loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Pre-season training in Soccer in Victoria. The FFV has to step in!

The FFA pumps out the mantra that sports specific training with the balls must dominate a large percentage of training in Soccer. Especially with the developing player but throughout. Small sided games are proliferating at junior level which is great and generally till 13 or 14 there has been a shift to sports specific training. This article will not discuss the % breakdown of physical conditioning vs Soccer skills / Game related fitness that should occur. Suffice to say that Strength and Conditioning and general physical develpment should be a part of all players training programs. Not just the ball!

But the research points to the fact that decision making and specific tactical needs alongside fitness can be developed with the ball and/or in game related situations. And then it is up to the coach/fitness adviser on how to dose extra running or conditioning. This will vary with age groups and levels.

But there is a frightening trend I have noticed in Victoria with the VPL/State League teams and also associated U/21 & U/18 teams. Not only do many not use the balls much, more so they engange in archaic and ignorant methods of training. Many of the good juniors at 16 to 20 depend on these pathways to take the next step. IE To VPL or A League or overseas. But teams that are hellbent on winning their league often run countless laps of Princes Park and oodles of 200’s or run up and down hills and through sand and so on.

They engage in what I call the “aaaghhhhh” principle. Just smash them and get them fit and win. But by June heaps of players will be sitting on the sidelines with their beanies in dugouts and clubs will be buying or coaxing other players to play because in fact win loss ratios are crap.

So not only are these critical ” pathway”  players not getting daily sports specific / decision making type drills and sensible and individualized trained. In fact their bodies are being trashed and no balls in sight. Lose/Lose.

So in the battle of the codes in OZ , soccer needs to look at this 2nd tier critically. And more so with training methods. From Skill Acquisition to Injury Prevention to enhanced athleticism.  In the end we will lose generations of kids that have done all the right things with small sided games etc and then hit some lunatic coach who is driving them daily up the hills at Brimbank Park instead of working on the pitch or in the gym.They cant get a game because geriatircs dominate teams so they retire or wasted money on overseas academies.

Maybe the FFV and FFA have to grow some balls and change the structures of these competitions so that they do not allow them to just toss young players out mid season and buy old  hacks. IE Salary caps and age structures. And then the tricke down effect could work down to training methods.

Some of the clubs in the VPL liek South Melbourne and Green Gully are quasi professional but most are developing players to send to  commando camps and not European Soccer Pitches

Time to get smarter. Kids want to play the world game.



February 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nicholas Gonzalez chases a train doing Hill Work!

The Alex Cobo Soccer Academy uses Advanced Athletes Performance for their fitness needs. This year his main squad is Under 15 and they have mostly been with us for 12 months. I decided to take them to some pretty good hills alnongside the Tram Lines over a bridge in Preston. Approximately 130m in length but not so steep that they cant sprint.

Nicholas Gonzalez started his 5th rep just when a tram rattled past and he nearly stayed with it all the way up the hill. Power effort! The last pic shows that by the 7th rep the lads were exhausted. A great insight into what hard training is. 90% of their work is with the balls and we usually do core stability and core strength circuits coupled with run technique and speed. But once of was a good chance to do something different.






February 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Advanced Athletes Performance at VRDL Game 1


Went to watch Game 1 of VRDL Roller Derby and did Heart Rate Analysis on Miss Chivas. Tennis player Marija Mirkovic came to watch and interesting data and fun night.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Physiological Analysis of Roller Derby at Game 1 VRDL

On Saturday night I went to the Showgrounds and watched Round 1 of the VRDL Roller Derby season. I have done some preliminary fitness testing with the girls at our centre in Preston, Melbourne. Advanced Athletes Performance. I found that most of the girls had reasonable Vertical Jumps using a Vertec. Some close to or above 50cm. So nothing amazing but ok.  The Average so far of about 12 girls is 43cm. I did some other tests such as long jump one and two legs and some side to side jumps t look at single leg differences. I also did the YO YO Intermittent Recovery test Level 1 to assess their general intermittent sport metabolic fitness levels. A few girls were above 15 which is ok. Others were below 14 which is poorish. But how specific is off Roller Derby training? Is there a need for repeat effort testing done speciically? One girl I tested was quite down in Jumps & Power test but performed really well on Saturday. i didnt expect it so that reflects the high skill level required here. But all things being equal in all sports, everyone can play at the highest level so fitness becomes a priority.

A lot of the girls are right into different fitness pursuits so I have been interested in what it takes to perform at the Highest level in this sport. Some I think do too much “fluffy” stuff. Is it power or a mixture of endurance and power and strength. What do the “best” players get in these fitness tests and is there any correlation at all between the tests and ability given adequate skill levels. I watched the US girls last year from Texas and some looked really conditioned and strong, some were massive and most looked pretty fit. Where will this sport head fitness wise? Guess is power and repeat speed and grunt!

So I put a Heart Rate monitor on Miss Chivas from the Rock Mobsters  and simply wrote down when she did some efforts and then looked at the download. Now as we know Heart Rate is a pretty poor reflection of the physiological demands of Roller Derby. Lots of sports science gadgets now exist that give insight into impact forces, acceleration patterns etc but hey this is a start. That will come.

Do some fitness tests. Add some skinfolds Sum 7. Watch a match. Do some RPE ( Perceived Exertion Data) analysis and then make some initial assumptions. In the end what I am trying to do is work out what the best approach to Strength and Conditioning and Fitness for Roller Derby is. It is a growing sport. Is there a need for lots of strength and conditioning? I will report on the RPE data next article and explain how to use this in training and competition.

Miss CHivas in the first half did heaps of  Jamming ( at back and trying to get through blocks!)  and one can see the same look on the heart rate curves that one see with interval training or even a football match. Look at the last part of Graph 1.  I dont know Miss Chivas’s maximum heart rate but assuming it is 200 then she was working pretty hard. The emotional side of heart rate analysis in games can add 20 bpm and interesting that it rarely went below 140 even at half time. Maybe rolling around instead of walking keeps the heart rate up? All assumptions at this stage.

The question is what is the cost of all the jostling and bumping? That can be measured and needs to be. That is why all thsi data needs to be correleted also with RPE data and then some acceleration & impact data.

In the second half the maximum heart rate was 187 and average was 156. A fair load IF her heart rate is 200. Watching the players when they come off after sustained efforts, subjectively they are stuffed.

The other question is IF a girl never ever will be a jammer how fit does she need to be? Does she need to squat 200kgs and be agile.Is an elite blocker a bit like a front rower in Union? Very big, very strong and capable of sustained hard ( if not fast) work.

BUT at the international level in future when superfit lean, hard Roller Derby OZ girls try and smash the US ladies I think the Jammers will have to be superfit and super powerful. Have a look at the last part of the graph for the first half below and simply look at the sustained work Miss Chivas did with multiple Jams. Phew. Heart rate max 193 (might be her max-who knows until we do a max test) and just up there for workrate wahtever the sport given she is a fit girl. Add bumps and twists and turns and quite a body load.

Look at sustained efforts in last part of graph below! I think 8 repeated jamming efforts ( is that the right word?). This Heart Rate analysis below is the first half plus warmups and meetings etc. Long day at office!

Heart Rate Download of  the Second Half. 3 fast jams at end.

A picture tells it all and here we see pics of Miss Chivas accelerating low an fast and below Ber Zerker getting low and strong and seeing how balanced the other girl is. Tough sport!

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Advanced Athletes Performance in Preston adds Facilities

We have nearly got the second stage of our facility completed. Boxing areas, mats for various pursuits and platforms and racks galore for lifting. We are continually improving the place and a great venue to train now.This is the second warehouse now up and running and just the place to train at 64 Oakover Rd Preston!

Below are some pics

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment