How To Get Drafted To The AFL / AFLWNov 21, 2022
Let me paint the picture for you of the happiest day of my life. It’s a Tuesday morning around 10am in November of 2010. I’m sitting at a computer with my dad and brother, nervously staring at the screen, waiting. Name after name is coming up on the screen as I wait quietly and patiently, hoping to see my name join the lucky few that will come up on that day. This day would turn out to be the day that changed my life forever.
Very few footballers get to experience the joy of getting drafted to the AFL / AFLW and on this day in 2010, I was fortunate enough to be one of those footballers whose name got called out. I can still remember the exact moment my name popped up on the screen. The three of us watching had a collective gasp and a few seconds went by as we looked at each other in disbelief, before jumping up and down, screaming with joy! I had been drafted by the Sydney Swans with pick 38 in the rookie draft. Next came all the phone calls, text messages and well wishes from family and friends as the news spread rapidly. Before I could even have time to process what had happened, I was on the phone with Swans coach John Longmire being informed that I would be getting on a plane the next day and moving to Sydney.
In this moment, my lifelong dream of being drafted to the AFL had been realised and I thought that this was it, I had finally made it! All my hard work, dedication and sacrifice had paid off and my AFL journey had begun. Fast forward 12 months and I’m sitting on the beach in the off-season, when the phone rings and it’s John Longmire again. However, this time it was not good news. This time he was calling me to inform me that the club was delisting me and that my dream of playing AFL was all but over.
Within the space of 12 months, I had gone from the highest of highs to now experiencing the lowest of lows. My whole life had been dedicated to getting to the AFL and I had continued to climb the mountain to achieve my dreams. Getting delisted was like being pushed off the edge of that mountain without a parachute and now my future was completely unknown. For months I just sat around aimlessly, not knowing what to do with myself. I didn’t have the tools needed to be able to pick myself up, adapt to the new challenge and get on with life.
But, I wouldn’t change what happened to me for anything. You might be wondering why I’d say that. Well the truth is, that I don’t believe becoming a successful AFL player was a part of my journey, but the lessons I learnt from my experiences were priceless. If I knew what I know now back when I was on an AFL list, I have no doubt that my AFL journey would have been significantly longer. The biggest thing that I learnt however, was that becoming a successful AFL player, or athlete of any kind for that matter, is far less about the physical than you think.
The reason someone is successful is more about how adaptable they can be, how much knowledge they can acquire and how they can apply that knowledge to get the most out of the talent they were given. Not every player on an AFL / AFLW list is a superstar. Many players who make it to the AFL do so because they have worked out how to get the most out of what they have. They know their strengths and understand their weaknesses. They adapt to the challenges that are thrust upon them and use the resources that are around them.
My purpose now is to help young people, including those who are wanting to make it as an athlete, learn from my experiences so that they can get the most out of their opportunities whether that’s in sport, work or their relationships. Through creating The Adaptability Movement and NEXA Sports Performance, we have been fortunate enough to impact many young footballers and athletes from other sports, through our Adaptable Sports Academies. We teach these young athletes the tools to not only be successful within their sport, but we also equip them with tools that they can use in all areas of their lives from school, friendships, careers and more. Together, myself and all our other coaches have a wealth of experience as athletes, sport scientists, strength and conditioning coaches, meditation coaches, the list goes on, that we love to share with these young athletes.
I’m very excited to also announce that we are launching a brand new course ‘How To Get Drafted To The AFL / AFLW’. This course is designed for boys and girls aged 12-18 yo who want to improve their footballing ability. You don’t need to want to get drafted to do it, it’s just all about becoming the best footballer you can be, and learning tools to help in those areas of life mentioned above.
The course is set to be released in December, along with our Platinum Package which gives you access to one of us coaches to help develop a Personal Action Plan to give you the best chance of reaching your full potential as a footballer. Simply click HERE to find out more.
NEXA SPORTS PERFORMANCE
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