Tuesday, December 12, 2017


As per the title this might be the best one of these posts yet.

The point of these posts isn't to say my way is the only and best way to go, they are rather thought provoking pieces to get you thinking about in many different ways about preparing your players, or yourself, for footy. 

From when footy started to right now, at his very moment, footy has always been about quantity.

As a coach if you want to see player improvement, or as a player you want to see personal improvement, then you must find the optimal way to do that.

Let's take this right back to when you were a toddler learning to walk - how did you work up to it?

You did bits and pieces of crawling, climbing and assisted walking all throughout the day, every day until 1 day it happens.

Here's what you didn't do:

1 - You didn't try to walk as fast as you can before you could even walk a single step


2 - You sure didn't walk until you couldn't walk anymore from fatigue.

But for some reason that's how we train for footy and

It sucks to do and provides sucky results (i.e none).

We're always looking for quantity - how many kicks did I get? How far did I run? How much game time did I get?

It should be how many kicks hit the target? How many high speed sprints were I able to perform? How many meters per minute did I cover in my game time?

There has never been as many stats in the AFL as there is right now and just as there is 5 stats that make you look good, there's another 10 that can make you look very ordinary.

As local/amateur we don't really need to worry about that but what it can highlight is efficiency which is paramount, especially at L/A level.

We don't have the time to put into pour preparation as sub-elite and higher teams do. We don't have the resources and we don't have the energy, especially once you throw family and work into the mix.

I think we're all aware of this because as teams we only train 2 times per week for most, if not all of the year. Over 9 months that's 72 training sessions of which 48 of those are during the season, where maintenance is the goal of training.

That leaves you with just 24 training sessions to do the following:

- Rehab last years wear and tear/injuries
- Train yourself up to b able to train (GPP)
- Train to improve
- Train to stabilise your new level of performance

That's 4 categories that on average can get 6 training sessions each - NO.WHERE.NEAR.ENOUGH.

So with that kind we try and streamline team footy training as we know we're pushing shit up hill so we do do silly things like run/sprint work.

A quick look at energy systems once again.

Alactic is your speed/power work where sets should last about 8secs or less with FULL REST that will improve your acceleration and max velocity sprinting speed.

Aerobic is long, slow and continuous (for the most part) that improves your recovery rate between bouts of sprints from alactic above.

What we train with run/sprint if lactic which builds up in about 20 - 30secs and then you're simply on borrowed time before you need to stop but at the same time your getting slower physically and mentally.

You're running slower and your making bad decisions with the ball.

You're of no use to the team to be honest unless you come off and recover.

The run/sprint is also what we call "getting stuck in the middle" which is the least efficient way to train for anything.

Th run is too fast to gain anything aerobically because once you start producing lactate, you've gone beyond using oxygen for energy as it can't get into your muscles fast enough and you're slowing down dramatically.

Because you're not recovering between sets of sprints as you're still running, you're not getting any speed benefits at all either because you're possibly not even running at high speed anyway.

I was talking to a teammate the other week who might read this and he said he'll do some run/sprint/run/sprint training and he's not alone in thinking like this believe me.

There will be plenty of you will read this entire post and won't change, I'm not sure why, but my crusade is to keep on delivering this message until you do.

OK back to quality.

Most teams train conditioning then work on skills but the best way to increase conditioning is through increasing skill specific and running technique as movement efficiency will increase and you won't expend as much energy performing these skills thus wasting less energy.

Not only can this can be the fastest way to improve conditioning but it can do so without extra training volume and the wear and tear that comes with it.

You want to train to increase max outputs (strength, speed, power) relative to the demands of the game so you work at a smaller % of your maximum during games, resulting in a more sustainable effort.

To show how this looks on game day we have player A who can run at 4.2 meters per second for 6mins and player B who can run at 4.8 meters per second for 6mins.

Let's move to the middle of the last quarter and both players have fatigued by 10%.

Player A could now run at 3.8m/s but player B can still maintain 4.3m/s.

Player b could go on trying to find the pill but he's running to slow to get to a contest and then he does find himself with the ball, he's not going fast enough to give himself enough time to make the correct decision as he has no breakaway speed to use resulting in skill errors.

Having higher maximum outputs means you'll have higher sub-maximal outputs - read that line 5 times if you need to.

Only once you have improved upon the quality of your movement do you then focus on game specific conditioning because it will only improve game specific conditioning, but only needs to be addresses 2 - 3 weeks out from your first practice game.

So step 1 is to rain to be able to reach speeds faster than a game through true speed training (increase maximal outputs) and then train at these new found speeds which again will be faster then game speeds.

This will make games truly sub-maximal which is what you want because skill level and decision making declines at high speeds.

Along with this train below the speed of a game with cardiac output work and technical (skill) work perform at slow speeds so technical efficiency and decision making remains high.

I just want to touch on tempo running quickly which I post about a fair bit but you still might not really know what it is and what it's for.

Every one can run but you only need to head down to the Tan (Melbourne reference) and see some of the mechanics on display to see that some people don't really know how to run, at least efficiently.

The point of tempo running is to be efficient with your time as it allows you to:

- Train the mechanics of good running as it's performed below game speeds (5 - 6/effort level at MOST!)
- Train aerobic capacity for high volumes
- Train aerobic capacity with less boredom then steady state running that everyone hates

So you've covered mechanics, volume and time all in 1 simple drill - that's efficiency and quality at it's best.

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