Thursday, November 30, 2017


Marginal gains is something I found Olympic athletes use to further improvement.

These athletes are literally in the top 1% of their sport so every teeny tiny bit of improvement counts.

In the 100m sprint, the times between first, second and third were 9.92, 9.94 and 9.95secs - if the third place getter was just .3 of  sec faster then he would have won.

In athlete terms this can be the difference between gaining enough sponsorship to be able to dedicate full time to training or only being able to dedicate to training.

Getting back to marginal gains, it refers to improving .5 - 1% in 5 - 10 different area's that all contribute in some way, shape or form, to your performance.

If everything goes well then you could have a 5 - 10% improvement in your performance 'markers' and surely some improvement to your actual performance.

The points that follows are probably all in the marginal gains bag as they aren't the biog rocks of footy training that we have been covering, but improvement in them will result in greater on-field success.

POINTS BOARD - keep data of who trains and then improves upon whatever data you decide to collect. Players might get 1 point for training, 3 points for an extra session (must provide proof) and 5 points for improving upon a time trial, skill or speed drill score. Put it all up on your special media so people see it because who doesn't want to be announced a winner in front of the world on Facebook?

BODY COMPOSITION - at local/amateur level body composition can have a huge impact on how you go. If you're a tad over wight then the stress going through your body might be more then it's ready to handle and what happens next - snap or tear. If you've got players who you believe have high potential but they're excess is holding them back in regards to endurance, speed, change of direction and/or injury then as a coach I wouldn't hesitate to have a 1-on-1 and ask them to try and drop a few kgs. Aim for 2 - 3kgs at first which can be done in 2 - 3 weeks easily - nothing major. If you're really serous about this then a simple weight in at various times of the year is pretty simple to do. Be sure that you have a solution in how to do this though - don't ask players to do something you can't tell them how to do (but I can wink, wink...)

ERADICATE FUMBLING - how many times would you have been away into an open goal if someone didn't just make a tiny fumble up field? Too many times to count in local/amateur footy that's for sure. On way around this is to purposefully train for it so instead of actually trying to hit someone on the chest with a kick, purposefully kick a mongrel, the type you see 100's of times in a game as you can't just roll up to a game and pick every ball up cleanly if you've been getting nice easy kicks on the chest at training all year. Get specific!

GROUP PLAYERS FOR FITNESS - with 60 - 80 players per team, a 1 size fits all training approach sense from a laziness point of view, but only a small 5 of your players will actually get trained optimally, making most drills close to useless for most players. By taking data such as time trial results for each player, then you can see your good, medium and bad runners and then you're able to group them up and train them to ACTUALLY IMPROVE. Let's say you're doing 5 x 200m with 60secs rest. Say the good runners finish each set in 35secs where the bad runners finish in 50secs. Now depending on where you start the rest period from, the good runners are getting MORE rest then the bad runners but this makes no sense for the bad runner who actually becomes an even worse runner because he done 1 decent 200m set (set #1) and the other 4 were pointless from a fatigue point of view. Getting back to the points board you might get 10 points for moving up a running group so it can also be used as a motivational tool. Grouping players is really a must when you think about it.

THE FIRST SESSION IS FIRST - You've got players who were there from night 1 but you get to Jan and then there's players just coming for their 1st night of pr-season so what should they do? The same first night as everyone else. Players need to know that if they start training late, then they'll be behind everyone else. For example where the initial players have already performed a decent amount of acceleration work prior to Xmas and are now ready for max velocity, this new batch of players will need to work through acceleration first. Same with aerobic capacity work - they'll need to do the long boring stuff before any more-intensive work as you need to build into these things, not go from the couch to 100.
OPPOSITE KICK/HANDBALL - a pet peeve of mine for 2 reasons. 1 - I'm a lefty and we are widely regarded as 1 sided but I kick on my right foot 10 x more often than right footers I play with or against so stick that and, 2 as a 5'6" full forward I cannot count the amount of times I had a 1-on-1 but in the time it takes my teammate to try and runaround a player to get a kick, or nit even get the kick away, is frustrating as hell. If they could have just chucked the ball on their opposite boot and tumbled the ball towards me, then we still have a decent chance of getting a result. If they spend 5secs trying to get onto their god side, or even worse get tackled while doing so, then we get nothing. Coaches expect players to be able to do this but rarely train it - lift!
PRE-SEASON MONDAY IS THE A SESSION - On the Monday your players should be at their freshest with coming off the weekend, only 1 day at work and 5 days since the last team training session. I would use this day for the most demanding training stuff you want them to do so the most physical and mental strength can go into them to facilitate greater learning and adaptation. You cannot learn when you're tired.

TRAIN POSITION SPECIFIC - at the local/amateur level we don't really swing our players from end to end too much like the AFL do these days and most players play the same position, or a similar set of positions every game which means they need a specific set of fitness. I'll post about this soon but look at the positions on the field, see how the players actually move in those positions during a game and train them accordingly. This also might mean you have a different battery of tests or performance indicators that these players require.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I'm all about sprinting speed.

There is nothing more coveted in team sports than speed.

The easiest way to be fast is to be born fast but if you fail at that, and most of us do, then you still train to become faster.

All that being said I'll suggest that just 1% of local/amateur football teams are training speed which is ridiculous.

They may think they're training speed but I can tell you tight now, with the lack of rest periods, you are not.

Speed is broken down into 2 categories:

1 - Acceleration

2 - Max Velocity

Acceleration is the initial part of any sprint whether from a dead stop or a moving start and most of footy actions are exactly this.

Max Velocity is your top speed style which is achieved by most L/A footballers at the 15 - 20m mark of a sprint but can only be held for 1 - 2secs.

1 - 2ses doesn't sound like much but when Usain Bolt covers over 10 meters per second at top speed, then that's over 20m in that time frame.

Also think of it like this - say you can sprint at 10m/s and your opponent 8.5m/s.

Yes you are already faster then them but as fatigue sets in during games then your 80% will still be faster then them (8m/s v 6.8m/s).

If your the slower bloke then he cannot fatigue even one ounce to be faster then you, which will not happen during a game.

Also you'll never hit true top speed in a game either as you'll rarely run in a perfectly straight line, under zero fatigue but your sub-maximal speed is still better then anyone else and you'll 'slow down the slowest" over the course of a game.

The reasons speed doesn't get trained properly is simply because coaches don't how to train it.

It's as simple as that.

Any personal trainers or fitness coaches you get to run your pre-season still struggle with it.

But you know what?

Training speed is simple.

For acceleration you would use a variety of starting positions starting as close to the ground as you can and working up to a more upright position as you progress through the weeks.

Low to the ground acceleration positions requires more 'muscle" to get out of these positions and utilise slower ground contacts so they are easy on the body, especially at this time of the year.

The slower the contact time, the less stress on the nervous system.

I would start over 5 and 10m for 3 - 5 sets with FULL REST.

Instruct your players to literally dawdle back to the starting position as speed can only be enhanced in a conditions of non-fatigue.

I would also pop the speed training segment on the end of your warm up.

Use sprinting cues with your players such as 'push the ground away from you" to elicit the response we're after.

5 - 10m sprints at anything short of full pace will not be suffice here - they must move, or attempt to move as fast as they can.

Looking forward, there should be an acceleration component in each of your training sessions throughout the entire year and I would also send your players home with another session to do on their own if your team is only training 2 per week.

They are only performed for low volume so they need to be done a bit more frequently to attain the volume needed for adaptation.

 Max Velocity has 2 methods it can be trained with.

The first is extending acceleration sprint sets from 10 - 20m, to 30 to 40m which is the easiest way to implement them in a team setting.

The other but better way, in my opinion, is to use flying sprints.

Flying sprints are performed by using a fly zone of 5 - 20m that you use a build up run into.

The build up run is similar to acceleration sprints but you'd just jog into a stride and then stride into a sprint, hitting top speed just at the start of the fly zone.

Velocity sprinting uses far quicker ground contacts then acceleration which stresses the nervous system more than just about anything in the world ever, so the volume only needs to be low and the quality needs to be super high.

Again use FULL REST between sets.

I'd introduce velocity sprinting post Xmas but only to those players who have done at least 4 weeks of acceleration training leading up to it.

If players only roll up in Jan, then they will need to wait until at least Feb to do velocity sprinting.

Post Xmas you would cut some of the acceleration volume down to accommodate the velocity work which would also be added onto the end of your warm up.

The last bit of speed training, well all training really, is take data.

Have your players do the sprints in groups of 4 - 6 like you normally would and use your iPhone to record each sprint.

Make sure you have clear markers every 5m, measuring it all out so it's actually right.

When .001 of a second makes a difference, then attention to detail MATTERS.

I use a heel to toe walk to measure out my sprints.

My foot is a perfect 25cms long (or short but whatever) so 20 heel to toes = 5m.


Use clear markers at 5m intervals so you can split times which can show specific strengths and weakness players have, which means you can individualise their training a little bit.

Once you've videos them, then send them to me over Facebook messenger and I'll time each player, if you've set it up right.

We'd repeat this on the first session of the week each week and gather the data to see improvements in your players speed.

I'm not super quick but I challenge your players to beat my sprint times, the times of a 39 year old!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


In a previous post we looked at player motivation in local/amateur footy and it looks something like this:

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.

What we're left with is a lot possible reasons of why players play with some of them not totally geared towards what "the club" would want them to be geared towards.

For me, personally I play to win a premiership, which I have yet to achieve as yet (and time's running out!).

This is what the higher ups at footy clubs would be after as well but as you filter through the playing ranks you will come across some of the other motivational factors as to why they play.

What's a footy club to do?

My take on this is to actually get the data on it from your players.

At one of their first pre-season sessions, regardless of when it is, get them to wrote down their 3 main goals they want to achieve out of footy this season coming.

Now you can start to group players based on their answers and maybe train/mentor them a little differently.

Coaches should try and have a quick sit down with each player so that they both have an idea of the what the goals really are, the steps involved in how the goals are gong to be reached and also what is to happen next.


These are the one's we want because now you should be able to get buy-in from all of them with everything they do.

They should be team first, team second and team third and push to uphold the high levels of training and preparation required to win the big one.

Extra training shouldn't be a problem in this case should it?

A lot might say they want to win a premiership but then are they prepared to do what needs to be done to actually do it?

That's what you've got to find out.


These players can swing both ways a bit.

On 1 hand they know that they will probably always be a "better player' in a good side so that should mean that team success should be right up there.

On the other side they are often more driven then the other players and will become frustrated when they don't see the effort being put forward that they are giving.

A bit of leeway might be required here from both coach and player but as long as communication is maintained on what the expectations are and there is consistency of the message being communicated, this can work and actually pay off.

In the end someone has to actually the trophies at the end of the year so you must have an excellent year to have actually done.


I think positive reinforcement can be the major factor here.

You've got a player who wasn't playing anywhere but came down with a mate one night and stuck around.

Low expectations initially is what's needed here but as soon as you see something in them, put it in the box and without making too big of a deal of it, put that player in a position to be able to display that skill or trait.

Once they do this on a consistent basis and you've got yourself a diamond in the rough of sorts, then it's time to sit them down and let them know they are required to do what they do best, but within the team structure.

At this point you might also point out some game scenario's where their 'thing" works and where it doesn't.

This will get them into the team first group while also letting them know that they are a valuable piece of the team and without them doing what we need them to do, our chances of winning decrease.

Be wary of pushing these players too far though as their they're not at the top of the committed tree which is again where communication is key.

Once the goal setting has been completed with goals, steps to achieve them and what the outcome looks like, then I would put them up in the change rooms.

This will enable all players to see what each player wants to achieve and can build a nice little piece of internal conflict that all great tams have where honesty is king.

Let's say you've got a half back flanker in the reserves who wants to play 15 senior games next season?

Do you think that will make the current half back flankers work a bit harder knowing that someone one is chasing their spot?

It can also be effective in setting the correct training standards as poor training habits displayed by this same reserves player will not result in them improving enough to reach a senior grade level.

The standard has been set with the goal setting and now the player has to reach it.

Don't make the putting it up in the change rooms compulsory but hopefully that also sets a new standard to that player when other player asks them why isn't there's up there?

At the local/amateur level where there is often just 2 coaches for near on 60 players, player responsibility is a must or too many of them get away with too much and all of a sudden your team is full of players with an assortment of bad habits which leads to inconsistency of play.

Also be sure to revisit with each player throughout the season as well.

Monday, November 27, 2017


I'm sure you've all heard of energy systems before in relation to fitness and as like to understand things to assist me in implementing them rather then doing things for the sake if it, here's all you need to know about energy systems for footy.

So we start with the the 2 main energy systems:
- Anaerobic Energy System - Aerobic Energy System

Anaerobic means "without oxygen" (short bursts of intense activity) and aerobic means 'with oxygen' (longer and less intensive bursts of activity) in regards to energy output.

Anaerobic can be broken up further into: - Alactic - Lactic

Alactic refers to "without lactate" (no fatigue build up) and lactic means means "with lactate" (fatigue build up) in regards to energy output.

Got It? OK let's move on...

So now we have: - Alactic - Lactic - Aerobic

Next you can break each down again: - Alactic Power and Capacity - Lactic Power and Capacity - Aerobic Power and Capacity

Power refers to a single all out, 100% effort where capacity refers to the ability to replicate that all out effort repeatedly at, or as close as possible, to your 1 off effort.

Still with me I hope...moving on.

Each of these 6 fitness qualities have a parameters in how they are best trained:

Alactic Power - up to 5secs of activity, full rest of 3 - 5mins

Alactic Capacity - up to 5secs of activity, incomplete rest

Lactic Power - 10 to 30secs of activity, full rest of 4 - 10mins

Lactic Capacity - 10 to 30secs of activity, incomplete rest

Aerobic Power - 2mins or longer of activity, full rest with a work:rest ratio of 1:3 - 5 depending on how "naturally" aerobic you are

Aerobic Capacity - 2mins or longer of activity, incomplete rest or continuous activity

As a general rule you should train the power component before capacity because you can't build repeat efforts of something you don't already have.

Off-Season Energy Systems Training (Sep/Oct/Nov)

This refers to the time between you're last game and the 1st night of pre-season training so we're looking at about 8 weeks.

Goal 1 - Alactic PowerGoal 2 - Aerobic Capacity

Alactic power is the top of the pyramid in regards to energy systems for team sports. The fastest players are generally the best players and is what can set an AFL player apart from an elite VFL footballer. All things being equal, the fastest bloke will get drafted every time and some blokes get drafted purely on speed, in the hope they can be coached to an elite level in regards to skills/decision making etc.

Speed is nervous system based so it takes the longest to develop so it needs to be trained now to give you more time to drive it up plus it also works best when there is minimal interference from other high intensity activity.

Start with short sprints to build acceleration over 5 - 10m, gradually increasing the distance and volume.

Speed work is all about QUALITY so have a round about number of sets you want to complete but if quality (speed and/or technique) starts to deteriorate before then, then end the session.

Aerobic capacity is what you probably already do by going for a few 10km runs per week which is fine, but you need to make sure that you're staying within a heart rate zone that will build actual capacity and not build up fatigue for 2 reasons.

Reason 1 is that speed cannot, and will not, be increased in the presence of fatigue. Reason 2 is that it's October and you can't be breaking down the body 11 months from finals time or you'll find yourself in a hole you won't be able to get out recovery wise.

You'll start at the low end of the duration scale and a heart rate of 130 - 150 beats or at a 4 - 6/10 effort level which is a lot slower then you'll want to be going but it's the right speed to go at.Starting at the low end of either and progress to the top end over a number of weeks.

Pre-Season Energy Systems Training (Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar)

This refers to the start of team pre season, and we'll split this into 2 portions of pre and post Christmas.

Pre-Christmas Goal 1 - Alactic PowerPre-Christmas Goal 2 - Aerobic Capacity

These goals remain the same but the training will be different. Again these 2 energy system qualities take the longest to gain so it stands to reason they get the longest training time.

Alactic power will shift to near maximal intensity and slightly longer distances then you ended with in the off-season phase. Just remember that actual max speed can only be held for 1 - 2secs max so use set distances that are too long for actual speed development, erring on the shorter side if anything.

Christmas Break Energy Systems Training

This refers to the time between your last pre-Christmas team training session and you're 1st post Christmas team training session. We're looking at 3 - 4 weeks here which is plenty of time to slack off and lose a lot of your benefits from your previous training. Your goal here is to at least maintain where you are and with a few extra days off you might actually find yourself faster during this time from extra recovery.

Post-Christmas Energy Systems Training

Work back from your 1st practice game to the start of post-Christmas pre-season training to see how many weeks and sessions you'll have between now and then which will determine how long each goal will be the main focus for.

Post-Christmas Goal 1 - Lactic PowerPost-Christmas Goal 2 - Increasing Your Anaerobic Threshold

After finishing up alactic power and aerobic capacity development, we'll now move to a few more goals.

Lactic power can now be brought to the party along with something specific to increasing your anaerobic threshold which is increasing your time to fatigue.

All the while we are maintaining alactic power with low volume, high intensity training as you can maintain it with as little as 30 - 50% of the volume you used to build it, so long as intensity is maximal.

Aerobic development will also be maintained through skill drills which can be set up to fit true aerobic training conditions as described above to be ultra efficient.

Again remember when you're training the power side of anything you need full rest between sets so plan some easy skill drills between these sets.


You know the hard running stuff you usually do before xmas and in the early stages of post xmas training?

Yeah, don't do it.

Really - don't.

The cliff notes of all this is that you need to speed to win all the races of a football game and then you need a finely tunes aerobic system to be able to recover between these races and race again at a high level.

That's it.

But don't you get tired during a game of footy so therefore we should train to get tired and then train some more while tired?

Sure but that's because you've trained incorrectly from the very start.

You'v gotten tired because your aerobic system sucks and you you're slowing down and losing those races because you never bothered to train speed so you know where that leaves you?

With slow players.

Slow players who are now tired.

Slow players that are now even slower.

My suggestion is to only implement alactic and lactic capacity (your hard running, blow up and spew work) 2 - 3 weeks before your first practice game and no earlier.

You can't build high capacity if you have low power so ensure that power is trained, and improved upon before capacity. If you're not fast for 1 set then how can be fast for 5 or 10 sets?

You can't.

Put everything else on maintenance in this training period but don't fully neglect anything either.

Plan the bulk of your energy systems work prior to your 1st practice match as those early games will build more fatigue then any other games you play for the year, as the body gets accustomed to the intensity of change of directions and contact/bumps.

You'll also struggle to implement your game plan effectively if you're still slugging it out on the track twice a week and going into practice games, played to achieve game conditioning, already half knackered.

This WILL result in early injuries guaranteed.

During the practice game period, training should enter the in-season phase with the be focus for training being on a high quality with "some" training volume for those that need it, that will decrease from week to week until round 1.

This all sounds very technical so how about I just do it for you? I have 1 team about to start my programming next week so if you want it I probably have room for about 10 teams (men's or women's) all up I can do this for so let me know ASAP so I can prepare everything in advance.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Most of you are well aware of the metric AFL system where every tiny bit of data is collected and is then put into a pile to hopefully deliver some data that we can then use to transfer our training and preparation directly onto the field.

As I've said, local/amateur football clubs are not the AFL.

We severely lack time, resources and know how.

Last year my local team took some game day stats for the seniors like inside 50's, clearances etc which I reckon most clubs do currently.

They are then used throughout the game to reinforce game style tactics and form.

Once the game finished they get scrubbed off the board and are forgotten about.

The most important aspect of data collection is what you do with it.

As per my team above, a good move would be to stack this data up against each weeks performance.

We had a very lopsided competition in season 2017 so any data needed to be broken down even further against the good and bad teams of the competition.

Against the good teams you might break it down again into good v bad quarters of footy which can then give you a fair idea of what you do well, what you don't do so sell and then what tam identity you would be best at solidifying.

Data collection and interpreting will take extra time and resources, make no mistake about that but I think that can be out-weighted by the team and player development that it can deliver.

I wrote about fitness testing in #2 Better Testing so I'll back over that again with some of things I'd be testing right now and in the very near future if I had full control of a footy team.


- Resting Heart Rate Upon Waking of Each Player
- 6min Run Test
- Recovery Heart Rate of Each Player Post 6min Run @ 1, 2 and 3min Intervals

Every player gets tested regardless of when they start training.

Every player will get retested too do they know they need to do the work.

All results are put up in the change rooms for all to see to build accountability.

I would set up a kicking and handballing test with a scoring system that would be tested about 3 times per pre-season.

I would try my hardest to time some maximal sprints about 3 times per pre-season.

I would track training load as much as I could for each player and track total training load prior to the season with a set number required to be reached by each player.

I'd make a list of each player who attends each session.

I would also implement a quick fatigue survey system for each player too.

Now that I have this data then what could I do with it?

For the 6min test, as well as having a baseline number for the test I can also use this result to break the team up into running groups for fitness work using max aerobic speed to group up everyone.

Every year I see the same blokes make the same skill errors every year, and week so knowing that skills are being tested will make players more conscious of improving the most vital aspect of any sport - specific skill.

The speed results can dictate how I train certain players as you don't want to "run the speed out of your jets', who will need a slightly different regime to your "workhorses".

Training load can be used for selection purposes early on in the season as playing players who aren't quite ready can result in early season injuries which puts your team on the back foot, as well as the player.

This then results in other players having to do too much too soon, and the result is even more fatigue and even more injuries, derailing your season before it even gets started.

It's no secret that keeping your best players on the park will be your best chance of success at L/A level.

So in a nutshell, collect data for something you want to, and will analyse, as well as retest to gauge improvement.

Without testing players players have no idea how they're tracking until the season comes around, 4 - 5 months away and by then it might be too late to make the necessary improvements they need to.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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



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.


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


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


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


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 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


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

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

I've made some adjustments to the 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 women'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 - Women's Players Image - Women'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 - there are more programs listed in the website but I've labelled the programs that best suit most women players and those are the one's listed below.

ACL Prevention

Max Strength


Acceleration 1, 2, and 3

Max Velocity 1, 2, and 3

Agility/Change of Direction

Aerobic Capacity 1

Aerobic Capacity 2

Anaerobic Threshold

Be Activated Warm Up - COMING SOON

Training the Ankle - COMING SOON

Training Foot/Ankle Stiffness - COMING SOON

Performance Warm Up - COMING SOON

1 Leg Running Jump

List of Aussie Rules Untouchable Training Programs for Men/Women Teams Coaches

I've made some adjustments to the 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 coaches 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 - Coaches Image - Long Term Program Options

Coaches Corner

9 Month Team Training (Nov - Sep)

Pre-Christmas Team Training (Nov - Dec)

Post- Christmas Team Training (Jan - Mar)

In-Season Team Training (Mar - Sep)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Off-Season Training Part 3 - Block 1

When I develop my off and pre-season training program/s, I tend to use short blocks of focus of 2 - 3 max, so boredom doesn't set in and thus training motivation remains on the high end.

I also mix in different length blocks for different training aspects which makes it a "rolling" type of program as some things stay in for 3 sessions before changing and some things stay in for 4 - 6 sessions before changing.

I have 3 different types of training days:

#1 - Lower Body Gym
#2 - Upper Body Gym
#3 - Sprint Day


Block Focus - General Prep for Weck Deadlift + Repeated Speed Fast Twitch Fibre Capacity Work

I am running a Triphasic Training program for the Weck Deadlift which is a deadlift variation developed by the guys at Weck Method so I needed to do some prep work for that to see where my %'s would be for the Triphasic programming.

I'm also running s full program for repeated speed prep developed by Cal Dietz of Triphasic Training with the first block focusing on capacity where I used a band resisted step up exercise:

You simply do an explosive rep every 2secs or so (pretty much continuous up and down alternating legs) for 2 sets of 6 - 9mins. This sets you up for the hypertrophy block to come.

On these days I also continued with my function work described in my last blog.

I trained lower body gym 2/week with the Weck Deadlift being trained to a 5 rep max or so for 4 total sessions, the capacity work was increased 1min per session again being trained for 4 total sessions and the function work has 3 sessions before each exercise changes all throughout my training at this time.


As I've mentioned before my upper body don't have a lot to them and I do them more for something to do in between lower body days more then anything as I have enough size and strength in the upper body so I don't really need to waste too much training energy, resources and time on it.

If you're doing more then 2 session incorporating upper body in the gym per week, then are you really training to improve your footy, or something else?

Also in prep mode for the Triphasic block to come, I was working up to a 5, 4, then 3 rep max each successive session.

I did 4 sessions of this for a 5, 4, 3 and 3 rep max.

The secret here is not to make your eyes bleed on the 5rm day, just get to a 8/10 perceived effort level and leave it at that.

In the next 4 session for 4rm, aim to get a little bit more load on the bar by end of the session but again stay in the 8 - 9/10 rpe area.

For the two remaining 3rm days, go to a 9/10 rpe on the 1st day, again going slightly heavier then the 4rm day then go hell for leather for the last 3rm day.

If you've done it properly, then you should reach a higher load each session.

I was then able to calculate my entire Triphasic Training block from these rep max numbers.

On 50% of these days I also did some 1 x 20 work on some assistance exercises like shrugs, face pulls, curls, etc - 7 exercises all up.


I blogged about my baseline testing week last week where I looked at developing a force velocity profile for sprinting so 1/week I will be doing a sled session at my personal speed load.

Just yesterday I completed my 4th session of this and set a PB for 5, 10, 15 and 20m sprint from a crouched start - so far so good!

All up I sprint 165m for this session with most of that resisted.

Next week block 2.

Friday, November 3, 2017

My Off-Season Training Part 2 - Baseline Testing Week

I the week before my official off-season pan started, I did a little testing week.

On the topic of testing, here are the rules of testing:

1 - A test must be performed under the same conditions, with the same equipment and in the same environment to be valid.

2 - Only test what you intend to train

3 - Test before and after the program you do to improve a specific trait.

4 - If possible, use a similar but far less taxing test of the same trait to keep track of your progress throughout the program.

Back to my testing week I wanted to develop a force-velocity profile of myself for the following qualities/exercises:

 - Sprinting
 - Seated Military Press
 - Chest Supported Row
 - Bench Press
 - Chin Up
 - Jumps

A force-velocity is a profile is where you perform sets at various % of your repetition max and track the velocity of each lift.

To measure velocity I use an iPhone app called Iron Path Pro.

I used the method described by US Strength Coach Cameron Josse where he suggests to perform 1 set of 3 at 29, 65 ans 86% of your max which pretty much puts 1 set each in the velocity, power and max strength ranges.

From there you record the peak velocity, or highest jump height from the 3 reps at each load.

So for my seated military press, my velocity looked like this:

29% x 3.45 meters per second
65% x 3.7 meters per second
86% x 2.45 meters per second

NOTE - there is a special equation you can use with jumps that takes into flight time so let me know if you need it.

For sprints, what you're looking for is  sled load that decreases your velocity to 48 - 52% which looks like this:

Step 1 - 20m Sprint Time - 3.37secs

Step 2 - Meters Per Second - 20 / 3.37 = 5.93m/s

Step 3 - 5.93m/s x .48(%) = 2.84 + 5.93m/s x .52 (%) = 3.08

Step 4 - 20m / 2.84 = 7.04secs + 20m / 6.49secs

So you're looking for a sled load that will result in 20m being covered between 6.49 - 7.04secs.

Once you have load determined, then that's the starting point during the resisted sprint program.

So now I have a force-velocity profile for each of my main lifts (seated military press, chin up, bench press, chest supported row as well as jump squats and sprints) and I can retest these after each main phase training to see my progress.

A lesson to be learnt is that there's more to progress than adding load to the bar - more then adding to the bar can ever do to in fact.

When you add load to the bar then you'll lift slower but what in footy is performed slowly?

Absolutely nothing.

So although some max strength training is required for body strength, which will requires relatively slow bar speeds, there should also be emphasis on accelerating the weight, regardless of the load you are using.

This acceleration is what will hopefully be the all important "transfer" you're hopefully looking for from your gym training, so it will actually affect your performance, in a positive way , unlike slow weight training does.

My next post will look at my first training block.