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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #6 - MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT


I was chatting with a local/amateur coach today who's having me program all his pre-season training or him (yes I do that if you're interested in having less work to do) and he mentioned that he his main reason for having mt do all the work for him is to make every training minute count for his players to get the most our of the least.

I suggested that he make this the mantra of the entire pre-season, reinforcing it at the start of each training session and then again at the start of each training drill.

This is one of the reasons I started this blog all those years ago - to provide training information for local/amateur football players like me, instead of rehashing inefficient training methods from era's long gone and getting next to no results from their efforts.

As mentioned to make every minute count, then you need to do some, but probably all of the following:

1 - Get the Most from the Least

2 - Learn to Microdose

3 - Be Open to New Idea's and Implementation

4 - Look at the Big Picture

GET THE MOST FROM THE LEAST

Team sports has for years, pushed the fatigue model of training, seeing how fast you can get tired, then seeing how much you can do once you're tired.

This is as ineffective as I could imagine.

Fatigue results in decreased speed where every contest in a game is a "race", decreased skill level and decreased decision making ability.

If all these things are taken away from you, then as a player what are you left with?

A focus on quality of training needs to override the quantity and if you don't believe me then look at the GPS readings for the best AFL teams who do less work then their opposition from skills and decision making being able to maintain a high level of decision making, decreasing skill errors and turnovers.

LEARN TO MICRODOSE

Microdosing is probably something you've never heard of but it refers to training the big rocks every session in some capacity.

When this all adds up at the end of the pre-season, you've all a sudden dedicated a decent block of time to developing that particular trait.

Coaches might feel that they are limited on time (which they are) and/or limited in know how (which most are) to incorporate different aspects of training into tam training but these are excuses rather then reasons as they can be fixed.

Once you break down what the big rocks are in regards to football preparation, then you can start researching what you need to do about it.

Most of my programs are developed with team training taken into account and follow these first 2 rules of efficiency and effectiveness.

Don't shortchange your players, or your own playing from laziness.

BE OPEN TO NEW IDEA'S AND IMPLEMENTATION

The coach I'm starting to work with doesn't rally know it yet (he'll find out right now though), but I am going to propose a lot of idea's that he'll never have heard of before and so will his players.

We'll to and fro to see what will stick but to play like you've never played before, you must train like you've never rained before.

If you've coaches a few different teams and they haven't been ultra successful then you need to seek out these new idea's and try and implement something different.

LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE

Keeping an eye on the big picture can be used to get buy in from your players.

Knowing why they need to long and slow training that is boring as hell will get far more compliance when they know why they are doing it and how it will help them.

Data collection can be very helpful here as you can show them actual changes that take place from training something a certain way.

Coaches also need to keep the big picture in mind so that they don't lose faith with any new idea's they have brought into their coaching plan.

Football clubs are always looking at the big picture in regards to off-field (sustainability, growth etc) so it stands to reason that looking at from an on-field point of view can provide a nice boost for you football club.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #5 - AEROBIC CAPACITY


Aerobic Capacity is what everyone refers to as "base fitness" or "run in the legs."

When most people set up footy training programs it's usually similar in line with one of these scenarios:

1 - The ball during games moves constantly and never stops, and we should train ourselves that way

2 - AFL teams do (insert running drill here) so we should too

#1 - WATCH THE PLAYER, NOT THE GAME

If you watch the ball flying around between 36 different players on the ground then of course it will be going end to end at the speed of sound, but we're not the ball are we?

Players at AFL level will run 50 - 100m to be part of a chain from back to forward but might only get used once.

Drop that down to local level and the player might run 50m to get in on the chain but more often then not, once they play their part in the chain via handball or kick, work rate stops.

Watch the players one day, or use yourself as an example, this is how it will work 99 times out of 100.

At the local/amateur level, we just don't run like AFL players do as we don't have the capacity for it and the game styles and team tactics are very much different apart from the top divisions of each league.

#2 - AFL Running Drills

Th mantra for footy training for eons and eons is how much can you do and then how much more can you do after that, and this is supposed to prepare us for games.

I don't buy it.

Not ALL training needs to be exhausting and you know what, 20% of your total training time is probably more then enough (pulled that figure out of my arse to be honest).

AFL teams do repeat 1km runs and similar drills which is fine because you know why?

These players are elite athletes.

Their bodies are made to handle the volumes that they do, which is why they were able to be drafted in the first place.

How many elite athletes do we have local/amateur level?

There might be 2 - 3 tops per team with the potential to be elite athletes, with potential being the operative word there.

They could be but they aren't, for whatever reason.

OK so we should train players to how players actually move throughout a game and we should probably not try and copy what AFL teams do or we'll break our players, who need to work and look after their kids tomorrow.

Aerobic Capacity is the foundation, or the base, of endurance of any description but it can't rally be tested on it's own.

Rather it will show how strong or weak it is throughout other speed and endurance based activities.

From a physiological point of view, aerobic capacity is how effective you can supply oxygen to working muscles in low intensity environments.

Low intensity refers to running performed at anything below 60 - 65% intensity, or about a 5 - 6 out of ten effort level.

Getting back to #1 above, the player jogs to make position, probably breaks into 3/4 speed to get into the chain, moves at a 100% once they get the ball then goes back to jogging after that.

Until the player can get back into a play chain, then they are jogging far more than anything else.

Aerobic Capacity and Endurance - the greater your aerobic capacity, the more work you'll be able to perform BEFORE fatigue so instead of seeing how much you can do when you're already tired which is nothing but decreased speed, decreased skills and decreased decision making, train to be able to do more before all these things that makes you lose games creeps in.

Dane Swan made a monster of a career out of playing like this.

Aerobic Capacity and Speed - I rate speed as number 1 for footy as it THE game changer BUT the ability to be able repeat speed is a close second.

A lot of teams train repeat speed but it's usually an exercise in futility.

Why?

Because without speed in the first place what are you training?

Repeat moderate speed? WTF is that??

A waste of time that's what it is.

I digress a bit but to be able to repeat speed, once you have speed (a future post) then simply trying to run fast repeatedly isn't really going to build much in this case after 3 - 4 sessions.

What you actually should be doing is to improve your rate of recovery between sprints which is what?

Aerobic Capacity.

It always comes back to Aerobic Capacity.

Now I agree that training it is boring, it really is.

Doing anything that slow and tedious seems like a waste of time but not doing it is a bigger waste of time in my book.

The vital thing is to not think that it;s being effective because it is - it's going to allow you to do more work before fatigue and to be able to repeat speed far better then the next player.

If you're really creative, and I am, then you could easily insert aerobic capacity drills into skill work which would accomplish 2 things:

1 = Aerobic Capacity Training

2 - 100's more touches of the footy at training then normal.

Win/Win.

You HAVE to start the process of building aerobic capacity RIGHT NOW either at team training or by having your players do it in their own time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #4 - PLAYER INPUT AND FEEDBACK

                                   

As much as coaches would love to run their teams where everyone toes the line all the time, it simply won't happen.

Local/amateur footballers simply have more choice and freedom then professionals, and fair enough as they need to work, have family's etc.

So as a coach you can lay out the greatest pre-season in history but if the players don't buy into it then where does that leave you?

As most players aren't paid or contracted at L/A level, they cannot be forced to prepare and train like we want them too.

On top of that within a L/A club you'll have 50 - 100 players with all different idea's about football success and why they play this great game.

What we're left with is a continuum of player motivation:


Play for Fun                                                                                              Play for Individual Success
                                                     Play for Team Success
Play with Mates                                                                                        Mental/Physical Outlet


So we have social reasons on the left and competitive reasons on the right so the aim should be to squeeze the left and right sides closer to the middle so "most" players at your L/A club are pushing towards team success.

Probably the best way to get the players to buy in is to give them some ownership of how the on-field stuff is performed.

If I was a coach I would schedule in a players meting early in pre-season, prior to Christmas. I would let all current and new players know what the meeting is about and if you want a say then turn up and do so.

I would encourage players to let me know of any idea's they have to put forward prior to the meeting so that we can do a little SWAT analysis of each point.

I'd ask current players what they though of the previous season in regards to training, game day, selection, rotations - anything.

The feedback could be anonymous if they please.

From there we have the meeting where all idea's are thrown up against the wall and with input from the players, see what sticks.

The NUMBER 1 thing that will make or break your L/A footy club is compliance.

Compliance to team training.

Compliance to training away from the footy club.

Compliance to game day team rules.

But...

Compliance will only come with buy in - simple as that.

There's a saying I picked up a few back - you don't know what you don't know - and it's 100% true.

What you did at 1 football club as a coach might not work at another footy club.

What you tried and failed at at one football club might be the perfect fit at another footy club.

As a footy club, by brainstorming as many idea's as you possible from all your players, committee, coaching staff etc - the better.

By having players drive some of what happens at the footy club, they will be more inclined to comply with it, and more players will comply it - exactly what we're after.

As a strength and conditioning coach, aerobic capacity is your slow and low intensity running which is ESSENTIAL for high endurance and if you fail to train it correctly, you're short changing your endurance potential dramatically.

If I was to send players away to do the basic aerobic capacity training in their own time, and they actually do it, do you know what that can free up?

20 - 40mins per training session.

Up to 80mins per week.

Over 18hrs of freed up training time within a full tram pre-season.

How much better would you be able to perform now that a hellava lot of time has been freed up for things like speed development, agility, strength training skills and tactics?

But again, only if you can get player buy in which is best achieved by player driven team rules.

Friday, November 17, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #3 - EXTENSIVE REACTIVENESS


In the initial weeks of pre-season there's a good chance that some players haven't really done a lot of impact work which also means they probably haven't done a lot of velocity or intense contraction work.

Obviously this means that it's probably not time to be trying for world records in the 60m sprint unless hamstring rehab is your goal.

When we talk about extensiveness in performance training then we're talking prep work for intensive training to come, and is activity performed for relative longer durations and at relative lower intensities.

Reactiveness refers to the use of the stretch shortening cycle, specifically of the Achilles Tendon, which essentially acts as a rubber band that winds up upon contact of the ground, then releases the built up tension once you come off the ground.

There are 2 main reasons to train reactiveness with the first being listed above, to prepare for intensive reactive training later on.

The second reason to train train to be more reactive is because the best athletes are highly reactive.

When an athlete is reactive is presents as:

- Excellent agility in tight confines

- Running mechanics that are described as bouncy or effortless

- Utilises a short dip when jumping (able to produce great force in a short amount of time) versus a player that requires more time to generate force that requires a deep knee bend to jump or move from a standing start.

- Injury resiliency (muscles are able to contract and relax with ease resulting in less risk of tears and strains that come from being too "tense")

- Excellent max velocity speed

Extensive reactiveness sessions will involve 5 - 10 low level plyometric/ballistic and/or sprint mechanics based exercises performed over 20 - 30m and can be performed as an add-on to your warm up.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #2 - BETTER FITNESS TESTING


The first night of training usually includes the dreaded time trial over 2 - 3kms but my question is - what are you rally testing?

We all know that there is never a case in a game of footy when you'll run that type of distance all in 1 go, at that type of speed.

So what can this test provide us in terms of player assessment?

For mine I'll go with how well they've looked after themselves during the off-season more than anything.

Here's some my biggest rules for testing at this time of the year.

1 - Only test what you retest under the same conditions with the same equipment.

2 - Store away your testing data from past years to compare as the aim is for players to get better every year but footy clubs rally work on a 12 month cycle which starts again and again and again where elite tams strive for improvement every year.

3 - How you get the result can be MORE important hen what the result is. I'll use myself as an example as I am a sprinter type of athlete built for short explosive bursts with recovery. Let's say me and a more endurance based athlete both do a 1.5km time trial and we finish with the same time. We might have got the same result but compared to the endurance athlete I would have spent far more time above my anaerobic threshold then the endurance athlete and thus I can't give much more after that as fatigue has already built up but the endurance athlete can go for much longer. On the flip side I can cover 20 - 30m in a far quicker time then the endurance bloke, which is what footy is mostly made up of - short traces to the ball or contest over and over and over again. A constant speed test might be best followed to see where your players hit their own thresholds so you can program accordingly.

4 - Whatever you test, make sure you train to i prove it, then test again. A single test on it's own is useless.

5 - Other assessment markers for fitness include anaerobic threshold, resting heart rate and recovery heart rate - all that can be implemented with minimal equipment and cost. Personally, I'd also use a speed test or 2 as well some form of skill based test for kicking and handballing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PRE-SEASON TRAINING DO'S #1 - SKILL WORK


In all sports you have mechanical and operational output.
In regards to football, and thus kicking, mechanical output is how well you can kick in a pressure-free environment.
Operational output would be game or game-simulated kicking under pressure.
At this time of the year, all training efforts should be put in the mechanical output basket where all skill work is performed under zero pressure and at gradual speeds and difficulties.
Only once can a player master kicking variability under no pressure can they start to master it game conditions.
Use drills that incorporate a lot of different kick types and use a progressional model to reach your end point but do not be in a rush to get there.
Progress from stationary to dynamic kicking, regular to stab kicking, stationary to dynamic targets, slow to fast speed of execution as well as planned to chaos decision making drills.

List of Aussie Rules Untouchable Training Programs for Men's Players

I've made some adjustments to the www.aussierulesuntouchable.com website to hopefully make it easier to navigate for players and coaches.

I've also added plenty more specialty programs that are generally 2 - 3 week programs that you can easily plug into to your training at any time without them taking away from your team training energy requirements and recovery.

All programs are purchased through Paypal which is pretty easy and at the moment I'm in the process of setting the process up so you get the program as soon as you pay for it but until that is complete, I'll be manually sending out the programs once payment notification comes through to my email which is immediate anyway.

Of course you can contact me with any questions on any of these programs or more information on implementing a purchased program into your training.

All men's players programs provide all conditioning work for your players for all team training sessions and in some cases, there are extra workouts for you to provide your players to do in their own time.

Navigation: Home Page - Men's Players Image - Men's Long Term and Specialty Program Page Options

Long Term Player Programs:

12 Month Player (Oct - Sep)

9 Month Player (Jan - Sep)

Off-Season Player (Sep - Nov)

Pre-Christmas Player (Oct - Dec)

Christmas Break Player - (Dec - Jan)

Post-Christmas Player (Jan - Mar)

In-Season Player (Mar - Sep)

Specialty Player Programs

Max Strength 1, 2, 3 and 4

Power

Peak Power

Gym Lift Force/Velocity Profile - COMING SOON

Acceleration 1, 2, and 3

Max Velocity 1, 2, and 3

Sprinting Force/Velocity Profile

Agility/Change of Direction

Aerobic Capacity 1

Aerobic Capacity 2

Anaerobic Threshold

Lactic Power

Lactic Capacity - COMING SOON

Be Activated Warm Up - COMING SOON

Training the Ankle - COMING SOON

Joint Mobility Warm Up - COMING SOON

Running Mechanics Warm Up - COMING SOON

Training the Feet - COMING SOON

Training the Hip Lock Position - COMING SOON

Training the Ankle - COMING SOON

Training Foot/Ankle Stiffness - COMING SOON

Performance Warm Up - COMING SOON

1 Leg Running Jump