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ASCA Conference Review 2016

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]After recently attending the Australian Strength and Conditioning Conference 2016 in Melbourne, I thought I would put down a couple of the key take home messages I learnt.

Brett Barthomlew: The impact of influence
“The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty”

The real key ‘variables & metrics’ of influence and behaviour

Human Nature
‐ Drives and Desires
‐ Interpersonal
‐ Intrapersonal
Environment (physical surroundings)
‐ Colour
‐ Music
‐ Infrastructure
‐ Set standard or beliefs of the team, what is expected?
‐ How stress, chaos and fear affect us

“Illuminating the true roots of the art of coaching: a PEOPLE
based approach that focuses on environment,
communication, psychology and relationships. What
influences them, optimizes them & ignites them”.

“Conscious Coaching” = Connecting people, Purpose & Programming


Ron McKeefery: Components of a successful career in S&C

“Athletes dont care what you know, until they know how much you care”.

To be a successful S&C coach you need to be

  • A technician
  • A manager
  • An entrepreneur

Are you a principle based coach or philosophy based coach?

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” ralph waldo emerson

Always be seeking opportunities to ‘sharpen the sword’ – becoming a better coach.

Always keep your FOCUS on the end goal



Jill Cook: Exercise rehab for tendinopathy 


Tendons need to load to heal

Phase 1 – Isometrics

  • Sustained contraction with heavy load – 40-60 sec holds

Phase 2 – Strength

  • initially isolated muscle exercises are best
  • work on any muscle deficits  within the kinetic chain

Phase 3 – Energy storage

  • working with faster speeds just at body weight, getting the tendon use to absorbing  force

Phase 4 – Energy storage and release

  • letting the tendon now absorb and then express force
  • end stage return to play


Graeme Close: CHO requirements for the elite athlete

You need to periodise your CHO and fat intake dependent on the training program. Let the demands of the day dictate your energy needs. By lowering carbs on rest days, allows us to maximise training adaptations. Training/game days need high energy intake/loading.


Greg Haff: Cluster sets

Cluster sets allow for heavier loads to be lifted while maintaining power output across the entire set.

Dan Baker: Using velocity measures to improve resistance training

Velocity can be used to prescribe resistances or Velocity can “influence” programming, training and coaching decisions

Your first/best rep tells you your strength level for that day, Your last rep in the set tells you your acute fatigue level and how close that set is to failure or max effort ~ what RPE it is. By “knowing” these two velocity scores, training weights and set RPE levels are easy to monitor and prescribe.

In-season strength training – to ensure complete recover within 48 hours post weight training complete heavy loads but keep fast velocity (intent to move) e.g. sets of 3 reps at a 6RM.


Darren Burgess: Load monitoring 

“Fitness will not ever win a title, but it may lose you one”

We can not predict when injuries will happen.

But we can reduce the risk of injuries occurring.

By regular exposure to high speeds it helps decrease the risk of an injury.

One major variable to consider is the weekly change in training load. You don’t want anymore than a 10-15% change to ensure a low risk of injuries.

The job of the S&C is to prepare the athletes for the absolute worse case scenario faced in a game, so that if that does occur they can cope with it.

Lachlan Wilmot: From  boys to Giants

“sharpen the sword, don’t turn them in to an archer”

What did the athlete get drafted for? Make their strengths even stronger, and just improve their weaknesses so it isn’t an impact on the team. You don’t want a team of averages….

It takes at least 3 years to build an AFL body

First year – basic movement patterns – resilience to training loads, but in to LTAD, build work capacity

Second year – strength development, complex lifting, load absorption over power production

Third year – max strength, power production, mass stabilisation

Fourth year – max strength


Rachel Balkovec: The final say on movement correction

“A corrective exercise is only corrective if it is being done correctly”

Train athletes for sport skill on the field, train athletes for athleticism in the weight room.

In order to maintain athleticism, move through a full range of motion. If your athlete can’t get into the right position to squat, it’s not the squat, it’s the body. Your athlete should be able to move pain free through a full range of motion BEFORE adding strength and worrying about power.


Justin Crow: Antifragile – training to succeed in a world of uncertainty 

“you can’t predict the future”

When faced with a problem you have three options:

  1. Fragile – When faced with the problem they crumble
  2. Resilient – when faced with a problem, get it done at an average level. Next  problem is they are no better off, haven’t learnt.
  3. Antifragile – When faced with a problem they have an all out effort aiming for success, knowing that the may fail. if they do fail, learn from mistakes to improve next time.

Mo Farah example – what options did he have at the recent Olympics?

Make them fail – take the players to a really hard place/session. Then debrief post session


Anthony Shield: Hamstring injury and the role of strength training

74% of hamstring injuries occur during high speed

83% of injuries occur with the biceps femoris long head

If your hamstrings are weak and made up from short fascicles 8 times more likely to get injured.

Within the AFL weaker individuals in a Nordic hamstring test are 4.4 times more likely to get injured.

Post injury it is crucial to spend time working on eccentric strength

You need to complete both Knee flexion and hip extension exercises to strengthen the hamstrings.

“Adult males should be able to get scores above 400N on an eccentric hamstring test, if they can’t…… shame them”


There were many more great presentations and take home messages, but these were the key ones for me. Keen to hear your thoughts on it all, and if you were at the conference, please share your highlights.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]