Oxidate: Driving sports performance and coaching in Australia

Oxidate Football Pitch

When speaking to brothers (and footballers) Jacob and Dominic Falla about Oxidate Performance, one begins to understand the true passion and insight behind their work. Oxidate Performance is Melbourne’s newest training centre dedicated to delivering football and performance coaching like never before.

Oxidate is much more than just activities and training drills, the performance centre was established by the pair in an effort to take athlete development and education, injury rehabilitation, recovery and football development to new heights. In addition, Oxidate currently have the lowest injury statistics across the state of Victoria.

Currently plying his trade with Heidelberg United in Victoria’s National Premier Leagues 1, Dominic previously spent five years in Europe learning from the elite schools of Spanish and English football. Jacob has had his own experiences in working with footballers across various levels, often with an eye on what could be done to provide athletes with the right tools to continue to evolve throughout the remainder of their career.

What is Oxidate?

Jacob: So, we’re a sports performance and coaching company who specialise specifically in the football development and physical development sectors. We tie a few pillars of performance together; including strength and conditioning, nutrition, skill development, massage therapy and myotherapy and physiotherapy. Working closely within the sports science realm and exercise science realms.

Undoubtedly there are a range of things on offer at Oxidate, how did it all come together though?

Jacob: Dom and I have been footballers for all our life, and we’ve figured out that there’s a good portion of development, help, education and training programs that have been missing. So, we thought, based on our experiences, our studies and our expertise that we’d develop the missing link, and provide the training content that is Oxidate Performance.

And now, the launch of our new performance centre in Coburg is very much that. It’s your one stop performance destination where football athletes, of all ages and skill levels, can come and receive the right types of help, training and guidance to enhance their opportunities overall.

How do you go about educating your clients?

Dominic: The big thing we think is missing is the educating of the parents. So, every single session when a client comes through, we spend time describing what the session is, what it entails, and what we’re looking for in terms of the performance and how we can maximise each session. It’s about giving them an education on what we’re actually doing in the session, rather than coming in and just running through training drills and skills.

MentoringSo, giving the education to the player or the client, as well as the parent, is key to the overall experience so that they can learn in the short term and long term. They can then implement these things throughout the remainder of their career.

What are some of Oxidate’s other points of difference when compared with other football and performance coaching places?

Jacob: We pride ourselves on the physical development of our clients and the fact that we have the lowest injury statistics in Victoria. And we’ve held that statistic since 2016.

We track the metrics and the data of every club that we work with, from the grassroots level all the way through to the NPL. So, we’re recording these stats and each year we are progressing and developing by fine tuning our programs. Which in turn continues to provide these opportunities for athletes to develop and hopefully reduce that risk of injury as well.

How do you want Oxidate to impact the football industry?

Jacob: For us, it’s about bridging the gap between professional football and semi-professional football, or the elite to sub-elite. There’s a lot of areas that we can improve on, from the football fundamentals and the basics right through to athlete development.

We pride ourselves on the athlete development side of things more so, to us, this is what is currently lacking when comparing Australia to other nations. It’s the level of athleticism, and the ability to play the game at high tempo and speeds, or having the engine to cope with the physical demands of training two sessions per day, 6 days per week.

We’ve got an awesome gym setup here focusing on strength training not just in the off-season and pre-season, but in continuing the right types of training throughout the season. Because a child or athlete’s career should be seen from a progress standpoint, as every season they’re getting stronger, fitter and faster and developing their skills.

How similar is Oxidate’s coaching philosophy to your own personal coaching philosophies?

Dominic: Pretty much Oxidate, for Jacob and myself, is our baby. So, it is our own personal philosophies that we’ve built together through years of experience. I personally spent five years in Europe learning from different coaches, different teams and different types of football in Spain and England.

So, we’ve molded these experiences, including the missing links together to create our own version of football performance, now trademarked as the Oxidate philosophy. And that is what Oxidate performance is. We practice what we preach and teach. It is our mission to help improve the standards of Football in Australia.

What is the science behind Oxidate?

Jacob: We do a lot of performance analysis, and that may be viewing players on the pitch as we get a lot of parents request that we go and watch their child play, but also, we work in the sports science realm as well. That involves bringing players in, whether that be teams or individual clients, and testing them through a range of different things.

So, we do a full-body assessment and screening, where a physiotherapist assesses ankles, knees, hips, range of motion and the likelihood of where injuries could arise. And then we look at the performance testing as well with strength and power tests, and speed and agility tests. From there, what we do with those metrics is we build the training program specifically and then retest that client or athlete before the next training block. This is the pinnacle of individual performance.

We’re taking individual performance to the grand scale as well. We’re working with Heidelberg United, so what we’ve done is we’ve formed a collaboration with that club and launched an Athlete Development & High-Performance Program that includes working with over 100 athletes to provide these same opportunities. 

What does the week-to-week look like for Oxidate?

Jacob: We’re here seven days a week and our coaches and staff are available for a range of high-performance sessions, recovery or rehabilitation. We’re here to provide opportunities for everyone that would like to enhance their careers.

Obviously, we follow a set structure, we set up a weekly schedule for each of our clients and we give them our opinions based on when and how they should train, and we setup a weekly forecast for them. So, for example, it might look like a Monday day recovery where (tying back into that point of difference) a lot of footballers, coaches, teams and clubs are taking a recovery day as a lesser option where they’re not really doing too much. Whereas, recovery can be enhanced if you stick to the science and stick to a proper structure.

Recovery at Oxidate includes our recovery pools. Hot and cold contrast water therapy. We do a lot of active recovery style sessions and a lot of injury prevention stuff too, including strength training. So, that’s a huge point of difference here as our clients are always progressing, instead of plateauing due to doing nothing. Rest is not always the answer for recovery.

A midweek session on a Wednesday will be your heavy strength power sessions, and then we do a Friday session which is game day -1. And we do what’s called a neural priming session, which involves a lot of work on the nervous system, a lot of stimulation work, a lot of low volume work at a high intensity. We do some sprints and agility training as well. All of our systems and programs are designed purely to make sure our clients dominate on game day, week in, week out, all season long.

It sounds like there is a huge variety of coaching and treatment on offer, who are the type of coaches working with Oxidate?

Jacob: All of our coaches have exercise science and sports science-based backing. So, every coach has a university degree of either 3 or 5 years. But, they’re also more importantly either current football players or previous players, so they understand the demands of the sport. They’re not just gym-goers or lab-tech gurus, they know what it feels like to play and they know what the demands are of a coach or a club. So, I think it really gives us a unique backing which then ties into that unique experience that you get when you step into our doors and come train with us.

It sounds like you both have an in-depth knowledge about performance coaching, but what inspired the way you approach things? Was it a particular coach or club experience?

Dominic: For myself, I have had some really good football coaches throughout my footballing career. There’s one or two here in Australia, but over in Spain the standard of actual coaching over there is on another level. And I guess, throughout my 4-5 years over there in Spain and England, I was consistently speaking with Jacob and saying how crazy the coaching was and how different it was.

From that I think I learnt a lot. I don’t need to name drop anyone because they’re overseas, but there were a few coaches who really took the technical side of the game to another level. And I think it shows in the way, for example, the way international teams like Spain and England play when compared to Australia.

So, that experience of training 4-5 times a week in Spain compared to here where it’s 2-3 sessions in a club setting, that contact time in terms of football development, hours spent in terms of load and actually improving the physical aspects as well made a massive difference. For me, learning all that from those coaches and that experience is where I personally got all the knowledge, we have today that I have passed on to Jacob.

Jacob: It really just comes from trial and error. So, I like to call it being “in the trenches”, and I’ve sort of been in the trenches for the last 10-11 years in the industry. That has involved trialling, erroring, testing, reassessing and shaping this hybrid program, philosophy and format. So, my knowledge has come from years of working with 100s and 1000s of different athletes, trialling different areas and just tweaking and always improving them.

We’re very grateful Dom and I, that we’ve still got youth on our side. We’re still optimistic and open-minded, and we’re not too set in our ways. Which gives us that edge of adaptability and that’s probably a key word, ‘adaptability’, and that includes being adaptable to the client, situation, team or performance that’s needed.

Football Coaches Australia present ‘The Football Coaching Life Podcast’ S2 Ep 1 with Gary Cole interviewing John Kosmina

John Kosmina, ‘Kossie’ as he is affectionately known by Australian Football Fans, was a wonderful Socceroo striker with great skill and he was also extremely tough and no nonsense.

John played 100 games for the Socceroos over a 12-year period, scoring 42 goals. He played 287 NSL games for West Adelaide, Adelaide City, Sydney City, Sydney Olympic and Apia where he scored 133 goals. He also spent a year with Arsenal in London.

Kossie coached in the National Soccer League with Newcastle Breakers, Brisbane City and Adelaide United. He continued with Adelaide into the Hyundai A-League where he also spent time coaching at Sydney FC. He won a HAL Premiership in 2005-2006 and was a runner-up to Melbourne Victory in 2006-2007.

John is a member of the Football Australia Hall of Fame, he worked with Graham Arnold as his assistant coach in the 2007 Asian Cup and is well known for his work as a Fox sports commentator.

John now works as the Brisbane Strikers Senior Academy Head Coach, with a strong focus on development.

This is a terrific chat where John frankly shares his coaching journey and experiences and as always, he is ruthlessly honest.

Please join me in sharing John Kosmina’s Football Coaching Life.

Is it time for a national agenda regarding Futsal?

Futsal has played a role in the development of famous football players. Is it time for national agenda regarding this format of the game?

Futsal has played a huge role in the development of some of the most famous football players on the planet. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar are three of the biggest names in game, who all honed their skills playing the small-sided game.

Even in Australia, one of our top talents – Celtic and Socceroo’s Tom Rogic – was an avid player throughout his youth. The country is currently without a national team for men or women, and those within the game argue that without a national agenda for futsal, Australia may fail to develop players of this calibre going forward.

According to former Futsalroo and South Melbourne Legend Fernando de Moraes, one of the biggest benefits to player development is the number of touches on the ball they receive, and this is an essential part of developing a complete and technically talented footballer.

“I’d say futsal isn’t important. It’s essential. It has to be a part of their development. The technique developed from playing futsal, you won’t get that in outdoor football. The technical skills, the small touches of the ball, the quick thinking. In the full-sided game, you don’t get enough of that sometimes,” he said.

Anthony Grima, head of commercial and futsal at Football Victoria, is at the heart of the development of the game within Australia. He believes that Australia needs a national road map for futsal to get the best out of the game.

“A roadmap for Futsal is crucial for the future success of the sport in this country. It would lay the foundations for the sport nationally and provide an aligned Futsal framework for all states and territories to follow,” he said.

“Priorities such as governance, grassroots and pathway programs, player, coach and referee development, Futsal national teams, a national Futsal League and more.”

De Moraes believes without a path for young players to compete against the best opposition, the game is losing out on developing players. Football Australia’s former iteration of a national futsal league, the F-League, is now defunct.

Fernando De Moraes playing in the F-League

“It all starts from if you don’t have a professional or national league, even a semi-pro league. If you have a pathway for the kids who want to join futsal in competitions around the country, these amazing kids can succeed. But obviously, there is no pathway for them. They get lost,” he said.

De Moraes is no stranger to international futsal, having been capped 29 times by his country. In the past futsal has operated on an ad-hoc basis, with national teams suffering from a lack of support and organisation. National teams were sometimes organized as representative sides without recognition from the professional bodies in Australia, especially for women.

“It was always a get-together one or two months before the competition, we’d train together maybe two times, and then we’d go overseas to play the tournament. To have a program, so you can organise sooner, get yourself ahead, and develop players would be brilliant,” de Moraes said.

According to Grima, the sport has suffered without a centralised and focused vision, however, success can be created by listening to the stakeholders of the game.

“There has been a lack of certainty over what role governing bodies should play in Futsal and what leadership they should provide,” he said.

“After the extensive consultation we did here in Victoria in 2019 with the game’s stakeholders – and getting a deeper understanding of best practice principles – it is clear that the sport must be aligned.”

Grima explains that while the game faces issues, Football Australia, and the state federations, have signalled improvements in the games pathways, while calling for a national agenda for the sport.

“I am delighted that Football Australia included futsal in Principle IV of the recently released XI Principles – for the future of Australian football. They call for the establishment of a national agenda for futsal and beach soccer and to investigate the creation of new products to grow the game. This is fantastic to see,” he said.

“Here in Victoria, like Queensland as well, we recently announced our futsal strategies and have stepped up our dedication to unite the sport and invest in the resources needed to govern Futsal in our respective states. Other states including NSW and ACT have long been dedicated to Futsal.”

The Futsalroos are currently inactive. Grima thinks there is a huge opportunity to launch a women’s national team under Football Australia.

“The FIFA Futsal World Cup is being held this year in Lithuania, it would have been great to see the Futsalroos participating,” he said.

“I believe there is a huge opportunity ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup to introduce a national women’s team for Futsal as well. What a great legacy hosting the World Cup would bring here for Futsal as well.”

De Moraes believes that with the support of the state federations, futsal could become a huge part in developing players for the national team.

“Futsal is a great sport to develop players in this country. The amount of talent that gets lost and doesn’t end up playing because of a lack of opportunity is a missed opportunity. To make futsal a part of football, with the federation’s support, would be great to see.” he said.

Vicsport partnership with AED Authority to assist clubs

Vicsport has announced a partnership with AED Authority, giving better access to AEDs for Victorian sports clubs.

Vicsport has announced a partnership with AED Authority Australia, as the defibrillator supplier will give better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for Victorian sports clubs.

The improved availability of AEDs can help sports clubs be on the front foot when it comes to developing and executing emergency response plans that save lives of participants.

Vicsport’s extensive network from over 30 years of service, including 16,000 clubs and associations and over 3.9 million participants, are those who make a significant contribution to the social, physical, mental and economic wellbeing of the Victorian community.

An AED offers a portable, easy-to-use device that delivers controlled shock to an individual showing symptoms of a cardiac arrest – when the heart stops beating.

It is something that can occur to anyone, anywhere and any time, so clubs must be alert especially if it happens on the field.

Every year in Australia, around 33,000 people experience a cardiac arrest out of hospital, but as few as 5% of these people are able to survive.

A privately owned health and safety company, AED Authority aims to improve Australia sudden cardiac arrest survival rate. They help customers distinguish fact from fiction when considering an AED program, demonstrating how simple a defibrillator can be to save a life. An early use of defibrillator leads to a 70% survival rate.

Managing Director of AED Authority, Paul Klein:

“We’re excited to partner with Vicsport. AEDs are valuable protection for athletes in all fields and their communities.”

“Even healthy seemingly, low-risk youth can have underlying heart conditions that are triggered by strenuous activities. Making an AED part of every club’s emergency response plan can save lives.”

Vicsport CEO Lisa Hasker:

“Vicsport is looking forward to working with AED Authority in order to provide safe environments for all sporting clubs in Victoria.”

AED Authority knows that the purchase of a defibrillator can be confusing, based on years of experience with AED sales and management programs. This new partnership can take all the question marks out of the equation, by assisting clubs with all aspects behind a successful AED program: from site assessment and device selection, to monitoring and maintenance in conjunction with special Vicsport member packages.

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