Posts Tagged ‘strength and conditioning’

In out first on-field spring practice session this year we worked on form running and sprint mechanics for the majority of the day.  Points of emphasis in this area included: arms bent at elbows at 90-degrees focusing on linear movement from the shoulder joint, opposite arm driving the opposite leg, erect spine, head and eyes up, legs turning over in a circular motion with the foot flexing and extending against the ground as the heel pulls through, and connecting the upper and lower body together in a kinetic chain to get the most out of our movements.

As with everything worth teaching, we broke the process of sprinting into drills to repeat the desired movements:

1. Stationary arm swings

A. Striders – :30

B. Stride/Sprint/Stride – :10/:10/:10

C. Spring/Stride/Sprint – :10/:10/:10

2. Stationary hip flexibility/range of motion

A. Leg swings front to back – 20 on each leg

3. Stationary circular motion/stride turnover

A. Standing (partner) “swipe & cycle” – 20 on each leg

4. Moving circular motion/stride turnover

A. Single leg quick step – every 3rd step right leg for 10 yards/left leg for 10 yards

B. Full cycle run – 20 yards

5. Striders/buildups – 20/40/60 yards

As we progress in our stability training in the morning we will gradually introduce change of direction drills throughout the spring as well.

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This video, featuring Coach Raphael Ruiz from CrossFit Football, adds considerable dimension to the old football cliche, “when the bullets start flying” as he draws an analogy to grouping shots on a target at a firing range versus firing at an actual live target with bullets actually flying back at you.  The idea behind the analogy is that training an athlete’s emotional response in situations of stress will improve said athlete’s “default” level of performance.  In terms of training for football, or any high intensity sport, taking the thinking or emotion out of rehearsed actions and re-actions so that production or performance is maximized is always the goal.

John Welbourn, co-founder of CrossFit Football explains the necessity for training for optimum performance further:

For football, we know the demands; football is a game of inches and seconds. We know that timeframe and scale, and we know when, where, and how game day is played. Knowing this, we can precisely prepare for the demands of the sport. What we cannot control is the player’s talent: his instincts, and his ability to react to stress, pressure, and the opponent. We know what weapons we need in our arsenal and we will know when and how to use them. Optimum training results in optimum performance, and the optimally prepared athlete is in the position to make the best use of his talent, and thus to fulfill his potential as a player.”

Ruiz refers to the desired final outcome, a product of stimulus response programming and training, when he asserts that “no matter if you’re on field, no matter if you’re in the weight room, you’re trying to develop the mentality that you’re a bullet in a gun. Squeeze the trigger . . . the bullet does what? Does it think? Does it hesitate? Does it go slow? It goes as hard, as fast as it can possibly go—no matter what.”

So, the trick for us coaches is to find a way to manage that emotion and stress that comes with competition so that your athlete’s training can take over “when the bullets are flying” and trust that he will do what is asked of him when everything is on the line…