Jayden Pitt's development in on track
My focus was just to build my body up and prepare for the years ahead to handle other AFL bodies
As Fremantle’s first selection from the 2010 Draft, the external pressure heaped on Jayden Pitt to perform has been significant, but from within the club, patience is all that’s mattered.
Pitt was picked at number 20 and went on to play eight games in a promising debut 2011 season.
Two appearances last season pointed to a disappointing second year, but Pitt said the club considered 2012 as a development year for him.
“There was plenty of focus on building my body up, trying to get my body to an elite AFL level, because Ross (Lyon) pushed me to get bigger so I could hold it against other AFL players,” he said.
“In terms of playing games, I was not disappointed but I would have liked to play a few more.
“My focus was just to build my body up and prepare for the years ahead to handle other AFL bodies.”
Pitt, who weighed in at 72kg at the start of 2011, currently tips the scales at 82kg.
Like a Melbourne Cup entrant handicapped with a few extra kilos, he’s discovered some of the challenges that come with added weight.
“My running dropped off just slightly,” he said.
“I had to juggle getting that back up to speed and maintain the weight as best I could.
“The main goal is to keep building the body but stay fit and available for selection.”
A teammate who’s offered Pitt support in learning to use his body more in contests is Matt de Boer, one of the most courageous players in the squad, if not the AFL.
“Matt’s elite in the way he throws his body around and puts himself in some pretty tough positions,” Pitt said.
“He’s helping me out with that, doing extra ground ball sessions and tackling drills with me.”
The 20-year-old has excellent skills, but he’s a harsh critic on himself at training.
“I rely heavily on my ball use, that’s obviously one of my strengths, so I get a bit disappointed if I muck up,” he said.
“I suppose you can't always hit every kick or handball, but I try my best to hit everyone and I suppose I do get a bit disappointed if I miss one.”
Pitt won’t put a number on how many games he wanted to appear in this season. The barometer for a successful year will be found on the training track.
“If I can perform well at training and continue to develop, that will roll into game day and game day will take care of itself.”