The sport of AFL has changed significantly over the past decade. Today’s game places a number of physical demands on players of all levels, that go far beyond just a basic level of fitness.
Different positions have specific demands, for example a Midfielder must cover a great distance of the field each game, so their endurance demands will differ to a Full Forward, who will have their own requirements of possessing the strength and power needed to make them stand out in one on one contests.
Aside from these facts each player should possess the attributes of Strength, Explosive Power, Speed and repeated sprint ability, Agility, Endurance and Flexibility, in addition to the skills requirements of the game.
As a player, the development of these attributes must be reflected in your strength and conditioning program, from the transition period between October-November, the preparation period between December-March and importantly, during the competition period of April-September.
At an amateur level it can be difficult to juggle the demands of work, family life, club level training twice a week and game day, whilst allowing time for adequate recovery. More often than not, club level training will focus on sports specific skills development, some endurance and a limited amount of strength training. Your teams coaches are also under time constraints, and in addition, your club may not have access to the appropriate equipment to provide the specialised strength and conditioning training that will take your game to the next level.
For senior level amateur players and junior level players looking to improve their chances of playing at a higher level, the responsibility of having the correct AFL strength and conditioning program often falls back in your hands.
Due to these factors, your AFL strength and conditioning program will need to be effective, specific to the demands of the sport, and be planned around club level training and game day.