Friday, May 26, 2017

My Corked Thigh Rehab This Week

We played the undefeated top team last week whose lowest winning margin up to then was 115pts or something and even though we have a rather lopsided competition this year, it shows their dominance to date.

Long story sort w beat them by 4 points and in the last 3mins of the game I copped the dreaded corky.

On of our blokes had the ball from about 55m out who not blessed with great kicking skills, so I found some space and got the hands of him to have a pop shot myself.

I didn't see anyone coming towards me so I took a few extra steps more then I intended to which then gave the bloke on the mark time to get to me just as I kicked it and bang - knee straight into the middle-bottom of my right thigh.

It didn't destroy me straight away, I hobbled off from the other side of the ground OK bit obviously that was it for me in that game.

I continued to walk up and down the boundary until the game finished and felt alright but it's all about when it cools down.

Post game I had my usual protein shake, ham salad roll and Gatorade while I watched the one's while getting up every 15mins or so to avoid the dreaded full cool down.

I was limping a but but I thought I might get through this in a few days.

The drive home from footy gave it some cooling down time and then lying on the couch froze it right up.

At quarter time of the Hawthorn/Collingwood game when we all thought it was over, I went out looking for the cat that hadn't returned and it literally took me the entire 2nd quarter of that game to do a lap of the block which is about 150m x 70m.

I did started my rehab with some EMS to that I did 3 - 4 bouts of 20mins of moderate pulsing to:

Sunday morning I woke up and was absolutely shot - I couldn't lift my leg up and I also couldn't bend my lower leg back like a quad stretch.

Not great but I continued EMS thorough Sunday for another 3 - 4 bouts of 20mins at moderate pulsing.

Monday I could barely get up the stairs at work and had to step up each step with my good leg first followed by my bad leg on each step.

Once I got home I decided to roll with the heat pack for about 3 - 4 bouts and when I got back to work in the evening I was at least able to do the steps properly (1 leg each step) and I thought here we go, progress.

Tuesday I ran with deep heat run that I applied 2 - 3 times and you could see the drainage of the fluid accumulating at the bottom and lateral to my right knee.

Wednesday I did some training in the gym focusing mostly on upper body but I always include some low level glute stuff but that wasn't a problem although I dod program exercises I knew wouldn't be issue with the restriction I still had (there's ALWAYS something you can do).

Thursday was try-to-run day so I headed to the park and ran through some warm up sprinting drills then did some tempo runs at about 70%. I was still getting better everyday as far as pain and range of motion was concerned but I was till restricted in my running technique so I texted the coach, said I was doubtful but I would let him know the next day if I was to play or not.

Now our thirds team is on a bit of tear right now and play the all conquering Cerbus who's thirds team would possibly play finals in the reserves comp I play in but they only have a thirds team and no senior team as they are all from the Navy.

Earlier today a senior player pulled out from injury so a reserves bloke went up which would mean if I didn't play then it would be 2 blokes from the thirds not able to play in their huge game so I'm now in for playing tomorrow.

I won't be able to make this injury worse unless I get a fresh knee in their but I'll take my chances and the run might actually do it good.

My speed won't be any good but I;m hopefully smart enough to make position to get my touched tomorrow.

I had a nap today and every nap/sleep I have regenerates it a bit more each time so come tomorrow I could be pretty good and ready to do with some table treatment pre-game.

I'll let you know how I go!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doing Something Doesn't Make You Better At it

When we go to the gym we are well aware that in order to get bigger and/or stronger, then we need to add weight weight to the bar, or increase the volume we train at, over time.

During training you break muscles down with tiny, tiny muscle tears and it;s recovery (food and sleep) that build them back up.

What also happens here s that body identifies the amount of stress it just went through (which to you is 3 x 12 reps at 30kgs for example), and in during the recovery process, builds itself back to a greater level also that the same amount of stress isn't as much work as the time before building a stronger and/or bigger muscle to do this.

For running you might run a 2km time trial and try and beat that time again and again.

That's pretty much the game.

This process of overload doesn't happen enough in other area's of football training - especially skill work.

You go to footy training and you kick the ball around and that's all well and good but does it mean you improved your kicking?

No way.

Not if you didn't attempt types of kicks you don't normally do like a stab pass.

One of the issues is kicking from cone to cone.

A little bit of cone kicking can be fine in the very initial stages of a warm up but after that you should be incorporating as much game simulated kicking as possible.

Incorporating game simulated kicking might come in the form of:

  • Chaos Drills
  • Decision Making Drills
  • Kicking Under Pressure
  • Kicking at Game Speed
  • Tempo Game Style Kicking

You could even mix them together if you wanted to get extra fancy.

A while again I did a post of Skill Variability which refers to being able to display a skill many different ways but all at a very high level.

At my own club there are blokes who can do only 1 type of kick effectively, handball/kick on 1 side of the body or are better kicks from a stationary position rather then on the run.

This can hinder their effectiveness because unless they get the ball in the 1 perfect situation that suits them, the result of that skill might not be as good as it needs to be.

We all probably heard lat last year how the Western Bulldogs literally practice all different types of handballs that they us to keep the ball moving, as is their game style.

I won't say they won a premiership off the back of it, but it certainty helped them out a lot.

Th best way to implement is to sit down and plan.

Here's how you could organise a progression to master the stab pass.

  1. Stationary Kick to Stationary Target
  2. Stationary Kick to Moving Target
  3. Moving Kick to Stationary Target
  4. Moving Kick to Moving Target
That's your basic set up that you might focus on for 2 - 5 sessions each in your warm up time instead of lobbing balls from 60m out.

On top of that you would also incorporate different angles that you kick on and also different angled leads that you kick to - also focusing on the stab pass.

This might take an entire pre-season to get through this progression as you need to master each phase before moving onto the next one.

There will also be days where you lose it and when those days happen it;s best served to drop back to the previous phase, get your confidence back up and go again.

If you have performance gaps in your game, then let me know and I can give you a hand on sorting them out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Must Excel in at Least 1 Football Skill or Quality

A lot of coaches, players and teams do a lot of different training stuff.

At some stage of the year you'll probably train everything there is to do with football in some capacity.

You might train it directly or indirectly.

Like Crossfit, this method means you train a lot of things, and maybe improve a little in each category, but excel in none of them.

Don't be misled by all the things that can be done in a game footy, no one does everything well in a game of footy.

No one.

Not everyone is as fast as Gary Rohan or Kate McCarthy.

Not everyone is has endurance like Tom Scully or Chelsea Randle.

Not everyone is can jump like Jeremy Howe or Tayla Harris.

Not everyone can kick like Zack Merrett and Daisy Pearce.

All of these players got drafted on their 1 thing that they could do better then everyone else, as listed above.

These blokes are probably in the top 2 - 3% of the AFL in terms of their specialised quality, if not higher.

If you're lucky than you might fit the mold of a Patrick Dangerfield or a Emma Kearney, who are blessed with both great, but not excellent, speed and endurance, but we're talking the 2 best players in the AFL and AFLW respectively here - not many of us will reach that level let's be honest.

So what do you excel in right now?

What does your coach tell you do before anything else because that's probably it.

Does he tell you to apply pressure? Then that must be what you're best at.

That's not a dig either - it's a huge part of football.

As an example my team had a bloke who played with us 4 or 5 years ago who came from a rugby background, so his skills weren't silky and his game sense wasn't quite there but he would pressure and tackle like a demon back then.

Our last game he made a return and I knew that's what he would do all day - which he did.

There was 1 passage of play where it was me and him against 2 or 3 opposition and he was going to get there first.

Now I knew that he would go hard and get the ball at the very least for a ball up.

I came from behind him and around the back of the "pack" as he gathered the ball and sort of rolled towards me, handballed it out and we were off.

Because he had a chance to do his 1 thing he excels at, and I knew what it was, I could position myself accordingly or just settled for yet another ball up.

In effect he did his thing he excelled at which allowed me to do the thing that I excel at, which is kicking.

I cut diagonally across the filed of play and kicked to a teammate on the far side with 2 blokes on him, but my kick was perfect for him to take the mark between them, he played on but unfortunately hit the post from 45 - 50m out.

Wed never even have that opportunity the first player didn't so what he excels at.

Once you know what you excel at (relative speaking of course) then you need to study it a little.

How can I use this to better my teammates?

How can I use this to the betterment of the team?

How can I fit what I do into the team's structure? (ask your coach if you're not quite sure how best to utilise your talents, or other leader type players)

How can I make my 1 biggest talent even better?

The AFL is all about solidifying strengths, because that;s what players got drafted for, but also about bringing up weaknesses.

AFL clubs collect so much data that they identify weaknesses players never even knew existed, let alone had.

At local/amateur level, I think focusing on your strength/s is your best bet and looking at your biggest weakness.

For me, my weakness since I was in my early 20's and gave up on extra running, is aerobic capacity.

My strength is kicking and speed.

Pretty much all of my training is focused on those 2 things (I don't train with my team for work reasons so I don't touch a footy between games).

I'll do 2 - 3 aerobic capacity sessions per week and 1 - 2 speed sessions per week then throw in some other gym stuff around it as there's only so much time and energy for so much.

Leave the 1 quality you excel in the most and your biggest weakness in the comments box on the Facebook page and let's get to improving both of them.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Thus program will turn into nothing short of a running machine.
- 4 to 5 week program that will take your fitness through the roof
- All sessions can be completed in a gym so there is minimal impact on joints and thus minimal impact on recovery (I could potentially program differently if you don't have a gym)
- 3 to 4 sessions per week depending on what you can fit in
- Can fit all sessions around your footy training schedule
- there is a 1-off cost for my time and and expertise but easily worth it
I've done this program personally on 2 seperate occasions (1 during the pr-season and 1 during the in-season) and I increased my 2km run by over 200m without running at all on both occasions.
Leave a comment if you're interested - I've already put this up in my Women's Football Training group this morning and I'll only take 10 - 15 footballers.
I'll be looking to commence this program in week or so so leave me any questions you have on this.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


"She can't run" they said.

"She looks like a baby giraffe!" said her partner.

This is how one of the girls in my Women's Football Online Training Program was described last year during her first year of footy.

Coming from a roller derby background she was great at the crash and bash but her body had forgot how to run.

3 quarters of the way through the season she had to weeks off her feet from suffering shin splints.

She lost complete confidence in her body, the one thing that always had come through for her in past years.

This is how bad not being able to run properly can affect you, your body and your mind.

After contacting me at the end of last year we got to work on learning how to run again.

I suspect there's a lot of girls playing their first year of football suffering from this right now.

Just yesterday we had a call and she mentioned how she grabbed a loose ball and took off down the wing, even selling some candy on the way.

Poor running technique can lead to a host of lower body issues such as foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain, calf strains, ligament knee injuries and foot/toe issues.

From a performance standpoint, the less efficiency you run with, the more work you'll need to put in to cover a given distance.

This results in greater fatigue and with greater fatigue comes a dramatic decrease in skill level and 
further output for the rest of the game.

Coaches and players focus too much on the result and not how the result was achieved.

For example let's take a 2km time trial for example.

Player A gets 8mins30secs and Player B gets 10mins05secs.

Player A has a solid time but her knees cave in with each step, she has a lot of movement at the foot and ankle her arms and torso are moving around all over the place but be she can push herself quite well.

Player B although not having quite as good a time looks strong and tall for the most of her run. She has minimal movement through her foot, ankle and knee joints but as she is a bigger body then player A, she has far more mass to move.

So who would you take first on your team?

I'd take Player B.

Right now Player B shows far greater efficiency in her running pattern which means she'll be able to handle far more player losing then Player A, before an injury occurs, if it does.

In Melbourne right now there are 100's of new women's football teams embarking on their first year of football. Player numbers are a roller coaster with some teams having 20 more players then they need and others having 5 less players then thy need.

The teams struggling for numbers get affected by injuries a lot more then the teams with an overflow of players, making injury resiliency the NUMBER 1 battle to win for these clubs, even above skill level and game sense.

There's no skills or game sense to learn when you're on the sidelines.

Training your body to become injury resilient is also a huge part of game enjoyment. When you an avoid injury, you play more games and train more often.

When you play/train more often you get more time to practice the game sense and skills.

When you practice more you'll perform better in games.

When you, and your team perform better in games, player retention will be higher.

When player retention is high player attraction will improve as well.

As you can see the player experience pretty much comes down to keeping them on the park which is exactly the point of the Aussie Rules Women's Football Online Training Program is all about.

It's 3 main aspects is speed, strength and inefficiency.

And you can get all 3 of these things from just $15/week.

Read more about it and find out how to apply here.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What I'm Doing With My Week Off - Week 1 Training

My league has a week off this weekend from interleague games where I usually use this time to focus on something specific while I don't need to worry about fatigue levels from and for games.

Since I did my left knee in the last game of the 2015 season, it's always lagged a little behind my right in regards to function and performance.

I'm 5 games in plus 3 practice games and like last year, the weakness in the left leg results in some tightness in and around the groins.

When you don't use your glutes as much as you need them to work, or they simply can't work hard enough for long enough, the stress of developing power and force when sprinting, jumping and changing direction is shifted to smaller muscles that are there to assist in those movements, not perform them.

Another little known aspect of muscle/movement imbalances is that this stress being shifted to the smaller muscles means your fatigue faster and you  also require more "output" to make it through training and games, resulting in far grater fatigue.

This fatigue presents as a major stressor in the body and you shift to sympathetic nervous system  dominance which means you never really recover as that is your "on" switch (parasympathetic dominance is your off switch).

So with 11 - 12 full days to train, my focus in that time will be on developing the muscle activation, strength and function of the muscles in and around the hip.

During the off-season I had a bloke from the US doing my programming for me that included a lot of stuff I wouldn't normally do such as a heap of ab work. There may be no correlation but since I;v taken it out, this groin issue has popped up so I'll be reintroducing some of that as well.

I've split my program up into 2 x 5 - 6 day training periods.

Week 1 will be fully gym based to take all stress out of the hip/groin area and no impact.

All exercises for week 1 will be 1 x 20 reps and I'll be repeating the same workout everyday with some wight increases where needed.

1 - Be Activated Warm Up + Banded Glute Exercises

2 - Single Leg Band Hip Extension, Seated Military Press, Semi Supinated Grip Chin Up, Reverse Crunch Flow (4 exercises x 6 reps each)

3 - 2 Leg Prone Off Bench Hip Extension, Barbell Band Floor Bench Press, Barbell Chest Supported Row, Hanging Knee Raise Flow (4 exercises x 6 reps each)

4 - Band Hip Thrust, Band Hamstring Curls, Lying Cable Tricep Extension, Ab Crunch Flow (4 exercises x 6 reps each)

5 - Jefferson Barbell Curl, Front Delt Raise, Side Raise Raise, Cable Hip Flexion

Week 2 will be all outside sled work using various sprint mechanics drills that I'll feature next week.

I assume most tams have a night off training this week so I strongly encourage you to get some extra training in while you can.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

You Need LESS High Intensity Training

Back in January of this year I did a post titles "Watch the Player, Not the Game" that discussed the differences between the pace of the game and the pace of the actual player.

Far too many coaches and players continue to train the "game" instead of the "player".

The biggest issues is L/A teams watching AFL, and training to play an AFL type game which is fast and continuous.

We don't play AFL.

Some of us can't play fast because we aren't.

Some of us can't play continuous because we can't.

We definitely can't play fast AND continuous, or we would be playing AFL instead of watching it.

The L/A game is a completely different game style.

It's slower and more contested.

The skills aren't as good.

The players aren't as fit.

This is no secret here.

I will use myself as example.

I'm 38 and a half (old), but I'm fast with a moderate tank - it's just the way I'm built.

I play deep forward.

My running patterns pretty much consist of short acceleration bursts with some up and back running when needed.

I don't need to train like a full time midfielder and doing so would pretty much destroy all I have going for me - my speed - because doing so might "run the speed out of me".

We're 4 weeks into the the season right now and the games will start to hit players about now as the body continually adapts to the demands of games in regards to collisions, faster sprinting speeds (99% of players don't sprint anywhere near what they need to in a game which is a shame and a huge injury risk factor as well), the unknown and unpredictable demands of game (will i need to sprint once or 5 times in the next 5 minutes?) and increased arousal all result in far greater output then training.

It's why it's so hard to mimic games at training but we try our best.

This increased output requires more recovery - far more recovery.

I follow literally hundreds of footy teams on my social platforms and I forever see posts on teams heading off to HIIT type classes to "get smashed", placing even more stress on an already overly stressed system.

Getting smashed does not make a footballer.

I can make granny down the street tired but will she play on Saturday? Probably not.

The thought process of "how much can I do" is ridiculous.

Let me take a different angle.

Training increases stress.

When stress reaches an a relatively high level for you, then you activate what's called the sympathetic nervous system.

The SNS puts your body and mind in "fight" mode which is fine, when your about to be tackled by a 100kg dude coming at you full pace, that's a good thing.

Life as we know it these days is far too busy and it tires us as much as physical activity does.

This also activates the SNS.

So you finish footy and your SNS is high.

You have a few beers afterwards so your SNS remains on high alert as alcohol is regarded as poison in the body, so you work hard to process it.

You continue long into the night.

You have a crappy sleep because that's what a big night does to you which again maintains the SNS on high alert.

You roll up to footy training training on a Tuesday and because you haven't done anything since Saturday, you think you're recovered and ready to go.


Your not recovered until your SNS is overridden by the parasympathetic nervous system - the one that turns on once your body has shifted itself back to baseline in regards to heart rate, blood pressure etc.

Getting back to the SNS, when stress is high the body needs to become more efficient to deal with the stress.

Some great things it does here is to down regulate breathing and movement.

OK, not so great, especially as it's footy training night and you probably need to breath and move at some point.

It down regulates breathing by altering your breathing mechanics, shifting the duties from the almighty diaphragm to the chest, neck and shoulders resulting in shallower breathes, essentially decreasing your running power right there.

No injury - just your brain and NS doing it to you and you have no idea.

It also wants to free up energy to deal with this high stress by decreasing movement which it does by putting the brakes on movement/range of motion which you'll think of as "tightness".

You don't get tight for no reason and simply trying "stretch it out" does NOTHING, because a lack of flexibility isn't your issue.

You're pretty much on the road to injury as tense muscles result in torn muscles, unless you decrease your stress.

How do I do that I hear you ask?

Solid question mate, solid question.

What needs to happen for the body to get back to baseline is for your heart rate to return to it's regular resting rate as soon as it can.

This why AFL teams do recovery - to get their bodies back to baseline because recovery will not begin until you get there, so AFL players are actually "recovering to start recovery."

So if we now know that more high intensity activity will simply feed the SNS and keep us in fight mode, then it stands to reason that low intensity methods will get us back to baseline the fastest.

The activity you do doesn't really matter but the most important thing is that you keep your rate of perceived exertion at a 4 - 5 out of 10.

This is the complete opposite of what you normally do - I'm telling you to go slow...very slow.

To give you an idea of how slow it should be let's say you can sprint 100m in 15secs.

At a 4 out of 10 you'd now cover that distance in 37 - 38secs.

Have a go at that and you'll see that it's barely a jog but that's how low intensity training is done.

I do 3 of these sessions a week using a mix of off legs cardio machines, circuit training and tempo running.

Your ability to recover between bouts of sprints during a game, between games and training and between training sessions, relies almost exclusively on your aerobic energy system.

If you train high intensity all the time, you rarely touch on the aerobic system and this means that as soon as you ramp up training intensity, you go straight into the lactic zone, blow up and you're done very early on.

Don't worry, you'll battle on and finish training and games, but it comes at a huge cost believe me.

This used to be me.

My endurance training focused on lactic based work (I didn't know at the time obviously) and I was the exact guy described above.

I had 5 fast efforts (if that) then I just battled for the rest of the game and building up huge amounts of fatigue.

If I hadn't done so much gym work in my days there's no way I could have avoided getting injured - no way.

If that sounds like you, or some players you coach then give low intensity training a try when you think they need it, instead of the endurance sprint work you had planned - especially during the season.

Even better on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you're "low" stress days of the week, you'll recover a million % better from doing some restoration aerobic capacity work then nothing at all.