Preseason training is where all AFL players perfect their skills and physical development for the 2019 AFL season. Having no official games on the weekends usually means longer sessions, harder training and more time spent working on the things needed to improve.
We spoke to Founder & CEO Andrew Raines who remembers his most successful pre-seasons were always backed up with his best seasons. Andrew said “I remember one preseason when I was playing for Richmond, I improved in nearly every facet of my game. My speed, power, skills and endurance took quantum leaps and this reflected in my performance during the season.” He said he achieved well beyond what most people expected that season (2006) including representing Australia and finishing runner up in the Rising Star and Richmond’s Best & Fairest at only 20 years of age. “ I remember when the 2005 season ended, I received some strong feedback from my coaches. I was told I needed to become elite in at least one area of my game to forge a successful AFL career. “ Andrew said he went away and spent hours on end working on how he could become elite in areas of his game. “I sought out specialist coaching and other experts in their field to help me and it’s fair to say it paid off!”
Andrew believes that the pre-season is the best time to perfect your game. “I honestly believe that seasons are made from the work you put in over the pre-season as you have more time to focus on your individual game before you really go into team mode when the season starts.”
“Rainesy” shares some key points for you to focus on this summer.
Fine-tune your weapon
You often get told you need to improve in certain areas of your game such as becoming a better kick or mark. However what many people forget to do is tell you to focus on what you are good at how you can turn that strength into a genuine “weapon”. You should know what your strengths are to your game and over the summer months, this presents a great opportunity to become elite in that particular area of your game. You get selected into a rep. team based on your strength and your ability to bring that into the team. It’s what AFL recruiters continually look at. This pre-season fine-tune your “Weapon” 2-3 times a week whether that is before or post your training session.
Work on your weakness
Of course in order to improve your game and take the next step, your weaknesses must be worked on. As much time spent on your “weapon” must be spent on your weakness. But get the balance right. Sometimes the thing you are the poorest at can be improved, however it may never get to an elite level. For example working on your opposite foot (kicking) can dramatically improve with the right amount of time spent practicing. But the truth is there isn’t enough time with so many skills of the game to solely focus on this. You may get to a competent level and that will be a good outcome. Again, extra time (30 minutes a week) spent on 1 or 2 weakness areas over the summer months will help you.
Sacrifices to become an AFL player don’t start when you become one. They start very early in your career and must be instilled into your mentality at a very young age. To be an elite athlete you must make sacrifices in order to get where you want to go. Over the summer months it could be very tempting to have a late night, eat junk food or sit around all day and not do your training. These habits can’t become a regular occurrence and although tempting, you must put your “football first”. A simple sacrifice maybe to only play that video game once a week or count how many hours you sit in front of the TV doing nothing – look to improve it each week.
Of course enjoy yourself, have fun, as you are only young once but just remember – your closest competitor or someone challenging for your place in the team maybe making more sacrifices and creating better habits than you.
Set your goals
Every new season gives us the opportunity to reset our goals. These are one of the simplest things to do but are much harder to follow through on. What many young footballers can get lost with goal setting is that a player may set a goal that they want to make the AFL. Depending on their age, this could be a long-term goal. What often happens is that there are no mid term or short term goals set to help them achieve their “ultimate” goal. For example to achieve an AFL career, your mid term goal maybe to make a representative team. Therefore a lot of time needs to be spent on your short-term goals, which underpin the other two goals. This could be to improve your time trial (be specific as possible – set a time), spend 3 x 10 minutes sessions a week working on your weakness and 3 x 10 minute sessions a week on your “weapon”. Also sticking to one key sacrifice is always a good short-term goal to have.
Having the short-term goals and achieving them along the way will help you stay on track. Sometimes having one big goal can be too daunting and you can get off track along the way. Remember come back to your goals and ALWAYS write them down. Recording of your goals makes you more accountable. Also you may have something like a picture on a wall that is related to your goal. This is a great reminder for you when the going gets tough!
Find your “One on One” Coach today! With close to 200 sessions now completed since our launch and over 30 coaches Australia wide, we are well equipped to help you with your game. It’s never been a better time to go “One on One” and make your 2019 season one to remember.