JARRYD Lyons was told he'd have to improve his running if he was to cement his place in Adelaide's line-up after re-signing with the Crows for two years last season.
So he enlisted the help of Melbourne-based sports scientist and strength coach Christian Woodford last pre-season, who specialises in athletic development.
The 23-year-old was shown new techniques on how to lift weights and was offered a fresh perspective on how to improve his speed and endurance.
Although he's yet to lock himself into the Crows' line-up, Lyons will play his fourth consecutive senior game and 10th for the year on Saturday night against the Brisbane Lions.
With another two games remaining before the finals, he's on track to play more footy than in any of his previous three seasons at West Lakes.
"I've put a lot of time into my conditioning and strength, and that's probably what's held me in good stead this year," Lyons told AFL.com.au.
"I've been really improving on my leg strength, which has made a massive difference in terms of covering the ground.
"[Woodford's] pretty smart with what he does there … it's more weightlifting technique and engaging different muscles and just learning new things. I like the sports science area – it'd probably be something I look at after footy.
"Rather than just getting stronger, it's more about being efficient."
With Adelaide on the cusp of finals qualification, Lyons has timed his run in the senior side perfectly.
He's never played in a senior final; Lyons won an under-16 flag and played three games in the Crows' most recent finals season (2012), although they were in rounds five to seven.
Lyons watched from the sidelines as his teammates lost to the Sydney Swans, scored a great win over Fremantle and then fell agonisingly short to Hawthorn in the preliminary final.
The thought of running out in such a big game is tantalising.
"It was an amazing experience just to watch the boys play and the feeling around the club was really good," he said.
"If the Showdown is what they compare to finals, it's probably going to be bigger than that, which would be unreal."