loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

AFL Coaches. Are they paid too much?

I think there is a very dangerous trend occurring in AFL clubs where other clubs simply copy teams that have done well and then panic and either copy teams training/tactics etc or even more an issue poach coaches without vigorous research.

Now the odds of getting it right are okish given some team has to improve and others of course slide.  But often this “panic buy” has not reflected the full rationale of why a team has done well. There are so many variables that contribute to success and these added to player ability and team balance should be critically examined before rushing into spending massive amounts on coaches and assistant coaches.

Very few of these overpaid gurus are going to rewrite Bompas book of periodization or come up with a complex model of skill acquisition for training. Most clubs have great IT back up now and also statistical coverage and interpretation. Obviously some of these coaches are very ambitious at first and often really show infectious enthusiasm on the track. That is great and then “Chinese whispers” inflate the value of these guys. It often reminds me of the 1979 movie BEING THERE with Peter Sellers and Shirley Mclaine. Chance the gardener looked distinguished but actually was of pretty low IQ. Anyway he said something in front of dignitaries once and then rose to the top of the pile in politics. Very funny but scary. His famous quote was “I like to watch” when Shirley Mclaine was undressing but little did she know he was watching TV.


I have met a few chancys in AFL and good luck to them! HA. One was so poor he cost a team a big final but could sell snow to eskimos and a quote reminds me of him. “It is a great art to know how to sell wind”. But it is quite odd how each team quickly copies the “best” team’s tactics. Usually gleaned from other sports anyway. And other clubs are desperate to find out some IP.

Media, public and those men in suits that run clubs create perceptions and then panic buying occurs. And boards need to be very wary of those men in suits that now invade middle management in AFL footy departments. Many work in the best interests of the club but many just jump on the marketing/perception bandwagon and then hope success comes and hope more they can keep their job.

I have seen some pretty average coaches get paid massive amounts simply because they were linked to a successful club. AFL is a sanitized competition. It is cyclical.

There is a good chance that a club may have a surplus of a certain type of player that can carry out new tactics. Maybe a heap of midfielders with pace & endurance OR defenders with perfect kicks OR a perfect blend of 2 or 3 big defenders and heaps of attacking defenders. Whatever! Often then one can create a system around the cattle one has. Bang they win, everyone copies and 2 years later tactics change. Think! So what happens to those guru coaches who are paid millions and developed amazing tactics 2 years ago that are now redundant. They are now seen as passé and new gurus get paid more money.

Those men in suits need to think a little and not get affected by having mobile phones too close to their brain hinder their logic. Also what I call the ‘AM coffee plus newspaper” research model that occurs. Add this research reading the papers plus a call to an ex mate in the AFL and ‘whack” there goes another 500,00o bucks of AFL money to a coach who really could not take the next step in a long term elite sporting environment..

That is why Alistair Clarkson was an inspired choice. Had done the hard yards in coaching. Was academically astute. Has done well.

Clubs need to really work out why success comes. They must realize it is biased young and that it takes almost a decade to rejig. Then not panic cull OR more so panic buy!

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Goalkicking, AFL and Sports Science

Recently there was an article on Goalkicking in the AFL. Chris Scott made an interesting comment. “We run a football program here, not a sports science program,” Scott says, bluntly. “I’m heavily in favour of an enormous amount of practice. It’s a collaborative approach, and the sports science guys have input, but we don’t simply say: ‘You manage the total load and we’ll work within that’, which is the environment I’ve been in my whole football life.”

Let’s get this straight Rohan Connolly . July 8, 2011. Read more:

Obviously they have had a frustrating season and also have a player with the yips. And yes there does exist a concern in medical and fitness departments when players go out at any time t do extra kicking.

The argument that it is ok to lose a player or two given more kicking does not really have logic especially inseason. There is more leeway with this philosophy in pre season with kickiig and fast running. But I can assure readers that if a fitness guru does more sprinting to increase speed ( works!) and loses player then much stress surrounds this.

That perfect practice and then more practice works cannot be disputed. Junk training no. And of course practice of a skill  is the aim.

The caveat is simply individual needs. Some players can be bashed with baseball bats and hung upside down all day, then sprint and kick all day and never get injured. Bartel for example. But if a player HAS core instability problems and other musculoskeletal issues then doing heaps of kicking may lead to injury and more so impaired mechanics. That is changed skill to avoid sore spots, tightnesses etc.

Thus everyone acknowledges that more practice ( and practice with a purpose) will improve a skill.  But the specific issue here is that if a talented young player has groin, osteitis issues etc,  then these problems must be addressed first

I think the issue here is simply one of individual needs and then of course how one practices and why and . My major gripe with players (and clubs) is that these technical needs should be addressed in October to Xmas. That is the time to perfect skills.

But losing players. No way, that never works as a philosophy.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | AFL | Leave a comment