Ode to modern day renaissance man! USP PIT Legacy athlete Callum Carseldine
Posted: 23rd September 2020
When one of your favourite sons retires…a little piece of you goes too-11 years 150+ training programs …more awards then you could poke a stick at and more importantly 0 soft tissue injuries sustained…..
It must’ve been around 2009…a young fresh faced 18 year old uni student stepped thru The PIT doors…PIT number 2 to be precise.
Click the video below to check out Callums’ Journey with USP over the past 12 years!!
He’d heard about us from….Ryan Head..who came to THE USP PIT Gymnasium via Brisbane Lions and Hawthorn Hawks AFL Player Broc McCauley.
He’d traveled from West Brisbane…for an interview that would positively change both our lives.
From our very first meeting I knew he was different…he had his health screen completed and the 70 page assessment documents completed with some of the most detailed responses I’d seen from anyone let alone a teenager….the only other comparable forms would’ve been from Kurt Tippett 4 years earlier.
Not only did he have his performance questionnaires answered in detail. He had his life-physical relational, spiritual and financial goals outlined in explicit detail as well.
Callum had dreams of becoming a professional AFL player…
Although there were a few small challenges that would lay ahead…
Like the fact he only started playing AFL 3 months earlier after having previously only playing Rugby for his school Ipswich Grammar.
As I have done with all athletes I coach…I went to watch Callum play…see how he moves and identify where his deficiencies were from a holistic perspective-were his deficiencies physical, psychological, tactical and technical?
I traveled to Coorparoo to watch him play for the Western Taipans in the State Carnival Competition and we both laugh about it now…
But he struggled to find the footy, read the play and dispose of the footy.
In all honesty I wasn’t sure he had the capacity to make it…even at local level…
However, within a few weeks Callum had shown me …that he had what I’d only seen for in the previous drafted athletes…100% totality, staying power and commitment.
Travelling from Brisbane multiple times per week fighting against traffic..he’d listen to his personal development audiotapes getting an education on wheels whilst making the drive to THE USP PIT Gymnasium. Callum was a big proponent of not only training his body but also his mind!
6 months later Callum placed in the Top 5 in the local Brisbane U/18 League Best and Fairests in his first year of footy!
From watching him play it was clear Callum needed to work on reading the play and footy smarts-never one to forgo an opportunity to improve-Callum was part of our inaugural AFL Strongman Off-Season Training Camp which focused on strongman exercises to transfer the strength onto the footy field and 100% skill and games based fitness drills. The skill and games based fitness would serve a dual purpose-get Callum football specific fitness, agility, hand and foot skills but also develop his understanding of the game as every drill was a game based scenario which was an ideal way to accelerate his learning and knowledge of the game!
Callum trialled for Mt Gravatt senior team over the pre-season 2009-2010 but told he wouldn’t make their list. So in 2011 Callum played for the QAFL Western Magpies Seniors and then in round 1 of 2012 playing as a top up player for the Brisbane Lions reserves fractured his ankle and missed the season. Many lesser athletes tend to give up the ghost when they suffer a setback, like missing a team selection or getting injured…This just serves to fuel Callums’ fire. He made a pact that he would set his focus on rapidly increasing his upper body strength and power. He never misses a scheduled training session and his upper body strength and power sky rocketed!
It was around this time that Callum recommended his brother Bryce to come down for an interview for one of our USP training positions. Bryce was on the cusp on playing elite cricket for QLD as wicket keeper and was named amongst the top keepers in QLD and received an award for the most wickets taken.
Not long after I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff-Callums’ father who attended our father son PIT day! It was easy to see where Callum developed his work ethic with Jeff going absolutely berserk on the battling ropes-training like a man possessed even though he was mid 50’s! A few weeks later Callums’ younger sister Biarnca would join us for coaching and training in THE PIT- a talented basketballer and rower! With the whole family on board-the impact the Carseldines had couldn’t be understated!
As a reward for his discipline and loyalty Callum spends his pre-season alongside Kurt Tippett and Bryce Retzlaff. Training with the professional footballers in THE PIT provides Callum with an insight as to what level is required to take make it at the elite level!
At the end of 2012 Callum decided it was best to move to a club like Southport as he was studying at Bond Uni on the Coast and the Sharks had a a pathway to the NEAFL as the magpies didn’t. Callums’ leadership qualities are identified early on and he is made Captain of the Southport Sharks reserves team in both 2012 and 2013. In 2013 Callum plays for the Southport Sharks and was awarded the Best and Fairest in the reserves. Callum does not miss a single game and the work in the off-season and in-season pays off! This year Callum introduces the notebook. A technique where Callum reviews his game and makes notes about his own performance and the opposition. What he learned and what he can work on. Professionalism.
After reviewing the year we felt that there could still be considerable gains to be made in maximal strength and power which would translate into improved speed as his endurance was already a strength and in the top echelon of players.
You can tell a lot about a man but the company he keeps. Callum loved what we were doing for him so he invited a former girlfriend who happened to be the very first female AFL footballer I had the pleasure of coaching-Katie Brennan down to the USP PIT Gymnasium! Katie had missed quite a few games the previous season and was in need of rehabilitation for her adductors and osteitis pubis. Katie recovers and is selected in the All Australian Team!
Another great off-season in THE Pit and at our AFL Strongman Camp Off-Season Program really catapults Callum leadership. This is where we saw Callum blossom …as one of the older athletes at 21-22 years of age…he would use these AFL off-season Strongman camp sessions to develop leadership and learn how to lead men…he wouldn’t just talk the talk but he’d lead by example pushing himself physically and mentally to the brink of breaking point. Add to that-each session he would get around to a few new athletes each week to learn their names, where they played footy and why they were attending the camp..in other words he took a vested interest in them to help them feel Comfortable but to make them feel like they were important.
Strongman Mt Warning Picture
As a coach I will be forever indebted to Callum for helping create our Strongman AFL Camp Culture that is undefinable…that legacy he helped create still lives on…and is going strong after more than a decade and 1500 athletes thru that program I couldn’t be more proud..
I look at the men he helped develop and mentor…Young athletes that would do anything he’d say. I see Clay Cox, Brad O’Reilly, Alex Rayner, Nat Barnes, Paddy Rankin, Matty Garland, Matt Lodge, Harry Simington..the Fraser brothers..that idolised him!
True leadership ain’t about you as a leader it’s about the leaders you create…Callums leadership at our AFL Strongman Off-season Training Camp was that impactful many of our younger athletes parents would come up to me after a session and ask who is that guy? One father in particular saw Callums leadership and offered him a position in his business. Callum has been working with him ever since!
In 2013 he was awarded Southport best and fairest Southport and the League Best and fairest 2013. He dislocated his shoulder and had a Shoulder reconstruction in 2013 played 4 games in senior team and still won reserves league best and fairest although he only played 12 games.
His courage, attack on the footy and tackling was becoming a trademark of his game. Callum implements his recovery checklist-a weekly schedule including his stretching/flexibility, sleep, massage and myofascial release foam rolling, trigger point and recovery data using HRV monitoring. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Always looking to improve we identified Callums’ kicking accuracy and penetration could be improved. Callum employs Sean Clarke for private kicking coaching. Sean Clarke is the brother of Nathan Clarke who is the former Brisbane Lions player and premiership winning coach of the Lions reserves team.
In 2013/2014 off-season we identify Callums’ vision, reaction and agility as key areas to work on. So we introduce functional neurology training into the program-a unique system of assessing brain function to rapidly increase reflexes and co-ordination and ultimate agility!
In 2014 The Southport Sharks NEAFL team said he was not required even though he won back to back best and fairest awards and a league best and fairest award so went back to The Western Magpies. Again Callums’ work rate and mental toughness cannot be faulted. Never misses a session and recovers from his shoulder reco in 4.5 months and then in his first game back does his ACL and misses the rest of the year. Callum is co-captain at the Magpies in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
We set a goal for Callum to be the fittest at the club. In his first pre-season session in 2015 6 months after his knee reco he dominates the teams beep test. Check! Hits his goals and plays round 1 for the Western Magpies in 2015.
Callum also represents his state QLD for the first time in the QLD state league team against Victoria country team. To cap off a great return from the knee reconstruction Callum wins the Grogan Medal for the Best and Fairest Player in The League and finishes 3rd in Club Best and Fairest. Monstrous effort!!
At Callums’ engagement party I meet Sam Michael-who recently was delisted by the Brisbane Lions-we chat about what we do and I get a phone call later that night at 11pm saying he’ll be down the next day to chat about getting him back on AFL list. We start working together and the magic happens!
In the Off-Season of 2015/2016 I introduce Callum to Tremor Therapy that was taught to me by Triple premiership winning physio. The tremor therapy is a Ground Breaking Revolutionary Recovery Modality that allows Callum to: Accelerate Nervous System Recovery! Instantly Decrease Pain and Injuries! Rapidly Reduce Stress! Induce Flow State! Boost Deep Restful Sleep! Enhance Relaxation! Decrease Anxiety! Experience a deep sense of calm and stillness! Reap the benefits of active meditation! Release physical stress, tension and emotional trauma! Elicit mindfulness, Improve clarity and focus!
Callum plays every game this season-Wins the Club Best and Fairest with the Western Magpies in 2016. A wise man once said success leaves clues.
I learned early on in my coaching career that durability is more important than ability! Most athletes fail to reach their potential due to injuries and careers over before they have begun. Many people attribute injuries to luck. Callums contact ACL injury and dislocated shoulder were unlucky. Yet Callum has never missed a single game due to a soft tissue injury! Do you want to know his secret? There’s a few. His body is in balance. His strength training program is balanced and low volume. His recovery processes are elite. Sleep, Flexibility, Massage and Recovery Methods. He stretches a minimum of 20 mins daily and gets 1 massage every 2 weeks.
In 2017 Callum makes the choice to play in the NEAFL. His club of choice is Aspley! To take things up another level Callum hires Brisbane Lions Triple Premiership Player and Norm Smith Medallist and Brownlow Medallist Simon Black to evaluate his midfield game for key areas to improve.
In his first year with Aspley in the NEAFL he wins the coaches award. Lesson learned-the extent you commit is the extent you get rewarded.
One thing I’ve always been impressed with is Callums’ ability to trial new methods and implement new things…It takes trust from an athlete to do so…Whilst travelling thru Melbourne I was fortunate enough to meet a gun Osteo Al Liu. Who had some unique methods that worked wonders on me and other AFL footballers in Melbourne..I recommend Callum come a for a session whilst I have Al at THE PIT. Sure enough he follows thru and the results are great!
In business they say long term relationships and loyalty are key…Callum is the pinup boy for that! Callum is fiercely loyal and is always looking to help his good mates out. In doing so Callum organises a meeting with one of his former school mates who has had some major knee issues for almost 5 years. The bloke happens to be Matty Hodgson who was recently out of contract with the Adelaide 36’ers and is currently training at Royal Pines resort with the Australian Boomers Basketball team. We chat about various training methods and what we could do if working together. I never hear from Matt again.
In 2018-2020 Callum plays with Aspley and is part of the leadership group, unfortunately he does his ACL in another contact ACL injury against the Sharks at Southport. Callum goes thru with another knee reconstruction. We focus on improving Callums body composition and taking his nutrition to another level!
Callum also begins to work with our mental skills coach Amon Woulfe to take his mindset and mental performance up another level as we feel the mental side is largely neglected by athletes. Fast forward to June 2018 and Matty Hodgson has received a lifeline from the Brisbane Bullets-I get the phone call. We work together-Matty plays every game and signs a great contract with the Bullets!
Callum is part of our 2019 breakfast for champions program. Which connects elite human beings in every field together. Callum has long known and practiced the art of the Aspen Grove Analogy. In terms of your 5 closest mates and the power of association and mentors!
The hardest part is knowing when…When the commitment is no longer there…or you’re unable to prepare or dedicate the time it requires…time to move on n with next phase of my life…You think it’s going to last forever..but then you realise It won’t or can’t 2020 is a write off with Covid-19 ruining what was to be his last year. He thinks he will go around again next year..but the phone call comes thru and I know..he calls time as he knows with increasing work and family commitments he can’t devote the effort to his training and preparation that is required to perform at the level he desires.
The old saying rings true, “How you do anything is how you do everything”! with this knowledge I am fortunate to witness his last few games he does himself proud and literally drags his team over the line with a few seconds remaining to get the win. He follows up for 1 more week and his last kick is goal! Going out in style-the team fails to win but Callum can hold his head up high!
Brother it has been an honour working with you! Congrats on an outstanding career! I’m proud of you mate! You squeezed every ounce of potential out body! You left no stone unturned in your quest. No regrets! Nothing held back! You’ve given everything you’ve had. You won’t die wondering and you’ll most certainly pass the mirror test! Your goal was to make an impact-that impact to make athletes around you not only better at their sport, but to be better human beings. I can categorically assure you-that goal has been achieved! The beautiful thing is that those qualities extend to every aspect of your life! The best is yet to come! I look forward to the momentous occasion when I have the pleasure of coaching Poppy and Kingsley.