One of the biggest issues for football players is getting into “football shape”. I know it was an issue for me when I was younger. I was no slouch when it came to training but no matter how hard I trained it just seemed I missed something in my training once camp started. Here is a surefire way to fill the void that your athlete may have. It is the concept of Sport-Specific Metabolic Training. They say that it takes a week or so to get into “football shape” once you get into camp. Adding this concept into an athletes training will eliminate that feeling. Now, when it comes to sport-specific training, a lot of coaches go overboard which eventually will lead to injury. You must still focus on building strength, power and explosiveness; that is what will carry your athletes throughout the season. Sports-specific metabolic training fits in towards the last 3 – 4 weeks of training, twice per week.
Metabolic conditioning in its truest form will challenge your anaerobic system. The anaerobic system is the system that needs to have a high threshold for most sports. By challenging this system appropriately, the athlete will be better prepared to compete when the season starts. This type of training will have a predetermined work to rest ratio for each workout that will challenge this system. It could be seen as a 1:2, work : rest ratio, which could mean 10 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest. Basically, your rest time is double your total work time. Adding sport-specific metabolic training to your program your athletes will be in game-like shape before you know it.
For the sake of what we are talking about here, there will be a little spin put on it. Our ratio will be work : active rest : rest. This means you will work for an allotted amount of time or distance at a very high level, then bring the intensity down by jogging or walking, and then add in a full recovery.
We will tailor this for football by simulating the game as much as possible. How do we do that? By simulating a 10 play, two minute drill. When your team is in a two minute drill, time is of the essence, so the intensity is high. We will have each play represented by a position-specific movement. Once that movement is completed the athlete will either jog or walk back to the starting line and then begin the next movement. Once the 10 movements are done, the athlete should take a full 2 to 3 minute rest for full recovery. The athlete would continue in this fashion for a number of sets. As the weeks go on, you may want to add a set so by the end of offseason training your athletes may be up to 6 – 8 sets.
Try to make these workouts as specific as possible by having the quarterbacks throw the ball, receivers catching the ball, defensive backs covering , offensive lineman blocking and defensive lineman rushing, etc. There are endless possibilities as to how this could work.
The most important thing with these workouts is that each repetition MUST be executed at high game-like intensity. If your team do this the right way they will be in even better “football shape” when it’s time for camp.
Here is an example for a wide receiver:
Week 1 – Complete twice in the week but not on consecutive days
2 sets – Complete each set entirely before resting
3 minute rest in between sets
Make sure the athlete is either speed walking or jogging back to the start like. Get in the proper stance before they take off for the next route.
You may put markers on the field, like cones, to mark off all the breaking points