How to condition your athletes Part 3-Sport Specific Energy System Work

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2

Ok, so what about some examples of these Skill and Games Based Fitness Drills?


AFL Skill and Games Based Fitness Drills (3 & 4)

5 vs. 5 handball game with 2 corner goals each end 1 at the boundary line and 1 at the centre square at each end.

Ground dimensions: The width of the ground is centre square to boundary line and the length is the boundary line 50m to centre square at each end.

Goal: To score the players need to run the ball through 1 of the 2 designated goals at their oppositions end.

Rule Modifications: Game is continuous the players don’t have to bounce the ball. Quick change over rules apply. A change over occurs when the ball is dropped or a player is tackled and caught holding the ball.

5 vs 5 Soccer (4)

Ground Dimension: 5 players on each team use ¼ of a soccer field with 2 goals at each end.

Goal: The aim of the game is to score a goal.

Rule Modifications: Normal Soccer Rules apply

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Rugby League/Rugby Union (5)
Drop Off Touch

Ground dimensions: Touch footy field.

Goal: To score a try.

Rule Modifications: Normal touch rugby rules apply, other than when a person makes a touch he has to sprint around his own goal posts before being eligible to be on Defence again, attacking team gets 6 touches, no kicking is allowed.

Conclusion: Games based fitness drills do have some inherent flaws, although with appropriate planning the flaws can be minimized.
1. They rely on the athletes honesty and intent to work hard.
2. Sometimes during games based fitness drills players may not reach their highest heart rate intensity.
3. The drills must be well constructed to get the desired training effect and to ensure the heart rate is kept elevated.

To overcome the drawbacks associated with performing traditional running and games based fitness drills, a superior option may be to include games based fitness drills in combination with an individualised and specialized targeted energy system program (based upon the athletes specific needs) in order to elevate the heart rate prior to commencing the games based fitness drills.

How to develop your own games and skill based fitness drills:
To develop your own skill and game based fitness drills you can use your imagination as you see fit, it can help to watch professional teams train for ideas that may be of value that could be implemented with your own training. Time Motion studies, GPS, Heart Rate Monitors. Watch other clubs, sports, teams etc.

Resources on this topic are severely lacking that is why I have developed the How to Structure a Training Session DVD that outlines many skill and games based fitness games.

1. Baker, D. 2005. ECU Practical Intensive Notes Skill and Games Based Fitness Drills for Rugby League and Rugby Union

2. King, I. 2008. Endurance Specialisation Series.

3. Hinck, C. 2008. Games Based Fitness Drills for AFL Players.  ASCA Conference Presentation.

4. Robinson, D. 2008. Geelong Football Club High Performance Manager Personal Communication/Observation.

5. Starcevich, C. 2006. Brisbane Roar Soccer Training Personal Communication/Observation.

6. Jones, A. 2009. Canterbury Crusaders Strength and Conditioning Coach. ASCA Conference Notes 2009.

7. Gabbett, T. AFL Coaches Conference 2008 a Skill and Games Based Fitness Approach for AFL Players