Professional Australian Rules Football Club, the Sydney Swans, are no strangers to training for peak performance, but a recent move to a brand-new training facility at the end of 2022 has ramped player conditioning up a gear across all athletes within the AFL (Australian Football League), AFLW (Australian Football Women’s League) and Pathways Programme.
TRAINING SPACE TRANSFORMATION
The game has grown to such a size in Sydney, that a new training facility was required to accommodate all of the athletes. What was a historical pavilion, previously used as an exhibition hall, an ice-skating rink and even a ballroom, has been transformed into the elite sport performance facility it is today.
The showpiece of the site is a 60m x35m indoor field which is surrounded by amenities such as an auditorium, dining hall, players gym, basketball court, wet recovery area, and let’s not forget, the standout altitude room which houses 45 Wattbikes.
ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT AND REHABILITATION
On the installation and usage of the Wattbikes, Rob Inness, Head of Athletic Performance, Sydney Swans, explains: “The AFL is a competitive environment, with each team forever on the hunt to enhance marginal gains in athletic performance. Therefore, there was no-compromise when it came to providing the very best training equipment for our athletes in what we believe is one of the leading High-Performance facilities in the southern hemisphere.”
“The Wattbikes provide feedback perfect for our game, as well as for the smooth reintegration of any injured players back into full training. Additionally, the support that the Wattbike team has given us has enabled us to introduce a number of tools to better individualise our programmes moving forwards.”
THE ALTITUDE ROOM ENERGY
“People are blown away when they first see the altitude room with all the Wattbikes in it.” Inness exclaims. “The sheer scale of the room is impressive. Then, when all bikes are in use, the energy and the atmosphere create a remarkable experience, and are a sight to see!”
LINKING WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
To help with the vision for the new facility, Wattbike were able to link Rob Inness up with Nic Gill, All Blacks Strength and Conditioning Coach. “Wattbike did a fantastic job connecting us.” Inness adds. “Nic’s a fantastic coach with a vast wealth of knowledge as to how you can best utilise the Wattbike for peak performance, and how to maximise its versatility to adapt training for a variety of athletes. I took a great deal away from that chat.”
IMPROVEMENT THROUGH TRAINING INTERVENTIONS
Throughout pre-season, the Swans worked through testing protocols using the Wattbikes in order to gain a snapshot of athletic profiles of each player. By retesting 4-6 weeks later, the team were already able to see improvements in the data from the specific training interventions that had been implemented using the Wattbikes.
“The data from the Wattbikes also helps drive an element of healthy competition.” Inness notes. “Our players thrive off any form of competition and the bikes really help us drive this competitive edge to better each and every athlete. The more ways that you can make a rough session fun, the more buy in you’ll get from the athlete. The Wattbike helps us achieve this.”
The players have been training with Wattbike for a number of years and it's now their go-to training tool for off-feet conditioning.
The Sydney Swans also maximise the use of the partnership between Wattbike and Intelligent Cycling, experts in immersive indoor cycling experiences, to engage the athletes in a smart, connected way of training.
"Intelligent cycling is a fantastic product that we use in team-based sessions. We’ve been able to create our own workouts specific to the game based on the testing that Wattbike recommended.” Inness adds. “The players absolutely love the visuals, and it’s been another distinct advantage to create buy-in.”
A TRUE PARTNERSHIP
“The Wattbike team - Rachell Crew, Pierre Spies and George Caineshave been as passionate about this project as we have.” Inness concludes. “They have worked with us throughout the entire journey so that we now have a facility in place that takes us to the next level of performance. Wattbike did everything to ensure we have an offering that is world-class.”
Elite Sport Centres open their doors to show how the best of the best train and we are delighted to see athletes conditioning, cross-training, testing and sometimes even doing the odd photoshoot on the Wattbike! Latest to this list is Camp PSG (Paris Saint-Germain).