joel's information but a lot of that comes from other coaches he meets with, then does a podcast or interview with them and gets passed out to the likes of me.

Joel has a lot of quality information in his own head, but his ability to source outside information and get that out to the masses, as well as giving the original coach a bit me time too, is excellent.

Add all of this to your existing knowledge base and there is no way you can't be a go-to resource for your given niche.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Earlier this week I posted part 1 of this, where we covered:

- Calls/Talk

- Skills

- Train Towards Goals

- Finish with Goals

Here's part 2.

SKILL DRILL STATS - I've been to 3 million training sessions in my 32 yrs of footy and skill mishaps are still regarded as "going to happen" and to just "get over and help out" when a disposal does go sideways but there is ZERO accountability, and the same players just make the same mistakes over and over. If we're here to train, as in to get better, then why aren't we? Players respond to data tracking and immediate feedback which then builds accountability so why not have keep data on skill errors for skill drills at training? My suggestion is to maybe start with the drill, take the data, do it in the middle of the session, take the data then do it again at the end of the session with fatigue present, and again take the data. Players can LITERALLY see what's happening (better/same/worse disposal efficiency) and thus can actually do something about it. Even better use the same drill throughout the year and throw it in at different times and see how the numbers stack up. Most players can kick from A to B but mentally we tune out which is when skill mistakes happen, which correlates with late in quarter and late in games goals against.

FOOTY JUMPERS, SOCKS AND BOOTS - an old coach, probably the one that had the biggest influence on me, made this rule because if you want to train like you play, then you need to get as close to that as possible. Footy jumpers can be a bit restrictive compared to a training singlet, and footy boots can cause all sorts of issues if you don't wear them in early enough, even with pre-worn footy boots. Still I think it's a more psychological boost, especially for practice games which i when you actually put you pre-season to the test.

WARM UP LIKE GAME DAY - there's a saying that "you're only good as your warm up" and most teams these days will have a structured warm up they use pre-game. Again if you want to train like you play then to get as close to the real thing, warm up like you would on game day. Using the same warm up year in and year out is not a great idea though as the warm up is there to prepare players for the game but a warm up with zero unpredictability will NOT stimulate your players minds and bodies for the contests ahead. In the pre-season try different warm ups, different order of drills etc and see what seems to work better then others. Also tinker with dry and wet game day warm ups which are different, don't think they aren't, and should be from the vastly different conditions.

TOUCH SESSIONS - I posted about these sometime last year and I feel these are ridiculously underused, if they are used at all, at local/amateur level. The 1 thing to achieve in these sessions is as many QUALITY touches of the footy per player as possible. That's it. Which means that drills need to be simple to follow so ALL players can perform their skills at a high level, fatigue needs to be kept to a minimum, and players might also need to be grouped so you can run skill drills that fit your players varying degree of skill proficiency. The drills don't need be hard, just ensure a lot and frequent touches of the footy. I mean a simple stationary diamond handball drill among 4 players done for 3mins will easily result in 1 handball every 5 - 6secs at a minimum where each player will perform 30 handballs. Change sides and your up to 60 touches of the footy in 6mins. Most training sessions result in, what 50 touches at the most for your players who love to get involved in everything and who are usually your better players so imagine what you;re lesser players touches are sitting at? They could disposing of the ball less then 10 times a session - RIDICULOUS. I will make up a session of this very soon I reckon or at least put together some drills that would slide nicely into a session like this. Alternatively you might use 20mins each session to dedicate to this which might be your warm up, but structured way better and with far more intent then the normal warm up of lane work etc.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Below is the 3rd installment of the blog series called "1 Line Training Gems" which are quotes I've gathered from the notes from all 85 of the podcasts on Joel Smith's Just Fly Sports website.

I'm a reader not a podcaster so I'll probably never get around to listening to them but I also reading stuff and letting myself self organise it all and see what I can make of it and if I need further clarification, then I might give it a listen (I have listened to 2 of them I needed to do that for).

Again I'm just going to leave the various 1 liners here and allow you to interpret it as you see fit, feeling free to start a discussion on it over on the Facebook page if you like and I can clarify each quote so just let me know if you'd like me to expand on it more.

Joe De Mayo - find the minimal stimulus required to elicit adaptation and once they can handle the stress and adaptation has actually occurred, increase it slightly

Joe De Mayo - if you build your training properly then you should be able to keep progressing for a very long time (even competition) and when you have a break there should be minimal loss

Andy Eggerth - a heavy lactate session on Monday can kill skill development on Tuesday and/or Wednesday

Quinn Henoch - being flexible is of no advantage if you're not strong enough to stabilise yourself in those extra ranges of motion

Quinn Henoch - having more flexibility then you need to perform a given task isn't anymore productive then having just enough

Dr Ken Clarke - use the compete-technique-compete model where you watch your players in competition then work on the techniques they used during play through some closed drills and then compete again with a slightly progressed drill from compete 1

Dr Bryant Mann - on 1 hand just monitor the big rocks in your training to keep it simple but on the other hand, monitor everything to make sure you're not using more resources then you should be
Dr Bryant Mann - those who receive immediate feedback (sprint times, jump heights etc) get greater results then those who don't

Sunday, February 18, 2018


I know it's early but we had our first practice game against another club this past weekend as they were a thirds club that is moving into senior competition and wanted to see where they were at.

It also got me thinking about how to make training more game like but not in the obvious ways such as contested drills etc.


When the heat of an actual game is on, how you call for the ball and/or talk to a teammate can have huge implications. In training drills you are instructed to kick there and handball there so it just "works" but that soft 'smithy' call won't cut it on a Saturday. How you also call for the ball is also crucial because there is a lot of times where you need to get to the ball to a voice, not someone you can actually see, so instructional and directional talk is required. I suggest getting your players into the habit of doing this from now on to better prepare for practice games coming up in the next few weeks or so.


Skills wins more games then anything else but I still don't think there is enough emphasis put on them at local/amateur level, where improvement an come far easier from varying degrees of low base skill levels. There a case of "training the game, not the player" in a lot of drills we perform at training where at around this time there is a lot of full ground drills which is fine, but if skill level is still inadequate, these drills quickly become a debacle so what you're trying to improve such as ball transition, forward entries etc, is barely even trained if the ball hits the ground too often. As a coach you really need to nail down your game plan and work those types of skills at training in planned and chaos situations.


It might seem small but kicking towards goals should be a part of almost every drill you do. This gives players a chance to practice various sorts of kicks and handballs within the same dimensions that they will play on. It also gives the coach a chance to see how different players use the different parts of the ground and thus can put them in better positions come game time. This can also improve running patterns and provides some good opportunities to make game situations 'automatic' as the goals can be used as a 'trigger' of sorts.


Now that you're training towards goals, you might go ahead and use them so put your forwards (and backs) in their rightful positions. As the ball comes in to the forward 50, have your forwards have actual shots at goals after a lead up mark or ground level gather. I have never seen the point in having a forward to mark the ball in a training drill then not actually kick for goal. Have 2 - 3 forwards so you can keep the balls moving so they're not overly rushed as you want them to actually improve their goal kicking, not just perform it.

Monday, February 12, 2018


Today we break from tradition and welcome a local women's football coach, Josh Hartwig, from Melbourne.

Josh has been a part of the women's football movement long before it was cool so I asked him for his thoughts on training women's football and here's what he had to say.

There is a plethora of gems in here, many that you'd never even think about without the vast experience he has.

Josh's Background

My eldest daughter started playing football (AFL) in 2011 at the age of 9.  She loved it and was good at it.  The team was pretty good too, contesting every grand final up to 2014. Naturally, being the good parent I was, I attended every game, volunteered for various roles and just enjoyed the experience. However, come 2015, the team was without a coach.  The girls were now U15s, getting better, bigger, fitter and willing (wanting) to learn more.  About a month before the season was due to start I was talked into being their coach.  I’d not coached football before so was sent to do the Level 1 Youth Girls Coaching Course with AFL Victoria.

Fast forward……We won the flag in 2015.  I loved coaching so much I did it again in 2016 AND 2017.  We also won the flag in 2016 and 2017.

Here’s some things I learnt about coaching junior girls that male coaches (or those that have only coached boys) may find helpful.

Girls are very Social
Females in general are social people.  They love a chat and the interaction with others.  Teenage girls take this to the next level.  Whether they haven’t seen their teammates for a week or a couple of hours since school, the greeting is always the same – lots of hugs, laughter, talking, gossip.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing, in fact I encourage the communication between players as it creates greater bonds, however, when it delays the start of training by 5 minutes, a drill by another minute (each) or just a general explanation of something then it can get a bit stressful for a coach.

I’d suggest “starting” training 5-10 minutes earlier so that the players arrive, have their chats and then are ready to go by the “official” starting time.  I also found, in my first season, that applying a penalty to the whole team for any one person talking when I was soon got the whole team listening intently.  
Players very quickly learn to hate burpees and will actively silence a talker.  It was fun, for me at least.

Bottom line, girls interact with each other differently to boys.  Take that on board and make allowances.  By compromising, allowing a chat break, you will achieve more.

Focus on the Basic Skills
Most females coming in to football at the moment have not played the sport.  They join a team because they may have friends there, they want to get in on the whole AFLW hype, they love contact sports or simply because it looks fun.  Whatever the reason, they probably don’t have much experience with a football or the game itself.  Unlike boys, who have probably played since Auskick or U8s, girls need to learn the basic skills of kicking, marking and contested balls.  In my experience, many girls come from netball, basketball, soccer backgrounds so know how to catch, throw and kick (a round ball) but dealing with the oval ball is very challenging. 

Kicking has always been the most difficult skill for them to master.  It takes years of practice (for most players) to effectively and accurately kick a football. The ball drop seems to be the most difficult for them.  The way they hold the ball for starters, how it leaves their hands, the point of contact on their foot.  It cannot be emphasised enough how important this skill is.  Even now, in the AFLW, there are experienced players struggling to get this right. The number of times I’ve had players lining up for goal, 20m out dead in front and not knowing which way the ball will go……
Don’t worry about fancy or elaborate game plans, forget about matchups on opposition players.  Focus on the absolute basics, especially kicking.  You can’t do full oval (or even half oval) drills involving kicking if they can’t kick the distance. Get that right and you’re halfway there.

This has two parts.  The first follows on from above.  Most girls coming in to the sport are unaware of what Centre Half Forward is, or “fat side”, “zones”, “shepherding”, or any other colloquial football term.  Keep the language basic, simple and clear.  Use every day terms instead of footy terms.  Check to see how many blank looks you get back at you after you’ve explained something.  You may have to restate it.  Always ask if there’s any doubt, get them to repeat what you said so that you are sure they understand.  Of course, if your team has been around for a while they will probably be well aware of what you are saying.

Part two….these are footballers you are coaching.  The fact that they are female shouldn’t make a difference to how you treat them.  Which makes me concerned when I hear coaches using terms like “lovey”, “sweety” or “darling” and this from an experienced male coach! (of boys). It’s creepy and disturbing. Use their name or say mate or buddy. Don’t be condescending, don’t treat them as a niece, daughter or family friend.  They are footballers who just happen to be female.

New Players
Turning up to training for the first time can be a daunting experience for anyone coming into an existing team.  Teenage girls can be a bit clicky in their social groups and may be a bit intimidating.
In 2017 we had 10 new players join our team which meant 40% of our team hadn’t played football before.  Some of these girls knew some of the existing players.  I found it important for them all to get to know each other as it not only creates  a bond but it also might reveal a common interest outside of football, thus enhancing that bond.  Work on relationships and the footy will follow.

One tactic I used was to get the girls to go for a warmup jog and when they came back they had to tell me 5 things about that player.  Getting them to ask questions of each other, talking and helping the new player to relax and fit in. 

Make it Fun
By this, I mean fun for females.  Depending on the age you are coaching you need to consider what they like.  Younger girls love handstand and cartwheels, older girls dance and wrestle and they all love to sing.  Incorporate these into warmups. Play music when appropriate (during warmups or certain drills) but not if you are talking or instructing.  Think laterally, play games that get them warm or thinking or competitive.

Footballers, not ballerinas
One of the most surprising things I noticed was how much girls love, LOVE, the physical stuff.  Tackling, wrestling, bumping, contesting.  It’s amazing.  Don’t be afraid to use the bump bags too.  I reckon they saw red whenever I held the bags for them to charge into, they took it as a challenge to knock me over.  They are tough and always come back for more.  They will soak up whatever you give them.  You’ll know the ones who are a bit apprehensive but the majority will give 100%.

It is very important to teach the correct techniques to contest a ball though.  Many who have come from a non football background do not know the correct and safest way to pick up a ground ball.  Head injuries are very common.  Research or contact experts in body contact drills.  I can’t stress this enough.  If a girl is injured it is often the parents who withdraw a player. I highly recommend Malcolm Bangs ( who is a tackling and take down guru used by numerous AFLW, VFLW and TACGirls teams. 

The pre-game ritual is often very complex and individualised for many players.  Some need to deal with superstitions, pregame nerves or whatever.  I found with the girls I coached that they tend to take their time doing the little things – getting their boots on, signing team sheets etc because they are still chatting and catching up with their friends.  I recognised this early on and got them to arrive at games an hour before start time (even then that was a struggle).  Keep them on track by giving them warnings to move (eg 5 minutes to warm up) so they do get their act together.  

In the grand finals we competed in, that pregame time extended out to 90 minutes because hair needed to be braided and/or coloured, photos, selfies etc.  This is the nature of junior girls.  They love their interactions, doing things together but they also absolutely love their football.  Once the preparations are completed they are footballers and raring to go.  Be prepared. Be aware. Embrace it.

I'd like to thank Josh for his contribution and if you have any questions on this thn post them in the Aussie Rules Women's Football private group and Josh will be able to answer them from there. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Not the greatest rhyming title but I want to blog about something I've had to change in my own teams pre-season running program from what I observed at training earlier this week.

With my own personal training and the teams I program training for, I will always initially plan it all out in 1 go.

I will already know what the players have to get in (aerobic capacity, speed etc) plus I'll always have a bunch of other aspects I'd like to try and get in as well.

This season I'm doing my own team and another team in South Australia.

Although both teams are on different schedules with different pre-Xmas training frequencies along with infrequent training patterns of players, I've had to make various changes to the initial plan.

Our main aerobic running drill for my own team are the anaerobic threshold runs that I've written about a lot where you start out doing 2 sets for session 1 and finishing on 5 sets in session 4.

The other part of our training has been on speed development which 99% of local/amateur football players have not performed TRUE speed training and thus speed times are being improved across the board.

When you're top speed improves then that will carry over into the training tactical/skill drills where you're output will be higher when running at top speed compared to last year and greater output will usually result in greater accumulation of neurological and/or metabolic fatigue.

So this past Tuesday I had a bunch of players who have completed 2 and 3 sets of the anaerobic threshold runs and that night they were set for 4 sets.

Between training speed and training endurance, we perform our skill/tactical drills in which there was a lot of high speed running involved over medium to long distances, where the players were able to put their improved speed into action.

The players set off for the anaerobic runs and the pace was a little off, where most groups couldn't hold the same running speed that they were able to hold just last week.

I have now made the decision to cut these runs off at 4 sets instead of 5 because if you can't hold the speed at 4 sets, then you certainly won't hold the same speed for 5 sets.

Some of the players looked spent during the 2nd and 3rd sets of this the other night which I can put down to a couple of reasons.

#1 - As mentioned above above, the greater speed players possess now requires a greater output and thus greater energy so in-session fatigue is higher by the time we get to the aerobic component at the very end.

#2 - The accumulated fatigue from ever increasing speed development and the progressive increased aerobic capacity volume may be taking it's toll on the players which is when systemic fatigue sets in and what happens here is that the body is "under recovering' and the brain sends message after message to the muscles to decrease energy output so it can "catch up" which results in less speed and/or endurance. Unless you've planned a supercompensation phase, then to keep training at a high level right now will end up in disaster.

We also have an early practice game happening on Feb 17th, so to run blokes into the ground prior to the first practice game, the hardest game of the year and the one where injury risk is at it's highest could derail players seasons before it even starts.

The aim as a coach is to have all your players perform as many training sessions as they can, at the highest level they can so if you see some players laboring then they need a deload of some description or they'll carry this fatigue into practice games, where intensity of games is a lot higher then training, and injury is always at high risk.

As much as I'd prefer the players to do all 5 sets of the program, as I know that it would benefit them greatly, I have put a higher emphasise on speed development as it is working wonders right now so we'll keep all the speed stuff in, and drop a session of the anaerobic runs out.

After the practice game we might do another session of 4 runs to "top off" the anaerobic threshold phase, re-test out 6min time trial, then move into the glycolytic block before our 2nd practice match on March 17th or so.

Monday, February 5, 2018


Last week I started a series I'll be rolling with called "1 Line Training Gems" which are quotes I've gathered from the notes from all 85 of the podcasts on Joel Smith's Just Fly Sports website.

I'm a reader not a podcaster so I'll probably never get around to listening to them but I also reading stuff and letting myself self organise it all and see what I can make of it and if I need further clarification, then I might give it a listen (I have listened to 2 of them I needed to do that for).

This might be the best way to learn in fact.

Again I'm just going to leave the various 1 liners here and allow you to interpret it as you see fit, feeling free to start a discussion on it over on the Facebook page if you like and I can clarify each quote so just let me know if you'd like me to expand on it more.

Boo Scheznayder - by backing up a speed session with a heavy weights session the day after, you are able to go a bit deeper and hit the high threshold motor units that might have hid away the day before that the body now has to use as the one;s used yesterday haven't fully recovered yet

Boo Scheznayder - everything you do has a potentiation effect so try to use those potentiation elements lading up to the main focus of the day resulting in a higher output and thus greater improvement, with speed being the greatest potentiator there is

Boo Scheznayder - a lot of training programs don't hit that critical mass point where athletes can hit new peaks as the training peaks aren't high enough to warrant further adaptation or the peaks aren't low enough for athletes to recover enough to reach them

Henk Kraaijenhop - sprinters aren't lazy, they just use up their fuel very quickly

Curtis Taylor - the slower you run the more your technique is compromised and the more you run with bad technique, the more energy you use up

Mike T Nelson - the amino acid carnosine at a high enough level is what starts buffering hydrogen ions (i.e fatigue)

Mike T Nelson - athletes arr addicted to the sensation of fatigue and they'll continue to go the fatigue seeking route rather then the performance enhancing route

Bret Contreras - the fastest athletes are those that can activate their hamstrings the most just before ground contact

Let me know your thoughts on these over at the Facebook page.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


I've just read an article by running specialist Steve Magness, on how trying to prove yourself in training can wreck your game day performance.

This is hugely prevalent in local/amateur footy and I've been through it myself in my younger days.

I'd train the house right down at ridiculous intensity but my on-field performance wouldn't match up with that, plus I was cooked in the back end of every season.

How many times has someone had "the best pre-season's ever" but still can't perform any better come competition time?

There's blokes at every footy club in Australia that this happens to.

Here's a summary of the article that I'm sure you can relate to in some form or fashion.

- Getting fir is easy but expressing that fitness is not

- If you are sufficiently motivated than it's very easy to train yourself into the ground

- If you train at a high standard but your competition form is down then you need to find out why that is (overtraining 1 trait and neglecting others, overtraining in general, wasting/using all your mental/physical energy for training, nutritional/lifestyle deficiencies etc)

- Often you'll be dealing with the insecurity of poor, or self perceived poor performances by proving yourself on the track to make up for it so every training session represents a test

-  When this happens the goal has now shifted from being prepared for competition to feeding your need to know that you're ready for competition and you're physically and mentally cooked far too early

- After these training sessions in your mind you're fit but subconsciously you've accomplished your goal but it's not the right goal and you'll forever be a great trainer, but an average player

- This insecurity comes from a lack of trust in the plan an a lack of trust in the process

I get 4 - 5 gems from Steve Magness each year I reckon and you can find this article here.

My recommendations for footy based the above:

- Use 1 short speed exercise (20m - 30m sprint, flying 10m sprint etc) and 1 aerobic exercise (6min time trial, resting heart rate etc)to gauge your progress through the training period.

- Test them as various times of the year to gauge progress

- If at any time you see a decrease in performance of these testing exercises, then you need to make an alteration to your training as these tests will be correlating heavily with your on-field output so everything else is secondary - yes even those 3 bench press and bicep curl days.

- Find a training plan that you "believe in" and trust, and bloody stick to it

- Draft Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid

Thursday, February 1, 2018


For the last week or 2 I've been going through the highlighted quotes from probably my favorite strength coach of all Joel Smith, an ex-track athlete and now track and field coach from California.

He has a website called which I must have read every single word of over the years.

He has a podcast that all the coaches on that I follow through social media but as I'm more of a reader and a listener in regards to my research, I simply read all the highlighted quotes located on the page of each podcast coach and noted the best of them of which I will highlight in posts going forward.

I'm just going to leave the various 1 liners here and allow you to interpret it as you see fit, feeling free to start a discussion on it over on the Facebook page if you like.

I can clarify each quote so just let me know if you'd like me to expand on it more.

The quotes pertain to various sports, not just footy but taking idea's from 1 sport to another is how a lot of sports have developed over the years as specific sports can get muddled in the same idea's for years and years (footy is a prime example of this) so expanding your knowledge base can revolutionise how you train your team to perform, getting a huge jump on your opposition.

Matt Gifford - build the lateral chain

Nick Garcia - stay with the same program (sets/reps/load) until your performance exercise peaks, then change it up

Dan Fichter - when you train maximally then you are forced to recover maximally

Ryan Banta - make your athletes consistently think during their warm ups

JB Morin - sled speed training with 80% of bodyweight load is strength training, not sprint training

Jeff Moyer - the 3 best special exercises for exercises for speed is push off ankle exercises, knee drive exercises and paw back exercises

Jonas Dodoo - speed attractors (been meaning to do a blog on this for ages actually) are projection of the hip and limb exchange

What do you think of these 1 liners and how do you think you could use them to better prepare yourself or your players for footy?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


As we all know it's speed, speed, speed in regards to my training with the aim to hit a 2-point-something 20m sprint from a standing start, aka the AFL Combine Sprint Test.

My previous best before this off-season started was 3.12secs if I remember correctly.

This off-season I started in September and my initial sessions were with bodyweight sprints over 5 - 20m from a 4 point crouched (sprinter) start position with the best I could manage was 3.21secs. Not great but OK for coming straight out of footy season at 100 years old.

My next block was focusing on optimal force training through sled runs via strength coach Cameron Josse's method, where I did 4 sessions at 48 - 52% of peak velocity then another 4 weeks at 72 - 77% peak velocity (went out on my own on that last bit).

I introduced some standing sprints in this block as well and topped out at 3.15secs for sprinter start sprints (the same start used for the sled runs) and 3.10secs for standing, even though I did only 2 sessions of those out of 8 in this block.

I should add that all sled sprint sessions were performed on grass, not athletic track like the bodyweight sprint sessions.

I was on my way to my goal and happy.

That took me up to Xmas.

Post Xmas it was a bodyweight sprints block that used a lot more standing starts then sprinter starts.

Sprinter start PB for this block was 3.17secs which isn't a deal breaker by any means as it's not my primary goal while standing start 20m timed in at 3.18secs so a fair drop off there.

I wasn't worried here as sprinting can be highly dependent on nervous system and even though I was holidays, I was getting to sleep far too late and still getting up relatively early with Archie home from school.

I can never stay on track with early nights on holidays but I wish I had to take advantage of the lack of work stress like I did last year.

I did also do my anaerobic threshold program during that time as well which probably took some much needed energy resources away as well.

The last block I did was another optimal force training program but I used my PB for standing starts and used that start with the sled instead of the sprinter start from the previous cycle (again going out on my own here).

I did 1 session of sprinter 20m sprints and timed a 3.29secs but at this time I was doing more of a tempo 20m I suppose where I'd start hard and trail off at about 90% at the 15m mark or so just hit initial acceleration in prep for the standing sprints to follow.

My best standing was around the mark again at 3.15secs so not a lot of progress made there either.

In the back half of this block I introduced jump back sprints to the program to allow m to hit something closer to max velocity over 20m from the ballistic nature of the start.

For these I was hitting way faster times over 20m with a slowest time of 3.06secs and a fastest time of 3.02secs which exposed me to a similar speed I was wanting to achieve over 20m from a standing position.

Then along came last Sunday, all 42 degrees (f) of it.

We waited til 7pm to do the sprint session thinking it might cool down a little but it was still 38 when we got there which is simply outrageous.

After some sprinter start 5m sprints as normal, I was feeling "it" to be honest after being on the couch all day literally.

I felt slow the entire the session, well not slow, but not PB fast either until I got home and timed the sprints where I clocked a blistering 3.00secs on my standing 20m - an all-time record and just .01sec off my ultimate goal.

Here's a vid from about 2 weeks earlier of a 3.36sec 20m sprint on grass:

And here's my 3.00sec vid from last Sunday:

I can see a clear improvement in acceleration in regards to speed and how long I can keep accelerating for between the 2 videos and it seems the jump back sprints assisted a great deal with this which is evident through my times as well where I also managed a 15m standing start PB of 2.46secs.

Now the Debbie Downer part of it is what I can't knock that final .01sec off?

I'm starting some lactic power sprints tomorrow and also now footy training on Tuesdays leaving only 1 single sprint session per week but I will be doing some acceleration work on the lactic power days so hopefully I can do it - stay tuned!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Time flies at this time of the year and it'll be February later this week meaning practice games are just 6 weeks away!

As I've mentioned before once pre-season games start up then you should start entering the in-season training model so it's critical that you now start incorporating some specific training around this time.

Before I go further on that then I want to look at exercise selection based on Soviet Throwing coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk.

He breaks up exercise selection into 4 categories:

#1 - General Prep Exercises that have nothing to do with your sport specifically in regards to specific movement patterns, muscles used or energy systems used so you can use pretty much any exercise here but those that serve restoration or retraining purposes are best.

#2 - Specific Prep Exercises that are similar to those used in competition that use the same energy system and muscles, but not the same action so you might train the sprinting muscles but with squats and hip thrusts but not with sprinting.

#3 - Specific Development Exercises is referred to as specific strength and combines the energy system, muscles used and some part of the specific action like a sled or hill sprints

#4 - Competition Exercise which is the competitive exercise and it's variation so acceleration and max velocity sprinting.

The exercise classification principles from above can hold true for just about any type of activity, including football, and today I want to look at skill work.

Early in the pre-season skill work should follow the general prep which might be a lot of stationary target kicking performed at sow speeds. Kicking can actually put the quads and hamstrings under a a lot of stress and too much kicking too soon can cause soreness which will affect overall training quantity and quality so there's no need to be trying 100m torps running at top speed.

A couple of weeks prior to Xmas you can introduce a more dynamic component by kicking to moving targets and also kicking while moving at moderate speeds. This might also be where you start with post Xmas training, or a mix of gen prep and special prep kicking drills.

Around this time you should be heading into specific development kicking variations with leads coming from all different directions (straight at you, away from you, diagonal, long, short, stab, chip etc) and kicks being performed from all different positions (on the run, after a mark and push back, handball receive, run a hard 10m and kick etc).

Practice games will be the competition version.

Within a training session you would use all of the first 3 variations but emphasise different categories at different times as mentioned just above.

So if you're still warmimg up with 15mins of static kicking now, then maybe re-think it a bit  to get more out of your precious training time.

Sprinting wise you'd look at contact time as how to how to categorise the exercises so you might start with short acceleration sprints from various lying positions progressing to standing start variations over moderate distances and progressing to moving start variations over longer distances as well as max velocity sprint variations such as flying sprints and in and out sprints. Again practice games will be the competition exercise.

Where a lot of athletes all over the world go wrong with this is in the gym as every stays in the general prep category with the age old squats, bench press and pulldown program at slow speeds. You need to be altering your tempo and exercise selections to better prepare you for the demands of footy but even then you' might only get into the special prep stage with your gym work before you'll need to cut it back to fit more special development training into your schedule.