A year in football (it doesn’t matter which code) is a long one!
Across the course of a season, you come across many things…some new, some old and some re-discovered. Ensure you make time to put your precious S&C ego aside (seems standard issue) and have a good look at what you've done well and what you haven't. Nobody is perfect, and the longer you go on the more you learn and the more important it is to stay on top of what really matters.
I haven’t yet had time to really sit and reflect on my last 12 months in professional sport. That said here are my preliminary musings.
I learned this years ago off an elite Triathlon coach but it seems I’ve let it slip. I was lucky enough to review my program a few months back with some learned colleagues of mine and while they were effusive in their praise of my program, the discussion highlighted to me that getting out of whatever groove you’ve gotten into will freshen the troops, particularly when you can get them off-site!
Know this…live by it! I didn’t learn it this year, but again I was confronted with situations where strength needed to be addressed as a priority over all else…and it stuck out like dog’s balls! When dealing with rehab, ensure that you regain pre-injury strength before going back to full loading…and remember the sum of the parts is rarely stronger than the whole…ensure system strength, not just isolated!
AFL is a brutal mistress! The mental game is a huge factor! Getting athlete’s mental game in place is as important as the physical game…and a lot more challenging! Put in the time!
Complexity doesn’t equal results
Particularly when it comes to strength programs, getting too funky doesn’t get results. Express Force…Express Power…do it at full range…do it regularly...if there are injuries involved find a way around them! If you are going to be big in a running game…you’ve got to have great relative strength…no excuses, nowhere to hide!
Empathize with the athlete’s load
The pros and cons of monitoring are all over the internet. Go beyond the numbers and develop an empathy for the load your athletes are under. The “feel” of the program is as important as the numbers. An old mentor of mine once told me…”when you write a plan do it in pencil…just make sure the right people have erasers!”. Be one of the right people.
Reconnect with Nature
We all get wound up in the season. Sometimes it feels like you can’t separate from the gym, the field and the computer. Discipline yourself to do it! Get out! Get in the ocean, get in the forrest…you will be better for it…and so will the team.
Maybe not too much new stuff there. But writing it down is a commitment to stay focused on what is important. As the job gets bigger so do the tangents…avoid them like the plague!