loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

ESSA, ASCA, Cert3, Cert4? Messy.

I went on the Australian Government job outlook website and 2 categories they mentioned were fitness instructors and sports coaches. Job Outlooks for other professions seemed meshed together with allied health. Maybe they don’t want to tell people there is not a huge amount of work for graduate Sports Scientists or Strength & Conditioning specialists.




A while ago a good friend of mine who has an exercise science degree snared a job as coordinating Personal Trainers for a large commercial gymnasium. The Personal Trainers paid approximately $200 a week and signed a contract to be able to access members. They had approximately 35 trainers signed up. Work out the numbers! As long as the trainers had their Certificate 3 and 4 plus first aid/CPR and insurance they were good to go. He had a smattering of exercise science graduates and simply people who pursued PT part time or as a career change. His best trainers (made most $ and most popular) were the ones who had an adequate exercise toolkit but more so had an ability to communicate , get buy in or for simplicity good soft skills. They could sell! And usually these were not the graduates, who were younger, inexperienced and often just not good at talking the talk (& even sometimes walking the walk).




I continued to look through the Government website and could only find sports coaches specified. Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists seemed to be merged into other categories and the filter for Strength and Conditioning came up with nada/zilch.

Late last year it was trumpeted that there would be national standards put into place for Sports Science.


“As a condition of the ASC’s Sport Investment Agreements, national sporting organisations will require all sport science and strength and conditioning staff to have the relevant accreditation with ESSA and ASCA by the end of 2018.”

Now a gymnasium franchise has zero commitment to needing to follow ESSA/ASCA guidelines. From a commercial perspective they can simply employ staff with Certificate 3 and 4 and updated with First Aid. And their KPI’s are results. Member retention and satisfaction. Given the Social media boom in information, sensible people can get a good toolkit and as long as they don’t get their ambition mixed with ability can actually do a good job. Certainly a negative with the plethora of information is that if someone does not have a good theoretical background they cannot decipher the forest from the trees. But the Australian Government is OK with this level of accreditation. And reality is there are some amazing people working in the space. And some crap salespeople with ability to get buy in. Another article spinning off this one is the confusion with the “Soft Skills” bandwagon that everyone is jumping on to get LIKES on Social Media with!

So we get to the dilemma of what to do if you are an Exercise Science Graduate. Career prospects are tight at best in the elite sports area. And I leave out those opting for Exercise Physiology accreditation. But even there courses are appearing before you can blink. One looks at the Ausport article and my opinion is I would be compelled to get accreditation with all organisations. Even to get Certificate 3 and 4! I am not going to discuss the merits of Exercise Science Courses, practical development of students in this article.

Many are opting for Masters as Exercise Physiologists with ESSA and many of the High Performance Masters courses appearing everywhere as they gather work experience. Not a bad thing but the funnel again will get very tight at pointy end. IE Jobs!

ESSA has authority to accredit certain “tasks” in the Sports Science/S&C area. ASCA others. From my understanding ESSA demands graduate status whilst ASCA will allow anyone to do their courses as long as they pay and of course pass the rigorous standards as they move through the levels. So there has to be a question raised there.

Now the Australian Government Job Outlook website says Sports Coaches need a skill level of Certificate 3 and 4. Who is doing these websites! Seriously I thought appropriate levels in sports and working with children were what the requirement? But if a Sports Coach is employed part time in the NIN network or with an NSO or even is simply part of the system, who will accredit them? They cannot come under umbrella of S&C? Of course the public don’t care. If their kids are being coached by a competent person whose number one aim is to help athletes and puts in that’s the big tick. But Australian Government put down Sports Coach as a career and not S&C? My brother in law Gus Puopolo is a sports coach who has assisted hundreds of young athletes and many to International Standards. He earns ZERO.

So the summary is.

Confusion reigns. Graduates are forking out dollars. Certainly with Exercise Physiology (Hicaps) and Sports Science in the elite professional environment there is but then it becomes murky. Many people work in other professions and coach and do S&C part time and/or as an adjunct for their Coaching and so ASCA has a valuable role there.

But I wrote this article because I had to make a decision myself to pay for my ESSA Exercise Scientist, Sports Scientist, Exercise Physiology and HPM accreditation so simply from an economic perspective I am going to forego my ASCA which is a pity because I really enjoyed conference in Singapore last year and also would love to be involved more. I know an Exercise Physiologist who trains UFC fighters plus works in the classical Exercise Physiology space with healthcare! Who classifies her because she is doing S&C with fighters? Does she pay double?




March 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Load Management, Roger Federer, Steve Smith and the Sweet Spot.

I was interested to read comments from Roger Federer about how he now trains and maintains his performance and then Ex Australian Cricket Captain Michael Clarke’s response to current captain Steve Smith training harder than most and to make sure he manages his loads in the future to avoid injury.


FED 1.jpg


Roger Federer said after his Hopman Cup win:.

“I’ve played almost 1500 times so you have to be careful now. So it’s nice, I work part time now,” he said, the crowd lapping it up. “I work in the morning, I’m off in the afternoon or I do it the other way around.

Michael Clarke told the Nine Network:

“The key for him is going to be to sacrifice some training sessions so he can make sure he is still on the park as Australian captain,”.

“Because he loves hitting so many balls in the nets, he feels like that gives him the confidence to be able to walk out into the middle and play his natural game and play with that technique he has.

“I just feel over the next 12 months, he is going to have that down pat if he hasn’t already.”

There also is lots of discussion about injuries in tennis given the rush of issues confronting current top players. And in cricket numerous experts always question rotating bowlers.

Of course the discussion can go back to over specialization as kids in tennis and entering a High Performance phase before they have developed robustness through multilateral development.  A 2011 Loyola University Medical Study by Dr. Neeru Jayanthi found that injured young athletes who play a single sport such as tennis spent much less time in free play and unorganized sports than uninjured athletes who play tennis and many other sports.

Steffan Jones is a former fast bowler and now a private coach in cricket.  He believes there are a number of reasons why so many young English bowlers are breaking down including early specialisation which does not give children the valuable experience of different sports and physical challenges. “Bowlers are forced to specialise too early,” Jones wrote in a post on his LinkedIn page which he also shared with Cricbuzz. “External pressures, whether coach or parent driven stop them playing other sports at an age where they need to train the elastic qualities in the body.

And below we both can see how long it takes to mature and also how most sports on average have an average age > 25 at elite levels.


FED 2.jpg


Pierre Paganini has been Federer’s fitness coach since he was a junior. It is interesting to read what Paganini has as a philosophy.

Roger Federer and Fitness Coach Pierre Paganini NY TIMES

Paganini and his prize pupils have focused above all on the long term. “Rog was always, even at age 20, interested in doing what he could to have a long career,” Paganini said.

That has meant not overplaying, building breaks into the season and listening intently to his body’s signals. It has meant reducing, if only marginally, the number of training sessions through the years. Paganini hopes the younger set, the #nextgen if you will, is taking notes.

“I think if we manage to motivate the young ones to give time to their bodies to recover from training before playing and then to give time to their bodies to recover from playing before training, this simple message can help us have fewer injuries in the future,” Paganini said.

And below is a quote from Paganini that shows he has data or information or just knows  that Federer still has the necessary athletic qualities.


FED 3.jpg


So before I talk about cricket it is important to talk about the “Sweet Spot” in loads popularized by Tim Gabbett’s research. My take on this is that for every individual there is an optimal training stimulus and for this individual this “Sweet Spot” changes at different stages of a career. So if an athlete is robust and bulletproof from an ideal development, the concept of training harder and smarter works. Where this gets tough to control is in academies and young athletes because the “Sweet Spot” changes rapidly for every individual. Almost where art meets science. And as athletes mature through their 20’s this changes all the time given training priorities and just being better at their sport. Also as athletes mature they are more powerful so put more stress on their body.


FED 4.jpg


So one would assume that Steve Smith is 28 so at his physical peak and thus can tolerate big loads. What Michael Clarke is pointing to is that if Smith squeezes the Sweet Spot Graph on an upward curve into the ‘pink” then he may have issues. So for Smith, he may be in the sweet spot right now but next year on the back of this test, one dayers, Indian club commitments and other competitions he may have to re-evaluate his “Sweet Spot”.


FED 6.jpg


Glenn McGrath entered the discussion on rotating bowlers.


But despite the physical toll their gruelling workloads have taken, McGrath believes emphatically that the days of rotating the pace attack are over.

“If you asked both of those guys, they would definitely say no (to having a rest),” McGrath said on Sunday.

Yet what is interesting to read is how Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood missed chunks of the recent tour to the sub continent in preparation for Ashes and both Starc and Hazlewood have been explosive and pivotal along with Smith in winning the Ashes.


And in 2013 one can also see that Starc missed large blocks with injury.

Sep 9, 2013: Australia bowler Mitchell Starc is set to miss the Ashes in Australia later this year because of a back injury. … Starc, 23, has an early stage stress fracture of the lower back and Cricket Australia says he is “expected to be unavailable for a prolonged period”

The other interesting subjective notion is that some players who bowl year in year out without rotation may be durable and robust but lack intensity.

And then we read press about the Rotations and Indian cricketers. Winners are grinners.




So right from when puberty is almost over to when an athlete retires there exists a “SWEET SPOT” in training to maximize performance and develop robustness. This is totally individual and so when past players and experts talk generalities about how they bowled day in and day out, just do some research about the athlete they are pointing to and also how they were developed..

What is important is that young athletes are developed carefully and exposed to a systematic and progressive increase in loads after puberty and this is individually aligned with maturation.

Once mature it is critical that an athlete and coach knows what training stimulus, loads  and competition program will maximize performance and minimize risk of injury. And this individualized prescription always needs to be re-evaluated.

And it is better to be proactive than reactive.






January 7, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“You’ll have to change your running style to be world class” -Almost every coach who recruited me except Clyde Hart. Be careful making technical changes and make sure the change is absolutely necessary. Tweet: Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson went on twitter today and said something which every coach and Speed guru should think about. The decision to change a Running Style needs careful consideration. My opinion or observation is that more experienced coaches tend to move more slowly and carefully when making a decision on why , when and how to alter or tweak a running style.

Below is the tweet and  the quote “make sure the change is absolutely necessary” resonates.

“You’ll have to change your running style to be world class” -Almost every coach who recruited me except Clyde Hart. Be careful making technical changes and make sure the change is absolutely necessary.

If you want to know a bit more about Johnson below is a link to You Tube and Wikipedia.

Michael Johnson Breaks 200m & 400m Olympic Records – Atlanta 1996 Olympics

Michael Johnson Wikipedia



Clyde Hart Was Johnson’s coach and a link to Wikipedia is worth a look.

Clyde Hart: Michael Johnson’s Coach



I have attached a powerpoint from Dan Pfaff where he addresses the question of technical models and also whether a new model exists? I have borrowed 2 pictures from this presentation to make a point.




2 examples from the same sport. Looks okay at first glance! So would we tell the little fella to lean more. Nope! Why? because as he gets stronger over time he simple will re-adjust technique and acceleration phases. In fact if we tell him to lean more it will wreck his acceleration profile. So unless there is some glaring fault in the lads technique that a coach is 99.99% sure will lead to improved performance in an LTAD perspective, not just short term then might be worth just setting up quality sessions.


There is lots of research going on now about mechanics and lots of opinions. One of the researchers here has trained World Champion athletes and a sacred cow is challenged.

“Overall, the present findings did not support that front-side mechanics were crucial for sprint performance among the investigated sprinters”


I will still video someone and look at whether they are overly rearside or fronstide and what their acceleration phase looks like going into maximum speed to assess whether any changes are needed.


Justin Gatlin though does question an over emphasis on high knees in coaching young athletes.

Justin Gatlin Reveals the No. 1 Sprinting Mistake Slowing Down Young Athletes


There is an enormous amount of research going on right now by people such as Peter Weyand from SMU and JB Morin and so many others in the area of acceleration, maximum speed , technique and biomechanics.


But the words of  Prof. Anatoly Bondarchuk ring in my ears. I asked him if  the foot contact of Yuri Sedych (still holds World Record in Hammer!) was at X degrees on ground contact,  because I had spent years copying his technique. Bondarchuk looked at me and said ” Loris! , use biomechanics not sedykh position. You are Loris. Different. Use biomechanics, not positions. Do not copy Yuri.” Below is the position I tried to copy for 3 years wasting my time! So the subtle point is there does exist optimal biomechanics for every individual but looks different for every individual.

Anatoliy Bondarchuk Wikipedia




So I wanted to put one practical example from the AFL that I encountered. Cameron Ling was drafted in 1999 as a forward. He had very rapid turnover and a very small stride length. He also had limited ROM when screened. Cameron also had very small glutes! Not much hip extensor stuff happening. Plus his power in general was a bit down. We analyzed hs technique using Mark Sayers who is a Sports Scientist. Looked ok. So simply we spent a year working on physical changes . Glute and hamstring strength, range of motion both statically and dynamically, leg power, sled running, horizontal bounding and so on. There was a marked change in his technique and after a year he improved .25 in his 20 metres speed test and acceleration profile. Because he had a MAX VO2 of 69 ml/kg/min at 90 plus kgs he was able to repeat his speed all day. Rest is history. Great player.




Coaching Cues | Science for Sport

Even with young athletes, tread carefully and might be a good idea to read Nick Winkleman’s excellent wealth of information on how to cue speed before telling kids they are doing it all wrong. Below is a link to one of these articles.

Education Hot Topic What We Say Matters Part I Hot Topic: What We Say Matters, Part I by Nick Winkelman



I have put a few comments on TWITTER stimulated by the Michael Johnson tweet and really they ask quite a few questions from Elite to Beginner and why, when and how  we should change running styles.

Stuart McMillan‏ @StuartMcMillan1

Very important question to attempt to answer BEFORE we try to affect mechanics. IMO – inputting a technical change that leads to a detriment in performance is a dangerous game. I’d rather apply small ‘tweaks’, and monitor closely as we go

Paul Glazier‏ @PaulGlazier

Before that, how do we know, with any degree of certainty, whether a particular technical change will: 1) lead to improved performance; and, if so, 2) is reliable/robust under pressure? Biomechanists/biomechanical analyses should help answer these questions but do they/can they?

Paul Glazier‏ @PaulGlazier

Replying to @StuartMcMillan1

Agreed. A heuristic/trial and error approach, monitoring performance outcomes following intervention, is the way to go. Commensurate with active exploration/guided discovery, which can lead to robust, albeit not necessarily orthodox-looking, movement solutions.

Dr. Linda Blade‏ @coachblade

Replying to @StuartMcMillan1

Absolutely correct, Stuart! Within the “Athlete Factory”, HP coaches & development coaches occupy different stations on the conveyor belt. Early stations => MAJOR tweeks Late stations => MINOR tweeks This is the ideal, right?

James Smith‏ @thethinkersmith

Replying to @PaulGlazier

Not only biomechanics, in addition, all realms of psychomotor and sensorimotor discovery due to the orders of magnitude faster computational processing speed of the brain in comparison to volitional motor functions. The knowledge will stem from theory driven experimentation.

Paul Glazier‏ @PaulGlazier

I agree with your sentiment but that could be some gamble with an already high-performing athletes whose livelihood depends on their performance! There are lots of examples of major-winning golfers who have tried to “improve” only to fade into obscurity.

Victor Hall @TeamEXOS #AthletigenACP

“When making technical changes we may see a decrease in speed before the net gain begins to emerge – it is important to trust the process.” –



December 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How strong is strong enough in sports?

I had been training a young tennis player from when he was 16. He was just a suburban player and had no history of resistance training, not a great athlete but quite a skilled sportsman. When I tested him for speed and power throughout a 2 year period his scores were benchmarked average. After 2 years of conditioning I was able to get him to the stage of squatting 100kg parallel for 6 reps comfortably and  deadlifting a few reps on 100. In this period he quickly improved his ranking in Australia to become quite a good player at National Level. I was standing next to Nicholas after a squat set and simply said. “ Mate let’s slow down adding kgs on squats  for a while and let’s make sure you work on tennis more and also speed.” Liam Annet (current S&C at Melbourne City) was standing next to me and asked how did I come to that conclusion. Apart from speed tests and jumps I wasn’t measuring him with GYMAWARE or any other tools.

With my tennis player it was simple. He was 18 and ranked 200 in Australia. 2 years before hardly had a point. Getting stronger (BW squats to 100kg reps) had made an enormous difference to his game. But it was time to use that conditioning and improve his tennis instead of trying to squat 170kgs and sneak to 190. Lots of people can play out there.  And with all sports it becomes the law of diminishing returns. Massive improvement at first with strength then just gets harder to transfer to sport. So my decision was based on his level of tennis and also on his ability to move and fitness. Athletes love the sanctity of the gym because it makes them feel all powerful and confident, but what happens in the sport is what matters. He was a bit confused but pretty quickly understood my advice.




I remember Anatoly Bondarchuk (famous coach!)  in early 90’s came to Australia. I asked him what the best test for throwing a 7.25kg hammer thrower was. (I was a hammer thrower!). Anyway he said the best test was throwing a 7.25kg hammer. HA! OMG I was so annoyed because even then I was doing all these fancy tests but only throwing 60 meters!

I started hammer throwing at 18 and simply had the worst technique. I loved the gym and also competed in weightlifting. By time I was 21 I was power cleaning 147, full squatting easy reps on 200+ and throwing just 59 metres. I had developed bad habits by pulling the hammer and with a rapid increase in strength in my opinion just made matters worse. And when I trained in Europe at 23 (1978)  I did learn a lot about plyometrics and fine tuning exercises such as overhead shot but still came back to Australia and hit the gym. BY 26 I power cleaned 160kgs and only threw 63 metres. I did  get better when I came out of retirement in late 30’s by just getting to an OK strength level ( 145 clean)  and making sure technique was better. And Bondarchuks words always annoyed me. I met Yuri Sedykh also in 1991 and he had thrown 86 metres, but strength levels were not much more than mine.




Obviously we see Social media videos with athletes like Greg Rutherford and Christian Taylor doing step ups with 200kgs and hang cleans with 150kgs. At the pointy end sometimes it becomes the only avenue left for improvement. IE Get more power! So for triple jump a good base of strength with quality training can get you to high 16m for example but then just gets back to power to get a few more cm. The decision to push hard in the gym is simply that, a decision that is reflected in performance. If you are sure a 20% increase in your hang clean will directly impact your performance go for it.




And if you are not genetically gifted sometimes an athlete has to roll the dice and go hard early in the strength area. For example if you are a 23 year old sprinter who runs 11.5 (male!) and have done heaps of running, odds are you won’t break 10 seconds so maybe going for broke in the gym is warranted to get that 10.99.

Now how do you decide what you need to lift in the gym after you have a base of strength? Well the starting point is analysing your sports performance then assessing what you need to improve in skills and conditioning. For me I think once I power cleaned 125kgs and squatted reps on 150kgs looking back would have been good to hold that level of conditioning and push to say 60+ metres by throwing better and being more athletic. Then once that was stabilized maybe push a clean to 140kgs and work my way to 65 metres. But I simply pulled myself into oblivion on the platform! Wasted a lot of time. And hammer throwers who took steroids and had crap technique and threw far don’t count. The number of times I have been to conferences and seen videos of this thrower who had amazing strength and power annoys me. As an ex thrower it annoys me seeing academics putting this stuff in front of people. We all know you have to be strong!

I  am a firm believer in testing all the jumps (vertical and horizontal) and having a speed/power profile and for intermittent sports a test of high level aerobic capacity. Having information allows a coach to examine the sports performance and make more informed decisions on what to concentrate on. It is always a decision based on “will this improve my performance”. And every year from beginner to older athlete emphasis is different.

So this article is not about whether to lift or not. Getting stronger is critical and also for injury prevention. But the law of diminishing returns needs to be respected. And is what you are doing improving your sport?

It is a tough one because  lots of athletes feel omnipotent when they smash iron in the gym! When you pump iron sometimes you feel invincible but reality nearly always hits when the guy next to you with 25% less bench press knocks you over in a game. How many lifters, bodybuilders and cross fitters go home thinking they can stop a nuclear bomb with their hand, but then get on the sports field and cannot perform?




And I also disagree with the anti-weights brigade Measure your theories with performance folks. In 2017 we have evolved to the point where an individual approach is required for athletes and the tools are there. Not whether to lift or not. So have I answered the question of how strong is strong enough? No. Ha. Just start training and analyse what you need to improve your sports performance and dose accordingly.

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy says clubs should not rule out older players at national draft

Bob Murphy from the Western Bulldogs recently wrote an article about the AFL Drafting system which basically targets 18 year olds. I was a fitness adviser for 20 years so saw first hand how long it took players to mature but also since 2007 have worked with young players 12yo onwards to draft age . Basically just kids!

Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy says clubs should not rule out older players at national draft

I have picked some relevant comments from this article:

“Of the top 50 selections in last year’s national draft, just three were aged 20 or over, while 49 of the first 50 picks in 2015 were teenagers.”

“A player must be 18 on or before April 30 the year following the national draft to be eligible for selection. Before 2009, the age was 17.”

“If they don’t get picked up at 17 then they are done,” Murphy said.”

“I’m not a massive American sports head, but I think their college system is a good way to go,” Murphy told foxfooty.com.au.

“Guys don’t reach professionalism until they are 21. I reckon that would be ideal for footballers.”

I presented in 2002 that at a Conference that the AFL Draft system was not elite and too young.

Optimal Age for Elite Sport

The AFL will vigorously defend their system but they do not have to compare themselves to anything else in the world unlike sports like Soccer , Volleyball & Basketball etc  IE a bubble.

The process starts at 15 really where players are funnelled at Under 16 level then again at Under 18. So miss the first cut and it is tough! Why parents should invest in personal trainers at 14 years of age which is a bit early but probably necessary to get an edge.

The evidence is compelling that it takes many years to develop an AFL player and really many players are missed and lost  in sub elite competitions.

I also am of the opinion that many young players at 16 only dream of being drafted and put their careers & VCE as a second priority but very few get drafted.

The AFL Draft system is organized and that is what people in the system like.

But it is not a best practice system when viewed from a long term athlete development perspective.

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to start measuring LOAD in Tennis

Tennis is a massive industry. We all get seduced by these earnings outlined in FORBES for 2015.   Business of Tennis FORBES magazine


The coaching industry is also massive and at the top of the tree are these academies all around the world which simply are big $ all round. Players arrive and train non stop and there is no doubting the quality of some but there in starts some issues with loads and ongoing awareness of what is required to reach the holy grail in tennis.

The best Tennis Academies World Wide


What do Tennis Coaches earn in OZ?

And then the basic coaching business worldwide is massive with tennis coaches operating out of clubs and creating squads. Add the fitness component to what many parents pay and added medical and equipment costs and one can see why there are not too many 1990 Hyundais is suburban tennis car parks at squad training.

Then there is the stark reality that few players ever “make it” on the senior tour and less make any $. A very odd sport when the 800th AFL player can do quite well whilst the 300th tennis player eats no brand food daily .

% of players earning $ on PRO TOUR!

Given the massive $ input from parents, they often become very involved stakeholders in driving the young player and planning and training. Coaches obviously know who pays them so the end result is simply a mess and crazy loads and commitment.

Subjectively I have found a certain machismo about tennis coaches who preach mental toughness and hard driving training but I struggle to understand the premise of their philosophies.

So where I am heading? Well when young players engage in AFL or Soccer for example there is some regularity with training and competition. Tennis is quite the opposite. Cynically it is worth the coaches telling players to train more because at an average of $60 a session that is good business. Then with tournaments at every level LOADS are all over the place because one can lose on Day 1 and do nothing or play 3 games a day for a week.

Recent research talks about a sweet sport of training. Also recent research does lead to fact that training has to be consistent and quite hard. But with tennis no one has any idea of what the sweet spot is. And the fallout is massive from injury perspective and also psychological. We all hear about the parent who drove their child from birth to success but do not hear about all the failures in every city of the world off the back of millions of $ invested in coaching and development ( or lack of).

Tennis Load Management and Injuries . British Journal Sports Medicine

So with the advent of wearables that measure everything, video analysis, using perceived exertion rate, wellness input and many other objective systems one can track LOADS and hopefully find a sweet spot for individuals. Some elite players have been well managed and some have snuck thorugh poor management and massive loads due to luck and more so often good genetics. ( Made of steel!). My gut is many in the tennis industry may not want to track loads because it may cost them income.

Tennis needs a lot more research to understanding how much training is required, how much skill development, time on court and so on. It is a closed shop at the elite level.

Reality is we have been led to believe that tennis is different! Always hear the same story from every sport. But there is a sweet spot of training and leaving school at 14 and doing nothing but training all day may not be the best solution.

More to come on this topic

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rookie Draft AFL & GPS of Sub Elite players

I was reading an article by Michelangelo Rucci about the possibility of the Rookie Draft and his logic why it would not work and also that it had not worked 20 years ago and then was wondering if the AFL would allow Recruiters to access GPS data from Sub Elite competitions like the WAFL and SANFL to assist in their mid season Rookie Draft?

Rookie Draft AFL

Interesting quote in article was:

“We’ve learned a lot about players that have not had a big pre-season,” Worsfold said, in yet another of his rather impressive post-match press conferences that contrast his image as the “say-little” coach when he was at West Coast.They are massively prone to injury. We’ve had five, six go down with hamstring injuries. Again and again for more than a decade, AFL players have said – to the point it has become a cliche – that the elite game will “get you” without a solid pre-season.That summer training regimen becomes the foundation to survive in an increasingly physically demanding football code.”

And straight away I thought of the current research in the chronic/acute ratio now all the rage in loading dogma and utilizing GPS & RPE metrics mainly.

So I am going to be lazy and use an analogy from this blog site :http://www.smartstride.com.au/


Quoting from this website off current research

“We need to push ourselves a bit and do more than what our bodies have been used to in order to get a training benefit – it’s how our muscles get stronger, and it’s how our fitness and running performance improves1, 2. However, if we do too much, as we’ve all probably experienced at some point – our chances of breaking down and getting injured increase1, 2.

But….if we do too little, not only does our fitness drop off and our performance suffers, ironically our risk of injury also increases1, 2.

So, with our training load, it’s exactly like Goldilocks – we don’t want to do too much, but we don’t want to do too little, either – we want to find an amount that’s somewhere in the middle; that ‘just right’ amount that will help with fitness & performance, and minimise our chances of injury.

So then Rucci says that the players drafted at the Bombers after the WADA Ban had not done pre season and thus were prone to injury. First of all this was a risk the club took versus getting players training with the WAFL & VFL for example ( understand the need to bring role models in).

But then he says that players coming from leagues below AFL will be just as injury prone. There is a little bit of logic in this because usually GPS data shows slightly less Sprinting in leagues like the VFL, WAFL, NEAFL etc.

But the gap has narrowed so much and a fit 22 to 25  year old who has done all the preseason in the WAFL for example plus played every game plus has no injury history in my opinion would not have too high a SPIKE in High Intensity load if they were drafted into the AFL midseason. There is a gap in High Intensity workload but not Volume thus  I really think fit players with no injury history and an adequate full load would quickly ADAPT at a soft tissue level versus a 29 year old with no preseason and an injury history.

Some pretty good references below on the current understanding of how much load and when. Bottom line is if a player SPIKES a load inseason off a low preseason load there is a massive risk. The same Inseason Weekly load (ACUTE LOAD)  for a player who had a high average weekly preseason load (CHRONIC LOAD) will lead to a lower Ratio when Chronic load is divided by Acute load and thus less probability of injury.

So then will recruiters be able to access preseason and in-season training loads (GPS/ RPE) of 2nd tier leagues when deciding who they will draft mid season.

They should if they can!


  1. Blanch & Gabbett, (2015). Has the athlete trained enough to return to play safely? The acute:chronic workload ratio permits clinicians to quantify a player’s risk of subsequent injury. British Journal of Sports Medicine, published online ahead of print.
  2. Gabbett, (2016). The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter & harder? British Journal of Sports Medicine, published online ahead of print.
  3. Heiderscheit, et al. (2010). Hamstring strain injuries: recommendations for diagnosis, rehabilitation, and injury prevention. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(2), 67-81.
  4. Opar, et al. (2012). Hamstring strain injuries – factors that lead to injury & re-injury. Sports Medicine, 42(3), 209-226.




July 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Using Video Analysis before Musculoskeletal Screening in Healthy Athletes

Due to financial restraints ( consumer) I have tried to develop a much quicker method of screening athletes. I do have to emphasize that re “healthy” athletes I mean an athlete that can run, jump, twist or turn at 95% and above with no pain.

In the Age of video analysis with APPS being available this is pretty easy to do.

And without going into an in depth analysis of the FMS screening protocol or any protocol I fail to see how apart from very basic screening tests, how one can be very specific in screening individual athletes.

By very basic I mean for example a dorsiflexion test. But again maybe a basic bodyweight squat will lead to that test anyway.

So what I propose is that when clients do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on screening and you have to wrap up a fitness test with screening , that they simply are asked ” What injuries have you had in past and recently” & “are you sore anywhere”.

Then despite the COOL SPORTS SCIENCE advice that fitness testing is passe I actually think it is the ultimate screening tool ( plus game related footage).

So with a junior soccer player doing a Max test over 20m, a change of direction test, a jump test, a YO YO test then a basic squat and 1 leg squat and getting some video will lead to lots of information and maybe some specific investigative screening .

Loaded with this information from watching the athlete and also looking at frame by frame video then one can decide ( added to past injury history) what screening to do. ROM? More power? Specific core needs? Refer on to medical advice?

Otherwise why not do 3 zillion tests. Crazy.

And the results can be very informative also because athletes may be biomechanically OK but poor power profile or vice versa.

So let the kids rip and then see what happens at max intensity then analyze!


May 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness courses start Advanced Athletes Performance first week February

Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness courses will start running at Advanced Athletes Performance in the first week of February. This is a great way to get a job in the Fitness, Personal Training or Strength & Conditioning industries.

All staff are qualified in exercise science and work in the fitness and strength & conditioning fields. The course will be hands on and will utilise all the facilities at AAP. Sport Specific, Boxing, Strongman, Boot Camp, Weightlifting, Rehab and Pilates training will be covered, plus much more.

Discounts will apply for AAP Family! Classes are filling fast.

Contact Pete (Fitness Course Coordinator) on 0432 663 280 or info@fit2b.com.au, send us a Private Message via Facebook or visit the Fit2B website (www.fit2b.com.au).

January 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sports Science: Advanced Athletes Performance & Werribee VFL.

Congratulations to Werribee Football Club on reaching the Preliminary Final Again. Advanced Athletes Performance has assisted the club with Sports Science back up this year. Fitness testing pre and post Xmas and then GPS monitoring of senior and reserves games. Liam Annett from AAP has attended all the games and provided feedback to the coaching staff on rotations and general GPS data. Also indebted to major sponsor MEB Foods  and also STAMBO’S GROUP OF COMPANIES http://www.stambos.com/. This sponsorship allowed us to use GPSports technology this year and we will expand our Sports Science service in 2013/2104. We have tested and assisted a number of AFL and Soccer teams this year and provided University Graduates with valuable experience in Sports Science also.

mebfoods is AAP major sponsor 2102/2103 Sports Science Program

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment