Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon has cautioned AFL draftees and specifically top 10 prospect Bailey Smith about burning themselves out at a young age.
Host of SEN’s Time On Sam McClure wrote an article about Smith in The Age and his meticulously professional habits at 17 years old and Lyon discussed how that could affect a player in the long term.
“He’s a midfielder, he’s never had a drink of alcohol, he only eats between 2pm and 9pm, he weighs his food, he measures his food, he trains twice a day,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“I’m just reading it and I’m not concerned, I love it. I love the story and I don’t know the young fella, but I would caution this at 17 years of age.
“And please, I’m not having a go at this young bloke, I think it’s fantastic what he’s doing. I’m just wondering whether the balance is right there.
“My query is when he gets to 24, is he going to say, I should’ve lived my life as a – not a lad, but it seems to be such a single-minded focus.”
Lyon compared it to former teammate Shane Woewodin, who had a similar mindset at a young age.
“It reminds me of Shane Woewodin. He went all weighing food and very much like Bailey, won a Brownlow Medal,” Lyon said.
“It was good in the short term, I’m not sure it was great for him longer term.”
Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce said the fact that Smith has put this routine together himself eases her concerns.
“(I’d be concerned) if it was coming from external pressures, but when you read through the article, it very much seems like it’s all off his own back,” she said.
“It’s similar to the Jack Higgins story last year where you hear of this kid who’s left school and he’s taken up extra running sessions and preparing himself professionally already.
“Maybe then I did think, is this someone who will burn out, but then you watch Higgins play last year and his passion for the game is absolutely there.
“I think some people are just that way inclined. I play with one in Karen Paxman. If the coach gives her a training off because of her load, she’ll go and do hill sprints.
“I think some people out there genuinely love the grind and Bailey Smith sounds like one of those.”