Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Secrets of In-Season Training

We're about to hit winter with the next 8 - 12 games potentially being played in weather that will result in highly contested games, which means a huge jump in collisions meaning game load will be higher.

With a change in game style you'll also need a change in training to boot.


I've blogged about this a heap and here I go again. TR refers to how long a specific quality (speed, strength, endurance etc) stays with you before it needs to be directly trained again. This is must'know information because it means you know exactly what to train and when to train it so you can plan your training schedule accordingly. I have a monthly set up all laid out in the Aussie Rules Training In-Season Training Program. Hint - if you're doing training drills that fatigue your players each and every session then you're going about it all wrong.


Again I've blogged about this a heap but it piggy backs off the TR point. CD refers to "training interference" where different aspects of training, when trained together, can actually have negative implications on your fitness. You need to program your training sessions taking both TR and CD into account for optimal results.


During games there's not a lot of energy left over for a lot of extra training so a good way to program is through MD. MD refers to breaking up training specific aspects of footy into smaller but more frequent sessions so instead of trying to fit 1 x 60min speed session into your week, aim for 2 - 3 x 15 - 20min sessions which can easily be implemented prior to footy training for example. Gym can be broken up into 3 - 4  x 20 - 30min sessions as well focusing on low but high quality training volume.


The HLS is my go to set up personally but it becomes even more critical during the season when fatigue is at its highest and you need to peak every 7 days. Starting at your number 1 high day being Saturday, your other 2 high days are Tuesday and Thursdays. This means that you need ti use low days for all your other training days otherwise you'll either dip into recovery from the previous game or not be fresh enough for the next game.


Again piggy backing of the HLS, instead of taking days off training, it's always better to do a "low" workout instead of nothing which better preps the body the high day/s to come. I've implemented 3 low/recovery workout days so far this season with pretty good results but they allow you to get more training volume in, albeit at a low intensity, which also doubles as micro dosing for aerobic capacity. So what's treating my body better - my 3 x 20 -30min RW or a 60 - 90min session all done in 1 huge hit?


OLC can be the savior in regards to maintaining fitness during the season, especially as those boggy, contested games come in. Even by Tuesday you can still feel the ill effects of some of those games which makes training almost useless. As mentioned above, it's better to do something then nothing so heading to the gym and performing some off legs fitness work, such as a RW mentioned above, can still provide the training effect you need but without inducing any further fatigue, leaving more recovery juice for you to work with.


The other week I blogged about what I track and why which is how I track fatigue indicators for myself. As mentioned in that post your best bet is through the HRV4Training App which is what I use. It has a built in wellness survey and it takes your daily HRV reading and your survey results to provide you with a training recommendation each day - the best $15 you'll ever spend and apart from sleep, is the 2nd best option in regards to recovery - ice baths and foam rollers included.


Staying with our contested winter games for example, there's not a lot of max velocity sprinting in these games due to the ball being on the ground so much and according to TR above, max speed needs to be trained directly every 3 - 7 days to be maintained. This means that you'll have performed a fair bit of acceleration work during the game but little max velocity so your training the next week should reflect that by performing some dedicated max velocity sprinting which not only maintains speed, but also maintains muscle and joint integrity in regards to high velocity contractions and you'll be less likely to get injured if your body constantly remembers what high velocity is. Another example is for someone who sat on the bench for a large portion of the game who actually misses out on most of the fitness work required in a game and thus will be essentially be '1 session behind" the others so they will need to make up the missed game work during the week but without fatiguing them for the next game.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


As 90% of all Women's Football right now is still in it's infancy, it is far away from the smooth running machine that is men's footy.

We train Tuesday, Thursday and play Saturday - every single week.

With the introduction of 100's of women's teams across Australia in 2017, their scheduling has been a roller coaster.

From leagues not releasing draws until literally weeks before the season starts to ground availability to player availability, it has looked to me that teams have been simply "filling the spaces" allowed between men's footy.

This isn't good or bad, it's just a fact of women's football life right now.

What it has resulted in though is "uneven schedules" where getting back to men's it's pretty evenly spaced between games and training nights but for women's footy you might only train on a Wednesday night, or maybe Monday and Wednesday which is very close to your previous game or far away from your next game.

This post is all about optimising your training week.

I asked about everyone's training schedules over in my Women's Football Training Group and here were the different answers I got baring in mind most draws hadn't been officially released yet:

  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Friday Night Games
  • Wednesday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games
  • Wednesday/Friday Training + Sunday Games
  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Sunday Games
  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games
  • Wednesday Training + Sunday Games
  • Monday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games
That's a lot of variations so you simply can't apply the men's schedule into a lot of these as it will interfere with recovery from games or preparation for games.

As I discussed in my previous blog You Don't Get Better at Footy Training Part 1 and Part 2, you can only cover so much in 2 - 3hrs of training per week which is even less when you're a beginner as skills needs to be 90% of your training, but that leaves huge "performance gaps" in your game in regards to strength, speed, endurance etc.

Trying to mix all these into a single drill is the worst thing you can do - it may look efficient but it's actually the complete opposite.

So now that you are well aware of the need for extra training to fill these 'gaps" I hear you ask "where can I fit it in?"

Below I've laid out where to fit extra training in each of these schedules listed above:

  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Friday Night Games - Sunday/Monday
  • Wednesday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games - Monday/Tuesday
  • Wednesday/Friday Training + Sunday Games - Tuesday/Thursday
  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Sunday Games - Wednesday/Friday
  • Tuesday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games - Monday/Wednesday
  • Wednesday Training + Sunday Games - Tuesday/Thursday/Friday
  • Monday/Thursday Training + Saturday Games - Tuesday/Wednesday
I haven't included it in the schedules above but I also prefer to do some training the day prior to a game, not hard, but more a stimulation type session with absolutely no fatigue so that would be an extra day for each schedule as well.

The type of training you'd would do on your extra days would be completely dependent on what your footy training usually entails but I think we can assume it's skills and lactic based running, because well, coaches persevere with this stuff for reasons I do not know.

This means that you're extra training will need to include pure speed sprint work and gym/strength work.

Also be aware that your extra training does not replace your footy training, it needs to complement it so you need to have the properly designed program that takes all this into account when prescribing volume, intensity and frequency - no Crossfit/F45/HIIT classes do not fit this bill at all and never will!

Monday, April 17, 2017

What I Track and Why

Data collection is the thing in sports at the moment and for good reason.

Without data how do you know what's working and how much it is actually working for you?

What trends are you finding with specific volumes and intensities of training?

Could you redo your program a little to make things more economical?

Without data you will never know.

What this leads to is players and coaches simply rehashing old training idea's from years gone by, probably things you've already done that seemed to garner success , but for reasons you probably don't know.

How you get a certain result is just as, if not more important then what result you actually get.

Today I'll take you into my world a little bit to show what I track and why.


All my training is logged in an excel spreadsheet each footy season.

I have a spreadsheet right now that has a sheet each for 2013 through to this year 2017.

I can look back at old phases of training and find the successful one's, then have a play with it to see if I can tweak some further improvements out of it.

If I need some benchmarks then I can also look back and see what I've lifted for what load and volume for specific exercises.

All training sessions are logged into the spreadsheet whether it be gym, sprints, running or footy training - easy, medium or hard sessions.

They are all there.


It wasn't until 2015 sometime that I started testing my HRV daily and logging it into my spreadsheet.

The reason for this was to see how certain workouts affected me in the days after it.

I've written about the high/low system before and this is perfect for showing why it's a great idea to implement as an athlete at any level.

Here's how my daily readiness last Saturday looked:

Sat Round 1 -

* Resting heart rate x 63

* rMSSD score x 28 - is a second HRV score more then anything which is what some other HRV app's go off

* Daily HRV Points x 6.8 - my readiness for this day specifically

* 7 day HRV Points Average x 6.8 - the average of your last 7 days HRV readiness which looks at chronic type fatigue

I take my readings via iphone during one of my 2 snoozes I have in the morning which takes literally 1min, and it provides me all those readings above all at once.

After that the reading it takes you to a 10sec daily survey for you to put in your training info plus some personal stuff like motivation, sleep quality, diet etc and then it provides you with your HRV score for that day and an updated 7 day average.

Here's an 11 day stretch from last year (the first number - 8, 9 etc - is simply the 8th of April):

8/63/28...6.8/6.8 - GAME DAY
9/62//29...6.9/6.9 - SORER THEN I THOUGHT I WOULD BE
10/58/64...8.1/7.1 - LOW TRAINING DAY
12/87/17...6.2/6.9 - SICK...NO TRAINING
13/98/15...6.0/6.9 - SICK...NO TRAINING
16/58/22...6.5/6.8 - DAY OFF
17/63/23...6.6/6.6 - HIGH TRAINING DAY
18/59/35...7.2/6.6 - LOW TRAINING DAY

I don't usually put the small notes in my log, it's a bloody good idea to though, but I did at this for this stretch as I had some extremely rare sickness mid-week as you can see above.

The reason you get sick is not really because you've caught something, we catch stuff every single day, bit it's when you're immunity is down and you can't counteract it, is when and why we get sick.

I wasn't feeling overly fresh for footy on the 8th as I did a lower body training session on the Friday which wasn't huge or anything but it had to be done - that would have been classified as a high day in the High/Low system and you would usually do a low day the day after a high day but I played footy so that may have started my downfall.

You can also see that my HRV was low-ish on Sat (mid 7's seems about perfect for me) which can indicate that I haven't fully recovered from not just yesterday's training, but my training from earlier during the week.

It seemed that I bounced back from the weekend come Monday with an 8.1 HRV but a high score isn't always good which is why the average HRV reading is handy. 

A reading that's too high can be just as bad as a reading that is too low because as always, it's all about balance.

I started to feel a little bit more tired Tuesday evening at work then normal and once I got home and settled in, I felt it coming on and wondered what the morning might bring.

My constant tossing and turning during the night let me know pretty early on what was going to happen and I was knackered for 2 days where I went to work in the morning, slept or laid on the couch doing absolutely nothing for 9hrs, then went back to work to go back to bed again.

I'm very good at doing nothing when I need to be which always helps me recover quite fast from these things.

My RHR and HRV on Wednesday was super high but you can see it improving each day after.

I had a sprint session planned with one of my Women Footballers for Saturday so I was gunning for that day to be back on track, and it's always better to do a 'lead in" session before a big session because like a car or a horse, you can't just go from nothing to world champion without a few warm up laps under your belt.  

Friday I did a very easy recovery session, just to get a light sweat for about 20mins focusing on aerobic capacity so 50 - 60% (far closer to 50).

Saturday you can see my HRV was mid 7's which is "my spot" so I could go as hard as I can although my times weren't great from the lay off.


Often you can find trends occurring which can lead to things like sickness and injury before they actually happen from your daily scores.

As mentioned in the video above I've completed about 170 training sessions since September last year which is a lot but they have followed a loose high/low system as also mentioned earlier, so not everyday is a world record attempt (not should it be).
I've trained 6 days a week pretty much every week, I'm 38 (old), have a disabled wife, a 6yr old son who never stops and the studio which always touch and go so there's a lot of stress, physical and mental, on my plate at all times.

About a month ago I noticed that my 7 day HRV average was dropping each and everyday and it did so for 20 days straight.

I knew something was happening that could end in tears so I scaled my training back a little taking some or all of the small rocks out of the my training to decrease the training volume on my tired body.

Every year for about 3 years, before this one, at some point in February or March, I've had a lower back blow out for no physical reason.

I did it by power cleaning a moderate load, I did it running and I did it doing some core work for memory - all things I can do very easily.

But if there's 1 thing we should all get out of this blog post it's this from David Dellanave - the reason we get injured at training or in competition is because we applied a level of stress that the body couldn't handle at that exact point in time and regardless of your training and prevention work, it can be totally out of your control - unless you have some data to go off.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Women's Football Tips

I went to watch a local VAFA women's game last Sunday and granted it was pissing rain and most of the girls would have been playing their first game ever, this is what I saw.


When we have kids do Auskick what do we do? We teach them the skills of the game and that's it. We don't worry about running, tactics etc and I think that a similar tact should be taken with a thousands of beginner women footballers right now.

Now I'm under no illusions that skill level won't be great initially but few tactical aspects will work with poor skill level.

From holding the ball, to ball drop, to driving momentum through your kick, a huge focus on kicking technique should be at the forefront of your training.

There also needs to be a great focus on stationary and kicking on the run as well.

A 2 handed ball drop is very hard when kicking on the run so it's plain to see that they are 2 very different skills.


A lot of girls would chase the ball but slow right down when they get near it - yes it was wet Sunday, but it looked a lot more of habit then the actual conditions.

A lot of the would also come to a complete stop, turn away from the oncoming player to complete the ball then try and bend down and pick it up, giving valuable time to the chaser who wouldn't have a chance if they could hit the ball at relative speed, pick it up and go.

I would encourage players to hit the ball as fast as they can at training to at least build this skill.


Backing off the last point, the ability to get low, which the better girls did, enables you to be able to dispose of the ball and gather some momentum in pack situations.

Standing straight up with the ball makes you easy to tackle and "weaker" when standing - by dropping the hips you have more stability and you have far more options once you get the ball.


Heaps of these girls have come from Netball where you're goal is to avoid contact and play "around" your opposition which resulted in a lot of easy ball even in a wet and heavily contested game.

One girl was all about contact and every time she was in a pack she heavily influenced what happened - regardless of the numbers around the ball.

As with all of these points, they are very much a work in progress and will take time to develop and become habit, but those who can nail these the fastest, the better players they'll be in 2017.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


In a post by Josh, one of the women's football coaches in the WF private group last week, this question was was asked - super speed or endless endurance? 

I'm a speed man so I'll lean that way every day of the week but I just want to touch on what endurance actually is.

Endurance is usually referred to as being able to "run all day" or to be able to "run out the entire game."

My thoughts straight off the bat are "how fast do you want me to run all day or for the entire game" and 'is there a distance required for this too."

In my answer I went onto to say you need both types of runners which you do.

Josh then posed the question would you rather "win the ball for 2 and half quarters or run out a whole game".

My next though was is it simply assumed that just because you are fast then you can't have endurance? 

Then if you do have endurance, then can you not be fast?

Another WF coach John sort of came to my aid and put forward that repeat speed was most important, which it is, but the most important part of his comment was "repeat speed, then rotate with another runner while you recover".

I read a study done on AFL players about a month ago (I'll try and find it) that showed that:
- Midfielders cover more ground then key position and flank/pocket players
- Flanker/pocket players reach higher speeds

This backs up the argument that you need both types of runners.

Here is the exact way you build speed:
- Keep sets to 5 - 6secs max
- Ensure full recovery between each set which will generally be 2 - 5mins
- Each set must performed at 100% intensity which is why full rest is required (non fatigue)

So once you develop your speed to an adequate level, then you can work on repeating it as often as you can.

This is what I refer to running all day - it should be 'being fast all day".

How many times do you win a 1on1 contest when you jog? NEVER.

As mentioned, speed should be trained for 5 - 6secs max and actual top speed can only be held for 2 - 3sces for Olympic sprinters. We're much stuck in the 1 - 2sec zone unfortunately, with slower players not even being able to hold their top speed for even 1sec.

Speed can be trained though which is what my trial program focuses on that a few girls in the group are currently  doing.

So if you can only be fast-ish for 5 - 6secs an then you need to rest for 2 - 5mins, how does that work during a game?

The interchange bench.

After John's comment I mentioned that I don't think most coaches utilise, or know how to utilise, the interchange bench as optimally as they could, for their teams benefit.

Now obviously you as a coach, and you as a player, won't be going off the ground every time you perform a 6sec effort in a game, but players need to understand that coming off when you're fatigued, or prior to "blowing up", is the right thing to do.

As John said, players only need a 2min break or so to get their heart rate down, have a drink and a breather, and then they'll be ready to get back on and go again at the same or similar intensity/speed.

These players will run AND be fast all day.

These players WILL win the ball for 4 quarters.

If I was a coach I'd tell my players that once you reach a rate of perceived exertion of an 8 or 9 out of 10 then you must come off the ground. 

Staying out on the ground until you reach a 10 out of 10 means you'll enter the lactic zone and that means you're on borrowed time for the rest of the game, you'll have "run the speed out of you" and the fatigue will not subside.

Coaches need to explain this to their players and even use possible "punishments" (for a lack of better term) if it is not adhered to.

How do you ensure that speed is being replenished during interchange breaks? 

Great question!

Your aerobic system is essentially your recovery system, as it improves oxygen delivery to working muscles which is the number 1 thing.

To train your aerobic system you must use low intensity activity for prolonged periods of time. 

If running a 400 as hard as you can is 10/10 rpe then you're looking at a 4-5 out of 10 which is very, very easy - easier then you think it needs to be but it HAS to be that easy.

By going 'slow" you put the body in an environment where oxygen can continually be used for energy production.

By the way, when you do a 400 as hard as you can, all 3 energy systems are working the entire time, they just switch from each other for what is dominating at what specific time of the run.

So by training your aerobic/recovery system, you're improving your ability to recover "speed" between speed bouts, thus increasing repeat speed.

In between the aerobic(endurance) and alactic (speed/power) energy systems is the dreaded lactic zone, or what I call "the middle".

This is what frustrates me the most with local/amateur coaches and the way they train fitness with their players.

Not much good happens in the middle, let's get that out there right away - especially with players lacking speed and/or aerobic capacity.

If you are training the aerobic/recovery system then as above, it needs to be easy - 4 to 5/10 easy.

If you venture into rpe's of 7, 8 and 9/10's then you're "in the middle" and what happens here is that you STOP training the aerobic system. 

It's still working, but the dominant system will now be the lactic system which means you're going harder then you're aerobic energy system can handle, fatigue is being built up and performance will continue to drop dramatically unless you rest.

Training in this zone is the BIGGEST waste of time - a big call I know but here's why.

1 - You're training too hard, and your energy requirements are too immediate, for oxygen to be the primary fuel for energy, so you've stopped training the aerobic/recovery system, and if that was your aim, then you've lost sight of what you're doing and/or why you're doing it.

2 - Once you hit the lactic zone, and you'll certainty know when you do, you'll get tired very quickly. 
The brain now wants you slow down so it can try and get back to normal and it does this by decreasing your ability to contract your muscles (fatigue/the burn etc - nothing to do with lactic acid by the way). 

And we know that fatigue blunts speed.

3 - 100% effort and 100% intensity are 2 very different beasts. 

Effort is something that cannot really measured but is subjective to the player and coach - which may not even match up by the way. 

Intensity is the % of your max speed that you are actually travelling at. 

Covering 20 meters in 3.00secs gives you a meters per second reading of 6.66. 

At 80% speed you'd cover 20m in about 3.10secs. 

Getting back to our 400, it might look something like this:

* 0 - 30m in 5secs
* 30 - 100m in 12secs
* 100 - 200m in 15secs
* 200 - 300m in 18secs
* The last 100m in 22secs

As you can clearly see, the more fatigue you induce, the slower you get and if you were to do a bunch of these 400's then you would not be able to generate the same speed as this initial set..
Performing set after set will result in you running slower every set BUT you are also working too hard to get any aerobic/recovery system benefits so tell me - what are you training exactly?

You wanna know?

You're training fatigue - that is all - and you're putting your players at risk of injury.

So if you have been doing running with incomplete rest (lactic zone) but you HAVE NOT worked speed and/or aerobic capacity, then hopefully you're now aware that it's probably not doing much good.

Let me know your thoughts on this whether you're a player or a coach because the reason I exist is to get local/amateur football out of the shitty habits that I think are simply done out of the fact that they've always been done like that.

But this is 2017, training has changed immensely, and most of this stuff has been scientifically studied and most of the crap L/A coaches use these days is out-dated, ineffective and a lot times, detrimental.

I've blabbered on with this and probably gone around a few circles but hopefully it's initiated some new thoughts for you.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Intricacies of Preparing Beginner Women Footballers - In Season Training

In my previous Women's Football post, I looked at some of the real specifics in regards to training female footballers, uncovering what I think are the BIG ROCKS that should be covered more, and before plenty of other things that get a look in.

My BIG ROCKS included:

- Individualising training for each and every player in accordance with their menstrual cycle, especially those who really suffer during that time.

- Teaching players how to tackle/collide with opposition players to protect themselves and the opposition.

- Nailing kicking technique and not just having a "close enough is good enough" thought process. Getting ball to boot is one thing by getting to able to boot to teammate is another.

- Get to Fit to Run, Don't Get to Get Fit (a future blog in itself)

AFL Teams have data for everything which from L/S point of view might seem like overkill but let me put it this way:

L/A teams head to the beach and incorporate ice baths on game days but why? The science behind it doesn't stack up (another future post in the works) but because the AFL teams do it then we should too. Well player monitoring is "my" ice bath I suppose.

AFL players have nothing to prepare for but footy with all outside stressors kept to an absolute minimum, and for good reason.

Us L/A footballers are filled with outside stressors and I'll use myself as an example.

My wife is disables and unable to work leaving me as the sole bread winner, she also has chronic fatigue which can result in literally days in bed without getting up. We have a 6yr old boy who needs to be on the move 16hrs a day. We have the studio that is always a battle as all small business are. I'm up at 5am every weekday even though I die a little inside each and every night I set my alarm. I train 5 days a week plus games now and I'm 38.

Personally I have high physical and mental stress.

Taking games away do you think there's a small chance that some of those aspects from above could impact my readiness to play top notch footy come a Saturday?

I'd say it does, but who would I know?

The many women footballers have now gone from very social physical activity, if any, to 4 - 6hrs of relatively high intensity activity per week now that games are starting.

This will wear them down if not accounted for as they are simply ready to sustain this volume of activity before something gets injured or they get sick.

A few ways you can at least monitor where your players at is through:

Heart Rate Variability

Rate of Perceived Exertion

Wellness Surveys

Points of Recovery

Diet - part of wellness survey

Player Load - part of rate of perceived exertion

All this might seem impossible for 30 - 50 players but here are your options:

#1 - Bite the bullet and do every player which will be a shit at the start but like everything get easier and easier each week until it becomes clockwork.

#2 - You could just do your senior team who will have far greater output compared to your reserves and thirds players because of greater fitness, more training etc.

#3 - You might decide to do a select group of your senior players because at L/A level, it;s these players that win you games and when they don't play, you're really down 2 - 3 players rather then 1, so it's crucial to at least have them play every game, or close to.

What you're looking for with your data is not so much acute peaks and valley's but rather patterns. So if you're primary mid-fielder's HRV is decreasing from week to week, then it's a sign that his recovery is not matching his output and he's in danger of injury or sickness until an intervention is applied. This might be as simple as having him miss a Tuesday training and not even go into the club to freshen his body and mind up.

Your data points can start improving in just a couple of days if you know what you're looking for and apply what you need to, when you need to.

Throw all this stuff I've just talked about on a girl going through her follicular phase and you're potentially asking for an ACL injury. Females are 8 x more likely to tear an ACL then men at the best times and this risk goes through the roof at this time.

Knowing their cycle will also let you know when you can get extra work into them to make up for the low training week as well.

I actually now have an actual social media expert launching my Women's Football Training Program on Facebook which will probably start early next week so if you want in before all the spots are taken, then definitely book your spot NOW!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Coaches Pump Up Speeches

Paul Roos is part of the Tripe M Sunday radio coverage this year and they've stated a segment, everything is segment on the footy shows these days, called "Story Time with Roosy" or something (terrible name by the way - what about Roos' Rouse or something?)
The subject was the 2005 Grand Final Day, perhaps the greatest day in history, and the mythical story about his pre-game speech.

He talked about it in pretty good detail but it all came down to 1 thing for him.

He stated that at that point there's no other tactical changes that can be implemented, you can't get any fitter and you can't get any better as a player.

On the Friday he had chatted with various players to get a gauge of where the group was at and he could use that intel to specify his speech to what his team needed right at that time.

Some coaches are yellers, some are spoken and some are in between but most find it hard to be all 3, which is a vital tool as you're team won't always be up and they won't always be down - most of the time you'll be somewhere in the middle.

Back to Roosy, his aim for the speech that night, was for every player to take just 1 thing away from it that he could potentially use at some time during the granny the day after.

The way we interpret things can be vastly different so some players maybe have taken some things very literally and been able to use them and some players may have processed them in a more "spiritual" way (we had been doing meditation at that point at the Swans with Roosy missus being a huge proponent of it.

Coached at local/amateur level HAVE to find a way to reach to each and every player exactly when they need it the most.

Not only do you need to know when the player needs this "pick me up" but you also need to know what message to deliver and how he will best process it.

The coaches intervention can literally take that player down or lift him up but ignoring it isn't a great option either as the player's state of mind can trigger various emotions among the rest of the team which can cause all sorts of trouble.

We had a situation like this like year in the team I play for and it we underachieved for most of the year and played 1 final.

It's also looks like it may have had an effect even this year with some regular players not having turned up at all yet.

Maybe there are 100 different reasons for this occurrence but I definitely think it played a part.

So with round 1 having just being played or about to be played - what will your message be for your team and how will you deliver it?