This is my story about how a skinny, weak football player became a strong, confident athlete.

I have never been a big guy and certainly was not when I was younger. But when I made my first grade debut at the age of 17 for Weston in the NPL,  the physicality of playing as a centre back against powerful strikers was a huge hurdle. Through the early years I managed, but I was also lucky to be in a young developing team. These days most young guys aren’t that lucky with the new format of the competition. At the age of 22-23 I finally started to find a niche, and was selected in a couple of representative teams.

When I was young I was told you need to be faster, stronger and fitter, but no one showed me what I had to do to improve. Many people meant well and were quick to give their opinion, but when it came down to it, they had no idea how to help. In my experience, this is an issue with football in Newcastle. I mean no disrespect, but there are not enough people involved in Newcastle football that can actually help a player get to the next level.

I always used the off-season to hit the gym and try to add some muscle, but if I’m honest, the programs I got from personal trainers were rubbish for an athlete. I really had no idea what I was doing and effectively wasted the better part of 10 years.

When I finally started to follow a structured program and eating right at 28, everything improved. I was significantly stronger, faster and way more confident. When I started playing football again at 29, I could not believe how good I felt. I went from being middle of the pack in sprints to the front and I was smashing beep tests with less cardio training than during my peak fitness.

I was never the guy to make big tackles or physically dominate other players, but now I was so much stronger in challenges and dominating on the field. But it was all too late. 

It is really now upon reflection, that had I followed a quality programme for 2 years when I was 16, I would have been where I was physically at 23 when I would have been 18, and would have been physically where I was at 30 when I was 21.

What does that mean? Well, if I was training properly, and selected in a representative team when I was 19, maybe someone could have seen my potential to give me an opportunity in Sydney or the A-League. And maybe instead of now thinking about what could have been, I would finish a professional football career and spent 10 years doing what I dreamt of as a young kid.

Don’t mistake this as me regretting anything I have done because I love my life. It is however a note to any young aspiring players out there, that if you really want to be a professional, you have to find high quality mentors. People who both want to truly help you reach your potential and actually know what they are talking about to make that happen.

Don’t think you know better. Don’t think it will just happen in time. Don’t think it just takes more road runs, or juggles. And definitely don’t think it takes running yourself into the ground. It is about training smarter and using the tools you have to get to where you want to be.

CA17 is a fantastic off-season athlete development program developed by a footballer, for footballers. With CA17, you can be part of an elite squad of quality athletes all working towards a goal of becoming the athlete you want to be. What you have done up until now has gotten you to where you are, but I guarantee it won’t take you to the next level, or the level after that. Take things into your own hands. Seek support from those who can actually help. If you are serious about taking your performance and athletic development to the next level, click on this link to register for CA17: http://www.cornerstonenewcastle.com.au/ca17