The Importance of Pre-Season Training – Bayley Forbes

The Importance of Pre-Season Training

What is pre-season training?

Pre-season strength and conditioning programs are created to prepare athletes for the upcoming season. Whether you are a high-performing athlete or competing at a local club. Through periodised training, we train the aspects of Football needed to win, these demands include
1. Cardiorespiratory endurance
2. Anaerobic endurance
3. The ability to run fast and produce power
4. Muscular Strength
5. Being flexible and reducing injury risk

Through Pre-Season training, you will train these demands at various pre-set times. This is very important as we are trying to create certain physiological changes within an athlete’s body at a certain time of the year. We do these by a very simple training principle. SPECIFICITY! We begin with the least specific training in October/November e.g. Only gym-based training. We then shape and change this training to become more specific to AFL where in March/April most of the training is on the track completing skill work. Remember SPECIFICITY IS KING when wanting to compete at your best.

Why is pre-season training important?

After your time off from training, pre-season guides you towards your peak fitness, so that you are at your best at the start of the season and not any earlier. This is so that your body is well conditioned so that your first couple of games don’t feel as exhausting and you have a jump on the competition. Everyone’s training, but you have train not just harder, but smarter as well!

Our main GOALS are.
• Improving strength and flexibility where you need it
• Giving you time to work on your weaknesses to start the season at your best
• Gives you the time and space to refine your skills
• Arguably the most important reason for completing a thorough pre-season is to create resilience to injury so that you can complete for longer and harder than the competition

What’s involved in a pre-season block?

When planning your training we split the calendar into multiple phases that run for a set amount of time
1. Transition/Off-Season – 8 weeks
2. Pre-Season – 12 weeks
3. Pre-Competition – 4 to 6 weeks
4. Competition – However long your season runs for


The transition phase or off-season is where we ensure that you are taking some time to relax, and we don’t need to think too much about our sport at this time. For AFL this may be immediately after finals up until October. After a period of rest, athletes can begin a period of unstructured training ensuring to not go too hard too early.


This is where the bulk of the work happens. You are completing strength/track testing, the coach is making you run in the summer heat and the skills start to pick back up. Your program should include a diverse range of activities specific to your sport and should cover many training elements, including endurance, strength, flexibility, speed/power and technical skills. But as already mentioned not all should be completed at once. This is where it can become difficult to know when and where to program specific physiological principles. This is why having a strength and conditioning coach in your back pocket doing the behind the scenes work is invaluable.


Remember SPECIFICITY IS KING, this phase is where you become the most specific to AFL. Training consists of full ground drills, match simulation and practising match setups. The club will also most likely be completing practice matches within this time

Want to further your individual or club’s performance?

Our Strength and Conditioning coaches and Osteopaths work extensively with athletes of many sporting backgrounds and ages that want to perform at their best every season but are unsure of where to begin. So, if you want to perform better and reduce your risk of injury Central Mallee health is here to help!

Contact the team for more information

Training Programs can be found directly at Train Heroic
Here: TrainHeroic Programs

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