What AFL Scouts are looking for?

USP - What AFL Scouts are looking for

“Cowards Never Start and the Weak Never Commit…that leaves only us” was the exact words a young athlete said to me at the completion of our first camp session..They get it…Strong words from a Strong athlete..rest assured they’ll get the results they deserve! Here’s a snippet of the action from our first training session in 2018. Video Footage and Slick Editing courtesy of USP Gun Athlete, Coach and Multimedia Guru Clay Cox. Check his stuff out at Clay Cox Photography on instagram and Facebook.

Awesome to have a great line up of USP AFL High performance Camp Coaches for 2019 including former Sydney Swans Superstar Kurt Tippett and former Gold Coast Suns Players Seb Tape and Mackenzie Willis as well as former VFL Premiership Coach of the Year and St Kilda recruiting Scout Travis Marsham down to impart their knowledge and wisdom to the tribe. Just wait to you see who we have lined up over the next few weeks special AFL and AFLW Guest players, Mental Skills coaches, recruiting scouts, managers, physios, coaches, techniques and methods that will blow your mind!!!!!

Former Sydney Swans AFL Superstar Kurt Tippett providing his insights and expertise to the AFL Camp members last Saturday October 5th 2019


Former Gold Coast Suns Player Mackenzie Willis taking our Female AFL High Performance Camp members through their drills last Saturday 5th October 2019
Former St Kilda Recruiting Scout and AFL Vic Coach of the Year Trav Marsham taking our AFL High Performance Camp Members through their kicking technique!
Former Gold Coast Suns Player Seb Tape keeping a watchful eye over our AFL High Performance Camp members during their pure skill drills


We were fortunate enough to have former Gold Coast Suns, Richmond Tigers and Brisbane Lions AFL player and now Gold Coast Suns Academy Coach, Andrew Raines coaching and providing his insights and expertise to our Strongman Camp and High Performance Female AFL Camp participants over the past few years!


Gold Coast Suns Academy Coach Andrew Raines passing on his wisdom to our AFL High performance Camp Members


An AFL Career spanning more than 12 years 120 games and winner of the most professional player award at both the Gold Coast suns and Brisbane Lions AFL clubs it’s fair to say Rainessy has some insight and expertise to share!

Andrew Raines sharing his AFL insights and experience with the Strongman Crew
Andrew Raines sharing his AFL insights and experience with the Strongman Crew
Andrew Raines sharing his AFL insights and experience with the Strongman Crew
Andrew Raines sharing his AFL insights and experience with the Strongman Crew

1. Clean Hands-able to gather ball in 1 grab and dispose of the ball cleanly to a team mate. Repetition is the key. The typical training done by most juniors does not adequately develop these skills. At Strongman and the Female AFL High Performance Camp we perform these skills at breakneck speed, because that’s how you perform them in a game!! You will play how you train!! At Strongman Camp and Female AFL High Performance Camp we spend a minimum of 20 mins on developing clean hands under pressure.

Richmond Tigers AFL Star Katie Brennan working on her hand skills at Strongman Camp on 2013

2. Make Tackles-in the modern era you can’t miss tackles, as the nature of the game requires accountability, 1 missed tackle typically results in a goal to the opposition as the player who breaks the tackle typically has time and space to deliver the ball or run through the lines. At Strongman Camp and Female AFL High Performance Camp we spend a minimum of 30 mins developing the tackling skills of our players!!

QLD U/18 State AFL Rep, Sunsets Academy Captain and USP Athlete Georgia Brehmer Tackling North Melbourne Superstar mason Woods during one of High Performance Camp Training Sessions
Tackling skills from Saturday Strongman Camp 2015
QLD U/18 State AFL Rep, Sunsets Academy Captain and USP Athlete Georgia Brehmer Tackling North Melbourne Superstar mason Woods during one of High Performance Camp Training Sessions

3. Break Tackles-the ability to break tackles, stand up in the tackle and dispose of the ball cleanly whilst being tackled are crucial skills in the moderns game-want proof check out Nat Fyfe. The best way to develop these skills is to practice them at training. We encourage our strongman participants to take the game on-we don’t mind if they get caught at training. After all, how do you expect to get better if you don’t practice the skill at training? Every single one of our skill and games based fitness drills was specifically designed with these principles in mind! But the fastest way to improve your ability to break tackles is through strength training! Which is what we do at Strongman Camp check out USP Athlete, Strongman Camp member and QLD U/16 State AFL Rep Joel Corey Platell at PIT Deadlifting-good luck tackling this 90kg 16 year old who runs like the wind!!)

Gold Coast Suns Academy QLD Under 16 Rep Getting Strong in the USP PIT Gymnasium. Good luck tackling this 90kg beast! Joel Corey Platell

Precise Kicking Skills-poor kicking, is poor football. The modern game requires precise foot skills. If you can’t hit a target, 15-20-25-40m away every time, under pressure and under fatigue, you let your team down. Take a leaf out of triple premiership winning team Hawthorn Footy Clubs bag of tricks-they tear teams apart through pin point precise kicking. As a junior it’s important to develop perfect technique, and the ability to hit target under fatigue, and various wind and weather conditions. Quality over quantity and a variety of kicks (drop punts, banana kick, screw punt, snap kick, grubbers, instep drop punt on both sides of the body is what’s required to take it up another level!! Again we utilise all these kicks in a variety of our drills at strongman camp and Female AFL High Performance Camp. Repetition, repetition repetition.

Andrew Raines taking one of our new strongman camp members through perfect kicking technique!


QLD U/18 State AFL Rep, Sunsets Academy Captain and USP Athlete Georgia Brehmer working on various kicks with AFLW Western Bulldogs Superstar Katie Brennan during one of High Performance Camp Training Sessions last year!

Goal Kicking skills-It’s hard to win a game without kicking goals. Players that are highly accurate with their goal kicking are worth their weight in gold!! In the modern era a player does not need to accumulate a tonne of possessions if they are efficient at kicking goals. A player who only has 3 kicks for 3 goals is highly efficient and helps their team score. A midfielder or backman that can run through the lines and kick goals is an extremely valuable asset!

Multi-Positional Player-Gone are the days when a player plays solely in 1 position. Modern day footballers must be able to play, forward, back on the ball, literally everywhere! You’ve got defensive forwards, and attacking half backs and goal kicking mid-fielders. As a junior footballer you need to develop all of these skills! By doing so, you become more valuable to your team and more likely to be selected by AFL teams! At strongman and our  female AFL high performance camps develop our athletes attacking and defensive skills in each and every drill!

Skill and games based fitness drills-develop both attacking and defensive capabilities of our athletes!

Courageous-hard at it! It goes without saying that courage is key! Running back with the flight of the ball (Think Jonathan Brown, Nick Riewoldt), putting your head over the ball when the opposition is running towards you, are key mental attributes in the game! Some footballers are born with these skills others need to develop them. By constantly putting yourself in these situations it becomes second nature, learning how to position your body to protect yourself, whilst getting the ball is another vital skill! Adding slabs of muscle as a protective armour can help an athletes confidence-take for example, Strongman Athlete Angus Phelan adding 17kgs of muscle in 12 weeks!

Angus Phelan feels more confident since he’s added 17kgs of muscle in 10 weeks! That increase in confidence resulted in being selected in the Gold Coast Suns Academy

Fast, explosive and able to accelerate! Speed is vital in the modern game, the ability to accelerate away from a pack, gather the loose ball and evade opposition players can help secure an athletes position on a team. Irrespective of height, size or weight-speed is crucial! At strongman camp and AFL Female High Performance Camp Sessions we teach our athletes a specific biomechanical fundamental technique to sprint. With this knowledge and practice we then integrate our speed, acceleration and agility technique into our football specific drills.

Strongman Crew working on their vision speed and reaction times!

Repeat Sprint Ability-The ability to sprint to a contest, make a tackle, go again, make another contest, tackle or get the ball and repeat this without fatigue is a highly desirable physical trait!! Gone are the days where players are jogging-due to high numbers of interchange rotations, the moderns game requires everything to be performed with 100% effort and intensity! The same at our strongman camp and AFL Female High Performance Camp we have specific drills designed to replicate the repeat sprint ability demands and skill demands of the modern game.

Strongman Crew developing all facets of their game with our skill and games based fitness drills

Ability to hurt and push through pain (Mental toughness). Great players have the ability to push through physical pain. They have learned that hard training prepares them physically for battle. Our strongman and Female AFL High Performance Camp training is specifically designed to mentally challenge you-after all, our Strongman and Female High Performance Camp sessions go for 2 hours, which is more than your regular games. We expect you to push your body, our strongman tribe members support and encourage you to do this as well. If you don’t challenge yourself in training, how can you do this in a game?

Resiliency (Durable, injury proof) flexible. Knowing your body, managing your body, and knowing what you need to do in order to prepare for the game are paramount to your success! One of the biggest weaknesses I see with virtually every junior athlete I work with (which is almost 10,000 athletes at last count) is insufficient flexibility. As I said at strongman Camp and the Female High Performance Camp on Saturday, we focus on our weaknesses to ensure we turn them into strengths. One of the key traits of successful athletes is durability. In fact, durability is more important than ability!! If the best athlete is injured they’re of no use to their team. Flexibility is one area that can be developed anywhere, anytime that can be developed to ensure optimal length tension relationships and joint mechanics!

The Strongman Crew working on their flexibility!

Nutrition-what you put in your mouth will dictate how you feel, how you perform and ultimately how healthy you are! Knowing when to eat and what to eat gives you the advantage over your competitors and ensures you not only enhance performance, but stay healthy for life!! Rainessy also said that when you’re younger you may be able to get away with a poor diet, but as you get older it catches up with you and can potentially shorten your career. Strongman Athlete Lachy Blank followed the nutrition protocols to the tee and was rewarded with 10kgs of muscle in 10 weeks!

Strongman Athlete Lachy Blank followed the nutrition protocols to the tee and was rewarded with 10kgs of muscle in 10 weeks!

We are the only training program in Australia that takes care of all these areas of performance. Right now you have the opportunity to rapidly improve your performance. With all these areas taken care of you’ve got only 1 option to succeed and become better than you were before!! Exciting times ahead!

3 Bonus Tips:

1. Andrew believed the best way to feel confident was through superior preparation! Having your training, nutrition and recovery dialled in is a sure fire way to enhance your confidence as an athlete and is precisely what we do at Strongman!

2. Andrew recommends always touching the footy. Take it to school, walk around with it, sleep with it (That may be going a little too far, but you get the picture). He said the best footballers that he played with like Simon Black and Gaz Jr were always touching the footy and always had it in their hands. Andrew practicing what he preaches at Strongman last year!

Andrew Raines always touch the footy!!

3. Have a life away from footy! By this he said that you need to have a hobby or something else to do that allows you to mentally re-fresh. If footy is the only thing you have and it’s not going too well, then you’ve got nothing else to take your mind away from it. Andrew uses his personal experience, like hiking through rain forests, and studying business whilst playing footy that helped keep him balanced.

The Strongman Training Crew climbing Mt Warning during their recovery week back in 2009!

4. Meditation-a way to switch off from footy and to still the mind! He used to be a highly intense person before the game. He found that he had better football results when he was relaxed and used meditation practices during his career. Former Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe is also is a big proponent of these techniques.

2015 AFL Brownlow medal winner-Nat Fyfe is a big proponent of meditation

5. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get the same results as everyone gets! Andrew implemented some other training (Alter G machines), recovery (Cryo-Chambers), injury prevention/rehab methods (like shiatsu massage) away from his footy clubs. He felt they benefited him and also gave him the belief that he had the advantage over competitors and team mates! If you’re doing Strongman Camp or the Female AFL High Performance Camp and none of your competitors are what do you think’s going to happen? Yes, you’ll improve and get the edge!!!!!

Follow these tips and you’ll take your performance to the next level!

We look forward to seeing you at Strongman..and the AFL Female High Performance Camp the best is yet to come!!!

All the best,

Joey Hayes