Thursday, April 19, 2018


The high-low system is something that ha been around for years but is used most in athletics circles, and was popularised by Ben Johnson sprint coach, Charlie Francis.

Now besides Ben being stripped of Gold in 1988 for steroid use and Charlie's terrible fashion sense, the high-low system stands as my go-to programming type personally.

The high-low system refers to training days consisting of high nervous system activity and training days of low central nervous system activity, of which you would alternate throughout the week.

By placing all your high nervous system activity on the same day/s, you can achieve the following:

- Greater Overall Training Volume of High and Low Activity

- A Consolidation of Stressors (future post alert #3) which matches up perfectly with the competing demands principle of in-season training

- More Recovery and Regeneration Days Per Week

As mentioned above high days include exercises that require a high neural output such as:

- Maximal Sprints

- Max Effort Gym Work @ 85+%

- Dynamic Effort Gym Work

- Jumps

- Throws

Even though the intensity might be low with various jumps and throws, they still require great power in the output side of things and thus belong on high days.

Low days include exercises that require low neural output such as:

- Aerobic Capacity Work

- Sub Maximal Gym Work @ 80% or less

- Hypertrophy Gym Work

- Stretching/Mobility/Flexibility Activity

Simply alternate these days throughout the week or whatever but do not do 2 high days...EVER.

This system works perfectly during the off-season but for the in-season I'd class your footy game and training days as your high days simply because of the use of your legs.

Iv you're gonna train legs in the gym then do so on a Tuesday or a Thursday and keep it low volume and high intensity for the most part.

Max Effort on a Tuesday and Dynamic Effort on a Thursday is what you're looking at.

So your week might look like this:

Monday - Recovery/Aerobic Circuit + Upper Body Gym

Tuesday - Leg Gym AM + Sprints/Footy Training PM

Wednesday - Off Legs Recovery/Aerobic Circuit

Thursday - Leg Gym AM + Jumps or Sprints/Footy Training PM

Friday - Upper Body Gym + Neural Charge PM

Saturday - Game

Sunday - Couch

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Last night I had to stay home and look after my son so I didn't attend training but instead we went and checked out Williamstown VFL training down the road after Archie's Karate.

I love watching how teams from all different levels train and how the different aspects can be added into my personal and my team's training.

We probably got there after the initial warm up and stayed for about 45mins and here's what I saw.


Just your basic lanework here with 4 or 5 lanes.

As you would expect the skills were ridiculously good!

What I did notice was that after marking the spot up kick, every player took 3 or 4 real fast momentum steps before kicking, even though the groups were only 20m apart.

I suspect this is done to get the kick to the destination as quick as possible which is what you need to break up defensive zones, not kicks with too much height, and thus too much time in the air.


Same thing but you kick to the diagonal group now as indicated the video above.

This changes up the kick a lot but keeps the very same fundamentals of the kick in tact from the previous drill.

I added the extra bits onto the lanework drill myself in the video above.


The list was split in to 2 teams, Yellow v Blue but I'm not sure what the mix was (seniors v reserves etc) but it doesn't matter anyway at this level where everybody is exceptionally skillful.

The objective of this drill was for each team to simply transition the ball from back to forward and immediately switch to get the ball back from back to frowards again so up and back.

Each group had their own ball and used chip kicks, medium switches and spot up kicks to move the ball.

It was't a race between teams either, they just had to have clean skills from goal to goal to goal - which they did.


Staying in their yellow and blue teams they performed the same drill but no one team was offensive and the other was defense.

Again the ball had to go from one to the other and back again but this time the defensive team would apply token pressure and the offensive team would stay offensive for a period of time before having a quick break and switching roles.


Still in the yellow and blue teams now they would simply start the ball where the coach said whether it be a kick out like they had just been doing, or a stoppage on either wing.

The coach would usually nominate who wins the clearance and then they would kick it into their forward 50 where most of the tie the opposing team was allowed to mark the ball and then they had to bring it out out defense, move it forward, take a mark and have a set shot at goal.

The opposing team would need to spread from the contest during the clearance but then immediately shift into defense when the opposite team marked the ball.

At this point they'd start from somewhere else on the ground and so on.

If the ball was turned over then the defensive simply dropped the ball on the ground, the offensive picked it up and the drill continues from a stoppage kick.

What most people might find most interesting was that there were absolutely zero HATS to guide the players, which is something local/amateur footy needs to try and implement to have carryover to game situations.

It's hard to do because of the wide variety of skill levels, fitness abilities and game sense at L/A levels but if you can find a way to somehow implement it into your team's training I'm sure it will pay off come a Saturday - even if it's just 5 - 10mins worth with just your senior group and top end reserves players to keep the drill flowing without too many skill errors.

I actually hope to get down some games this year but geez that Newport winter wind is a mood killer!

Sunday, April 15, 2018


You definitely know that it's the in-season when you're playing an 12 degrees, gail force winds and driving rain!

Today let's tale a look at what's called competing demands of training.

Competing demands of training refers to how the various aspects of football (strength, speed, endurance etc) affect each other when being trained in a maximal context, at the same time.

Let's say your on a pretty fixed income, like most of us are, and you're saving for a car.

Each weekend you can't help yourself and you hit the town, putting a dent in those car savings each time and ultimately taking longer to reach your ultimate goal of purchasing a car, or just not purchasing it all.

Your demand to save money and spend it at the same time ate in total opposites of each other so you end up with no car and no money.

Now take training for maximal speed and maximal endurance at the same time.

If you are aware of the high-low system (future post alert) then you'll know that sprint and endurance training are polar opposites as well.

Sprinting requires huge input from the central nervous system but little metabolic input.

It also results in huge nervous system fatigue in the short term.

Endurance training requires a lot of input from your various energy systems that can result in huge metabolic fatigue (lactate etc),but little stimulation to the central nervous system in the short term.

With inputs from both ends of the speed-endurance spectrum you've got a few issues to worry about.

#1 - When training 2 qualities s far from each other such as spreed and endurance, the body doesn't know hat it needs to adapt to which can result in a whole heap of nothing in the end. You'll feel like you've achieved something when you really haven't.

#2 - You finish training and have a good meal to facilitate recovery so you're good to go for your next session - nice job. When you go to bed the real regeneration and adaptation takes place which requires a lot of recovery capacity. Your not just born with recovery capacity, you need to build it through your current training program and you can also feed it through sleep, nutrition and other recovery modalities. When you don't have enough recovery capacity, then at some point you're going to under-recover which is what a lot of people call overtraining.

#3 - When training maximal speed and maximal endurance at the same time, not only does the body have no idea which quality to adapt to, but now you're using up all of your energy systems which then need all the different recovery methods to regenerate. putting a lot of strain n your body to regenerate everythng at once. Going back to my analogy above, now you're saving for a car, hitting the nightlife and saving for a house all at once - but on the same money as above as well.

By training the qualities that rely on similar structures and energy systems to perform, you can be ultra efficient with your training and thus ultra efficient with your recovery as now the body can:

A - Focus on adapting to 1 major quality instead of 2


B - Put all it's recovery efforts into regenerating 1 major energy system instead of 2 or more.

This is not to say you can only train 1 aspect per session, but put the focus on 1 aspect per session and micro-dose (future post alert #2) everything else on a maintenance level temporarily.

Here are the ma qualities we all train:

Aerobic Endurance - low intensity but long duration and continuous activity

Anaerobic (Glycolytic) Endurance - high fatigue over long, medium or short duration activity with incomplete rest

Alactic (Sprint) Power - high intensity but short duration activity with full rest

Maximum Strength/Hypertrophy - any gym training that might might cover all of the above

Learning New Technical Elements - new skills and/or tactics being introduced

Now how we train these qualities together is what will make or break us sooo....

Aerobic Endurance - alactic power, strength endurance, max strength/hypertrophy (afterwards)

Anaerobic (Glycolytic) Endurance - strength endurance, aerobic restorative activity, aerobic/anaerobic (mixed) endurance

Alactic (Sprint) Power - aerobic endurance, explosive strength, max strength/hypertrophy (afterwards), aerobic restorative activity

Maximum Strength/Hypertrophy - maximum strength, flexibility, aerobic restoration activity

Learning New Technical Elements - prior to any other training

So if you've planned that sprint/lactate session for tomorrow night then think again.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Round 1 tomorrow for my team and I so I thought I'd have a peek at my full off/pre-season just to see actually work I've performed.

It started all the way back on Aug 30, 2017...

# 226 Training Sessions

* 44 Days Off

# 1 Sick Day

* 84% training rate

# 116 Gym Training Sessions

* 40 Sprint Training Sessions

# 21 Non-Running Aerobic Training Sessions

* 6 Running Aerobic Training Sessions

# 8 Footy Team Training Sessions

* 2500m of Acceleration Sprint Distance (5 - 6 meters per second)

# 1965m of Max Velovity Sprint Distance (6 - 10 meters per second)

* 4465m of Total High Speed Sprint Distance (5 meters per second or faster)

# 1360m of Lactic Running Distance

* 5825m of Total Bodyweight Sprinting Distance

# 1330m of Total Resisted Sprinting Distance (4 - 60kgs)

* 7155m of Total Sprinting Distance

# 10.3kms of Total Aerobic Training Distance (100% Max Aerobic Speed)

* 42.6kms Biking Distance (Low End Aerobic)

# 9.6kms of High Speed Biking


 - I'm 40 this year

 - I play out of the square 85% of the time during games with the odd run at half forward and on the ball

 - I'm a sprinter/power athlete so I aim to maximise that in my training while reaching an average/above average level on aerobic markers

- Weather Forecast Tomorrow: Pissing With Rain

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Some time ago I came across some writings from Olympian track coach Stuart McMillan who coaches Andre De Gassi, the soon to be fastest man in the world (not ever though!).

This year he introduced a weekly collection of random thoughts of his titled "A Very Stable Idiot" which includes topics from athletics to learning to politics to whatever else you can think of.

A lot of the stuff is over my head but I still look forward to this every week.

A couple of weeks ago in the week 13 edition and he discussed a podcast called The Art of Manliness by Dr. Peter Brown on learning how to learn.

I haven't exactly nailed down how this can be related back to football but if you;re a coach who something who wants to learn about anything, then this stuff should interest you.

Here were the points I made from this part of the blog:

#1 - The learning strategies that we drawn to are low-yield strategies like reading and re-reading or doing things over and over again which only feeds short term memory so they're great for cramming before an exam but as soon as you;re done then the information easily falls out so it's ordinary fr long term memory which is what skill aquistion is.

#2 - Constantly making material/skills easier and clearer to learn seems like it;s working but the brain isn't really being challenged enough to learn anything new, or a new way of learning and if it's an easier learning method then what you're accustomed to then learning via easier methods don't always stick.

#3 - Even if you intend to learn something and make it a priority this also won't guarantee learning as new learning needs to be connected to some existing knowledge or you won't learn it

#4 - There's also no evidence that a personally preferred method of learning is optimal but it will result in you sticking to the learning process for longer, giving you more chance for the information for the be sent to the memory bank.

#5 - If you want to make learning stick then practice getting it out of the brain and not into the brain, so after you're read it a time or 2 then put it aside and asl yourself what are the main idea's of this, how does it relate to what I already know and then out it in your own words

NOTE - This is what I've been doing for 15yrs!

#6 - Practice recalling the information later when it's harder to recall which strengthens the connection of that material in the brain and your ability to recall it.

#7 - When it feels like you;re not making progress then that's probably when you are.

#8 - Moving learning from short to long term memory occurs during sleep and long term learning is an actual physical change in the brain which is why it takes time

Let me know tour thoughts on this.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Perhaps the 1 training ideology that has the greatest implications on in-season programming is training residuals.

Training residuals refers to the time it takes for a specific quality that once trained to adequate level, starts to deteriorate without direct training.

This is a huge concept to implement at this time of the season because training time has been decreased as you now need 1 - 3 days to allow for recovery from games.

You can still training during the recovery stage, but with the focus being on recovery and regeneration, you are not stressing the upper thresholds of your abilities and as the old saying goes - use it or lose it.

Obviously with less training time, you know need to find a way to at least maintain what you've built in the pre-season (speed, endurance etc) but more importantly you need to find the resources and time to fit it all in.

You can't train everything at 100% all the time and if you do, you're probably one of those players that tears up the track but average at best on the field.

Essentially your burning through all your "game resources" during the week and have little to give come game day.

You can probably name a player you currently play with, or have played with that fits this description.

There's no embarrassment if you are either, I was one of them in my younger days, because training residuals is a very little know concept outside of elite competition.

So here's the information you need to put this in action.


- Max speed performance will stay with you 2 - 8 days
- Needs to be trained optimally once every 5 days


- Max aerobic performance will stay with you for 25 - 35 days
- Needs to be trained optimally once every 30 days


- Max anaerobic capacity will stay with you for 14 - 22 days
- Needs to be trained optimally once every 18 days


- Max strength performance will stay with you for 25 - 35 days
- Needs to be trained optimally every 30 days


- The maintenance of bodyweight is a game to game proposition as you'll lose different amounts of fluids each game, plus take in different amounts f fluids each game as well.
- Aim to get back to your pre-game bodyweight as soon as possible and by the next morning at the latest.

As you can see above you can now sit down and literally fit all the training in you need on Tuesday and Thursday training nights, and fitting each strength/fitness quality in before it starts to deteriorate as well.

You also need to ensure that when you do train what needs to be trained that it is trained at literally 100% intensity.

You can maintain performance with as little as 30% of the training volume it took to build that quality, so long as intensity is 100%.

If you fail to reach the intensity required then the intensity/volume trade off gets out of whack and now your training with fat too volume at moderate intensity and your performance will decrease.

Remember failing to plan is planning to fail.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


With the in-season training model comes less training time because of game soreness, fatigue and unfortunately, a bit of softness when the weather takes a turn.

When there is less training time then you need to prioritise what HAS to get covered, what would be ADVANTAGEOUS to get covered and what is a BONUS if it gets covered.


There's a couple of ways to decide what should go in this category so here are your options.

#1 - The things that you focused on during the pre-season (skills, tactics, speed, endurance etc) must be at least maintained during the season.

The main reason for focusing on these aspects is that you've already invested a lot of time and effort to build these qualities, so to just let them slip away seems a waste of time.

Another reason is that these aspects will be your players' strong point (more then likely), so to win games and play at the best their abilities, they'll need to be able to express these aspects throughout the entire season.

#2 - You can look at less specific factors and replicate them at training such as training at speeds that are faster then a game, thus making a game sub-maximal compared to your training speed which will more often then not result in better skills and decision making during games if they can be displayed at high speeds at training.

Personally a bit column 1 and column 2 is the way to go in my opinion.

After you're prioritised what you need, and a list of 1-to-whatever is a good way to do this, then you need to look at how to set up your training in the short and long term, to make sure what HAS to be covered does indeed get covered.

In future posts I'll delve into how to set this up but by taking a lot of other things you probably don't even know about, that can negatively affect how this all comes together.

Here are the priorities of my own training baring in mind that I only train with my team when work allows (1/week at best but probably looking at 2 every 3 weeks going forwards I reckon).

#1 - Speed (Acceleration/Max Velocity)
#2 - Team Footy Training
#3 - Aerobic Capacity
#5 - Lower Body Strength

In the past I've used specific training blocks to train these physical aspects where 90% of my training goes into that specific trait x 2 - 4 weeks and then I'll let it recover and move to something else.

The premise there is to train that capacity very hard to the point where my performance might even drop in the short term for example my speed might drop by 5 - 10%, which is then time to let it rest, recover and regenerate to an even greater level, if done right.

The other way to go about it is to train 3 - 5 things all the time, which is more of a top up/maintenance type set up which is something I might do if I start team training regularly.