For over a year now, people have been questioning the validity of the rise of the Port Adelaide Football Club who currently sit on top of the AFL premiership ladder.
In season 2012, the club was in disarray and almost on the verge of imploding. In that season, Port Adelaide had come off the back of their worst season in history, crowd numbers were at record lows and financial losses were at record highs. Despite an easy fixture, the club had lost to a first year club in Greater Western Sydney and risked losing many of their key players. The eventual sacking of coach Matthew Primus and the tragic death of a player on the end of season trip had Port Adelaide undoubtedly at the clubs lowest ebb.
So it was great to read this article in the Herald Sun which outlines a large part of the reason why in just a year, ‘the Power’ have been able to change their fortunes so dramatically that they are now being seriously talked about as premiership contenders.
Now this isn’t to say that all clubs don’t have hard fitness regimes, however, the intense pre-season in Dubai which was run by highly regarded fitness coach Darren Burgess, was described by new coach Ken Hinkley as the “worst nine days I’ve ever seen at a football club”.
The players were pushed to their absolute limits. “We’re capable of pushing these players harder than what the players think” Burgess said. Even on the very first day within four hours of their 5am landing from a 13 hour flight they were hitting the training track.
Now how can the success of this crazy fitness regime actually be proven? In AFL terms, wins an losses are often attributed to the coach, but when trends start to occur with a team losing games in the final quarter then it is put down to fitness. According to Champion Data, since the start of 2013 (Burgess had been employed by the Power in 2012) Port Adelaide is only second to reigning premier, Hawthorn, in terms of favourable fourth quarter score differential, and is currently ranked first in scores from turnovers – effectively showing their stamina through counter attacks.
According to Expert Enough, turning your lack of fitness into completing some of the most gruelling fitness events possible is as simple as starting small and pushing harder at every session. It also makes it easier if there is someone there to push the limits with you and make it social. And for any of you out there wanting to know why you should want to push the limits and grow, rather than continue with the regular ‘daily grind’ we urge you to read this article from Brain Pickings about the benefits of a growth mindset.