Tuesday, June 22, 2021


What we have here is a drill that includes 4 specific scenario kicks used a lot during a game so is very representative of what happens on a Saturday.

It combines 4 different scenarios into the single activity so players need to perform different kicks within the same drill but specific kicks that are required in most teams game models/plans.

Here's what the set up will look like...

If you would like full access to this training drill and plenty of others then register for a level 3 membership at

Monday, June 21, 2021


In all grades of footy, but especially youth and junior levels of football, building competitiveness and aggressiveness can be extremley hard, not that everyone HAS to have both of these qualities at those young ages but if they can start told develop them then my personal opinion is that they will be more likely to stay in footy/sport for the long term.

Again, give Dan a follow and receive gems like these every day, he generally posts 3 times a day every day!

BUILD COMPETITIVENESS – help your players them understand what motivates them (ego, winning, experience, purpose, values, mastery) them work on mental skills (attention, intensity, intent) them mentally rehearse them build confidence/energy

HELP PLAYERS COMPETE BETTER – set acheiveable goals that help players focus on controllable tasks rather than uncontrollable performance player confidence by helping players choose 3 things that help them feel confident...practice self talk via a positive/energetic inner voice

PLAYER COMPETETIVENESS – help your players develop several motivational drivers (internal to external) your players learn your game model using desirerable difficulties (learning style) them build developmental frameworks and test those frameworks in training

TAKING CHARGE – don’t fail to take charge of yourself on the ground and defintely don't let things like the opposition, conditions and technical mistakes take charge of you

EFFORT – is less of a choice when players lack self belief, are uncertain about responsibilities, experience anxiety, can’t shift attention and/or feel threatened by becomes more of a choice with mental skills in a positive environment

BODY LANGUAGE/MINDSET – a small shift in body language can make a big differnece to mindset...when players are distracted they can refocus by holding themselves attentive...when losing intensity they can re-energise themselves through positive gestures...when they drop in confidence they can execute with intent

COMPETETIVENESS – help players find their optimal state and help them focus on the pleasure of experiencing playing in this mental state...make this their number 1 objective/goal to achieve


Wednesday, June 16, 2021


All sports contain 4 co-actives being psychological, physical, technical and tactical and they are all entwined where the decision you make to solve a particular problem via 1 specific co-active, is dependant on where the other 3 are at at that point in time, and this is an ever changing landscape throughout 4 quarters of football.

These next tweets from Dan Abrahams will cover a variety of aspects of sport which I bunched together to form this game intelligence post.

GAME INTELLIGENCE – footballers with desire, passion and character will always win the ball back...footballers with intelligence, knowledge and mental skill will rarely give it away

SEEING – is helped/hindered by attention/intent, intensity/confidence, thoughts/feelings, sensations/emotions and mood/motivation meaning everything you see on the ground is influenced from within

GAMES – comprises of motor behaviour, decision making, feelings of pressure and interpersonal support so have every activity at training involve as many of these as possible by creating tough activities that stretch these demands on your players 

SMART SOLUTION v HARDER WORK – have specific goals/training session...accept that mistakes/failure will happen...striving for internal motivation...develop performance/mindset feedback loops

MASTERY – search, decide, execute and engage repeated over and over will develop mastery..practice so much that your execution becomes so much that your decisions are made in an instant...commit fully to visually searching

NOT FOLLOWING GAME MODEL – if players aren't following the game model then some useful mental markers to watch for include what are the players paying attention to, have they dropped in intensity, are they overly activated and are they executing with inhibition

TACTIAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL – players don’t react, they predict, which is quicker...tactical execution is driven mentally via your capacity to execute the cognitive cycle (search-decide-execute) with speed and accuracy and this is mediated by affect (feelings of pleaseantness to unpleasantness and feelings of idleness to activated) is a game of feeling

TRAINING DECISION MAKING – ask your players to take the time after training to reflect on their decision making, asking what experiences led you to make the decisions you made and what were you seeing/sensing at that time, which can help develop skilled anticipation

PREDICTIVE BRAIN – is mediated by experiences/expectations (refer to some posts above)

DECISION MAKING – in 1  study they had 1 group solving puzzles for money and the other solving them for nothing but the money group finished up as soon as the time limit was reached, where the group recieving continued until they were finished...this shows that engaging in an activity for the sake of engagement (interestm enjoyment and/or challenge) is a more powerful motivator than engaging in an activity for a reward/means to an end...this is a form of self determination theory...intrinisic motivation (or extrinsic motivation that is deeply integrated into values/identity) offers higher quality motivation than extrinsic motivation alone, so help more players identify with and, enjoy games/activities, they are interested in because they'll be far more motivated to engage in them

META ACTIVITIES COGNITION – create an activity with problems that earn players rewards when solved but only if they can explain how they’ve solved the problem to help them think of themselves as thinkers/learners

Monday, June 14, 2021



Noone celebrates goals like one of my favourite Swannies Tom Papley and although it looks like showboating, if you were to dive a bit deeper, it's about generating enthusiasm and celebrating small wins, both which help build great confidence within a game and throughout the entire team.

And as you can see in the image above Paps doesn't just celebrate his own goals, where he fully leap-frogged Hayward after he kicked a goal of his own so now there's a leadership quality being shown in celebrating other people's success as well.

Confidence is another one of those psychological based aspects of football that can't really be measured, or seen, which means a coach simply saying "play with confidence" does sweet FA for most players as they might not even know what playing confidence means, what it looks like or what it even fels like - but they can learn these through training and preparation.

Once again have a deep think about 2 - 3 of these points and work on them between now and the end of the season and see how they can work for you + give Dan a follow if you haven't already - you won't be dissapointed.


  • is the memory of great past performances
  • optimism is the prediction of the successful execution of controllable tasks
  • what do my best games look/feel like?
  • what do I look/feel like during them?
  • can I visualise that within my preparation?
  • strip game goals back to controllables but make sure to practice them positive intent
  • learn how and when to use self-talk
  • avoid extreme language such as must, have to etc as it can increase anxiety
  • be task oriented over performance oriented
  • accept mistakes and average as they will happen
  • share team and individual success stories as much as possible
  • reflect on team and individual strengths often but accept areas to improve
  • acknowledge characteristics that help and hinder you
  • positive intent is a psychological skill and means to engage in an approach behaviour (rather than avoidant behaviour-inhibition) to execute actions in a positive manner


  • will have an extreme narrative (can't, awful, diatster, must etc)
  • will find a model of success useful
  • will need to draw on successful past performances
  • will need to shift from an ego focus to a mastery one
  • to build it turn the feeling of threat into the feeling of challenge ahead of a tough game
  • reinforce great performances
  • help them focus on what they can control
  • set attainable/positive goals
  • get rid of extreme language
  • encourage teammate support


  • aren’t necessarily introverted but anxious about being rejected (neuroticism)
  • help them by empathising with their shy behaviours
  • avoid publically labelling them (but doing so privately)
  • avoid putting them in the spotlight and set small social goals
  • help them develop a game face then help them express themselves in the style of their game face
  • could be a lack of assertiveness (extraversion)


  • help them set objectives that are specific/controllable and positive (focused on what they want)
  • help them breath correctly
  • help them rationalising thoughts (question must's/have to’s etc)
  • help them develop a game face


  • to play with a positive intent/destructive inhibition, with an attention that’s relentelessly on-task or often distracted, at an optimal intensity/subject to drops and rises in activation


  • trigger adjectives (descriptors of how they want to play/who they want to be – relentless etc)
  • use energising self talk
  • exhibit good body language
  • provide social support via task/instructional cues

Thursday, June 10, 2021


If you've read anything on Dusty Martin than you'll be well aware that he has done a tonne of work on his psychology and truly thinks of this work as going a long way to jumping up from very good player to one of the best ever.

Psychology is hard to measure in a lot of cases and you won't see immediate affects either, rather it is an accumulation of work performed over a long period of time which presents it self in tiny moments of games such as Dusty having an uncanny ability to hit the scoreboard exactly when the Tigers need it best.

It goes without saying that at local footy there is exactly ZERO emphasise put on the psychology which is complete madness because you can have all the ability in the world but if you're not confident anough to display it, you're going to chronically underperform.

Confidence is built through you yourself providing evidence in your own preparation that you can, and have already performed a specific task so then when time comes to do it in a game, the pressure to perform, and the consequences of not performing up to scratch, diminishes greatly, allowing great freedom to execute what you need to regardless of real, or perceived pressure.

Here's a bunch of Dan Abrahams tweets focusing on the player and again I encourage you to explore a few of these tweets and see what psychological changes you can make between now and the end of this season.

ATHLETE to COACH QUESTIONS – when I’m playing well what do you see?...can you tell me 1 way I can contribute better to the team? there a player I should watch/learn from?...what’s 1 area should I focus on improving?

PLAYER SELF EVALUATION – ask yourself what tiny actions did I execute today that were successful as confidence cannot be controlled, but it can be caressed and built on by remembering the small movements/actions that worked

PLAYER ENGAGEMENT – tell me about your best...tell me about how you best deal with a setback...tell me what your biggest supporter says about you...tell me about the negative thoughts you experience

PLAYER QUESTIONS to SELF – what does my best game look like?...what do my teammates experience when I’m helping them?...what should I deliberately practice in training this week?...what can I ask my coaches today?...what can I read to help me?

PLAYER VALUES – help players work out their values (3 – 5) and discuss the behaviours associated with these values on and off the with them to help them behave in accordance with these values and help make these values a lived experience

PLAYER MENTAL SKILLS – attention v distraction (I pay attention to helpful cues every second)...optimal intensity v over arousal/under activation (I play with ideal intensity every second)...positive intent v inhibited  (I play with positive intent every second)

PLAYER CONSCIENTIOUSNESS/GRIT – help them diarise/priortise...teach them to self-talk so they can experience self control...make self control important in your activities...give them tasks to accomplish for the group/ patient with them

PLAYER STORIES – the story players tell themselves matter...they have a story after training, about their teammates, about the upcoming game, about the game just played  so they would be well served taking charge of their own story

PLAYER PSYCHOLOGY – memory x tell me about you at your best...imagination x talk to me about your dream game...perception x how can you see this tough situation in a more helpful way?

MEDIATE PLAYER BEHAVIOUR – coaches can explore the coaching environment, set goals, create values, shift rigid/extreme attitudes using simple techniques from REBT, shift maladaptive behaviours using MI, and develop skills of empathy/listening/questioning

PLAYER PSYCHOLOGY – some players will be able to self-regulate easily but others will need techniques to help them self manage...some players will thrive in an ego-orineted environment but others will lessen their anxiety in a task oriented environment

PLAYER AFFIRMATIONS – make them personal/specific/positive...when I play I compete hard getting on the front foot, being positive/dominant...I want to maintain focus to execute my responsibilities...I’m 1st to the ball and 1st to space...I’m vocal and commanding...I’m relentlessly competitive

PLAYER THINKING – tends to be shaped and experienced in 3 thinking x no conscious thought x rapid conscious decision...slow thought x deliberate conscious decision where a number of options are considered

PLAYER INTRINSIC MOTIVATION – engagning for plesure x I want tolearn...engaging for pleasure of accomplishments x I want to improve...engaging to experience sensory/aesthetic pleasure x I want to move

Tuesday, June 8, 2021


Earlier this year I did a 3 part post of Dan Abrahams tweets (give him a follow!) and I'll go again with plenty more here.

Each day I scroll through my socials then copy a bunch of content that I want to read and paste it in my files and then go back and read it later.

Everyday I would copy at least 1 of Dan's tweets in there so I put them all in their own file and 17 pages long!

I especially love the way he breaks down specific aspects with in the psychology of sport and provides very actionable thoughts on developing players and coaches but leaving plenty ofroom for self interpretation as to what solution/s you yourself can come up with.

Today we have a coach-based post and I strongly encourage all coaches to have a go at seeing what you can do with 1 - 2 of these tweets in regards to how you coach, why you coach like that and can/should you make some alterations to it to be a better coach.

INSIST v TEACH – don’t insist on great attitude, rather teach players the mental skills to cultivate great attitude...don’t insist on effort, rather teach players the mental skills to exert effort when exhausted...don’t insist on energy, rather teach players the mental skills to build energy for the game

COACHING TEMPLATES - make a template of experimental evidence (what has worked), empitical evidence (what does research tell us) and exploratory ideas (what can we create)...these 3 e’s can interact w/ objective info (rules) and context (who/where)

COACHING for LEARNING – engage...turn up the volume on their them pay attention...then stretch them by taking them out of their comfort zone with an eye for support at all times...finally test their understanding, behaviourally and verbally

COACHING WHY P’s – participation x I want to help my players engage now and over time...progression x I want to help my players learn and improve...performance x I want to help my players build the capacity to compete

COACHING ENVIRONMENT  – is it psychologically informed?...are you considering player thoughts/emotions/experiences?...Is it psychologically safe?...can all of your players participate and be vulnerable?...what’s the motivational climate? it mastery or ego orientated?

COACH to PLAYER QUESTIONS – what do you want to focus on improving in the next activity?...what 1 thing can you change to make this activity more difficult? can you improve this skill on your own? can you help a teammate improve?

PLAYER BEHAVIOUR – to assist in helping your players change/manage behaviour is to help them develop a set of values/goals, an identity and a process

COACHING a NEW TEAM – what biases do I possess that influence these players? can I best establish positive relationships?...what will an optimal environment look like here?...what coaching practices should I engage in?

COACHING – is a psycho-social discipline a process of engaging a process that helps players learn...a negotiation between themselves and the a clever combo of instruction and questioning

COACHING – team sports require an external focus of attention for pattern recognition, yet focus of attention regularly shifts inwards...players start to forget straight after you’ve taught them...the ball may be the biggest distraction

WHAT/HOW/WHY of COACHING – what do we want? do we want to do it?...why are we doing it this way?

COACH SELF SKILLS – self awareness via objectives, beliefs/values, strengths/weaknesses, personality characteristics...self regulation on and off the ground...self relfection looking at what’s working, what can improve, what else?

COACHING TOOLBOX – use them when you need directive/ representative/less representative...challenge the group and the individual...allow autonomy/support or authoritive

COACH SELF REFLECTION – what happened?...what thoughts/feelings did you experience?...what was good/bad about them?...what can you make of this?...what else could you have done?...what will you do next time?

COACH KNOWLEDGE – declarative knowledge is knowing about something such as "I know ways to lose a defender"...procedural knowledge is knowing how to do something like "I lose the defender using my knowledge"...conditional knowledge is knowing when/why like "I use this knowledge in this situation because..."

COACHING LENSES – wide lense looks at the group as a whole and their interactions...narrow lense looks at individual players and their multiple actions (with relation to ineractions)...internal lense looks at what are they thinking/feeling...self lense looks at am I optimal right now?

COACH SELF SKILLS – self reflection looking at critical thinking/biases...self awareness looking at character traits, do they help/hinder, purpose, values, coachinb weaknesses...self control looking at tools to manage traits, to work towards a purpose using your values and to manage self around coaching weaknesses

I've got a bunch of other categories of his tweets do if you like these look out for the other posts as they are posted.

Sunday, June 6, 2021


2 weekends ago after Melbourne easily dispatched of the Western Bulldogs, Christian Petraka was very honest in what they wanted to do in a post game interview with Channel 7:

The biggest points I noted were:

1 - "...we wanted to trust the tackler in 1v2's" meaning let's not have other players rush in to assist in tight, trusting the single Melbourne player there to get the ball, make the tackle or put huge pressure on whatever the disposal the opposition gets out of there.

2 - "...we wanted to cover the outlets..." meaning they will allow a pressured disposal coming out of that 1v2 because in the time the single Melbourne player has provided by applying huge pressure, they have been able to set up in front of the ball, limiting damaging post clearance possessions for the Bulldogs, who have made a mockery of teams via this so far in 2021. It's very hard to cut off the ball on the inside and the outside at the same time, and it's very demanding and not sustainable for an entire game so you gotta give up something and for the Dees, it's that initial possession if need be, and they're sitting pretty on top of the ladder because of it.

3 - "...hold corridor..." of which Fox Footy have highlighted a bunch of times so far this year and I saw it first hand against my Swannies when I went and watched the game live 4 - 5 weeks ago. We push as much as possible to go through the corridor but for 2 quarters we either didn't want to try or we literally couldn't, although we were able to break free a bit more in the final quarter but it was to late. By setting up in the corridor and only giving wide options to the opposition, the Dees don't work as hard defensively and conserve energy for later in the game (best 2nd half of the year so far as well I believe), there's nothing ultra attacking coming at them from the opposition so they are controlling everything that is happening even when they don't have the ball and like Richmond, they tease you to take easy options in the hope that they can then box you in a corner where you have to go down the line to not just to their outnumbered situation, but there 2 big intercept backline marking players in Lever and May.

4 - "...if we force them skinny then that's ok..." so if the opposition still manage to possess the ball while chipping into the Melbourne defensive press they were still happy as they still have the outlets covered, the opposition is working into little, if any, space for continuous possession football and at some point they will still probably have to kick long down the line to Lever and May.

5 - "...don't let then roll in..." meaning if they managed to possess the football then keep defensive numbers in the corridor so they can't roll in-board and open up the fat side of the ground.

It's important to remember that everything happening is not relying on any special individual talent, except maybe the intercept marking players which really works because of the outnumber they have when the ball is being kicked to them.

It's a system where everybody holds responsiblilty for keeping that system in check by applying pressure when they don't have the ball and holding defensive shape during opposition slow play, which occurs when great pressure is applied in the first place.

Simply cue changes from "make the tackle or else" to "hold the ball up for as long as possible" may be all it takes to be able to do this at any level of football because the player that goes for the hero tackle at 100 miles an hour but misses and then gets side stepped, breaks the defense down straight away but if he performs a mix of corraling and forward pressure at the same time, it might just enough give your team an extra 2- 3 seconds which is more than enough time for almost anyone to cover 20 - 25m.

Here's a video on what that might look like: