A few months ago now myself and 80 junior AFL Footballers attended the Strongman training camp and were fortunate enough to have Brisbane Lions Vice Captain Tom Rockcliff come down to the address the Strongman Tribe and share some of his expert insights on what has helped him become one of the games elite players!

Brisbane Lions Vice Captain Tom Rockcliff

Here’s the cliff notes version of what Tom Spoke about on Saturday.

1. Ask questions, don’t be afraid, if you don’t know why or how to do something. It’s the only way to learn and become better.

2. Individualized training programs are vitally important. Mid-fielders should not do the exact same training as key position players. Tom sighted the example of the varying running requirements of the mid fielders (who have more continuous running demands) in comparison to the key position players (who have longer rest periods between their high intensity sprints).  Individualized training programs are the cornerstone to the success I’ve had with numerous elite footballers.

3. Sleep is the most important and under rated recovery practice and protocol. If you’re not sleeping a minimum 8-10 hours per night you’re not going to be able to recover from your training. Through years of trial and error I’ve found that athletes recover and sleep best when their sleep is before 10.30pm and they wake up after 6am. For more information on recovery check out the Recovery Secrets for Elite Athletes Manual in the Store Section.

4. Feedback from trusted mentors, coaches, parents and colleagues holds the key to self improvement. Performance analysis and reviews are completed by Tuesday so you can focus on the game ahead. I currently train an AFL footballer who will leave no stone unturned in his quest to get drafted-who actually pays a professional coach to come and watch him play and video tape his game so he can evaluate the game and highlight key areas for improvement.

5. As a player it is important to give constructive feedback to your team mates in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time. In other words its not always best to spray your team mate if they make a single mistake. No ones perfect and they most definitely didn’t make the error on purpose. Sometimes its better to give the feedback in private or when you’ve had a chance to let your emotions cool down.

6. Take the appropriate time to switch off and relax away from footy and sport a minimum 3-6 weeks should be taken off every year. This allows your body and mind to mentally and physically regenerate! Remember its a long season ahead. This is a strict rule I enforce upon all the athletes I coach privately. Although they don’t often like to hear it. They need to remember as coaches we have their best interests at heart!

Brisbane Lions Player Tom Rockcliff with his Best and Fairest medallion in 2011

7. Always Look for ways to improve yourself both physically and mentally. A surefire way to improve your footy is to work on your physical qualities like Strength, Speed, Power, Endurance. Tom said that this was his biggest difference from 2010-2011 winning his best and fairest was actually having a full solid pre-season.

8. Hydration is vitally important. Weigh yourself before and after the game and or training and note the difference in weight. Whatever the difference you need to re-hydrate to ensure your fluids return to their previous levels! I’ve seen performance decrements in strength ranging from 20-40% from a 2.5% decrease in hydration. For more information on hydration and nutrition check out the Nutrition Strategies for Ultimate Physical Performance in the Store section.

9. Parental support is vitally important, without it you’re never going to get anywhere. You’re very lucky your parents have spent the time to drop you off to strongman and invest in your ability as well.

10. If a coach says something to you, don’t take it personally, they don’t hate you, its because they want you to improve.

All the best for the week,