COLEMAN Medals, a competitive edge and coming up against Ben.
There’s no rest for the wicked in the off-season: just ask Harry McKay.
The All Australian is once again spending his time in the build-up to pre-season working with The Speed Project, looking to gain an edge with his running power.
It was a move which paid dividends for McKay, who went onto produce a Coleman Medal-winning season on the back of a summer last year which saw him focus on backing in his strengths.
With brother Ben (amongst other opposition players) joining him, McKay had a chat with Channel 7’s Mitch Cleary to discuss the program, his goals for 2022… and that all-elusive first clash with his twin.
Bettering himself in the lead-up to pre-season:
I’m trying to get a bit quicker. I’ve said it before, but as an industry I think we look at working on our weaknesses a little bit but I think my athleticism is one of my strengths. I still want to work on my strengths and get a little bit quicker.
Jarrad [Kay] talks about it being a second or half a second quicker, but that could mean 10-20 metres [on your opponent]. I’m looking for little ways to improve and I’m all about that.
How The Speed Project helped him in 2021:
It’s hard to put a number on it, but I found training at a high speed and using some of those techniques — I felt like I was quick and powerful this year and a lot quicker and more powerful than the year before. I add that in with a lot of gym work and the stuff we do at the Club, and I think it was a really good recipe.
Playing against brother Ben:
It’s been well-documented, but we haven’t been able to play against each other yet. It’s building the suspense a bit. I’m looking forward to it — if it ever happens. I guess the universe just doesn't want us to play against each other in front of no crowds I reckon, Mitch. So hopefully in 2022, we'll see how we go.
It’ll be interesting. I haven’t thought about it too much. I think the first 5-10 minutes will feel a bit different but after that, it’ll feel like just another game. It’s always built up a little bit, but once the ball is bounced it’ll just be another game and just another defender.
Backing up a Coleman Medal season:
I thought 2021 was a good stepping stone: I was a bit more consistent and managed to take some steps forward. I do feel like I’m just getting started. I feel like I can be a lot more consistent. As a forward, we talk so much about the craft: you watch some of the guys like Buddy, Josh Kennedy, Jack Riewoldt and Tom Hawkins. You see their craft and their ability to do it for years and years.
I look at where I’m at compared to them, and there’s still plenty to work on. I’m still chipping away at that, and staying healthy. You do a lot of work in the off-season to set yourself up and I’m really looking forward to taking my game to a new level as well as with the team as well.
An update on his shoulder:
It’s really good. It’s feeling 100 per cent now: I’d be playing if the season was going now. It feels really good. It was a little bit annoying to miss the last couple of games, but it was good to get it done and have a really clear run at the off-season.
For the full chat with Harry and Ben McKay, you can watch at this link via Channel 7’s Youtube channel.