loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Preston Athletics Club and Sunday Morning Training

I was at my old club on Sunday 21 October and Jeff Hawkins was coaching his large squad. Melissa Drew, a sprinter, is seen jumping over hurdles at Edwardes Lake Athletics Track in Reservoir.


He successfully coaches all events and is an example of the talented coaches in sport who do so much for no financial return and actually provide elite coaching. In fact I have been involved with team sports at the professional level for 20 years and to be honest a coach like Jeff does it better than some I know on 1/2 million dollars or more. My brother in law ( Gus Puopolo) also provides a world class service to athletes at Ringwood and charges nothing and gets results. In all sports not just athletics. The contrast in coaching abilities with some ( not all!) of the people I have worked with is amazing when one compares the work ethic and ability of guys like these. But of course AFL and Rugby and all the other PRO sports get lots of exposure, so if a coach is involved with a winning team then instant guru status ensues. And that is the way it is. C’est la vie. Perception often becomes reality.

I started at Preston in 1967 and my dad coached me till the 70’s. I won the Nationals in 1980 training at Preston then went to the AIS in 1981.


Jeff is seen coaching Melissa Drew ( white shirt) who has run 12.2 electronic and also Olivia Natoli ( blue shirt) who has just started athletics and has run 13.6.




He can be seen giving advice to distance runners one minute and then conducting a plyometric session. Pretty impressive.

Melissa Drew seems to me to be a real hard working athlete who has ability.


Good luck to Jeff, Melissa, Olivia and the rest of the squad for the season.

October 22, 2007 Posted by | Track and Field, Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Available on my website now

Loris Bertolacci Site


This E Book is a complete resource for anyone that needs to devise practical programs for hamstring rehabilitation. It delves into the current research on this area to back up the programs.

This 120 page manual includes over 150 Exercises and 8 different programs including specifically designed Running, Agility, Stretching and Weight Programs to help any athlete get on the road to a safer and more sound recovery.

Section 1: Hamstring Theory

  1. Introduction

  2. Anatomy

  3. Overstriding and Hamstring Injury

  4. New Studies Implicates the Core in Hamstring Injury

  5. Other Muscles that Impact on the Hamstring

  6. Hamstring Exercises

  7. Why Injuries

  8. Trunk Stability and Hamstrings

  9. Different sports and Hamstring Rehabilitation

  10. So what do you do if you hurt your Hamstring?

  11. Healing Times and Rehabilitation

    Section 2: Practical Section

    Program Advice

  12. Sample Sessions

  13. Mobilization Sessions

  14. Running Sessions

  15. Mobility Drills

  16. Running Drills

  17. Running Sessions 2

  18. Strides

  19. Agility Sessions

  20. Weights Sessions

  21. Stretching after Training

  22. Plan your own rehabilitation

October 14, 2007 Posted by | AFL, General, Rehabilitation, Soccer, Strength and Conditioning, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball Strength and Conditioning | Leave a comment

Lauren Bertolacci. New webpage.

My daughter Lauren is now in Germany playing for the Fighting Kangaroos. Go the Kangas! Anyway, she has started a new site and in between training and playing and learning how to speak German she is working on her site.

So have a look. Soon I will work with Lauren on a few articles that are volleyball specific. She is qualified in Human Movement and thus can talk about her experiences in volleyball and strength and conditioning for volleyball.


October 5, 2007 Posted by | Volleyball Strength and Conditioning | Leave a comment

Hamstring Injury Statistics in the AFL and E Book

What qualifies me to write an E Book on Hamstring Rehabilitation?

I was a track coach in the 80’s before starting in the AFL in 1987 and trained some good sprinters and jumpers and so experienced first hand the needs of high speed running.

I was very lucky to work in the AFL for 20 years and to experience the day to day needs of rehabilitation, and in this case hamstrings.

Given this “hands on” practice I learn’t by trial and error. But also I was privy to many experts in this area. I researched every journal, went to conferences and spoke to anyone who seemed to know what they were doing, here and overseas.

From 1997 to 2005 in particular I was able to develop some specific strategies to try and prevent hamstring injuries and also rehabilitate them efficiently and not make mistakes in when to return to competition. Recurrences cause so many long term problems.

I have already gone through this in another article. ( Hamstring Injuries in the AFL. Perception becomes Reality). It involves a multifactorial approach. From core stability to running fast to recovery and load management.

The statistics I achieved validated my plans. I had an average of under 10 games lost per year to hamstrings. AFL has averaged approximately 20 games lost per club per year. My worst year in this block, was one year at average AFL statistics.

Apart from the AFL, I have worked with many elite sportspeople and athletes over this time and continue to do so. I have worked in soccer, tennis and track and field recently and saw the different demands on hamstrings compared to the AFL. This year I also did some work in Volleyball and the equation changes again.

The best way to learn how to do something is hands on. I have done that. But I also have taken an evidence based approach to ths area.

The E Book will have a comprehensive theory section and then some practical programs that can be used for 2/3/4/5 and 6 week programs.

I am sure it will be useful and interesting.

October 4, 2007 Posted by | Rehabilitation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AFL. Grand finals, the draft, salary caps and fitness.



Lets do what Geelong did in 2007 to win the flag? Maybe an emphasis on sports specific drills and tackling and actually training hard in pre-season 06/07?

Lets do what WCE did? Run more maybe seemed the message?

Lets do what Sydney did? More recovery/injury management processes and rotations seemed to be it.

Lets do what Brisbane did? Weights and strength seemed to be the message

Lets do what Essendon did? More sprints/buy spikes

After 2000 sprints coaches got gigs in clubs given John Quinns background in Athletics. They looked fast. After Brisbane weights coaches got more work. And so on.

What everyone forgets is that with the DRAFT/Salary Cup most will get a chance. Of course you have to seize the moment. But to say that Brisbane did more weights etc is crazy and quite the opposite WCE did run/run/run…..What is the key is to get a group coming through that is talented and develop them and hang on. Get the place chockfull of resources with massage and medical and fitness and welfare to assist the players. Geelong won VFL GF 2002/NAB Finals 2004/Prelim 2004/One point 2005/On the way in 06 then after RD 3 haywire. Now they have realized potential. Were the Kangaroos on the money this year but that 1% of less resource bit them on the bum? Who knows?

Geelong are well resourced due to their financial recovery and also had players with 5 finals / 2 NAB finals etc etc and an average of 6 years of development. Average age of 25.7 and 100 plus games and most in the 22 to 28…That seems the basic need. And they must have demonstrated they can play in the past.

In a free trade system they just buy teams and staff. So teams like AC Milan and Manchester United and Celtic for example stay on top. There are few cycles. Just get the best of everything.

So it seems that the draft and salary cap will give most clubs a chance at least at glory. At present it seems that the main secret to success is to get good young talent in place and then surround it with resource and keep the good oldies. Then hang on and get it right. The Crows seemed to miss an opportunity last year with unjuries at the end of the year.

So the take home message is to not always copy the leader in training methods. Just follow best practice and develop a team and then hold on for dear life whilst they are in their prime. Following the leader may be the last thing a team should do one year. Copycats ( for want of a better word) fail in sport more often than not.

There are no secrets out there in elite sport. One does not need to look inside AFL to learn about training. In fact it is better not to usually.

Train hard and smart. Learn from history and use sports science and elite methods, but don’t just copy. Sometimes the team that came tenth or sixth might have trained better but were not ready.

Sincere congratulations to the players at Geelong.


October 4, 2007 Posted by | AFL | Leave a comment


The biggest mistake with hamstring running programs is to have more than a 10% increase in speed from running session to session. Whatever the method you use, it is critical that you progress evenly from session to session. The other biggest problem is that because often, at Day 10 for example, the leg feels ok, the athlete gambles. He or she runs at 80% instead of 70% to see how the leg feels and recurs. Thus you have set yourself back longer. So much is written about gym and rehab programs but little advice is provided about running programs. In fact this is the critical area. Thus in a “garden variety” 21 day hamstring rehab one would jog at day 5 to 6 then do that for a few days. Then the next sessions at day 8 or 9 might be strides at 50% speed and no faster.Then this is progressed evenly with 10% increases every second day. Given the short time frame, often it is difficult to go 100% at day 18 as a test, so the program has to be structured to allow the player or athlete to perform fresh and ready on day 21. Again running programs are the number one concern in a hamstring rehabilitation program, and you may use repeat 100m strides or flying 20m or flying 30m. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you progress to a plan carefully and done gamble. Remember when you go to the casino you can win, but in the end the casino always wins.

October 2, 2007 Posted by | Rehabilitation | Leave a comment