Do you think if you really tried hard enough, you could make it to the AFL?

JeanLucGoddard

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 21, 2018
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I think people are under-estimating natural skill level IIT

Any elite talent is where 99th percentile natural ability meets 99th percentile work-ethic

Applicable for scientists, musicians, artists, sports-people, programmers etc.

Growing up an enthusiast guitarist, when reading about the "best" guitarists, their practice-regimes were always mind-blowing (8-9 hours a day). And it's not enough to just play, these guitarists were always pushing themselves to the limit learning stuff at the edge of their abilities. But with this said, these guitarists usually showed an abnormal "natural knack" for the instrument at an early age... sometimes there would be old videos of them playing at talent shows as kids doing things way beyond age-expected abilities

I would have no doubt someone like Greg Williams meets this criteria of abnormal talent meets work ethic
This.

Carey was renowned as the hardest and most dedicated trainer at North in his time.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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Unequivocally, categorically, no.

If I prioritised footy as a teenager I reckon my ceiling would have been at least 3 or 4 levels below the AFL, probably more. I know some guys that play/played A grade amateurs in Perth and even a bit of WAFL and that is a bloody high standard. Most people if they wanted to reach that level could not.

The Recruit on Fox dug its own grave by showing the gap that really exists between the AFL and lower grades. And the guys they found to go on the show weren't fat 40 year olds smoking darts at quarter time and kicking 8 without leaving the forward 50.
 

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juss

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Feb 23, 2009
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AFL is one of those games where genetics, size, shape, speed, natural athleticism play a greater role in potential than practice compared to many sports. Pro basketball (NBA in particular) is another one, as is pro American football. Those guys are huge and often born freak athletes.

I never would have made it to the AFL, but with enough of the right coaching, practice, dedication and training from a young age I believe just about anyone could potentially be a pro golfer, tennis player, billiards player, darts player, badminton, table tennis, etc. Sports were born physical gifts are not as paramount.
 

Topkent

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Aug 29, 2010
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Id dare say there have been hundreds of country/amateur footballers who were better than a lot of the fringe players that actually make it.

Personally I was terrible lol

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I played with a bloke who was asked down to box Hill to train and he turned up a couple beers deep. Didn't give a stuff about being professional but he was like 6'4 and athletic as fu**. Legit the country Buddy Franklin. Was happy enough making about $1200 a game back in the day in the bush
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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There heaps of them around. Total myth that only physically gifted can make it at top level
Jeremy McGovern and Max Gawn are elite for their roles. Neither are remarkable in physical aspect. Just want it enough and play the game well enough to be one of best at it. Kane Lambert another example of never give up if you want it bad enough. Gibbons will be another at my club.
Lol. Neither remarkable in a physical aspect?

Max Gawn is 6”10. That’s literally the only reason he made the AFL. Sure he’s kicked on since he decided to knuckle down, but let’s not pretend he’d ever have played a game of AFL footy if he was 6”2.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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AFL is one of those games where genetics, size, shape, speed, natural athleticism play a greater role in potential than practice compared to many sports. Pro basketball (NBA in particular) is another one, as is pro American football. Those guys are huge and often born freak athletes.

I never would have made it to the AFL, but with enough of the right coaching, practice, dedication and training from a young age I believe just about anyone could potentially be a pro golfer, tennis player, billiards player, darts player, badminton, table tennis, etc. Sports were born physical gifts are not as paramount.
Tennis probably the odd one out in your list. Pro tennis players are extremely athletic and talented.

The game puts me to sleep but I can’t deny that.
 

juss

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 23, 2009
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Tennis probably the odd one out in your list. Pro tennis players are extremely athletic and talented.

The game puts me to sleep but I can’t deny that.
Yes bit of an outlier, but I feel its closer than the other sports, well at least for my shape/build I always felt it fairly accessible.
 

Forward Press

Premium Platinum
Jul 5, 2011
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Tennis requires far more athletic ability than golf, billiards, darts and table tennis. Badminton is probably a tier above them too but below tennis. Not sure why you lumped them all together.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Sep 22, 2011
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Yes bit of an outlier, but I feel its closer than the other sports, well at least for my shape/build I always felt it fairly accessible.
Think it's evolved a fair bit. Perhaps in the old days the top players were more technicians... and while that's still the case, elite tennis these days demands enormous power, stamina, speed and agility.
 

nobbyiscool

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Aug 11, 2006
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If I'd really knuckled down? Like, ate properly, went to the gym every day, trained hard, gave up darts, drugs and alcohol?

Hell no. I wouldn't have even made country reserves.

It's hilarious to me that people can spend so much time watching AFL, they can see what athletic freaks these guys are, and they can still think "yeah, I could've done that if I'd just laid off the Maccas."

People want to shit on AFLW as being substandard. But when they do that they're comparing it to AFL(M), and they're completely underestimating the extent to which AFL players are trained to be athletic mutants from 14 years old (if not earlier).

Making the AFL isn't about working hard at 16 or 17 years old. It's about being a freak at 13-15 years old, being in the right place at the right time to be identified, and having a pathway to the top level. Any of us who played with guys who went onto the AFL know just how ******* good they were at a young age.

As an aside, the last 2 points there is why draftees from Tassie have dried up - it's not that there aren't freaks, and good players, it's that they aren't being identified and aren't being given a pathway. And it's why AFLW will take a while for the standard to build - because there hasn't been a reason to identify those players young enough, to give them a pathway, and to turn into the freaks that play AFL(M).
 

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Wbby

Premiership Player
May 4, 2013
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Probably not. Late developer but if I have a child and they inherit the athletic ability then maybe they will have a chance.
 

Bonz

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Sep 14, 2007
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People need to read about the Dan Plan.

Concept: A man quits his job, trains in golf playing 10 hours a day 6 days a week to try and become professional. A.k.a hard work > talent.

 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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People need to read about the Dan Plan.

Concept: A man quits his job, trains in golf playing 10 hours a day 6 days a week to try and become professional. A.k.a hard work > talent.

Unfortunately as a sample size of 1 it doesn’t really prove or disprove anything.

Also, he had to quit just over halfway through due to injury.
 

LuvtheKangas

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2006
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People need to read about the Dan Plan.

Concept: A man quits his job, trains in golf playing 10 hours a day 6 days a week to try and become professional. A.k.a hard work > talent.

Based on other relevant research, it would appear he fell about 4,000 hours short of perhaps meeting his goal.
 

HolyWars

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For me, I definitely think I could have. In year 10 Sports Studies, we did a 6-week block on AFL and I was the leading goal kicker for the class, playing mainly out of the midfield. I saw myself as a damaging midfielder with the explosiveness of Peak Judd and football nous of a Mitchell/Ablett.
I picture myself winning the ball out of the centre, 5 seconds to go in the grand final. Port Adelaide favourite son, HotSausage69 wins the tap down, RUNS OUT OF THE CENTRE, NO ONE CAN LAY A HAND ON HIM, TIME IS RUNNING OUT, LAUNCHES IT FROM 70!!!!!! GOAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL ON THE SIRENNNNN, HISTORY IN THE MAKING AGAINNNNNN!!!! PORT ADELAIDE WIN THE GRAND FINAL AS HOTSAUSAGE69 KICKS HIS EIGHTH!!!!!!!
In that match, I also had 47 disposals, 35 contested and 29 tackles.
Unfortunately I found my way in to the hospitality industry and as such had to sacrifice my weekends, so I could never really give it a real good shot. But I truly believe life happened differently, I could have won myself a brownlow medal or two. C'est la vie....

How would you have fared?
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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Lol. Neither remarkable in a physical aspect?

Max Gawn is 6”10. That’s literally the only reason he made the AFL. Sure he’s kicked on since he decided to knuckle down, but let’s not pretend he’d ever have played a game of AFL footy if he was 6”2.
Definitely two odd players to pick. Gawn like Dean Cox is a huge guy who looked like a spud until he built up the endurance to get around the ground to each contest.

Even McGovern is 6'5'' and is only sub 100kg because he is forced to train like an athlete. He's a big dude and has exceptional hand/eye coordination plus the ability to mark the ball above his head.

The guys that really battle in modern AFL footy are the Tory Dicksons of the world. If he didn't convert goals at a ridiculous rate he wouldn't be on a list, and I'm a fan. If you are 6'0'' and 85kg you are expected to be able to run 10-15km, have good pace, get 20+ touches a game etc. If he played in the 80s/90s or in the VFL he'd kick bags each week. We had Ben McKinley kick 42 for us one (bad) year in 18 games. Talented footballer but at his size he needed to play inside 50 like a mid 90s Modra/Ablett Sr and he (a) wasn't as good and (b) footy moved past that. Meanwhile someone like Jamie Cripps who isn't an amazing forward is closing in on 150 games for us because he can push up the ground and get 10 inside 50s or 10 tackles in a game.
 

The acurate one

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Jan 23, 2019
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Yes for sure, well there is a proviso of course, as I'm 52 I'd possibly need a couple of more teams to join the comp to further dilute the standard. And then I'd probably be a 50-60 goal a season fwd.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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Definitely two odd players to pick. Gawn like Dean Cox is a huge guy who looked like a spud until he built up the endurance to get around the ground to each contest.

Even McGovern is 6'5'' and is only sub 100kg because he is forced to train like an athlete. He's a big dude and has exceptional hand/eye coordination plus the ability to mark the ball above his head.

The guys that really battle in modern AFL footy are the Tory Dicksons of the world. If he didn't convert goals at a ridiculous rate he wouldn't be on a list, and I'm a fan. If you are 6'0'' and 85kg you are expected to be able to run 10-15km, have good pace, get 20+ touches a game etc. If he played in the 80s/90s or in the VFL he'd kick bags each week. We had Ben McKinley kick 42 for us one (bad) year in 18 games. Talented footballer but at his size he needed to play inside 50 like a mid 90s Modra/Ablett Sr and he (a) wasn't as good and (b) footy moved past that. Meanwhile someone like Jamie Cripps who isn't an amazing forward is closing in on 150 games for us because he can push up the ground and get 10 inside 50s or 10 tackles in a game.
Yeah spot on.

Dickson dominated at lower levels but taking the step up, as you say, he had to just rely on his smarts.

Obviously a very, very good footballer but doesn’t have the physics gifts.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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West Coast
Matt Priddis took a few years to get picked up from WAFL level. Sam Mitchell (dual sided, much better ball user) was overlooked in the draft then played a year of VFL, was picked up a year later 36 and played most of his first year on an AFL list in the VFL.

Those guys don't fit the mould of the prototype modern midfielder and basically had to be the best player in state league footy at 19/20/21 to get a go at AFL level. Compare that to someone like Eric Hipwood who is 204cm and still looks like a beanpole after 4 years in the system. He's only 22 and has already played 73 games in 4 seasons, most of which haven't been that great. But he's a tall, athletic freak who has shown flashes of brilliance so his team continues to develop him as a player at AFL level. It's an interesting contrast.
 

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