loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

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

Elite ATP/WTA Tennis players getting older. But don’t point finger at PED use!

Recently there has been press on fact that the average age of the TOP 100 men’s and women’s ATP/WTA rankings have risen to 27+ for mens and 25+ for women. This article below outlined the changes.


And following twitter there was some discussion on this topic recently and probably some inference that maybe PED’s might just be a factor in the 30 + players that are starting to congregate in the top 1000. So topical now with AFL issues in the spotlight. But in reality I simply believe many other factors are at work here. Certainly I always thought Australia’s youth policies were not based on raw hard data and simply flowed on from the subjective notions that tennis was different and was a young person’s sport. I think the critical issue to me is the socio economic factors at play in tennis and the resulting fact that anyone > 18 who was not winning/making money or had rich folks simply gave the game away. Also with the injuries involved and fact that only the top 200 make any money more the reason to not go past the teenage years

In 2002 I presented a lecture on the optimal age of elite sport


Simply that 25 to 26 was the peak age for fitness related pursuits. 27+ probably for strength related and 28+ it seemed for highly technical sports such as cricket where fitness is important but finely tuned skills and experience is at a premium.

When I started helping tennis players I used to listen to parents and coaches say that if their kids were not making it by 16 to 18 ADIOS any help. There was this ( and still is) this subjective notion that  when that dries up, unlike athletics and AFL, it becomes impossible to continue. Coaches often want 70 plus dollars an hour for coaching. The chase for ITF Junior points and ATP/WTA points require a huge financial push. So if one can afford it then someone who is gifted and works hard but also is from a well funded family can improve from the coaching needed and more so the relentless need for points. If you don’t have points you cannot enter tournaments and then you cannot get more points!

And in Australia and other systems elite targeted kids do get assistance ( not many) but when they falter at 16 to 19 quite often the system spits the player out and the system goes back to the next big hope/s at 14 to 16. I call it the “NEXT” process in these institutionalized systems such as Tennis OZ. Two steps forward and often 2.1 steps back. Tennis is an individual sport like track. And we have seen the institute/bureacracy approach to sport often fail in individual sports ( unlike team sports) unless there is a heavy reliance on sports science such as cycling and swimming. There are too many factors at play in the development of a tennis player which is why the ‘uncle tony” approach often works better with some added help from the federation of course!

When one examines the attributes needed for tennis NO 1 is you must be ale to play! Skill!  Then NO 2 is decision making. Then the ability to move efficiently and then factors such as enough strength to hit the ball hard. But it is not a pure fitness sport like athletics or a combat sport like rugby & AFL. And it even requires less emphasis on a pure fitness quality such as Volleyball where jumping ability is critical. So players are separated by a net and the main thing is get to the ball back and get the ball back over the net. It is hard to pin fitness profiles on a tennis player.

Added to the issues is that the sport requires a huge amount of discipline because of the travel required and also simply the need to back up mentally day in and day out. Certainly so many horror stories in tennis of young players burning out mentally, parents mortgaging houses, injuries etc , all when millions are trying to get into that top 100!

In Europe and only now in OZ there now exists club tennis where older players can earn money yearly and finance their development in their 20’s to push hard from 20 to 27YO in quest for top rankings. This has seen a change in the ability to sustain a career whilst on tour.

Also overseas it is easier now to travel and win points and survive the financial jungle in the 20 to 25YO age bracket. Certainly in OZ if you are not funded y TA and ranked 450 in the world at 24 years of age a trip to Europe for 3months could cost 10,000 plus with no chance of getting money back until one cracks top 250 for example.

Also older players are now better prepared and because of strength and conditioning older wiser and stronger players will always on average beat younger players unless that younger player is a potential Djokovic for example.

I really believe that if the sport of tennis did not rely so much on travel and finances that we would see even a slightly higher average age. It is a sport that is just not accessible to the masses. Too expensive and developed by the rich and an unrealistic points system that makes a few zillionaires but creates many maladjusted uneducated paupers and parents who lost their savings.

So when I read simplistic comments inferring the spread of PED’s in tennis I cringe. Sure they would help recovery given the grind and sure some tennis players will use PED’s like many drug cheats do.

But in my opinion there are many obvious reasons why tennis simply is starting to have the same age distribution as sports like elite AFL, Rugby, NFL, Basketball etc. Simply the average age of top 1000 players is probably 25 approx and that is the same as other sports. Just do a distribution graph. Look at distributions on different ranking areas then work it out. No brainer.

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nic Bideau’s statements on Drug saga really more related to issues of Long Term development in the AFL

Recently Nic Bideau was quoted on the possible effects of drug use and long term development. I do not want to comment on the current saga at all because really who knows what has happened and what will happen.

Former Olympic coach Nic Bideau says drug effects would linger if Essendon took them

But he did bring up a very interesting point about long term development and also this reflected on the value of highly paid fitness gurus and the media based “instant” hit phenomena that exists. But this also extends to the values exhibited by many in the Sports Science Industry who seize any opportunity to pump up their tyres at the expense of the last fitness person. There needs to be more respect in our industry to our colleagues.

Bideau was 100% correct in this quote below on layers of training. And this aspect goes to Skill, Core Stability, Endurance ie engine capacity, whatever. It takes ages to create an elite athlete. Olympic athletes view these cycles in 4 year blocks often. Below is what Bideau said.

“If you have a really good training year, it helps you forever or until you start to decline,” Bideau said.

“It is building a base layer upon layer upon layer. It’s like pages in a phone book.

“It is foundation you are trying to build. It takes people two or three years to become a fit league footballer, and if you add another layer on, it has to help.”

Recently James Bartel spoke about how long it took to develop a player in the AFL. I presented on this aspect in 2002. Lecture is below. Pretty simplistic but takes till 23 plus in general to make it & 25 as an average.


We had the odd situation recently where a player from the Melbourne Football Club was saying how unfit the pre NEELD team had been and how they had addressed that. Well that has backfired from a spin doctor perspective, because with Dean Bailey they won more games. Must have some AFL specific fitness to win some games? That spin only works when you win games. Winners are grinners.

All of a sudden Port Adelaide is 50% fitter it seems. Their new guru is an awesome operator so no problems there, but geez there is a bit of moneyball there and more so these young players have been in the gym & on the track doing something for 3 to 5 years already. One 6 week pre season does not develop a player!

In my case I was at Geelong in 1998. All the old list was gone by 2001. Some of the kids arrived in 1999. A few were just there and the rest of the “super team” got there by 2002. So a process of running education, engine improvement, core stability base and simply dotting i’s and crossing t’s with development needs was put in place. Then when they looked ok, we started a heavy weights program and power program aligned to hill running, speed endurance work, plyos, sleds, etc. Still kids but by the time I left in2006 they had done 4 pre-seasons in the gym of squatting, jumping, sprinting etc and before that had the initial layer of core stability and specific needs addressed. If you ran slower than 3.00 for 20m then you were a snail.

So along come the new boys in 2007. Do an awesome job on the track and in the gym and whack, flags galore.

Same happening at Essendon now. Stuart Cormack and Dee Jennings addressed the base needs of the young EFC players in the their development. Whether they should have started ‘loading” a year earlier is academic. One needs to go through the phases of development with these babies coming from the TAC. No compromise can be done because they are just babies when drafted. Then a heavy weights program was “layered” on top of a base pre the Weapon, but maybe too quickly. And yes all these layers or bases are cumulative. So the argument, drugs or no drugs, that a good weights program provides a base for an enhanced endurance high intensity program is obviously valid. Muscle has a memory and strength is a more lasting quality than anaerobic endurance which also needs a reasonale aerobic base. And so on. One pre-season and voila. I wish!

So the media and other fitness staff should always respect what the other person & regime  has achieved ( unless it was totally stuffed from A to Z)  and set up for them instead of indulging in an ignorant and opportunistic political lunge at self promotion OR criticizing the old regime. Just too many media in the AFL now and all about winners are grinners and stating the obvious that an AFL mad public want to hear.

The problem for some clubs is that they chop and change too much or the layers are applied incorrectly or they panic and throw out the baby,bathwater and have to start again. That is another issue and we may be seeing that at Melbourne. If they had followed through with things maybe different now?

Who cares! Football management and understanding how to do all this is a very recent phenomenon. Lots still to learn. But show some respect!




May 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SEN Interview with Dr.-Robin-Willcourt: Confused!

Below are links to audio of a SEN chat with Dr Robin Wilcourt with Mark Fine and Craig Harper

SEN Interview with Dr.-Robin-Willcourt


And it frankly would confuse the hell out of people I believe. Basically it was promoting the anti-ageing industry and the added benefit of very specific medication ( won’t call it supplementation) to lifestyle improvements to health of especially older people. They did discuss briefly that WADA/ASADA often banned such medication.

But what I did find odd was the good doctor promoting the virtues of all types of anabolic agents. That’s the inference I got. Maybe I got it wrong? And then simply outlining certain case studies such as men in their 40’s with low levels  of testosterone for example who after blood tests could improve health, libido whatever. And Craig Harper then spoke about the acceptance of hormone replacement for women but lack of such for men.

Seemed a pretty simple argument and all the “stuff” discussed seemed like a panacea. Add to this the Paleo diet.

Well in reality we are lucky to live in 2013 because when we do get certain illnesses and problems, technology and medical science has allowed many to live longer and healthier. And there is a definite need for hormone replacement and enhancement in the elderly ( and ill). In fact anyone that has studied understands how anabolic agents are used in medical conditions and this was their evolution., especially post world war 2.

But without going too long in this article there were 2 specific things that irked me about this particular chat. 3 in fact. The third was it was a great AD. To be honest good luck to Dr Wilcourt there and maybe certain other health professionals. But more so I found it odd that apart from aged people, the discussion did not concentrate on the ability of quality exercise and diet to change and modify many of these hormonal and health issues that people appeared with in anti ageing clinics. Add to this the “fat/stressed” mid 40’s guy who only needs a kick up the backside , 15 kgs loss of weight and stress release before remotely thinking of peptides.

We all understand the need for intervention with medication in diseased states and simply saying taking ‘anti-ageing” medication from mid 40’s onwards is a dangerous or maybe more so lazy  practice in my opinion. This is very different to obese, clinically ill people who need instant intervention before irreversible problems occur. Not lazy 50 yo’s!

And then to me the clanger. Just washing over the problems that all this causes in elite sport. We are dealing with 16 to 25 YO’s here. Once we start manipulating things then where does it all end. Sure they did mention that their argument did not apply to athletes due to WADA/ASADA rules. But the boys also did not seem too worried. I have seen Neanderthal morons promoting drugs to young kids in gyms. The evidence is there that many of these kids abuse drugs, peptides and anything.  I just got the feeling here that this chat was a feelgood one about anabolics. There is enough evidence of abuse and problems from anabolic abuse.

Just like cocaine and ice. Once you are hooked on anti ageing drugs can’t you go back I reckon.  The industry will have you hooked. HA! What if you are not diseased but just getting propped up by peptides and you get locked up in a Bali prison? You are screwed in all facets just like a junkie. Again if ill I understand, but if lazy train hard and eat well & see what happens. Then assess medication.

Asthma drugs for example are amazing for people with asthma. But clenbuterol is abused by athletes Growth Hormone is amazing for kids with severe growth deficiencies. HRT is amazing for women with serious problems or post hysterectomy. We all get that. And “anti-ageing” medication will have a critical place in the treatment of disease and health. But before taking drugs do everything possible to improve health drug free. And we now have the wonderful prospect of genetic testing which gets a bad rap. Soon this will allow us to predict our health risks and take precautions along the way. Much better than the next great pill.

But thank heaven that we have WADA and ASADA and there is some “stopper” on some lunatics in society that would chuck anything and everything down their throat or jab anything if all these “wonderful” anabolics were freely available.  Anabolics will evolve now and that is scary. So yep ban them in sport.

Obvious specific, targetted use for health and disease is the aim.

Again a very odd one on SEN. But in my opinion they should have emphasised the need for regulation of this medication in elite sport given sport is played by healthy young kids. I just didn’t get that perspective  from the chat. That was probably my main issue!











April 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The AFL Fitness “Arms Race” and equalization. Is there a better way?

Recently much has been spoken about the Fitness Arms Race and also equalization. Patrick Smith wrote an article about this issue and link is below. But is there a better and smarter way to develop a winning AFL team?

Patrick Smith: Secret to an even AFL Competition is limiting money spent on Football Operations.

I have been out of the cut and thrust of AFL fitness since 2007 but have worked in elite sport since. Much has changed in the AFL and the explosion in spending has been massive. Staff costs has spiralled and ‘gurus” have come out of the woodwork. Clubs in my opinion have panicked and simply jumped on the “arms race” train.

There is no doubt that having quality facilities is critical. And also having large patches of grass without cricket pitches is an obvious. Pristine medical and recovery areas, well set up gym and then the “other”. Even to the point of attracting players in the new free market.

But so many “gurus” have jumped up above $250,000 a year now and given the Sports Science meltdown recently, we have seen Demetrious resolve to up the presence of medical staff. On the one hand that is an honorable aim but cynically it will mean budgets have to be stretched further to accommodate medical staff increases. And someone still has to do the hands on rehabilitation and fitness and that won’t be these new staff additions. Maybe that may be counterbalanced by more physiotherapists with sports science qualifications also to allow double dipping for clubs. Otherwise more money! Or less to fitness staff & more to medicos. But  off we go again with another cost addition and more people drinking coffee in the footy dept reading the Herald Sun on a Monday morning!

One area of great discussion is spending on Sports Science and it’s relationship to success. Where I become a squeak cynical is when I see research papers spinning out of pre-season programs. The FOR argument is to ascertain whether initiatives work for specific sports IE Altitude & AFL. The AGAINST argument is that Sports Scientists are keen to get their name on papers maybe more than winning games & universities crave elite athletes for research. Big call maybe and research is critical but I always was of the opinion that if “research projects” got in the way of a quick change needed in a program due to fatigue, injuries or losses then “research projects” went first.

And I do not want to discuss the physiological gains of altitude and heat adaptation training. But when someone writes that one advantage of going to ARIZONA for such and such a physiological benefit is also TEAM BONDING blah blah I say crap. That is simply an expensive method of TEAM BONDING. Have a comedian come in and then go to Lorne and have a camp. Geezus that is such bunkum.

And recently I wrote about the need to assist players <25 in general on lifestyle issues. To me a 1% gain in endurance and a little increase post ARIZONA in fitness when back in OZ is totally squashed with 4am late nights and smoke filled clubs and alcohol and maybe a little bit of ice.  Spending huge amounts on 1% ers in Sports Science programs when the 5 and 10% ers have not always been addressed yet ( from fitness to lifestyle)  is where I am heading. And the law of DIMINISHING RETURNS is a huge factor in how to decide how much to spend on certain Footy Dept spending needs. Simply what will give the biggest bang for buck!

I think that is what is need is some smart consultants developing some protocols for what will actually assist a club win games relative to money spent. Questions need to be answered such as spending on quality rehabilitation staff and soft tissue therapists/massage. Does one invest massive amounts on very specific and expensive camps and sports science initiatives OR spread the funds around so that many experts and consultants can be accessed and contribute to the needs of the team. From massage to yoga to pilates to speed development to biomechanics to accessing the best rehab specialists one off etc. My last foray into AFL was when I presented a consultancy to the Western Bulldogs on their ACL injury problems and their Strength and Speed programs. I thought I was in a good position to actually deliver a very specific report/s to the club on where they should head in the future.

My gut feeling is that if a club did a lot of research and said we only have $X to spend on medical and fitness and want to maximize every dollar and get maximum effect in it’s relationship to winning games and maximizing individual athletic performance then some clubs could save 30 to 50% on their budgets and still win enough games. Too many managers have never managed elite athletes in a variety of sports and have little understanding of what goes into the long term development of elite athletes and teams. Yet they are often the ones that panic and get sucked into the ‘arms race” vortex. Rich clubs are just that, rich clubs and overall this will help. But there are ways of saving money and achieving maximum performance on the ground.

Coaching is still a hands on process and clubs have to be strong and not get sucked in to paying massive salaries because a team that did, won the flag or improved. Too simplistic.

The whole of the Geelong “super” list was developed on a total shoestring budget. Would not cut it now but the lesson is that coaching is not just about throwing money and stepping into chambers willy nilly. Those players endured till 2011.  It is about that delicate balance between science and coaching. Sports science and evidence based research is critical. But teaching someone how to jump properly and run properly also is.

At AAP we are big on our sports science with GPS,  Biomechanical analysis, and relationships with cutting edge medical and sports science staff and businesses. But we also strive to coach elite athletes hands on.

Jamaica’s sprint supremacy has come about because they realized that they needed to train in Jamaica and stop going to US colleges which have amazing facilities. A few great coaches set up in Jamaica and they often train on grass ovals and in basic gyms. But their method is cutting edge. And they do source expertise world wide for specific rehab and training needs. But still pretty amazing what has happened.

So all I am saying is that  maybe, maybe AFL success is not simply linked to more money spent. Great coaches, elite training methods and maybe less gurus. And remember the LAW of DIMINISHING RETURNS!

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Running with the Ball in Soccer: How Much, How Often, How Fast?

Fitness training with the ball is the mainstay of the strength and conditioning philosophy of the FFA and of course the evolution of Small Side Games at junior levels has seen an awesome improvement in player development in particular at pre-pubertal ages. But still we have many points of difference in how to approach football specific conditioning.

Searching research for how much time a player possesses a ball in a match I was surprised to find in a study by Carling that this was only 1.7% of the total distance. Now an approximate total distance for elite soccer is 11km so that is approximately 200m with the ball in a game.

Added to that is that on average players possess a ball 35 to 50 times a match and then that is for very few touches. And outside the scope of this article is that usually these possessions are at some speed. So like AFL the ability to kick to moving targets is critical and the ability to make space is also critical.

Obviously more goals are scored when teams cannot close space as efficiently on average. And also obvious that when a player does touch the ball, it is critical that they possess the highest skill level and decision making ability. But this decision making ability extends also to running without the ball to make space or create a “torres” type run.

Another study from Italy coughed up slightly different stats but still probably less than what one would come up with if asked.


So we have the dogma that players must train with the ball all day but 98.3% of a game is without a ball in one study and the one above well over 90%. And of course we get smashed ad nauseum with fact that Asian teams junk run in World Cups relative to European teams. Well if they didn’t chase arse they would get beaten 10 zero. Simply in Europe and South America, football is the NO 1 sport so gets the best of everything.And players compete in leagues where decision making is enhanced.  The US team has to compensate for a slight technical deficiency & probably decision making ability probably with fitness. Not a bad idea given the above statistics. In an ideal world the higher skill level and the less junk running the better. That is a no brainer! But in reality skill errors, wind, fatigue, stress whatever creates massive permutations and combinations in any team game.

So it is obvious that in that 1.7% of the game players must be highly efficient but with 98.3% of the game involving running, one can see why Nations like Germany and clubs like Galatasaray have used Athletes Performance to underpin their fitness programs. IE Think of that. A US company running fitness in the heartland of football!

This debate has a way to go in OZ. The A League is a poor reflection of what is best practice. A better reflection maybe has been the poor results in Junior International competitions so far with our new philosophies. Did we break what was fixed and simply should have we left what was fixed untouched (i.e. AIS influence etc) and simply added the no-brainer? IE Develop better skills and better decision making abilities to complement the systems that were in place. All AFL coaches crave players that can kick accurately under pressure even though this might only be 5 times. And so this again is critical in Soccer. But what about the other 98.3%?

January 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TAC system is flawed

Paul Roos has often spoken about the gap that exists between the U/18 AFL/TAC system and the actual AFL competition. It is often debated also that the old U/19 system was superior to the current U/18 system.

Paul Roos on Gap between U/18 & AFL

The other issue is education. The AFL has changed it’s age policy to make sure players complete their VCE. But there still is concern about players putting more emphasis on making the cut at the draft rather than working on their education. And in reality few make it through, but many put their heart and soul into the quest to get drafted. Anecdotally I have been told there is a literacy problem with young players.

Quote off Wikipedia: “From the 2009 draft, players must be at least 18 years of age on 31 December in the year in which they are drafted, so that players who turn 18 during their first months of Year 12 will be able to finish studying without the pressure of AFL. This was increased over the past few years due to concerns about school age players potentially having to leave home to play football interstate.”

It is obvious the AFL simply copied the US system of drafting. But the massive difference is that in the NFL one has to have technically done years of college so average age is always 20 + and even in the NBL the average is well above that of the AFL with the player needing to be 19+ from what I can gather. So they are proven talents in college able to win games in pressure games. They are privy to fully professional fitness programs and simply are men. So less of a gamble for clubs as against 18yo babies who six months before the draft are walking off trams in long school socks.

That’s it. worldwide systems simply revolve around buying the best talent. So the best are usually 25 average.

In 2002 I presented a powerpoint that said AFL was not an elite competition.


What I meant was that it was biased young and clubs were forced to continually stock up talent for the future even though that could take 5 to 8 years to provide success. And in the end the AFL is not a development program. It is a cut throat business where winning or giving supporters and stakeholders the hope of success being the NO 1 aim.

We are now seeing the evolution of the mature age rookie and an issue occurring where young TAC players are being overlooked for more mature players who with some development will provide instant impact. IE Win games! The problem is then that if a player is not drafted they go back to VFL/SANFL etc where the development is simply not as good. IE The old U/19 system meant players were a year older but more significantly could play reserves ( VFL) is there were injuries in senior team and also trained in the same areas/gyms as the senior list. Not saying to go back to that system but the competition should be probably U/20 and far more professional.

What people forget about the Geelong ‘super” team is that some players were drafted in 96, some in 97,98 then a big block in 99 and the rest 2000. That was the core. They played finals in 2004 but with older players around, then won in 2007, but still with players drafted from mid 90’s in there also!

So watching the AFL draft televised is really like watching BIG BROTHER auditioning in a kindergarten for participants. All this excitement in the 2012 draft for the 2107 season at least.

It seems that a club like Melbourne shot itself in the foot when Dean Bailey was shown the door. Lots of early draft picks and some wins on board with Bailey. Then a crap year because of a revolution in 2012. Then heaps of players thrown out and lots of mature age recycled players in 2013. IE they need some wins to survive as a coaching group, business and maybe even entity. So the whole development program was not given time. Brisbane in Voss’s 1st year shot itself in the foot by stalling development and stocking the team with recycled players. Thus the process had to start again and that simply takes years!

Compare this to Geelong & ST Kilda. Both teams had good lists in th early 2000’s  ( St Kilda’s more highly rated in draft) and at least after 7 to 8 years ( not 3!) they performed at a high level with very little change in the lists.

What I see now is an odd system when it comes to development. The TAC system is a system or “fishbowl” of its own. Players and parents feel in my opinion they have made it into the AFL system when they get selected in U/16 groups. The stats show 1) Very few get drafted & 2) More importantly young players need 3 years plus to have a ‘winning” impact on AFL teams.

Fitness staff in the AFL are on big salaries now but often it is better working at MACCAS than doing fitness at a TAC club. So the reality is that only the strongest will survive this system and once drafted this “strongest”  often becomes the weak link of an AFL team.

Oddly the AFL clubs that understand the system is too young have the best success with development. For example Collingwood and Sydney. Once you understand the need to either wait a few years or be selective in how development occurs then success can be maintained. And obviously West Coast Eagles have done a great job at re developing after 2005 team,  but in the end their older players still had to fire.

Physically it is a massive ask for TAC kids and I see many in my business that are so fit aerobically and can run a bit ( poor form usually) but are years behind in their overall development.Often lacking is core development, strength and conditioning, pure power and speed, ability to repeat speed and simply not having finalized maturation!

But so many people and managers pump their tyres up, that they perceive themselves as super athletes where nirvana is getting drafted. And few realize they need help urgently!

More to come!






December 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GPS analysis of VRDL Roller Derby Bout 6 Oct 13

Pretty picture from Game 2 of GPS tracking.

I want to keep my initial analysis very brief after doing GPS at the VRDL Oct 13 Roller Derby bout in the Melbourne Showgrounds tent that allows GPS analysis. I will further dissect all this later with regards to impacts, G forces and perceived exertion ratings. What I also need is a work rest ratio of players and also what they did, block or jam.

Simply there were a few things that seemed to come out of this:

1. Length of warmups and lack of intensity in warmups. Just odd. Low intensity, high volume warmup. No accelerations, speed etc.Everyone does it so probably just become norm but doesn’t make a lot of sense.

2. Heart rate differences between combo blockers/jammers versus mainly jammers. Inference here is that Jammers are almost exclusively a power, high level anaerobic sport ( unless every jam went for 2 minutes non stop!).

3. Blockers may ( I say may!) have to be more aerobic and stronger. Just like front rowers in rugby union. Slow speed but constant motion. Throw that out there. Sort of robbing Peter to pay Paul when creating too many combo players. But of course this all relates to numbers in teams, penalties etc. Simplistically so far there is a trend and this trend relates o how you would train people.

Leave it there for now. I will download a few pretty tables & graphs and then analyze the data in depth plus stats from games and who did what. In a week I will provide a more detailed analysis aligned with stats and work rest ratios from games. Just need another set of data more so of blockers.

Below is a simple analysis. Speed is above 5 msec and accelerations are above a certain level. Pop mainly blocked.



Note Skate only jammed in GAME 2 and lower heart rates.

And here is a pretty graph!

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