Football

Use Competitions to Drive Your Athletes

I was asked an excellent question last week – “How do you get lazy athletes to work hard during training?” What I usually rely on is his or her teammates to provide the motivation, and the best way I’ve found to do that is with competitions, especially during conditioning.  Here are a couple team-based competitions to put your athletes through if you’re noticing a drop in effort.

Timed Sprints

You aren’t timing their speed, but you give them a time limit. One good example is 30 yard (or 25, depending on the speed of your athletes) sprint they have 5 seconds to complete. After a short rest, 10-20 seconds, they sprint back, needing to beat the clock again. It’s really easy and efficient to have the rest be either 10 or 15 seconds, so you can have a stopwatch handy and have them start on the :15 or :20 mark. Keep doing this until only one or a few are remaining, declare them the winners, and have the losers do the real conditioning. Oh yeah, that part isn’t their actual conditioning, it’s the work they need to do to get them out of it. Make sure to schedule this with something all the athletes know and hate so they’ll put forth a good effort in the beginning. Whether you follow through with the planned conditioning after is up to you (and whether you’re pleased with the effort you see in your athletes).

A few variations:

  • Have a designated number of reps (let’s say 8) they need to complete in the given time to be done, otherwise they have to do the full amount (let’s say 12-15). Those who don’t finish the first 8 in time don’t sit out and run later, they keep running with their teammates, only with shorter rest periods. So in the above example, if an athlete is taking 7 seconds to complete the sprint, and need to go again on the :20 mark, they get 13 seconds of rest. Anyone who has done this before will know those extra two seconds mean a lifetime.
  • Split the team up into two groups, and for each round completed, the player gets a point for his/her team. So if there are two groups of five, they all make the first five rounds, the score is 25-25. It gets interesting when players start dropping off, whatever team has the highest score after the last man standing wins and is excused from conditioning. It can be really amazing to see one athlete left running by himself, trying to pull his teammates out of a deficit to help them avoid conditioning (essentially running it for them). It’s rare to see (because usually the team with the most left at the end finish off the other, and most athletes get tired and pissed at their teammates for quitting early), but it can be a great team experience.

Relays

These can be as simple as Prowler sled relays or more complex involving a handful of exercises with each athlete having his or her own responsibility to the team. If you’re looking to mix it up with a few exercises, and have them at your disposal, I’ve found these usually work pretty well.

  • Sled Drives
  • Hex Bar Deadlift
  • Goblet Squats
  • Push Ups
  • TRX Rows
  • Chin Ups
  • Box Jumps
  • Bear Crawl
  • Tire Flips
  • Farmers Walks

If your athletes are lacking motivation or effort, appeal to their inner competitor to get things back up to par. It may not work all the time, but having half your teammates yelling and screaming for you to go harder usually works better than any coaching tool.

Let me know if you have any other combinations or useful tips you use with your athletes. If there’s ever anything I can do to help out you or your program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES
480-241-4112
Drew@HenleySP.com
Twitter.com/DrewBHenley
YouTube.com/DrewBHenley

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Youth Football Training

If you have a child involved in youth football, or trying to get involved, I recommend visiting Youth Football Online. It’s an excellent source for parents and coaches trying to help their young athletes play the game they love.

Coach Jeff & Vin asked me to write a piece for parents on what to do with their kids during the off-season to help prepare them for the next year. Check it out here and let me know what you think.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

480-241-4112
Drew@HenleySP.com
Twitter.com/DrewBHenley
YouTube.com/DrewBHenley

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Articles & Videos You Should See 12-5


Articles
Olympic Lifting for Baseball – Joe Meglio brings up great reasons as to why baseball players should not be doing Olympic lifts. I love using them in training, but recognize that they are very technical lifts and improper form can easily lead to injuries. For baseball players, this is especially worrisome seeing as the likeliest injury sites are the wrist and shoulder.

Addressing Weaknesses in Training and Life – When addressing weaknesses in the weight room, it is important not to ignore of your strengths. Mike Robertson provides good insight on the importance of keeping your strengths and the reality of improving weak areas.

Jump Higher & Get More Powerful – Charles Poliquin shows some of the research behind utilizing both bilateral and unilateral plyometric training to elicit the best results. If you train athletes in jumping sports (basketball, volleyball, etc) it is important to note the risk of over training the CNS, as well as wear on the joints.

Videos
Tennis Ball Receiver Drills – I am a huge fan of tennis ball drills for hand-eye coordination. Here is a video showing how the University of Texas wide receivers improve their catching with tennis balls.

20 Battle Rope Exercises – There are a few variations I haven’t seen before on this video. Battle ropes are great on the shoulders, core, and pretty much everything else.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW
480-241-4112
HenleySportsPerformance.blogspot.com
Twitter.com/DrewBHenley
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Articles & Videos You Should See 11-28


I hope everyone had happy Thanksgiving with their family and loved ones. Here are this week’s Articles & Videos You Should See.
Articles
Drink Green Tea – Charles Poliquin provides some great research on the benefits of drinking green tea. Not many young athletes will appreciate the anti-inflammatory benefits, but they will come running to the thought of protecting against alcohol effects.
My Training: Body, Mind and Self Control – Training is much more than gaining a physiological adaption to physical stress placed on the body. Jen Comas Keck gives some good points, and an interesting view by including self-control (it may seem strange, but it fits very well).
Do You Know Someone Struggling to Gain Weight? – I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked about supplements on a daily basis. Most of the people asking are asking for when they START lifting, aka – they aren’t doing anything right now (and looking for the magic pill). Too bad there isn’t one.
Strength – Good article for anyone training boxers/MMA fighters by Chad Howse. I am a big fan of the mindset he establishes in his writing. Attack everything and never, ever quit.
Videos
Stevie Johnson TD Dance – Just one video this week, but I thought it was hilarious. If you missed the Jets vs Bills game on Sunday, then you probably missed one of the funniest touchdown celebrations of the season. As you may recall, Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg in New York a couple years ago, then went to prison for it. Well…Burress is now a member of the Jets, and made for a perfect theme for Johnson’s celebration. Too bad Johnson blew a chance to win the game, while Burress had a touchdown of his own to help earn the victory. Lesson for the day – celebrate when the W is in the books.
Let me know any thoughts you may have on the above resources, I hope you find them as useful as I have. If I can ever help you or your program in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask.
All the best,
Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW
480-241-4112
HenleySportsPerformance.blogspot.com
Twitter.com/DrewBHenley

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