A day in the life of an Elite AFL Footballer

USP - A day in the life of an elite AFL footballer

One of the amazing perks of my job as a strength and conditioning coach
is the ability to meet and network with an amazing array of elite professionals in the professional sporting sector..having contacts at numerous elite clubs and institutes permits me the ability to gain access to some fantastic coaches and athletes that the general public usually are not privy to.

I was recently interstate consulting with some of my athletes in Melbourne and talked Essendon footballer and USP Athlete Sam Michael into letting us follow him around for the day to see what goes on behind the scenes at Essendon Footy club in-season.

Sam Michael Busting out with a Log Jammer Press during a recent USP PIT Training Session with Strength and Conditioning Specialist Joey Hayes
Sam Michael Busting out with a Log Jammer Press during a recent USP PIT Training Session with Strength and Conditioning Specialist Joey Hayes
Sam Michael AFL Jersey going up on The USP Wall of fame!
Sam Michael Busting out with a Log Jammer Press during a recent USP PIT Training Session with Strength and Conditioning Specialist Joey Hayes
Joey Hayes, Sam Michael and Essendon Strength and Conditioning Coach Paul Turk
Sam Michael Essendon

I arrive at Essendon Footy Club at 7am for the clubs main session on Wednesday it’s the start of May so the winter hasn’t really kicked in. I have a brief chat with the high performance coaching staff and they let me know the training session plan and outline for the day. It’s 4 degrees. I’m told it’s the coldest day they’ve had this year.

Paul Turk the Essendon strength and conditioning coach remarks “Joey sometimes the GPS readings say the windchill factor can be as cold as -7 degrees”.

Welcome to Tullamarine The Weather turned it on for me 4 degrees!

Most players arrive around 8am, Sam has been at the club since 7am doing the extra flexibility and mobility work he deems he needs to keep his body healthy.

By 8.30am all players have undertaken their wellness assessment (specific muscle testing range of motion assessments and strength assessments adductors, hamstrings etc as well a few other markers such as heart rate variability, soreness levels, energy levels etc as well as USG readings. (Urine specific gravity readings to assess hydration status etc).

Recovery Questionnaire

At 9am we all meet inside the Auditorium for the opposition meeting whereby tactics, match ups, set ups and video footage of the opposition is viewed and are discussed.

9.30am players go through a 5 station mobility circuit (based on shoulder stability, ankle mobility, hip mobility, knee stability, glute strength, balance and proprioception) in the Essendon in-door hangar which is complete with synthetic grass.

Essendon mobility circuit

9.45am players head out to one of 2 fields that are the specific dimensions of the MCG or Etihad stadium the 2 fields which they generally play on. As the weekends game is being played at Etihad the bombers players train on.

Essendon players grab their GPS before running over the the Etihad dimension ground

The session consists of a:

Warm up 3 vs 2 handball drill.

1 small sided 7 vs 7 handball game on a 30 x 15m field with 1 goal at each end emphasising skill and games based drills.

1 full ground match simulation drill 13 vs 13.

3 vs 3 Gauntlet Thru the centre square deliver drill

3 x 30m mark repeat sprint efforts

15 minutes of individual skills work (e.g. contested marking, goal kicking, stoppages)

The Essendon High performance team monitoring the workload of the players

11.45am Players Eat Lunch that is prepared in the Essendon cafeteria. (Salmon and veggies are on the menu today!)

1pm Group Education with the local crime commissioner of police talking about sport and organised crime etc.

2pm Gym Session

3pm Stretch

3.30pm Ice Baths

4pm Massage

5.30pm Players Sponsors Cocktail Night

7.30pm Dinner

Sam Michael Post Training Session Feed!

I was surprised and humbled when at the end of the day I was presented with a signed Essendon jersey from all of the players in appreciation for the assistance I had provided them when they were up on the Gold Coast!

In conclusion, the life of an AFL player is truly a fantastic career.

You are paid to train, lift, weights, eat quality food, meet amazing people, travel around Australia and get massaged and encouraged to get educated by the AFL players association-in fact they contribute towards our education and professional development to attend university.

What more can you want?

It’s a fantastic life.

If you want to be elite and back yourself as having the potential to be an elite athlete.

Click here to see how you can accelerate and fast track the process!

All the best,

Joey Hayes