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Friday, March 22, 2019

2019 TEAM / PLAYER PREP IDEA'S & THOUGHTS PART 7 - FERGUS CONNOLLY EDITION



TACTICS
- The 4 primary aspects of tactics is locationing/positioning, man circulation/movement, ball circulation/movement and relationship timing/sequence
- Training must replicate game scenarios you face and want to improve
- Assess players on the 4 aspects of game sense/tactics
- If a player is making tactical errors then see if they are aware of their positioning or not, which you can address by using more frequent breaks at training to allow them to practice self-locating
- If they are not moving properly in relation to teammates on defense, or are not close enough as they move to offense, then change player numbers or make numbers uneven for small sided games like 7v7 etc
- Is it a timing issue where the player hasn't had enough game time and they need extra game type training to build it?
COACHING WITHOUT COACHING
– Put the most important information that you want players to learn at eye level and possibly in the toilets
- Play the 1 sided dominant player on the opposite side
- Play the lazy player on your hardest working player
- Put your lazy players on the same team that has less numbers then the opposite team
- The main benefit is that you allow the player to use his slow thinking energy for stuff that actually needs cognitive energy
SPACE AND TIME
– Space creates time but time does not always create space
- To create space in 1 area you must compress players in another
- If a player gets enough time they can achieve almost anything but creating space gives them this time

Monday, March 18, 2019

2019 TEAM / PLAYER PREP IDEA'S & THOUGHTS PART 6




NEURAL PATHWAYS - JENNIFER PETROSINO
– It might only take 30 seconds of consciously thinking about something to build a new neural pathway but it takes hours of reps for it to become second nature
- To make a new new neural pathway you go through cognition (learn a new skill), association (do the new thing more) and autonomy (automatic) stages
CORRECTIVE EXERCISES 
– Doing too many of them builds a fragile mentality (won't push too hard etc)
ENERGY SYSTEMS - JOEL JAMIESON
– Use a 3 day cycle starting after a rest day
- Day 1 x Stimulation (moderate volume + low to moderate intensity or low volume/high intensity neural charge work)
- Day 2 x Development (high volume/intensity)
- Day 3 x Rebound where you shift to the recovery zone instead of taking a day off
VO2 MAX - STEVE MAGNESS
– Improvement does not always carry over to performance improvement
- Improvements in high intensity aerobic performance are not related to altered maximum oxygen transport capacity
- An increase in lactate threshold can decrease performance through a decrease in anaerobic ability
- The lacate threshold curve can improve with a decrease in aerobic capabilities if anaerobic capacity is decreased
TEAM SPORTS - MARTIN BINGISSER
– Determine the one part of the game that best determines the outcome then break down what skills/physical qualities are needed to do that and train accordingly
- For rugby it’s open field abilities based around an effective kicking game, ball carrying abilities and not conceding penalties when the opposition has the ball
- Look at the most common elements of the game and train the players to be able top replicate them in more situations throughout a game
- Essentially you need to break the game down into what really matters
GAME MODEL - RANDY SHERMAN
– Most team sports have 4 macro moments being offense, transistion defense, defense and transition offence so you need to organise/articulate your standards/tactics in each phase of play
- Offense is construct, penetrate, execute
- Transition Defense is disrupt, organise, direct
- Defense is disposess, terminate, isolate
Transistion Offense is movement, direction, space
- Detail how you’ll carry out each point of each phase and this is your playbook
- Then evaluate each aspect post game
- In training, design/implement more drills/games that envelope multiple macro moments rather then spending all your time on 1 or 2 of them at a time
CREATINE - DOUG KALMAN
– Helps with oxygenation of the brain and preserving brain activity when there is an oxygen shortage as well as reducing inflammation
- 1 to 3 grams per day can improve brain efficiency while also improving mood offsetting depression
ATHLETE CENTERED MODEL - XAVIER ROV
- Ask questions and give your players time to answer it which provides opportunities of active learning
- Ask 2 types of questions
- The first are low order questions that support technical development that focus mainly on the what, when and where
- The second are high order questions designed for critical thinking and are mostly about the why and how
- Start with low order and gradually introduce high order
- When players know why they are doing what they’re doing and they understand it, then you’ll likely see greater compliance and thus performance output
PROGRAM DESIGN - STUART MCMILLAN
– The more we manipulate variables, the longer it takes to reach peak condition
- After technique is mastered through repetition then you need to move to solving problems presented by the game which will be a chaos based approach
- You need to cope at the edge of chaos
SPEED - JOHN PRIOR
- Success is often determined not by how much force you can produce but how many positions you are able to produce that force in, so strength is not the only way to increase speed
PLAYER QUESTIONS - ANDRE SASSER
– Don’t ask "what questions do you have?", instead ask them "do you have any questions?"
SLEEP V BRAIN - RUSSELL FOSTER
– Those who regularly have less then 7hrs of sleep/night are more likely to develop mood/mental health problems and reduced overall cognition
- What happens to the brain when we sleep defines how effective we’ll be when we're awake
- You lay down memories while consolidating information gathered from the previous day and the brain also comes up with solutions to complex problems
- A tired brain remembers negative experiences/facts and forgets the positive experiences
- Body growth and repair happens at night
- If you have a bad experience then don’t go to bed for 6 – 8 hours so that it doesn’t instil itself in your memories too much

Monday, March 11, 2019

TACTICAL INSIGHTS FROM AFLW ROUND 6

I'm still waiting on our internet to be connected at the new house (this week surely) so I only got to watch 2 games this weekend which is better then the zero games I watched the previous weekend.

All of this weeks insights come from the North Melbourne/Collingwood game where I thought the Pies were pretty good but the talent of NM just does most things better then anyone else.

IS THIS THE BEST KICK OF THE AFLW SEASON BY JASMINE GRIERSON?

This kick is set up through a few different aspects:

- Jasmine is one of the elite kicks in AFLW to start with

- NM always go backwards from the contest to a quarterback who has time and space to make a decision and also perform an effective disposal

- They love a 45 degree square up as well which can be performed often by teams with NM talent level.

Here it is:


That video makes the kick look excellent but this image does it even more justice:


She has hit the 1 player in between both lines of players perfectly.

Kick of the year for mine.

STACEY LIVINGSTONE TOE POKE

Stacey has played a lot of footy but even as a defender she has an attacking style of play which is a plus but in this case if was her downfall.

With the ball between the center circle and center half forward there is a contest on the ground and instead of shoring the ball in for a ball up, or even attempting to go backwards out of the contest where there was a Collingwood player or 2, she decided to do a little nothing-2m toe poke.

There were 2 major issues here:

1 - The toe poke was never going to clear the congestion

and;

2 - North Melbourne always set up with a free player at the back of the contest


All that the toe poke did was have the ball go straight to that free NM player who had all the time and space to deliver the ball into NM's forward 50.

Always pick the ball up if you have the opportunity and also cause a stoppage if you think you're outnumbered.

NORTH MELBOURNE CENTER CLEARANCE

The beauty of being in an elite team is that at times you can "cheat" by predicting what will happen, being proactive to make your opposition player reactive (being reactive takes way longer).

Keep your eye on the NM wing player at the bottom of the screen:


You can actually see what's going to happen quite early as Bruton is going to get the clearance but well before then the NM player has taken off down towards the half forward flank with the Collingwood winger still moving in towards the center of the ground.

Bruton, also knowing that they have wingers instead of half forward flankers simply kicks the ball into space, knowing that her wingers have full license to take off into that space.

EMMA KEARNEY DECISION MAKING

With 16 players in the ground there are times when AFLW players can get a fair bit of ground in front of them with fast breaks out of congestion but what we often see is poor decision making with ball in hand and it rarely results in a goal or actual scoring shot.

Fortunately for NM Kearney is one of the top 3 players in the comp so instead of blazing the ball forwards look what she does here:


High quality player scanning results in a nice little hit up, even at full pace.

Look what happens to the all the Collingwood players too:


Literally a third of Collingwood's team get drawn to the 1 North Melbourne player receiving the ball from Kearney, leaving potentially more unmarked NM players pushing forward.

BONNICI MISSED KICK

Brittany Bonnici is a workhorse but her kicking lets her down too often for mine which makes a little sense, she works so hard to get from contest to contest, often covering the oppositon's best mid at the same time, that she is often fatigued by the time she gets the ball.

She outplayed Kearney on the weekend too.

That being said this missed, barely legal distance kick, should not happen at any level of football.

That kick needs to hit the target as it's in a prime turnover-to-score area.

She also needed to steady herself because for 100 years coaches have being saying you can;t kick while running backwards, which is what she tried to do in this instance to get the ball to a free player.

If she can get her kicking up then she'll be close to an elite operator in AFLW - something the Pies need desperately.



KATE SHEVLIN POOR EXECUTION

Shevlin will be a star in a year or 2 but this situation was similar to one from the Geelong team a few insights back.

After a nice intercept mark she wanted to change of direction of play which is a good thing but unfortunately she sort of forced the action herself.

Without actual free players on the far side she kicked to a contest in the middle of the ground where plenty of NM numbers were who marked it unopposed.


That kick needs to go wider then the center square wing line on the far side into space, or to a teammate OR it has to go back to the side of the ground where it came from but deep towards the boundary line so if you don't mark it you can get an out of bounds stoppage and reset.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 TEAM / PLAYER PREP IDEA'S & THOUGHTS PART 5



DIVERSE GROUPING (STUART MCMILLAN)
– Can allow for the leaders in that group to do the coaching and spread the wealth so to say
- Group players of varying abilities and also those that don’t usually mix with one another
- Then face them off against other groups to train organisation and communication

FLOW (KEVIN FOSTER)
– Problems come in the form of overthinking which usually comes from too much cueing/coaching that requires extra thinking, increasing anxiety and adding extra analysis checkpoints
PERFORMANCE v TRAINING NUMBERS (MICHAEL ZWEIFEL)
– Use training to push athletes to the edge of learning and not for memorising robotic movements/drills
 - Learning is not about memorising solutions but how to solve problems
- You don’t teach someone by giving them answers but rather the tools/environment that allows them to problem solve for themselves
- Practice that maximises learning requires immediate feedback but not necessarily verbal
- Implicit learning comes from a well-designed environment/task that gives feedback to the athlete immediately through a pass or fail result such as did the ball get to where it was meant go or not
- Under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training 
COGNITIVE QUALITY (FERGUS CONNOLLY)
– It’s more important to make smarter/better decisions in the first 20 minutes of a game or training session so then you’ll accumulate less fatigue affecting your last 20 minutes so attack early and hard
STRATEGY v TACTICS (FERGUS CONNOLLY)
– Strategy is a plan or set of goals
- Tactics are the specific actions/steps to accomplish the strategy
- Without a strategy you’ll amber through and without tactics you’re basically wishful thinking
- Grand strategy is looking beyond the present battle and calculating ahead
PRACTICE (BRUCE LEE)
– Don’t fear the man that has practised 1000 kicks, fear the man who has practised the same kick 1000 times meaning training quality, not quantity, is king
TRAINING (JON GRUDEN)
– Every year you need to outwork yourself to be a better version of what you were last year
PLAYER POWER (BRIAN ASHTON)
– The coach should prepare a purpose and share it with the team influences who then engage the others
- The others are then given the opportunity to take ownership of various areas and to lead them
- Set footy specific scenarios where you provide the end goal but the players need to sort out how to achieve it such as they need to chip kick it to the far wing or handball out of a clearance
- Every 3 – 4 sessions pick a group of players and they can run some or a full session
- Using slightly different footy type games (kick along the ground only, opposite foot only, opposite hand only etc) you’ll find players with unexpected skills and views on the game that can be utilised in different ways

Monday, March 4, 2019

MORE ON FEMALE ACL INJURIES


A month or so ago there was a Women in Sport seminar held at Latrobe University here in Melbourne with several speakers from different area's talking all things female sport.

I wasn't there but I was forwarded the online handout stuff which was the slides from some of the presenters.

I was chatting to long time women's football coach (maybe the most EXPERIENCED women's football coach in Australia, or at least one of) John Allen-Marshall about it all (he attended the event and is a member of the Aussie Rules Training Private Women's Football Facebook Group), and I just want to post what my developing thoughts on the ACL epidemic.

Bare in mind none of this is "backed by science" and are purely my thoughts based on my recent readings over the last 12 months or so.

JOHN EMAIL

Hi Troy

Forwarded the presentations from the Latrobe ACL Seminar

Cheers

John M

TROY (ME) EMAIL

Excellent mate - appreciated.

Just had a quick look but I'm more and more moving towards the camp that this (ACL epidemic) is not entirely a physical issue.

Taking that Katie Sheehan example that they used (in the presentation slides)...

- She put herself in the wrong position to change direction by overstriding (from the presentation)

- Why did she overstride?

- Because she needed more time to make a decision on what to do

- Women are thinkers where us blokes act on emotion (emotional decisions are made way faster than rational one's, hence why they aren't always thew best one's!)

- Women also think of the consequences of their actions a lot more than men so it means their decision making time is a lot longer (relatively), giving opposition more time to to close the space between them and the ball carrier

- On the other hand it as us men go through "less processes" with our fast emotional decisions, it provides us more time for decision making

- It probably won't catch on because it can't be measured like training can (strength, speed etc) but I'm almost convinced at the top end (AFLW) that could very well be the main issue and I'm sure it's not even being looked at.

At low ends of footy it's simply a lack or preparedness and simply by doing those warm up programs that are pretty basic can have huge effects (Footy First etc) - not to say there's not better ways of doing it either though. 

We all need to remember that any sport has 4 co-actives

1 - Technical

2 - Tactical

3 - Physiological

4 - Psychological

And if either of these 4 things aren't optimised, and at most levels really 1 and half of them are at most, then this puts all players in some form of danger of not being able to use the correct problem solving movement style at the exact time it's needed, and that's what is happening with all these non-contact ACL injuries...I think!

If you've got any feedback on this hit me up at the Facebook page.

Monday, February 25, 2019

TACTICAL INSIGHTS FROM AFLW ROUND 4


CREATING SPACE IN THE FWD LINE

Carlton have the free kick pretty much in the center of the ground but they're still 2 kicks off a forward 50 entry that is deep enough to be a scoring opportunity.

A short 45 degree kick to the half forward flank results in an uncontested mark and now the Blues are positioned to get a decent inside 50 but with the free kick and mark, Geelong have had 2 stoppages to get players back.

What has a huge bearing on whether this kick can be optimal or not is the Carlton player at the top left under the black dug out bit.

She does a little dummy lead, no way is she getting the ball but she does it anyway, and it makes her opponent follow her as well.


This opens up space behind her and looks what happens.


Vescio ends up with a 10 x 20m space of which to lead into and marks.

Coaching your forwards means so much more than how good or how much you can lead to the ball, most times in a game you HAVE to lead to open up space behind you with ZERO individual reward but huge team rewards.

POOR FORWARD LINE PRESSURE

Phoebe McWilliams is a verty experienced, and very good AFLW player and Maddie Boyd has played in all 3 of the AFLW seasons so this really shouldn't have happened.

With a 2 on 2 loose ball contest between McWiliams/Boyd v 2 Cralton defenders, at the bare minimum this has to result in a stoppage on the Geelong half forward flank, instead Carlton very easily run the ball out of defence unopposed.


2 players trying, and failing, to tackle 1 player, leaving the other defender free to peel off and run forward with the ball on her own.

Communication is 1 thing that let down the Geelong forwards here and having a rule like this in your Game Model can ensure that this does not happen anywhere on the ground, let alone in your forward half in a low scoring game.

WORK RATE

All coaches talk about work rate but without seeing it in action, players can find it hard to really know what it means as they can work hard but see little results.

What we have here are 2 examples of elite work rate + elite game sense.

Watch Katie Brennan:


Watch Erin Phillips:


Both players, number forward targets for their respective teams, both present way up the ground and actually get possession of the ball.

Both hit targets perfectly.

Both work their way to the next contest and in KB's instance, the 2nd contest after her initial possession 60m or so down the ground.

Again in KB'S instance she knew that there was no other forward line option because if she is up at the wing and kicks it to her full forward on the half forward flank, then there can't be anyone behind her so she got on her bike and willed herself to get there and be the only option.

She was also extremely smart because knowing shew was going to be outnumbered and fatigued, she probably wasn't going to complete the mark in a 1 v 2 so she lead towards the boundary line that she could use as a safety barrier if needed.

Both hugely talented but work their arses off.

RECOGNISING SPACE BEFORE IT OPENS UP

Mo Hope's form has probably been disappointing in the 3 AFLW seasons but she is also a smart cookie and she shows it here.

As she gets involved in the initial contest briefly she trails off to the side, knowing that NM have numbers where the ball is and there's no need for her to add to it.

All she does is simply hold her spot as the opposition players follow the ball and look at the space that opens up around here:


Just 5 seconds after a congested pack situation, she gets an uncontested mark in the very same spot.

If everyone is moving then do you have to move?

QUARTERBACK POSITIONING

Last week I had some videos of poor positioning from players wanting to receive the ball where they were simply too close and the opposition about to tackle the player with the ball, will also be able to tackle them if they get it, making 1 problem 2 problems.

In this quick video check out the space Kellie Gibson from North Melbourne has between her and the pack - it's got to be a good 7 - 8m:


This space creates time for her to find the right option, make the decision that that is the optimal option and then has more time to deliver the technical skill aspect of the play.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

TACTICAL INSIGHTS FROM AFLW ROUND 3 PART 5

PLAYER LOCATIONING

"Every players first action should be to see their location and what's going on around them"

- Fergus Connolly Game Changer

This should occur at every stoppage regardless whether your team has the ball or not and how can you follow a game model or game plan if you don't where you are or where anyone else is?

You can't.

To emphasise this point I read an article over at frontiers.org that said an increased frequency of left and right head rotation pre-possession increases the likelihood of possession performance thus the importance of knowing where everyone else is in relation to you and the ball.

Here's today video:


A few mishaps from 2 Geelong players here (I swear I'm not picking on them!).

Hear's how they set up as the ball gets kicked in their back 50:


There is a contest for the ball under the blue sign where the Adelaide forward and Geelong defender have followed that purple arrow also along the green sign to get there.

There is a 2nd Geelong defender making her way over there with another following her player in from the center square and another with her player right on the right side edge of the image.

The first mistake made was by the initial Geelong defender who failed to stay between her player and the ball and over ran the contest by plenty, allowing the Adelaide forward to double back onto the ball.


So now you can see how far out of the play the initial defender is but another defender is there to assist so we're all good there.

Where this breaks down even more is the Geelong defender in the red box who has failed twice here:

1 - Not locating her teammate in a position to apply enough pressure to a kick from the boundary to more than likely cause a miss

and;

2 - Losing sight of her opposition player who has identifies far more quickly what's happening and who has darted back towards goal as she can see her defender committing to the ball carrier.

The end result is an easy handball over the top and what could have been a pressured shot from the boundary results in a certain goal in an unmanned goal square.

A game model puts these intricate "rules" in place so that all players know what's expected of them in certain situations.

In this case the Geelong defender forces the harder shot at goal and trusts that another teammate will apply pressure so she can stay back being the last line of defense.

This trust will also be reciprocated by the original Geelong defender next time who will know to slow down and stay goal side of her opposition forward which caused this situation in the first place.