loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Personal Trainers: Opportunities at Advanced Athletes Performance Preston

We are looking for 3 switched on Personal Trainers that are interested in running their own businesses at our High Performance Centre – Advanced Athletes Performance – in the inner melbourne suburb of Preston.

An ability to run your own business from our Centre as a licencee. Rent free period to build your business. Plenty of qualified leads straight away. If there are trainers sick of working in Parks & out of the boot of their car or don’t have enough $$ for all the required equipment or need a real home for their clients to train in all weather conditions……this could be for you.Have the added motivational advantage of training clients amongst Olympians & Elite sports stars.

September 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fitness, Sports Science,Socceroos and FFA. Optimal Preparation?

Hopefully our Socceroos win their home games and qualify. So important for the sport and they should be good enough to do that. Interesting to follow through how the young German team has used Athletes Performance in the US for their fitness program and how we have dismantled ours since the Hiddink, Dutch invasion.

Athletes Performance, Football and Wall Street Journal!

In the past few years we have seen most of our junior teams not make it through to competitions such as Olympics and World Championships. We have seen the development of soccer specific fitness mantras since the Dutch revolution invaded OZ Soccer post Hiddink. There is no doubt that we do not have the pool of technically gifted players in Australia. But what we did have was a powerful AIS and institute program which prepared players physically far better than traditional Football nations do. This has been dismantled and the mantra is do it with the ball. That simplistically makes sense but development is stifled when this approach takes place. In the end Nations simply pick their best players for teams. And the reasons for being selected are multifactorial. Technical & tactical nous, experience at high level, proven products, speed, agility, power & endurance and so on.

Our one advantage over other nations in my opinion was that we were bigger, faster, stronger and nastier, not better players or more skillful teams. Interesting comments below from Shad Forsythe who talks about the traditional nature of training in Football. And very odd that European nations would use a US company! Plus look at the age of German Team. Something for FFA to think about. Should have they had a comprehensive Skills and Fitness program in place since Hiddink? Not just Skills?

I think the questions now have to be raised about Verhajen’s influence and the Dutch influence on a Fitness program ( not technical/tactical skills) that was ahead of the world. We were producing fit, tough players. His concepts are simplistic, obvious and geared towards preparing a mature, skilled team. Not development.

Brisbane Roar is a terrible example for OZ Soccer. A diluted A league with few teams and lowish standard should not be used as an example of a Soccer Specific fitness program. Also many overseas and older players with mature bodies confuse this approach.

I think the FFA has to critically look at the one advantage we had in Australia in football. Fitness and Sports Science. Soccer is probably NO 4 sport in OZ. We do not have the talent pool that a country like Holland or Brazil does. Kids do not go to bed with their soccer ball. But we have a great country where kids play heaps of sports and lots of good weather. Just tough, fit kids! Let’s make sure we take advantage of our sports mad country and also AIS/Insititute and Sports Science expertise.

With the current FFA policy for fitness, development of young players is stifled and so many young players are poorly developed physically at young ages and will not progress. Talented and Skilful players will in fact be lost in the process because they lack physical ability. A paradox ( if that is the right word!).

Read the articles below. And realize how many AFL clubs use the same facilities in the US. Maybe we have been Gus “Hoodwinked”.

From Wall Street Journal Article, Shad Forsthye , Athletes Performance fitness Guru for Germany.

28 Jun 2012 – “Soccer is behind the rest of the traditional sports when it comes to fitness,” said Shad Forsythe, the AthletesPerformance specialist. d appearances made by Italy’s squad.

“Even though Germany’s squad is the youngest at Euro 2012, with an average age of just 24 years and 11 months, the German players have made a combined 835 appearances for the national team, almost 40% more than the 610 combined appearances made by Italy’s squad

Germans Mobilize the Pace Corps – WSJ.com

Athletes Performance, Shad Forsythe,fitness and German Football



September 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The “fitness arms race” in Australian Rules Football. Is it justified?

There has been an amazing amount of press about fitness gurus in the AFL recently. Obviously the saga at Essendon Football Club with Dean Robinson and the injury rate has created heaps of discussion. Now we have the rush to get the services of Darren Burgess, who is currently at Liverpool. Rumours surround the signing of Michael Malthouse and possibilities with David Buttifant from Collingwood. Western Bulldogs signed Bill Davoren a few years ago who was head coach for the AIS Triathlon Program. Guru status often gets bestowed on whoever wins the finals series. Clubs are jostling for the next panacea in Sports Science. I don’t want to comment on the competencies of fitness staff and individual decisions. Tough gig AFL and many good people involved. ( Maybe not gurus!)  Just the business practices ( or lack of) and often total lack of scrutiny with CV’s etc. Often very smart business people on Boards throw out all their objectivity when involved in sports such as AFL and jump on the percpetion based, panic buying, profile chase to keep fans and media and stakeholders happy for  another year. Then hope with fingers crossed that they will make finals!

Darren Burgess Liverpool Fitness to AFL again! $350,000 plus?

It is difficult to know what a club like Essendon spent on fitness in 2011/2012? But huge amounts! Winners are grinners. Do well & justified! Thats life.

Only as far back as 2003 at Geelong pretty much the fitness budget would have been 140/150,000 tops for all staff. Maybe 10,000 approx for equipment. The odd consultant. Wee bit of sports science money, maybe 10 to 15,000 max…I cannot remember exact amounts but simply not  a lot. Anyway that was the key period for the development of the super Geelong Team of 2007 onwards. How did I manage it? Simply paid heaps of part timers small amounts to oversee varied functions. Mark Spivey was F/T but on a low wage and Chris Dennis was very much part time. Tahi Reihana received next to nothing to help with weights and tackling and same with John Minns in the gym. Then I had a yoga teacher come in and varied consultants like Mark Sayers pop in for very lowly paid consultancies. There were a few other small gigs and some work experience students doing odd jobs. OK different era but by 2006 the job was almost done with this team.

Now there is a rush to not miss out. But is best “business practice” and “Sports Science practice” being observed.

How many of these gurus have coached over long periods? Decades? Have they just slotted into transient positions and fell into well organized clubs and more so developed and talented elite athletes. In the end coaching is the key component , not Sports Science.

Are some of these very inexperienced Football Managers not doing due diligence on scrutinizing past Coaching experience and simply making assumptions? Do these managers ( many who have never managed business or organizations of any relevance) understand the difference between Sports Science and Coaching? Are many just trying to hang onto highly paid jobs!

And by giving some guru massive salaries, who is going to do the work? Supervising Pilates sessions, weights sessions, pool sessions etc. Does the club then have to draw the line on accessing consultants for specific needs because a Guru has sucked the budget. Can the club afford a sprint coach and quality massuers and simply expertise to underpin the multifactorial fitness and rehab needs of an AFL Footy Department.

My model would be to pay a competent quality person a good salary but leave heaps for lots of expertise in the fitness area so that all individual needs can be met. Spread the money. In the end it is the law of diminishing returns. For every extra 100,000 one pays a GURU one gets less and less value. Pay 195,000 a year and get a really really good person and have thousands left over.

Sports Science is critical and costs money, rehab experts and consultants are critical and should be called in on demand. Different periods of the year need different staff. Pay someone 200,000 and have 150,000 left over and wow get some amazing expertise out there. If an assistant deems themelves a guru and wants double then say ciao!

In a micro fashion that was how I operated. Training started at 2pm and at 12 30 all my part timers arrived and had specific gigs. And at 5pm off they went. We are talking elite operators.

But inexperienced managers get handed millions and then go for profile and perception to justify positions to Boards, the media and fans. And this approach works in the short term. But now we are seeing many failures since the mid 2000’s. Boards should ask staff to justify every cent. There is no panacea in exotic treadmills or amazing machines. Running on grass is the number requirement for an AFL fitness program. What is needed is Expertise and access to the amazing amount of varied knowledge that exists now in the Sports Science and Rehab Community. A guru cannot do it all. But a smart manager can access the best minds and then pull together a program but more so cater for the fine tuning needed. A football department now cannot do it all, let alone a guru. The next big thing is simply accessing people on demand.

I wrote a an article on if a possible model exists for success in the AFL. Certainly finances pay a part, as does talent, but there does seem to be a general model that can be adhered to. In fact Essendon and next Richmond represent ideal age structures to fit the model around.

Model for Success in the AFL. Does one exist?

I think Club Management and Accountants and CEO’s need to go through the rationales for buying equipment, panic hiring of “gurus” and indiscriminate “profile” based staff recruitment and objectively ascertain whether due diligence was adhered to.

But in the end winners are grinners so whoever wins will be copied. Odd when we are talking about a sport only played in a few states of Australia. So I do think the ARMS RACE is justified in AFL for fitness but beware the GURU and beware panaceas. The trick is how to spend the money and who is given the credit card!

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

GPS monitoring of Roller Derby VRDL vs SSRG. Initial data Physiological Status of Roller Derby

MEB-AAP Sports Science Consultancy

* Apologies to Calamity Maim who has been called “Main” below!

Last Saturday night the Victorian Roller Derby League All Stars played the Sun State Roller Girls at the Melbourne Show Grounds.

Myself, Peter Venticich and Liam Annett went to the Grand Pavilion and as the  MEB-AAP Sport Science Consultancy Team] did a pilot study with GPS using 15 Hz [GPS Sports Trackers]. Luckily the signal transmitted through the tent at the Grand Pavilion which was a concern at the start of the night.

We tracked two [athletes]; Maim, a blocker and G-Banger, a jammer for VRDL All Stars.

Significantly, G-Banger was on 3 minors  in the 1st half and was managed accordingly. Her 2nd half was more indicative of a normal jammer’s workload but she probably does more work in club meets and subjectively reported it as an easy night.

Maim also felt that due to the All Stars profile & simply the way the game eventuated, she had a lesser workload.

Before we give a snapshot of the GPS tracking we asked Maim and GB for their ratings of perceived exertion for the games which then can provide a subjective load estimate for loadings. Maim rated the game as a 4 on the Borg Scale (Somewhat Hard). GB’s rated it as 4 also. Thus if we guesstimate the warmup at 30 minutes and the halves at approximately 30 minutes each that is 90 minutes of work. So her Total Body Load subjectively is 360 units. So this GPS data must be viewed relative to the RPE loadings. With lots of subjective and objective data over time, plus fitness profiling we can slowly build a physiological profile for Roller Derby.

Thus using the RPE system, one can see if Maim rates a game at 8 (Very Very Hard) this would be 720 units. This obviously is a massive difference in load. It is important to gather RPE data to synch with objective data like GPS and Heart Rate or even lactate levels to then develop a physiological profile for a sport. You can then make sense of the data and then work out Work to Rest ratios in a game and interprations for physiological profile.

The other data we need is the girls maximum heart rate so we can assess what % of their maximum they are working at. Despite what most people think there is a plus or minus of up to 30 in max HR. So we need to beeper test all the girls with Heart Rate monitors on to maximum exertion to get that data!

Also notice that a few months ago I downloaded HR for Miss Chivas in a club game and her work rest ratios were less due to a combination of jamming & blocking. [Click HERE for this]. This rep game meant that there were more choices for jammers and blockers and thus more rest than work for most players. Also Roller Derby is a game where there can be huge variations each game due to tactics, penalties, availability of jammers etc.

Loadings for Sport using Ratings Perceived Exertion (RPE) Data
LOAD = Intensity * Volume = RPE * Total Time for Game=4 * 90=360 units

The issue also about whether the game is more anaerobic ( without oxygen) or aerobic is an interesting one. From the data with GPS we have, there certainly is a need to accelerate and decelerate for jammers. So the Alactic Anaerobic Energy system needs to be developed. And in general power and speed are premium qualities required for jammers.

But a jam can go for 2 minutes and the player if free can move at 100% for 2 minutes. By then the predominant energy system becomes aerobic and more so if there is only a 1 to 1 work rest followed by another 90 secs or 120 seconds jam, the player has to use their aerobic system to recover on the bench in time for the next Jam. So the sport is complicated and at the end of a close game, with penalties and injuries a jammer’s aerobic system could be the difference between winning and losing a game. So in reality it is an intermittent or repeat effort/repeat speed sport where power and speed are critical but at the other end of the spectrum aerobic energy systems have to be sufficiently developed to enhance recovery between jams. So simply an individual approach must be taken with training Roller Derby for fitness. Simply a needs analysis. So in the next few months we will try and create some physiological profile for the sport.

So below are two charts to show you how the energy systems interact and some indicator of how it could all work in Roller Derby.

Oxidative is the aerobic energy system.

G-Bangers’s GPS Tracked Movement for Entire Game + Warm Up / Cool Down. The different colours are different speed zones.

The Speed data in the graphs appears as blue lines as below and heart rate as red. Below is a few minutes of a jam and a rest. Obviously one can dump masses of data onto excel and then analyze it but the GPSports Software provides a nice package at first glance.

So lets look at some of the data but I think we need to do lots more GPS profiling and also fitness profiling as suggested of players.

First Half for Jammer at VRDL vs Sun State Roller Girls. GB’s 1st Half . Max Heart Rate – 192 beats per minute. Average Heart Rate – 133 beats per minute  * Middle section was time in penalty box

Second Half for Jammer at VRDL vs Sun State Roller Girls. GB’s 2nd Half . Max Heart Rate – 189 beats per minute. Average Heart Rate – 129 beats per minute * pretty soft night!

Maim’s 1st Half ( Blocker)

Now some of the speed data from GPS, plus distance travelled in speed zones.

Below are the Heart Rate Zones but we simply need to know players Max HR’s before we make too many deductions. The interesting data below is the IMPACT data from accelerometer on GPS unit. In the 2nd half G-Banger had 2 10+ g force impacts. These are severe impacts so may have been falls or hits. So data  needs to be synched with video or tagged.

Below is a scale of impacts from accelerometers. So we just have to find out whether these are hits or falls?


Other data such as accelerations and decelerations ( important data)  and total body load can be gleaned from data but above is just an example of how a physiological profile can be achieved. Work Rest ratios can also be assessed for games and obviously in games such as these, more players, penalties, time outs and so much can impact.

The obvious initial data suggests that there is a lot of acceleration/deceleration and surges. The RPE data and loads suggested a “soft” game for the players tracked. But the sport is intermittent. There are constant rests and in the perfect world it is 2 minutes on and 2 minutes off. Doesn’t work out that way but reality is that there is time to recover. But once we collect more data and look at how long jams were and what was done in them and whether blockers need rest then we can start creating a physiological profile.

But again look at the graph of the energy systems. Look at the interplay that occurs before 2 minutes and realize how different physiologically one game can be relative to another depending on numbers in team, penalties and tactics.

Ultimately aim is to be able to individualize training programs for players from the data for the sport of Roller Derby. Look forward to the next 2 bouts and lots of data!

Thanks again to AAP’s major sponsor for Sports Science Project MEB Foods and minor sponsor STAMBOS.


MEB Foods and Advanced Athletes Performance

* Apologies to MAIM: some of the charts have you as ‘main”.

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 13 Comments