Why AFL players can’t really take a holiday
THERE is a perception AFL players get 8-10 weeks off a year, during which they don’t work all that hard.
That is a flawed perception, as anyone in the industry will tell you.
Pre-season is hard. So hard you have to do your own preseason before it actually starts just to come back in good enough shape to train at the level required.
I’ll never forget the nights out with mates, watching them tuck into late-night bur- els, which indicate what they’ve done when nobody is around — the ultimate test of professionalism. Compare this to anyone else on holidays, who can eat and drink whatever they want, as long as they show up ready to work when they return.
I’d always look on in wonder at Scott Pendlebury and the manner in which he would present himself. You wouldn’t have known he’d had a break.
However, at Adelaide Graham Johncock always looked to come back overweight and not running at his best.
It would stress the fitness and coaching staff, and the leadership group, would question his professionalism and attitude, but he knew he could turn it around and be selected for Round 1.
Regardless of how well you are running and lifting weights, if your skinfolds are up you will be questioned in front of the group.
You will be asked how hard you’ve worked and whether you have done everything possible to be in the best shape.
This means there comes a time during your holidays when you don’t enjoy them. There is a clock in your head counting the days left until you return to work. When you can count the days on one hand, you start feeling a knot in your stomach about the 2km time-trial, hoping the work you’ve done is enough. You can’t sleep the night before, but you will sleep like a baby in the coming weeks. You’ll run more than a marathon over a week — at
EAT, DRINK AND
There isn’t really a break for AFL players, who must ensure they’re ready to go for day one of pre-season. Brayden Maynard, Darcy Moore, Caleb Daniel, Scott Pendlebury, Christian Salem, James Harmes, Angus Brayshaw and Paddy McCartin found out this week if they had done enough. Pictures: JAY TOWN, NICOLE GARMSTON, MICHAEL KLEIN gers while I’d go without because, even after a few beers, I couldn’t get skinfolds out of my head.
You get targets coaches expect you to hit on day one — and often they are ridiculous.
Some players get a time-trial target quicker than their personal best — usually set in the last time-trial of pre-season.
They will be asked to return with certain skinfold lev-