Posted by: C. Smith
09/30/13 1:38 pm EST


Last Wednesday 76ers Head Coach of the Brett Brown met with the local media and discussed a number of items including Nerlens Noel’s health, what he sees in rookie Khalif Wyatt and applying what he learned at his previous coaching gig to Philadunkia’s home team.

However, of all the topics Brown talked about last Wednesday, his words on the importance of fitness and the work done at The Australian Institute of Sport really caught my interest.

Brown mentioned that his stress on high levels of fitness was a by product of his time spent with San Antonio coach Greg Popovich as well as his years working “Down Under” with the Australian Institute of Sport.  We all know what a great franchise Popovich has helped establish in San Antonio, so anything we can borrow from the Spurs will only help the 7-6.  But what exactly is the Australian Institute of Sport and exactly what goes on there that can help the 76ers?

If you do a few minutes of basic online research, you will learn that the Australian Institute of Sport of is a nationally run system of premiere sports training centers that develop elite Australian athletes.  Outstanding Australian athletes who show significant promise in their chosen sport are hand picked and sent to one of the AIS centers to train and develop under the watchful eye of AIS coaches, sports medicine experts and trainers.  Ask any pro trainer or team doctor and they will tell you the Australian Institute of Sport has a reputation as one of the best run athlete development practices in the world.

“You look at cutting-edge technology out of sports science, and the Institute of Sport is among the leaders in the world, very globally recognized as cutting-edge,” Brown said last week.

“I don’t know if anyone saw Australian-rules football. To me they’re the fittest athletes in the world. It’s a hybrid of football and soccer and it just goes.  Back in the late ’90s, those coaches influenced a lot of basketball coaches with the use of heart-rate monitors and eat for recovery and ice baths and nutrition and health massages and keep on going.  You start realizing that could perhaps provide you with an edge you need.  Those experiences were my influence from that side of my coaching.”

I spoke with NBA player Patty Mills who in addition to being coached by Brett Brown on the Australian National Team, started training in the AIS system at the age of 16.  Mills explained to me that AIS was the key to launching his basketball career.

“When I was 16 I earned a full scholarship to go there.  In junior basketball, growing up that is the one place you wanted to make it to.  You know once you make it there that you are definitely on the right track.  I spent three years there.  AIS disciplined me into doing all the little things on the court and especially off the court,” Mills said.

In addition to Mills, the AIS has worked with hundreds of world-class athletes, including names you might recognize like Olympic swimming champions Alicia Coutts, Angie Bainbridge, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills; WNBA star Lauren Jackson; as well as Andrew Bogut of the Warriors and the Australian Rugby 7’s national team.

Looking specifically at the Institute’s program for men’s basketball, the AIS has established a method where it typically gathers 12-15 of the best youth players (High school kids by age.) from around the country and places them in one location so they can practice and train together.  As they come up and develop together, this group of players becomes the foundation for Australia’s junior national squads (U19; U21) and eventually its national teams.  Still, according to Mills, the AIS is about more then just gathering the top hoops talent in Australia under one roof and rolling the ball out.

“You are put into an environment where basketball is in your backyard but you also have to manage your time with school, personal fitness and also sports medicine,” Mills said.

“You manage so many things at such a young age that it prepares you for the real world and when you come out of it you are a little ahead of the game.  It really prepared me for life outside of the AIS, coming to the states, staying fit on my own and playing professionally.”

Clearly Brown and Mills are big believers in the system the Australian Institute of Sports has mapped out for training athletes.  It will be very interesting to see how their highly respected methods help the 76ers this season and going forward — I’m looking at you Lavoy Allen.

The 76ers winning more than 20 games this season may not be a good bet on sites like, but you can bet that thanks to Brett Brown and his belief in the methods practiced at the Australian Institute of Sport, that no team in the League will be in better conditioned then the Sixers.


You can follow Patty Mills on Twitter @Patty_Mills.

You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.



  1. Steve Toll
    30. September 2013 at 15:08

    Listening to Brett Brown, Sam Hinkie and Joshua Harris this offseason has been awful. These guys just seem to sit around and sniff their own farts all day. Joshua Harris doesn’t have a clue as evidenced by every comment he has made since buying the 76ers. Sam Hinkie is taking the easiest road possible to building a team that will make the playoffs in 2016-17 season and he is just so pleased with himself.

    Now we have Brett Brown, ugghhhhh, make a fist and punch yourself in the face bro. You’ve been a coach in the USA and you keep talking about the Australia Sports program or whatever. It’s a nationally run program, not a private program. One thing that anyone with half a brain is aware of is that private outperforms nationally run in anything of importance. I can say with full confidence that pretty much anything being done in Australia has already been done in the US and anything Australia happened to do first, America picked up on and improved. Australian Rules Football has a salary cap of $9.3 million dollars this year and the highest ipad player in the whole league makes $1.2 million. So why in the hell would the “fittest athletes in the world” not be in the NFL making 2x,3x,4x,10x what the highest paid player is making this season!
    I’ll be interested to see if Brett Brown ever has a player more fit than Lebron James, my guess is he won’t.

    In hindsight, Brett Brown s the perfect compliment to Harris and Hinkie.

  2. Luke Blayney
    30. September 2013 at 21:44

    Great article, I have a lot of respect for Brown.

    Steve Toll: You are nothing but an ignorant, negativity fueled dropkick. I’m sorry, but not every individual that lives in the USA is the top of their respective field, nor are the sports programs. Yes, a lot of the programs are world class but that doesn’t mean that other countries cannot be recognised. I’m not going to sit here and name all the achievements and break throughs that Australians have made as well as those from other nations that are not the US.

    The AIS is a government funded sports program that is exclusive, like that of a private program. I agree with the comment made about Australian Rules players being the fittest. They have been tracked to cover over 15 kilometres per game as well as having to sprint, jump, tackle and kick. It is not all about money. They play for the love of the game, because they grew up loving it and Australia is home!

    It’s your ignorance that glues you to your lounge chair

  3. Luke Blayney
    30. September 2013 at 21:47

    Also Steve Toll:

    Have a look at the population of the USA compared to Australia. Commercially, the NFL has a lot more money to give out in regards to salary.

  4. PR
    30. September 2013 at 23:37

    Reading Toll’s articles all year has been awful, he just seems to sit around and sniff his own farts all day.

    Perhaps Toll should comment on something he actually know’s about, like living in his Mom’s basement. It isn’t basketball and it certainly isn’t Australian Rules Football.

    Australian Rules Football has no offside rule nor does it have a line of scrimmage, therefore the players are constantly in motion. In a two hour game a player typically covers about 15 miles (more than a half marathon) and much of the running is high intensity. It is also a contact sport and the hits and tackles are brutal. They are some of the most elite athletes in the world and Brett Brown’s comments are accurate.

    Toll yet again exposes himself as a fool by suggesting there is an analogy between what someone earns and how fit they are. Just watch the olympics for 5 minutes and you will see thousands of highly fit athletes who train year round for virtually no financial gain due to their country of origin or the ametuer sport they play in. It is also an absolute nonsense to suggest that if AFL athletes were so fit they should be in the NFL, the games don’t translate at all. It’s like suggesting NHL players should be in the NFL because they can earn more, just a ridiculous comment from Toll.

    The AIS has long been regarded as one of the best elite athlete programs in the world. Aside from the endorsement from pro leagues such as the NBA, evidence of the AIS’s sucess can be found in Australia’s olympic and international performances in the last 25 years. To produce so many medalists and world champions with a population of just over 20 million is truly remarkable and testimony of the AIS’s sucess.

    Well done to C.Smith for picking up on the AIS comment, it provides a good insight and reflects very positively on Brett Brown and the direction the sixers are heading in, not withstanding the ongoing bafoonery of Steve Toll’s meaningless and inaccurate comments.

  5. Joe
    1. October 2013 at 08:09

    Steve Toll,

    So by your logic that great athletes (AFL players) should be able to succeed in other sports (the NFL), surely it follows that great intellects can succeed across a variety of fields as well.

    A great mathematician would also be an excellent physicist, a brilliant lawyer would also be a superb speechwriter, and a very proficient sports analyst would also be a supremely successful journalist, team GM or sports economist.

    If you’re the great analyst that you say you are then using your logic, you should be one of the above things. But you’re not.

  6. JJ
    1. October 2013 at 09:32

    Hahahahahaha Steve you obviously have never seen a game of AFL(Australian rules). Most players can run faster and longer than Lebron James all while having more skill than NFL players, that’s why when AFL players get too old to keep up they go to the NFL to make millions by kicking the ball twice a game. Pull your head in please.

    Australia has just over half the population of California so I’d hope the NATIONAL football league would have higher paid players.

  7. Steven Toll
    1. October 2013 at 15:29


    Please list all the “achievements and breakthroughs (its one word FYI)” that Australian’s have made in sports science.

    I can assure you it is about money, but keep kidding yourself by thinking otherwise.

    99.9% of the people in the world would move a long distance to make somewhere between 2x-10x their current salary. That isn’t up for debate

    I love you too


    Please list all the former AFL player who have played in the NFL and their salary made in the NFL along with how many years they played.

    Please explain how you came to the conclusion that MOST AFL players “are faster than Lebron, and have more skill than NFL players” BUT very few have ever played in the NFL, where they could have made between 2x-10x what the highest played AFL player could make

  8. Louie
    1. October 2013 at 18:20

    Everyone commenting to Steve,

    Give up. Steve is clearly just an ignorant American and he won’t change his mind. He’s worse than a House Republican. So just let it be.


    I hope someone in Iran offers you a job to live there and work for there press, and they pay you 20x your current salary. At least I wouldn’t have to read your articles.

  9. Alex
    1. October 2013 at 22:54

    This is what you say “So by your logic that great athletes (AFL players) should be able to succeed in other sports (the NFL), surely it follows that great intellects can succeed across a variety of fields as well.”

    I think there is a common denominator and that is what we are discussing here. It is obviously conditioning. Good Conditioning will bring out true talent. And if we find out they do not belong, well get rid of them.
    Also I am not sure why you so hash on Harris, Brown and Hinkie. I thought you like Hinkie and Brown. 2012-13 team was beyond repair.

  10. Joe
    2. October 2013 at 07:54

    Steve Toll,

    Cogently argued, well done! My point was that if skills are transferrable – as you say they are – then by now you should be wildly successful and respected in your chosen field. The fact that you’re not means that either your logic is wrong, or you’re not good at what you do.

  11. Steve Toll
    2. October 2013 at 12:32


    WTF is a house republican? I don’t get your point about Iran, there is internet and TV on the American Compounds PLUS I’d get a sick tan


    As Vince Lombardi once said, “fatigue makes cowards of us all”
    I just find it hilarious that Brett Brown is pimping out the Aussie Insititute and acts like he is going to do a better job conditioning his guys than other coaches/teams when the fact of the matter is a HUGE % of a players fitness level comes from their own work! not with the team


    That is your opinion

  12. Jon in LA
    3. October 2013 at 02:00


    “…when the fact of the matter is a HUGE % of a players fitness level comes from their own work! not with the team”

    Are you saying that a couch can’t instill a work ethic or training program that a player can use in the off season? Considering that so many of our players only had a few years of even college coaching, couldn’t Brett Brown’s knowledge that he gained from the Australian Institute have a significant impact on their fitness for the next few years? Or do you expect all these young players to already know everything there is to know about fitness and diet and can’t be taught something new?

    It’s pretty obvious that from the interviews from numerous players on the team at training camp that Brett Brown has been hammering home fitness as a major pillar to his philosophy. You can tell he’s already succeeding in getting it into their heads.

  13. Steve Toll
    3. October 2013 at 12:46

    Jon in LA,

    I’d like to put it out there that if Brett Brown is the point man on fitness and diet, that is a joke. A NBA team should have 2 different people, neither of which are the head coach, in charge of fitness and diet

    “You can tell he’s already succeeding in getting it into their (the players) heads (about fitness.”
    How so?

Leave a Reply