Despite the AFL season coming to an end, and many seasons not being able to eventuate under the current circumstances this year, we at SportsPower Geelong believe this means there’s all the more reason to get stuck into some pre-season football training, gaining the upper hand on opponents. Luckily for you, here at SportsPower Geelong we have the 2-hour training session to give your team the edge.
Before beginning however, it’s essential to be sorted with the right gear. Firstly, ensure you’re sorted with the football boots suited for you. Brands such as Puma, Adidas and Nike all supply top of the range boots, sold right here at SportsPower Geelong. Aim to wear clothing suitable for conditions. A light singlet with footy shorts will usually do the trick, however compression attire for the upper and lower body can come in very handy for the cold nights. Fortunately, again we have you sorted - check out our range of 2XU compression gear for when winter approaches. And most importantly don’t forget to bring a mouthguard to training, we can’t have those pearly whites being damaged!
To kick things off, a warm-up is pivotal in preparing players for the physical demands of the session ahead. Whilst being able to mentally switch on players after potentially long days of school or work, a warm-up also provides the physiological benefits of promoting blood flow and therefore oxygen to muscles, inducing muscle excitability and finally loosening up joints. Overall, the benefits of a warm-up ensure the body is prepared to work, decreasing the chance of injury. A 15-minute warm-up should be first performed, with a focus on being dynamic. Begin with slow, simple movements such as walk throughs and jog throughs over a 20 metre distance. Walk/run throughs could include:
Once these movements have been performed, the focus should shift to a gradual increase in intensity due to already activating muscles as well as promoting blood flow around the body. Again, across a 20 metre distance, perform higher intensities activities such as:
Overall, this warm-up should be performed over a 10-minute period, allowing optimal time for the body to prepare.
Perfect! Body warm-up done! Now into potentially the most important part of the session… skills and touch. Remember, Gary Ablett wasn’t born with his clean hands, it’s the time and effort spent on his touch which elevates his game. A 15-minute skills warm-up will now be conducted, with an emphasis on getting the footy in the hands as much as possible. Separate players into groups of roughly 5 or 6 and have a coach or helper 10 metres from the line of players. The coach/helper out the front can feed the ball to players before getting the player to handball the ball back and run around the coach/helper, returning to the line. The coach/helper will feed the ball to players with numerous variations such as:
Perform these drills for 7 minutes. Despite eventually becoming repetitive, it’s important players spend plenty of time with the ball in their hands as it’s extremely important to confidently execute the fundamental skills of the sport on game day. The next 8 minutes of the skills warm up involves the basic skill of kicking. Whilst getting players to remain in their groups, split them into half and distance them 20 metres apart. Groups will now kick the ball within their lanes repetitively. Again, this skill being performed at high amounts is pivotal to developing a fundamental skill. To add variety, extend kicks between groups to 30 and 40 metres, whilst encouraging players to also practice using their non-preferred foot.
Right, both warm-ups done, let’s get into the thick of it! Begin with a 15-minute field kicking and handballing drill, incorporating a variety of kicks used on game-day, building on the lane kicking previously performed. This part of training should take up a large portion of the ground, with players instructed to run hard, in conjunction with executing a variety of different kicks and handballs just as they would in a game. An example ball movement drill is outlined below, with the ball moving from player to player via kicking (K) or handballing (H) beginning at player A and ending at player J, moving through the players alphabetically as displayed.
(Coach Assist, 2020) https://www.coachassist.com.au/junior-afl-training-drills/
Moving through and now onto a 20-minute match simulation drill. This will involve breaking the group into 3 even groups (depending on numbers available). Setup a rectangle grid, approximately 70 metres x 40 metres. Start a group on each end of the rectangle and one group starting in the middle. Essentially, the aim of the drill is for one group to start with the footy and work there way up to the group at the other end through handballing and kicking. The middle group aims to defend the attacking team through tackling, pressure acts and interceptions. If a turnover occurs, the ball will be given back to the offensive team before resuming play. Once the ball reaches the opposite end, the offensive team will immediately switch to defense, whilst the end group which has now received the ball becomes offence, now with the aim of transitioning the ball to the opposite end. The initial defensive group will now replace the other end, before getting their chance to attack. This pattern will repeatedly continue. Due to the tiring demands of the drill, stop after 10 minutes to bring all groups in for any discussion and feedback, before going back out to recommence for a final 5 minutes of the drill. This drill is important in putting into place lessons learnt from the ball movement drill – now against opposition. A high emphasis should also be placed on the transition (offence to defence) aspect of the drill, as this simulates the typical flow of a real match.
Now, onto everyone’s favourite part of training. Some good old-fashioned conditioning. Getting some kilometres into the legs is vital before the season. As they say, premierships are formed in the pre-season! All up this block consists of 12 minutes of work, allowing for 8 minutes of instruction and recovery. Players are to use the outside of the oval to perform fartlek running. This will consist of 4 x 3-minute efforts. Each effort includes:
Take some time to recover by catching your breath (and throwing up the day’s lunch), whilst also remaining hydrated. With new covid-19 protocols in place, sort yourself out with an individual water bottle for training, thanks to our wide range at SportsPower Geelong!
Nearly there now! Time to finish off with everyone’s favourite part – honing your craft. This should be a player-driven 20 minutes, with coaches their to support where needed. The aim of this aspect of training is for players to select one area of their game which needs improving, and work on it for 10 minutes within groups or even by themselves, it’s totally up to the players. This could include goal-kicking, marking, tackling, field kicking and so on. However, after 10 minutes of this, players should shift to another craft area, this time being a strength. Whilst it’s important to improve weaknesses, it’s even more important to build on strengths. These are what provide a player with a point of difference – something which sets them apart from their peers. Therefore after 10 minutes spent on a weakness, players should then switch to focus on a strength for 10 minutes.
Phew! Training done. However, that’s not all the work completed. A feature of training hard is that a proper recovery is required so that it can be done all over again within a few days. Recovery starts now! The group should jog a lap at low intensity before grouping up for a 10-minute cool down stretching phase. This is where the focus should be on static stretching, the complete opposite to the dynamic warm-up. Stretches are to be held on each side of the body for 30 seconds, with the muscle groups to stretch including:
All up allow for 15 minutes of cooling down consisting of the low intensity jog and static stretching.
And there we have it! 2 hours of football training under the belt. Keep this form up and the next Dustin Martin of the competition beckons!