Thursday, December 13, 2018


- Tempo is the overriding factor in speed control

- If you to make a tackle then you've already made a mistake

- The offensive macro principle is to create space

- The transition offense to offense macro principle is ball speed

- The transition defense to defense macro principle is ball (man with) pressure

- The defense macro principle is man pressure

- On offense you generally want to wide before going deep to spread the defense and draw them out

- The best defender in sports is the sideline

- By applying consistent pressure, defenders force their opponents to look for other options which forces them to decide and act slower

- Structure refers to your starting position at each restart relating to the positioning macro principle and referring to general positions on the ground

- Strategy concerns the specific adaptations of the game model to address each opponent and a style/method to defeat them

- It should not change a principle or affect cohesion

- Tactics is exactly how the strategy is executed

- The execution of tactics depends on the athletes ability to apply what they have learnt in training/games

- There a few game models but infinite tactics

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Parts 1, 2 and 3.

- Slow ball movement/possession game needs better skilled players

- Fast ball movement/territory game is better for less talented teams

- If space is compressed in 1 area then it must exist in another

- Players/teams exposed to the highest speeds of movement complexity can execute better under pressure

- There's no actual defense as you're attacking the team in possession to get the ball back and is a mindset which means every defensive mindset is made with an intention to counter and eventually score

- Some teams need a lot of possessions to score enough to win

- You can use high defense that clogs your offense or a deep defense that opens up your defense (Swans)

- How players move without the ball defensively is essential to creating pressure and disruption

- If we win the ball in the defensive 50 then players in the middle, or on that side of the ground, have to spread as soon as possible to provide wide options and/or create space through the middle of the ground so try using wider options/increasing the ground size to move the opposition

-  The aim is to make the opposition do more work but also lose

Sunday, December 9, 2018


- Players close to the action operate in tactical situations while teammates operate in bigger supportive roles but through feedback from the tactical actions that guide decisions at every level

- Giving players too much information stagnates decision making and spreads mental/physical effort too thin

- Give players no more than 3 aims per game

- Coaches should tell players their goals but not how to achieve them to see how they go about it without instruction

- Build the game plan/function and let it's style/form evolve (switch kick, 45 degree kick, kick to forward line fat side etc)

- Space can create time but time cannot create space (Scott Pendlebury using micro movements making everyone attempt to play off him, allowing everyone to move around him creating space/time and James Harden's jab steps to step back jumper)

- Better technique/efficiency creates space as you move faster with less effort but it also makes the opposition think/pause/dead

- The size of the field doesn't matter it's the usable area that counts and offense can use as much ground as they like

- Clarko's Cluster

- The law of ball speed dictates the game pace, not the players (Richmond)

Thursday, December 6, 2018


All notes taken here are from the book Game Changer by Dr Fergus Connolly - well worth your hard earned.

- Offense will always follow the order of construct, penetration and execution if it gets that far

- Construct is creating space for the ball/players or a quick strike approach

- Penetration is getting into a scoring position

- Work more on construction and penetration than execution

- The first step in transition to a defensive moment is to disrupt the offense and slow them down so your defense can catch up

- Make the ground smaller for the opposition

- Give the opposition defense too many options to consider

- Offensively create motion in different directions

- The less versatile you are the better you have to be at what you do well

- Pressuring and essentially cutting off an opponent from their teammates clouds their judgement, slows their decision making and prevents them from executing their objectives

- Disrupt their cohesion

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


In my last few post series I've been highlighting Agile Periodisation which is essentially training the 4 co-actives each week simultaneously:

* How to Approach Pre-Xmas Training Part 1 and Part 2.

** Team Training Pre-Season 2019

*** Kicking Variability Training Drill

**** New Rules of Footy Training Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

This new way of coaching has been used in Soccer and Rugby for a while now but a sports scientist Dr. Fergus Connolly put it all together in his book "GAME CHANGER" which WILL change the way you coach/train from now on.

This next series of posts (15 - 20!) are full of dot points I made from the book, deliberately posting them as I literally wrote them to initiate some discussion from you guys to share idea's on implementation as well as perception of each point.

Here we go!

- The only way to create space is to draw the defense towards each other

- When rating players, look at how their presence/actions amplify the team (positioning, stops, forward entries, enabling other players to play their game etc)

- Training tempo footy progression could be short to long duration, no pressure to pressure, 2 teams to 4 teams etc

- Don't do what's possible, do what's necessary

- Have 7 - 8 stationary players play keepings off 2 - 3 defenders who can move with the aim being to keep the defenders moving/opening space

- Progress the drill by allowing the offensive players to move

- Progress once more by using goal scoring simulation

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

- Use a similar set up with stall points around the ground than build multiple options off of it (plan A, B, C etc)

- There are game macro moments being offense, transition defense, defense and transition offense

Thursday, November 29, 2018



In the strength and conditioning game we're close to exhausting what we can do in training the body and the next frontier is what we can do in training to the mind.

Physically we get tired and psychologically we get tired too and you can look at it like this:

Physical Fatigue + Psychological Fatigue = Total System Fatigue

The constant decision making required by players causes fatigue just like running, jumping and tackling does so you need to train decision making just like everything else.


For any skill you have mechanical output and operational output.

Mechanical output is what you can do with zero pressure to perform, unimpeded route and zero decision making.

Operational output is what you can do in a game when all those things are present.

It can be a good idea to rate players on these 2 aspects of various football skills such as decision making, disposal and marking.

If the gap is too wide then you need find a way to replicate game conditions at training and train operational output again like everything else instead of hoping it will all come together in the heat of battle.


Technique reserve is what the elite players in spades over us local/amateur types.

What you think of increased fitness is really increased technique reserve.

There are players at pretty much all levels of football who can run a pretty decent time trial but what they don't have is the elite skill level of the pro's.

To build technique reserve you need to first nail the easier skills of footy and build on this in regards to speed and level of preciseness of movement to such a level that it becomes automatic and your technique is dialed right in.

When fatigue starts to settle in late in quarters and games, you're technique is still there and you're disposal drop off will be way less then someone not as proficient from a skill level point of view.

Don't keep pushing fitness, fitness, fitness when you're players can't kick!


The definition of this is "the learning of complex information in an incidental manner, without awareness that it is being learned".

To do this set up drills with limited information, usually just letting the players know a particular scenario (transition defense, offense etc) or the end goal (10 kicks without hitting the ground etc).

This way players have to decide for themselves the best way to play out the scenario or reach the end goal.

Don't provide them with the answers ans really there isn't any "right" answers anyway because on game day it's total chaos.

You also want to look at the decision making process here.


How many times do we make the wrong decision in games?


How decisions do we usually make at training?

Not many as we kick from this cone to this cone.

Setting drills that might get messy are a great idea to again see how players respond top adversity as well as seeing who provides leadership, who sticks with your game model/pillars and each player's decision making process.

Failing at training also means that it's challenging enough where drills where the ball whizzes around freely isn't challenging enough for most players.

Obviously don't set a drill that's way too hard for your group, it's still got to fit the ability of your team, but don't afraid to throw some little spanners in the works to make it messy and see what happens.


We played about 120 last season and have 3 teams playing every weekend so when we're up and about we can potentially have 50 blokes on the track.

Running 1 drill at a time can then mean a lot of standing around and " lost time".

Instead of thinking up whiz-bang full ground drills where players still don't get enough touches of footy, use less complex drills and run 1, 2 or 3 of them at a time, splitting your team up into smaller groups.

Players will get more touches, more QUALITY touches too and they'll stay switched on for longer if they're not waiting 2 minutes at every cone for the ball to get there.


I got this idea from a local team in the western suburbs of Melbourne I went and watched 1 night where they started with a low complex handball drill and gradually spaced it out to a medium to long kicking drill over 2 - 3 progressions.

This again means lots of quality touches, quick changes from drill 1 drill progression to the next and also covers most skills of the game.

I've made up a bunch of these for us to use from now on instead of the short to long lanework drill we've used for eons.

10,000 TOUCHES

We've all heard of the 10,000 hour rule to become a professional in something and in soccer they have the 10,000 touches rule following the same idea.

Most teams will have 25 - 30 training sessions between now and practice games/round 1 and having every player perform 300 - 350 quality touches before every training session will get them to 10,000.

Instead of rolling up and shit kicking and talking for 15 minutes, get your players onto this doing short and sharp skills on both sides of the body.


Definitely thing missing from 99% of footy teams training where they try to train at game speed which is the most fatiguing way to do things, often called "training in the middle".

What that means is that it's too fast to get any true aerobic benefits from but too slow to get any true speed benefits from.

In the end you want to get to the ball first using speed, then be able to do it repeatedly by being able to quickly recover between speed bouts.

Take your focus on seeing how fast you can get tired and then seeing how much you can do (it will be minimal and what do do will be of a low quality) and see how much you can do at high intensity while not tired as well as much you can do at a low intensity before you get tired.

Training at game speed indices high fatigue with means low skill level, decreased decision making and worst of all high injury risk.


We've got 3 - 4 hours to train 40 - 60 players so is it wise to do a 3km time trial every week?

That's 20 minutes gone focusing on 1 single aspect.

If you're going to focus on 1 single aspect it cannot take more than 10 minutes per session at the very longest.

Being conditioned to display the skills of footy is the name of the game, not marathon running, so why not combine the 2?

Set up 3 man drills using various handball and kicking drills where the "working" player goes for a specific amount of time and then have a quick changeover and rotate x 3 - 5 cycles per player.

How far one can run is pointless if they can't be skillful with the ball when they get it.

Do skill conditioning pre-Xmas then introduce running conditioning later

You can also set up skill conditioning tests to gauge progress just like running tests and again I've made yup a few drills for this that we'll use pre-Xmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


From the start of October until mid-November I was reading the bad boy in the image above by Dr Fergus Connolly who has worked EVERYWHERE such as the EPL, NFL, NBA, AFL and in World Rugby too.

He's regarded as a "Mr. Fix It" type, and his views on sports science and preparation is years ahead of his time.

I have about 20 blog posts to come on this book, all 450 pages of it but I'll softly touch on a few here that we'll try implementing this season with my own team.


An often overlooked part of coaching is the language and actual words used to instruct players.

These 2 things sound and look the same but they are very different and knowing how they're different is very important if everyone is to be on the same road.

Strategy is a plan or set of goals.

Tactics is the specific actions/steps you'll take to accomplish the strategy.

Without strategy you'll amber through as you're not really playing for anything but to win but you're not always going to win so there's need to be more that the team and the players are judged on.

Without tactics you're basically hoping that everything just works out, which we know is not a great long or short term solution. 

To go a few steps further you then have the grand strategy that is looking beyond the present battle and calculating ahead but all 3 steps need to addressed consistently.


Most team sports have 4 macro moments being offense, transition defense, defense and transition offense.

As a coach you need to organise and articulate your standards and tactics in each phase of play.

The offensive macro moment will refer to construction, penetration and execution.

The transition defensive macro moment will refer to disruption, organisation and direction.

The defensive macro moment will refer to dispossession, termination and isolation.

The transitional offensive macro moment will refer to movement, direction and space.

You need to detail how you'll carry out each point of each phase and this is essentially your play book.

This will also make it easier to evaluate each aspect post-games.

In training design and implement more training drills and/or games that train multiple macro moments rather than spending all your time on 1 or 2 of them.


The ultimate of everything you try and do is to create time and space.

This sounds easy enough in theory but you need to know that space creates time but time does not always create space.

Sit on that for a second.......

To create space in 1 area you need to compress players in another and this needs to occur all over the ground but needs a team first approach as only 1 player can get the ball.

If a player gets enough time then they can achieve almost anything, regardless of ability, but creating space gives them this time.


Piggybacking off the first point in this post, you also need to know the difference between practice and training.

Practice is a method of learning existing skills.

Training is the acquisition of new skills.

This is good to know because at local/amateur level there is varied level of skill and game sense between your playing group that can consist of 60, and in our case up to 80 players.

What this can allow you to do is to break your playing group up into practice and training groups for each part of your game model instead of hoping that everyone just gets it from talking about it pre-game for 5mins.

Lower level players might do a lot more practice of lower end skill work while your top end players might do more training to expand their repertoire of skills and game sense.

I bet you thought that would be the opposite way around hey?

Essentially both groups will swing from practice to training at different stages.

You can use data from your player profiling that we discussed earlier this week too.