loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

My position on the current situation in Australian Sport

This is really sad to see on the one hand but great because it will weed out the money hungry “freaks” and charlatans who do not understand the process of hard and smart training and the adaptive responses over many years achieved by proper training.

Obviously this whole saga hits home with me because I was the fitness adviser at Geelong Football club till April 2006 ( from 1998). So I supervised the development of the list from 1999. By 2004/2005 they were successful in finals. Not ready to win a flag but ready to win finals.

I was very strict in the development of these young boys. Added to this I had no money in the budget. But because of my experience, I always emphasized that they had to spend a number of years training day in and day out on the track and in the gym before we even considered a humble protein powder. The reason for this was simple. Learn to eat properly and train hard and adapt and get to 90% of your physical potential by 21 with good habits.

But what is really sad is the fact that so many new people have flooded into the market place of Strength and Conditioning and Sports Science and very few have actually coached. They have simply leapfrogged jobs from club to club, or institute to institute and then become instant experts because they attached themselves to some transient success or method.

Added to this the “ART” of playing the game vs knowing the game becomes more important. Maintaining political alliances, self promotion and selling little panaceas ( ie altitude for example).

AFL players are not elite athletes. They don’t have to get to the 1% that a 100m runner might have to get to. IE It is hard to run < 10.5 electric , very rare to run 10 flat so how he hell do you get to running 9.8 , let alone 9.6! Genetics plus amazing training and sometimes people become suspicious.

An AFL player has to be fit , strong and able to repeat speed all day. Whether all the team is at 99.9% physically or 96% probably doesn’t matter. Added to this is the fact these are young babies that are drafted. It will take them 4 to 6 hard pre season to adapt. And it takes a few years before they stop going out all night to night clubs and trashing themselves. IE Forget the 1% ers.

And that is the other big factor. These are young ( sometimes uneducated & naive) babies that walk into AFL clubs from TAC system. Why in hell would some looney tunes charlatan fill an 18yo up with supplements when they haven’t even trained hard before! And duty of care to parents! And forget the unforgivable behavior that we are hearing about now.

Another problem is inexperienced management making poor decisions hiring people. Added to this is that some staff are now earning 300,000 and 400,000 dollars a year. But in reality many of these people could not even take an elite athlete through a multi – facted program. Hard to believe! Some of these people are awesome but some of these recent expensive hirings have never done day in and day out strength and conditioning or elite coaching of runners and athletes.

They have just leapfrogged their way up the ladder ASAP and then done some fancy Sports Science analysis. Sports Science is critical. The data is critical and is a 5 to 10% in a program. That’s it. The theory and science behind how you train is the key. The data is there to assist in decision making on a program.

So let’s hope that ESSA can regulate the industry and that due diligence and duty of care is done in these clubs. And more so lets remember there are few quick fixes. Just hard smart and consistent training. The average age of success for most sports is 25 and 26 and that’s it. Takes time!










February 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments