When Melbourne Storm director of performance Lachlan Penfold came on the show in 2018, we focused solely on his coaching journey that has led him through the NBA, NRL, AFL, Super Rugby, Rugby 7s, Olympic softball, javelin, baseball, and much more. On this week’s GAINcast we have him back on to dig deeper into his approach to training team sport athletes, including his thoughts on workload, speed, monitoring, testing, injuries, and more.
Notes and quotes
As mentioned, Penfold is currently with the Melbourne Storm where he helped them win one premiership, two minor premierships, and one runner-up finish in three seasons. He previously worked with the Golden State Warriors as they set the NBA record for most wins in a season, helped the Sydney Roosters to an NRL title, supported Australian softball winning Olympic silver, as well as many other top teams along the way.
- 7:00 – Introducing Lachlan.
- 9:30 – Breaking down training sessions based on intent and content: “It’s easy to execute skills at 70-80% of speed of movement or decision making. You need to be able to execute those skills at 100%. Our speed day aims at speed development and executing skills at top speed. “
- 14:15 – Capacity day training.
- 16:15 – The role of the performance director during training session.
- 18:30 – Timing of sessions and incorporating the team training philosophy.
- 21:00 – Workload vs. skill development: “People look at training as workload. But training is a way to improve skills. Theoretically, more training means better skills. Every time we limit training we limit the opportunity to improve. My job is to maximize our opportunity to improve. “
- 24:15- Dean Benton’s impact.
- 27:15 – Injuries: “If you are not getting injuries are you doing a good job of managing players, or just catering to the lowest common denominator. ” “The best way to injury-proof players is to keep them training rather than pulling them out at the first sign of a niggle. “
- 29:45 – Integrating the staff.
- 33:00 – Defining the performance staff roles.
- 35:45 – Monitoring: “Many data analysts and sports scientists seem to be trying to impress people with their spreadsheet ability rather than making it actionable. “
- 39:00 – Injuries and monitoring: “Injuries are a sign of disfunction in the football department and integration. “
- 40:15 – Testing: “At the end of the day, most tests are a sterile environment. Our biggest test is game day and how we perform in a game. Not so much win or lose, but how do we handle the capacity of the game. “
- 43:00 – Wellness testing: “Often wellness tests are just about ticking a box. Personal communication is the best wellness test. “
- 47:30 – Observations on North American professional sports and reflecting on his NBA experience with the Golden State Warriors.
- 51:45 – The future of the profession: “Physical preparation needs an integrated approach and you have to look at how you can build physical capacities through skills. Players only get better at skills by doing it, so you can’t take away those opportunities. “
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- Penfold has won a title with the Melbourne Storm, but years ago he also led the Sydney Roosters to championships. He broke down his approach with Sydney in GAIN Video 4: Lessons from the Sydney Roosters available for HMMR Plus members to stream.
- Penfold was also a guest on GAINcast 131 and HMMR Podcast 62. We’ve also done a written interview with his predecessor at the Storm, Dean Benton.
- Some of his speed training methods are based on the methods of John Pryor and Frans Bosch. You can find links to resources on their work here.