loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Women’s Volleyball will always be bigger than AFL. Much bigger!

 In fact that should just be Volleyball ( Men’s and Womens combined).  Just food for thought re MultiNational sponsors. Whatever AFL does with expansion it will never compare with the global nature of Volleyball. Same with cricket and netball. One cannot benchmark Volleyball (& tennis/track & field etc) against Cricket or Netball or AFL given it is played in every country.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AVL Women’s Volleyball Finals 2010

Went to watch the AVL finals at Dandenong today between UNI BLUES and WESTERN AUSTRALIA. My daughter Lauren was playing for UNI BLUES. Anyway very good match and went to 4 sets. Western Australia were great and won again. Awesome performance given UNI BLUES threw heaps at them.

What staggered me was during the medal presentation it was mentioned that some of the players were up to $3500 out of pocket to win a National Final. This is arguably a sport which is in the TOP 3 for  participatants wordwide. Olympic Sport and Worlds are massive competitions and professional Volleyball exists Worldwide. Then add Beach Volleybal. Massive and just great to watch.

In Australia we have 3 sports which are massive. AFL, Netball and Cricket. I watch all three and great to watch BUT lets be honest. 2 are Commonwealth Sports and will always be so and one is “just” a National sport. But within the OZ market, sponsors queue up given the tribal nature of the sports, and the media exposure ( or maybe protection) these sports get. AFL has dreams of world domination but methinks it is more about brainwashing the locals that this  is occurring.

But young athletes have to be careful. There are massive opportunities appearing on the world scene with elite sport. Look at Soccer and Basketball! In the US there is a far bigger population and really they only have one tribal sport. NFL. And they have College which gives kids in many sports a chance. We have a tiny  Institute program that drops sports if they dont perform. How does that work when Volleyball is a massive sport for women in the world? How can you benchmark a Commonwealth Sport versus a truly International Sport?

The fact that this final was not televised live was odd given the game had more international relevance than netball and more so was great to watch. Young AFL players are being lured by the big money available. But to be honest I dont get it. Some of these kids could be great athletes representing Australia on the big stage. Money can always be earned and also opportunities are starting to open up for careers overseas where in fact money can be earnt. So many dreams will be shattered. After all an AFL player can only play against the IRISH Internationally and the only real competition in Netball at this stage is against New Zealand.

I am not a marketing person but Australia is a very small market and maybe sponsors need to look long term and divert money from sports that really are played in a very small “FISHBOWL.” Tennis is now a massive sport played in every country but one goose of a ‘FISHBOWL” journo recently said OZ tennis players couldn’t hit the ball over the net.  Trouble is these “gooses” have a lot of influence in OZ. But sponsors maybe need to realize that Globalization will explode in sport. Even though many local journos criticized the WORLD CUP, no one forces millions to watch and play and cry for their teams. Some of the press was bizarre.

So in my opinion the logic is not about whether a sport like Women’s Volleyball is marketable, but more about whether sponsors and bureacracy realize, that in the long term kids are going to want to play on the World Stage once opportunites keep appearing. The best example is Soccer. Kids are dreaming about overseas and parents are paying big bucks. The dream is alive and many opportunities exist now and are increasing.

So let’s not be brainwashed by the saturation media that exists in our OZ SPORTS FISHBOWL. Things will change. Maybe AFL  has a slight chance of growth in markets with Cricket Grounds BUT  Women’s Volleyball will always be bigger. Much bigger!

Er nothing against AFL, Netball and Cricket! Vive le Commonwealth!

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How fit and powerful is Rafael Nadal? Federer?

I was reading a few Italian articles on tennis and fitness. Julio Tous Fajardo is a sports scientist/strength and conditioning guru who has worked with Nadal, Moya and soccer clubs like Barcelona and Sampdoria. He chats about the fact that Nadal has the ability to maintain his speed at a far high level than Federer. He says that Nadal has double the power of football players?

“Nadal compensa lo svantaggio con una maggiore resistenza alla velocità.
La sua valutazione della potenza è due volte superiore a quella di un buon calciatore”

Aerobic power or pure unadulterated power? Some articles mention he has a MaxVo2 of plus 70 ml/kg/min and combined with his weight and strength this makes him lethal. There are others that chat about his power output using specific machines in watts.

Other articles in Italian chat about Paganini ( federer’s fitness guru)  and Federer. They mention half squats of plus 150kgs and the ability to keep up with Swiss sprinters over starts.  Trying to work out his aerobic capacity from what he mentions, suggests he can run approximately 11 minutes for a 3km.

Now all this is hearsay. Agassi is supposed to have benched 140kgs? Run up hills?

In Track and field we often get quite accurate feedback on what athletes are doing on the track and in the gym. Just part of the ethos and chit chat around track and field. Also so many people train together so information is disseminated and it is part of the day to day conversation in track an field.

Julio Tous Fajardo chats heaps about using machines and specifc devices such as Versa Pulleys and Flywheels more than weights and seems to base this on the fact that tennis players are prone to injury and also cannot get continuous training with fitness and strength and conditioning.

So as a result there seems to be much confusion with tennis on what to do. Little kids are heaving weights and others seemingly are pulling therabands.

It would be great to get some more specific feedback on what people are doing in training, but maybe the nature of the sport means this is tough, and also there seems to be so many ways to achieve the fitness needs required.

Oh well, I will keep asking around. In the meantime dont panic. Remember that a muscle just contracts and doesn’t know if it is playing tennis or is on a fancy machine. It just contracts. So just train sensibly.

But it would be nice to know exactly how fit and strong Nadal is!

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Kevin Bartlett and Fitness Advisors in the AFL

I listened to SEN yesterday where Kevin Bartlett and Darryl Wakelin spoke about fitness advisors in the AFL after Mark Williams and Port Adelaide claiming overtraining in preseason caused problems in 2010.

Overtraining caused injuries: Williams

When Kevin Bartlett brought up Peter Grant and 1979 and Richmond I nearly choked on my Ravioli. I remember he spoke about how Grant pushed them too hard in his first year but softened the next and they won the flag. Darryl Wakelin referrred to how about teams get to the end of preseason ( or closish) and often can feel worse than at the start. Then again in general terms the interview suggested that fitness people were often not in touch with the demands of the game for want of a better explanation. Anyway if you listened that was the general trend of the interview.

Just odd.

People like David Misson at St Kilda and David Buttifant at Collingwood use Sports Science, data and any feedback they can obtain to manage loads and players as effectively as they can. This happens at most clubs.This would happen at the World Cup behind the scenes. Years ago we saw the AC Milan LAB and now that is old hat. Phew. Peter Grant! 1979!

I felt that listeners would listen to this interview on SEN and then think that fitness gurus in AFL clubs ran around like RAMBO and impose their will on players. Instead there are meetings after meetings with medical staff and coaches to try and get Loads right in probably the most demanding team sport in the world.

I was privy to the opposite claims in 2006 which were the opposite end of spectrum. Anyway I found these links on Google which relate to undertraining rather than overtraining, so have a read if you want. The reality was that Brian Cook was chillingly correct in his 2006 review on fitness and I couldn’t agree more with what he said .  Remember though that winners are always grinners whatever the facts may be.



So Undertaining or Overtraining or Live on the edge or just off the edge?

The main thing is to have a mature side with lots of experience and a well funded club with great resources. Then the best of these teams wins, whether it is the best game plan, or smartest players, or most skilled kicks, or luck, or best managed, or whatever variable that discriminates teams.

So it is great fun being a fitness person in the AFL but every now and then logic defies physiology!

July 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment