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.

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