The pressure to physically mature

PHYSICAL development for aspiring professional athletes differ for each person.

Geelong Falcons footballer Jasper McMillan-Pittard, who is expected to be snared in this week’s AFL draft, said he has bolstered his lean body from 68 kilograms to 72 kilograms this year “just by eating a lot more.”

But still he is seen by Falcons regional manager Mick Turner as “two or three years behind in development” physically.

“I’ve probably put on more over the last six months to a year. I was about 68 kilograms and about 72 kilograms now. It’s just by eating a lot more,” McMillan-Pittard told healthy.com.au.

“I probably need to get to about 82 kilograms to take a couple of hits. Weight will be constantly an issue for more so I’ll just be progressively putting on weight I guess.”

He played senior football with Torquay in the Bellarine Football League in 2008 as a 17-year-old where he said he coped physically.

He was named BFL Rookie of the Year after being involved in a losing grand final.

“It was beneficial in the sense that even thought I was lighter, I could take the hits and not really let it scare me or anything and I could use my attributes like running to beat my opponents,” he said.

“It wasn’t particularly a strong competition either which helped but I had a lot of confidence to back myself in.”

“I knew where I was at. I was told that there would be a lack of opportunities last year. I played the four games and I just learnt off the calibre of staff at the Falcons.”

“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” he said.

Turner believes McMillan-Pittard, a wingman or half back, could play AFL next year but said he was more a development project.

“AFL clubs will look at him and think that he’s two or three years under developed but in two or three years time, he could be anything,” Turner said.

“He plays a bit like Andrew Mackie off a back flank or a wing.”

He is expected to be taken in the first 20 players in Thursday night’s AFL draft.

By Brent Diamond

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