Sunday, February 15, 2009

Changing Location

Hi for anyone that follows this blog I have moved to

Hope to see you there



Sunday, February 8, 2009


What are your thoughts re periodisation. Mine are that we must periodise (plan) in everything we do. There is often controversy about what structure to use with linear periodisation being the traditional method and also non linear also being noted as effective. The simple difference is that in a linear format we would have a phase of strength training being say 3 days/week all body with 4 sets of 6 repitions and we would maintain this set rep ratio but increase the intensity by increasing the load. In a non linear Monday we may do 3 sets of 8-10/Wednesday may be 4 x 6 and Friday may be 4x12 and this philosophy could transfer to conditioing work as well e.g long intervals mixed with shorter intervals. What is best well at the end of the day its what you see works/what your data says and only experience will help you. Also athletes adapt differently. There is motivational aspects related to non linear that are positive in that the workout is always different but it must be carefully planed. Also just ensure whatever session you are running you know where it fits into the entire plan

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sydney FC Coach sacked

What can I say the strength coach now the head coach. Dont want to be to critical as all reports suggest he is a nice guy but you must cover all your bases when preparing teams and coaching isnt related to being a great player but to how much work you are willing to put into it. Learn off the greats be a student of the game and you can do it but too often in our country in football we just dont work hard enough. I hope all goes well for the coach in the future and the future looks bright for Sydney FC with a European coach lets see what happens in the athletic development/sports science side of things but I am sure they will make some good decisions. There is some very good people there with many saying the present assistant Tony Popovic is going to be an outstanding coach of the future. One thing is for sure The A League needs Sydney FC to be firing on all cylinnders

More Research

Just continuing with our look at research here is another study with elite youth. Please remember we are only looking here at the abstract and you should always read the entire paper. Too often people read the abstract only and go for it where as I have stated previously it is important to analyse the entire article.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:Volume 23(1)January 2009pp 163-169
Relationship Among Repeated Sprint Tests, Aerobic Fitness, and Anaerobic Fitness in Elite Adolescent Soccer Players

[Original Research]
Meckel, Yoav1; Machnai, Oren1; Eliakim, Alon1,2
1Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel; and 2Child Health and Sport Center, Pediatric Department, Meir General Hospital, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Address correspondence to Yoav Meckel,
Meckel, Y, Machnai, O, and Eliakim, A. Relationship among repeated sprint tests, aerobic fitness, and anaerobic fitness in elite adolescent soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 163-169, 2009-The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships among aerobic fitness, anaerobic capacity, and performance indices of 2 different repeated sprint test (RST) protocols in a group of 33 elite adolescent soccer players (age range 16-18 years). All participants performed 4 tests: an aerobic power test (20-m shuttle run), the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT), and 2 different RST protocols (12 × 20 and 6 × 40 m). Significant correlations (p <>r = 0.618strong), total sprint time (r = 0.709), and performance decrement (PD; r = 0.411) of the 2 RST protocols. A significant negative correlation was found between the PD in the 12 × 20-m RST and calculated peak V̇o2 (r = -0.60, p < r =" -0.32," p =" 0.09).">r = -0.42 and -0.45, respectively) and with the total sprint time of the 12 × 20-m protocol (r = -0.47). There were no correlations between other indices of the WAnT and the 2 RSTs. Despite identical total work, different RST protocols represent different physiological implications. The aerobic system plays a significant role in the maintenance of intensity level during a soccer game, which is characterized by short bursts of activities. Anaerobic performance of repeated brief efforts imposes different physiological stress than a single prolonged activity and, thus, may reflect different physiological capabilities. Therefore, anaerobic testing procedures should consist of specific protocols that mimic the athlete's specific

This article highlights a problem with sport science research. The authors are claiming significant relationships be reporting r's which are correlations. I would never report an r at best it must be an r squared and we should know that these are very weak relationships because in effect where they have reported a significant r of 0.61 if we square that it comes to approx 0.36 which tells us that only 36% of this relationship is explained where over 60% is not so you can see it is very weak. Also the wingate test is performed on a bike which is again non specific in saying all this I do believe that the repeated sprint test is very valuable and should be used in testing protocols - I would lokk at work conducted by Bangsbo in this area

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I intend to keep posting some studies for you to read and critique. Too often with research onece it is published we just believe it and this is a problem. Look at published work with a critical eye to ensure what the study is saying is in effect true. I find too often in soccer related studies the statistical power is very poor and thus there are numerous variables that could be effecting the results rather than what is being reported. Here s an abstract of a review article so go and read it and then have a look at some of the papers it has reviewed. I do believe that soccer players havent even come close to maximising their athletic potential

Endurance and Strength Training for Soccer Players: Physiological Considerations
[Review Article]
Hoff, Jan; Helgerud, Jan
Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Correspondence and offprints: Professor Jan Hoff, Faculty of Medicine, NTNU, NO-7489 Trondheim, Norway. E-mail:
Top soccer players do not necessarily have an extraordinary capacity in any of the areas of physical performance. Soccer training is largely based on the game itself, and a common recruitment pattern from player to coach and manager reinforces this tradition. New developments in understanding adaptive processes to the circulatory system and endurance performance as well as nerve and muscle adaptations to training and performance have given rise to more effective training interventions. Endurance interval training using an intensity at 90-95% of maximal heart rate in 3- to 8-minute bouts have proved to be effective in the development of endurance, and for performance improvements in soccer play. Strength training using high loads, few repetitions and maximal mobilisation of force in the concentric mode have proved to be effective in the development of strength and related parameters. The new developments in physical training have important implications for the success of soccer players. The challenge both for coaches and players is to act upon the new developments and change existing training practice.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What does a strength coach need

Ashley Jones is a very good friend of mine and one of the best Athletic Development coaches I know. He presently works with the Crusaders Rugby organisation in NZ who are probably the best club rugby side in the World. (see earlier post where we did an interview with Ash) Anyway he regularly writes for a great site and here is an interesting article on what he thinks is required to work in this buisness

Written by Ashley Jones
Monday, 04 August 2008 16:13

I am not a sports scientist; I am a strength and conditioning coach. One man’s opinion. By Ashley Jones

No matter what else the person has if they can not communicate, empathise and organize then every other qualification they have is useless. Personally, I do not think you need a degree to do this job, it helps when things are not going right to have something to fall back upon to rationalize but it is not the be all and end all or the first thing I would look at if employing someone. I know of an excellent coach who has continually been discriminated against because he does not have formal tertiary qualifications, but he has studied his entire life, attending seminars done internships with Poliquin, Chek, Siff and Ian King. Conversely I have interviewed graduates who can not tell me the teaching points for a squat or who do not actually train themselves. What do I want to see, when I look at a resume?
1. Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (or equivalent) coaching qualifications
2. A recognized national weight lifting federation coaching qualification
3. A training history and even a competition or two under your belt, you do not have to be a world class athlete to know how to train and compete, “Time Under the Bar” (Dave Tate)
4. What do you read on a regular basis; just to highlight a few areas and examples: · Web sites; t-nation, elitefts, strength and conditioning, getstrength · Books; supertraining, The Encyclopaedia of Weightlifting, Science and Practice of Strength Training, Russian Training Manuals · Authors; Brooks Kubik, Bill Starr, Jim Smitz, Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Lyn Jones, Bud Jefrries · Journals; Milo, Strength and Conditioning, Soviet Sports Training Review
5. A copy of your programs and then organizing a group in a practical session
6. Who have you trained previously, and I will ring and check and ask would you have this person train you again and why have they moved on
7. Formal tertiary qualifications, can you stick at something long enough to earn something
8. What is your personal philosophy in strength & conditioning, What do you Stand For! This are in no ranked order but they would be the areas I would consider when I would be short listing and then finalizing, obviously my own personal biases come through strongly in this listing, but as said at the commencement, just one man’s opinion.
Cheers, Ash

Sounds good to me and a may also add that your not frozen in your ways and you are open to change if it is required.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Conditioning and soccer

There is often a debate about whether to use the ball during conditioning work rather than have less specific work completed. Although I am an advocate of keeping it as specific as possible I am yet to be convinced that small sided games get as a great a benefit physiologicaly as set conditioning work without the ball. There is research to suggest it does but again I am not convinced. My preferred option is to groups move from less specific but high intensity and high focus conditioning work then into small sided games and repeat. For example you may complete a set of 10-20second intervals at 100% with similar recovery x 5 then after 1 -2 min recovery go into 3v3 small sided games. I am not sure because as yet I havent quantified the dats but from my observations with SSgames players tend not to work at the same level as they would in a straight out shuttle run (they are always holding back). Find below a recent study from JSCR that demonstrates maybe we need something more than SSgames to evoke a response.

Acute Physiological Responses and Time-Motion Characteristics of Two Small-Sided Training Regimes in Youth Soccer Players
[Original Research]
Hill-Haas, Stephen V1; Rowsell, Greg J2; Dawson, Brian T1; Coutts, Aaron J3
1University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; 2South Australian Sports Institute, Kidman Park, Australia; and 3School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Hill-Haas, SV, Rowsell, GJ, Dawson, BT, and Coutts, AJ. Acute physiological responses and time-motion characteristics of two small-sided training regimes in youth soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 111-115, 2009-The purpose of this study was to examine the acute physiological responses and time-motion characteristics associated with continuous and intermittent small-sided games (SSGs). The continuous (SSGC) regime involved 24 minutes' playing duration (no planned rest intervals), whereas the intermittent regime (SSGI) involved 4 × 6-minute bouts with 1.5 minutes of passive planned rest (work:rest ratio 4:1). Both training regimes were implemented across 3 SSG formats, which included games with 2 vs. 2, 4 vs. 4, and 6 vs. 6 players. Sixteen men's soccer players (mean ± SE: age = 16.2 ± 0.2 years, height = 173.7 ± 2.1 cm, body mass = 65.0 ± 2.5 kg, estimated V̇o2max = 54.8 ± 0.7 ml·kg-1·min-1) participated in the study. Heart rate (HR) was measured every 5 seconds during all SSGs. Global ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were recorded immediately after the SSGs using the Borg scale (RPEs, 6-20). Capillary blood samples were drawn at rest and within 5 minutes after the end of each SSG. Time-motion characteristics were measured using portable global positioning system units. There were no significant differences between SSGC and SSGI for total distance covered or for distance traveled while walking, jogging, or running at moderate speed. However, players covered a significantly greater distance at 13.0-17.9 km·h-1, a greater total distance at higher running speed, and a greater total number of sprints (>18 km·h-1) with SSGI compared with SSGC. In contrast, global RPE and %HRmax were significantly higher in SSGC than in SSGI. Both intermittent and continuous SSG training regimes could be used during the season for match-specific aerobic conditioning. However, both training regimes used in this study seem unlikely to provide a sufficient stimulus overload for fully developing V̇o2max.

I havent read the full article as yet so I am unsure what level the players were but I think the last line is important. Of cause there are studies to show the effectiveness of SSgames but maybe a combination needs to be looked at closer

Monday, January 26, 2009

Functional Training

Functional training is very misunderstood concept and does not include foam rollers and keeping players out of sport specific positions. Vern Gambetta is a leader in real sport specific functional training and the sooner physical trainers/therapists understand sport conditioning the better we will be. Our job is to get players fit/fast and strong and maintain that so the last thing we need is to be opposed by a physio who is using poorly researched techniques to keep the players off the field. sad fact I heard yesterday that the NSCA has been basicaly hijacked by personal trainers and physical therapists with membership now reflecting only 20% being active coaches in the field. Short note to physio's - remember the athlete you are working with is not general population and may react quite differently to fast tracked treatment - I do wonder what has been taught in lectures because I have seen very few physio professors that would have ever strength trained/completed a power clean or any explosive movement

Keeping it real

There is no doubt over the years much of what has been said about exercise is not completely true. Too often people involved in exercise think it is the be all and end all of life and that without it we cant survive. Although I agree somewhat I am perplexed by the notion that exercise doesnt have to be difficult for success. This is not true and lets be honest that for exercise to have an effect on the body it has to be hard work none of this gardening, walk the dog, go shopping of take a few extra steps a day this strategy in health promotion has led to one thin - a fatter nation. The problem is too many people lecturing are still in this mind set you know the talk test, the easy resistance when we have to push it much harder than this.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I have been listening to some great podcasts lately as I stumbled on a site that I suggest you go to

and download the free podcats. Dr Bill Kraemer is one of the hosts and he has interesting stuff to say and they have some good guests. The girl hosts drive me a little crazy but if you concentrate on the content it makes my runs more enjoyable

Sydney FC Girls

Sydney FC Girls

Our team lost in the Semi Final in a penalty shootout after playing the final 50 minutes with 10 players so though disppointing I am very proud of the performance. The girls are always a pleasure to work with and I just wish many higher paid athletes would have their discipline. They now have a 3 week recovery and then we start preparing for the local competition where they play in a boys competition. I think there is room for development and primarily around speed and power nd it is something I will focus on this year


I apologise for not writing for a while but I have just spent a great vacation with my family at our beach house. I wish everyone a happy new year and a great 2009. My summer has been full of cricket and surfing as my son has become addicted to cricket and bth my daughter and son love to surf so it has been alot of fun. For those international readers cricket is a great game as it can be played in the yard, at the beach, on the street, at the park and in Australia we seem to have different rules where ever we play. My son Luke who is just 7 loves it and there are alot of motor skills involved and helps in athletic development as does surfing. I just think we have to offer our kids variety with activity and not isolate them into 1 sport at young ages. Many of my friends ask why my children are not at soccer camp, or why hasnt Bella started swimming for this year as there are competitions around the corner etc etc and I just think what is going on let kids be kids let them be active and i look at the activities my kids have done over the Summer (cycling, skate boarding, basketball, cricket, soccer, swimming, surfing, variety of body weight exercises, sprinting, jumping, wrestling, climbing) I think they are doing ok and none of these have been organised its just us getting out and playing. Have a great 2009 and I hope you thoughts expand and you trust what you think