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Geelong target coach over high-altitude

By Laura Gardiner
9 November 2011 03:57PM EST

GEELONG has declared it would rather spend money on a new assistant coach, than shell out $1 million to join the overseas high-altitude craze.

The Cats hinted they may be on the look-out for another senior assistant to work under coach Chris Scott.

The side was forced to shuffle its coaching staff in October, moving former Geelong VFL coach Dale Amos to an assistant position to replace new Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson.

Amos was replaced by former Richmond on-baller and Essendon coach Matthew Knights.

And citing the heavy costs of sending an entire squad of players abroad for a specialised program, Geelong said it would rather spend its money on its football department.

Cats chief executive Brian Cook said while the club wanted to continue to be innovative, they had to consider their priorities.

“It’s more about, if you’ve got to pick between a couple of very good assistant coaches or bringing your leadership academy up to a certain level, versus altitude training, we make a decision," Cook told specialist sports radio SEN.

“We can’t do everything.

“Because we don’t turn over - we turn over 48 million - but there’s some clubs turning over up to 70 or 80 million.

“So we just haven’t got the dollars.”

Cook said there was no scientific evidence that proved the expeditions to mountainous regions for low-oxygen conditioning offered any short-term benefits, declaring it was only worth committing to over the space of half a decade.

"If you're going to genuinely commit to altitude training, because it has an accumulated effect over time, you need to commit to a five-year program," he said.

"It's no use going to Arizona for one year, you really need to do it for five years.

"So if you're going to commit to it properly, you're going to commit to something like a million dollars.

"I don't think there is any research around the world that actually says altitude training improves your performance by "x" amount of per cent.

"It's not that defined yet."

Geelong sent a group of its young players to Falls Creek in Victoria’s ski fields and the club is considering installing a climate room at Kardinia Park.

Cook admitted the club had heavily debated following the likes of Collingwood, Brisbane and Gold Coast in sending players to altitude training camps in the Arizona.

“It was debated at length by the football department and amongst the coaches and the sports scientists and the medical staff, all three got together and probably had three or four meetings on it,” Cook said.

“It’s become such a big thing and we at the moment are I think number two or three at football expenditure amongst AFL clubs, so we’re very high up there at the moment.

“And so it’s not as though we’re not spending a lot in that area, we really are now, whereas maybe 10 years ago we weren’t.”

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