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End of season to drive pre-season: Misson

Matt Burgan  September 13, 2017 2:15 PM

Essentially, the club was absolutely gutted with the way it ended – players, staff, coaches, everyone

ELITE performance manager Dave Misson says Melbourne’s end to the 2017 season will help drive the entire club over the pre-season and into next year.

Misson said the fact that Melbourne missed the final eight by 0.5 per cent would be significant when pre-season starts in November.

“Essentially, the club was absolutely gutted with the way it ended – players, staff, coaches, everyone. That’s been held onto a little bit for a couple of weeks and we’re hoping that that disappointment is going to drive the players to really take their preparation to another level,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“For us, as a coaching and high performance group in particular – we’re looking at our program and looking at every possible way that we can take it to the next level.

“To me, that’s where I see the benefit – if there is any of missing out [on the finals – is that it’s really made us reflect on every little part of our program, and decide what can be improved and what can be tweaked.

“Perhaps, if you make finals and you even win a final or two, you may not be as hard on yourself or on your program as you would be, as the way it actually did finish.

“I see that as the only positive, but it could be a significant positive for us moving forward. Everyone was absolutely gutted, but the flipside is that we’re really strongly committed to making it a real line in the sand moment for the footy club. We want to make sure that we can reset and make everything better.”

Misson said the off-season was long removed from a complete physical break. 

“Essentially, they get three to four weeks off. Then there are a couple of weeks, which we call an intro program, where they start reintroducing their body to some running and some weights,” he said.

“Then they have a four-week main conditioning block, where they’re running three times a week and lifting three times a week, and really looking to use that month to get themselves into good nick, so that when they come back they can hit the ground running.

“The days of guys coming back overweight and out of shape and really using the pre-Christmas period to get fitter are long gone.

“Our expectation is that they’re coming back and almost running PBs in their time trials in their first one or two weeks of pre-season, so we can then launch again and see some improvement year-on-year with each player.”

Still, Misson said it was important to give the players a rest before restarting their off-season program.

“It’s been a long year and we’ve got a young group, who are playing a pretty high intensity brand of football and we probably saw them flagging just a little bit towards the end of the year, so that’s something that we’re really conscious of,” he said.

“We want to make sure they do get enough rest in the off-season and then plan the pre-season so they’re not ready to play games in December. We’re gradually progressing their preparation towards good solid footy in February, March and April.

“It is a balancing act, but we feel we’ve got the mix pretty right.”

Misson said pre-season training wasn’t about reinventing the wheel – rather than simply honing in on the basics.

“It’s not going to be a quantum leap in too many things. I know [coach] Simon [Goodwin] is really keen to keep focusing on fundamental skills – our kicking, handballing, tackling and shape work,” he said.

“[We] really want to nail our fundamentals, because we felt towards the end of the season we gave the ball back too much. That was one of the reasons why we were working so hard, because our turnovers were pretty high.

“From a conditioning and strength point of view, it’s really looking for that year-on-year improvement with the players. We’ve got a core group of third, fourth, fifth-year players who we feel we can get a lot of improvement out of, so there is going to be a really strong focus on those guys.

“From a structural point-of-view and content – not a lot’s going to change. It’s still going to be a really footy directed program. We hope the guys are going to come back in really good shape, so we can start to move towards a more specific, individualised, conditioning program.

“But we won’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water – we’ll stick to our plans.”