Hayden Ballantyne used to love teasing Chris Mayne about his love for pilates, but the Fremantle goalsneak has now joined the stretching bandwagon in a bid to avoid injury.
Ballantyne has been struck down by numerous soft tissue injuries throughout his 151-game career, with a hamstring tear last year ruling him out for the first 13 rounds of the season.
Sick of being sidelined and with his AFL future hanging in the balance, Ballantyne decided to take up pilates last year.
The results have been promising so far, with Ballantyne completing an injury-free pre-season campaign that has left him primed for a good year.
"I used to tease Chris Mayne for doing pilates, and now I'm doing it myself," Ballantyne said.
"It definitely does work and I recommend it to anyone with bad hamstrings.
"My flexibility's gone through the roof.
"Strength and balance wise it's helped me immensely.
"I'd done yoga before, but it didn't have the affect of what pilates had. I do that at least once - sometimes twice - a week. And it's working a treat."
Ballantyne struggled in Fremantle's first two pre-season games.
But he shot back to top form in last week's 62-point thumping of West Coast, booting 3.3 from 19 disposals.
Ballantyne said he received a rev-up from coach Ross Lyon in the lead-up to that match.
"Ross reminds me a fair bit of everything I need to do. I need a bit of a kick in the arse every now and then," Ballantyne said with a smile.
"He said just get to the fall of the ball, don't get past it.
"Sometimes you get a bit excited when you see the goals are there. You get past the ball and miss the crumbs.
"So (he told me to) just bide your time and get the ball first ... rather than get too excited."
Fremantle's promising pre-season campaign has given them hope they can defy the odds and snare a finals berth this year.
The Dockers begin their campaign against the Power at Adelaide Oval on March 24.
Star midfielder Stephen Hill (calf) has already been ruled out of that match, but Brad Hill (quad) is still a chance to feature.
Ballantyne is set to play alongside Brandon Matera and Michael Walters in a forward line boasting plenty of firepower at ground level.
He said Richmond's success with a fleet-footed forward line proved the tactic can work.
Australian Associated Press