Patrick Nolan, CSCS, FMS, XPS, is a sports performance coach at Authentic Performance Center in Denver, Colo. He started the High School Football Recovery Program, which meets once a week on Sunday mornings.
Chase drills. Nolan has found that players benefit the most in-season when they are practicing football-specific speed drills. He prefers drills or games that force players into reactionary starts. One example is throwing a football in an unexpected direction and forcing the players to give chase. Another is the Fox and the Hound game. One athlete will stand 3 or 4 yards behind another, and the player in front decides which direction to run or cut. “It simulates football chasing. Guys like to compete, so getting max effort isn’t a problem.”
Resistance exercises. When a player is up to it, Nolan will add resistance during speed training in the form of parachutes or stretch cords. “The key is to get a high percentage of effort – or max effort – while sprinting or lifting,” Nolan said. “So if they’re struggling, remove the resistance.”
Mobility and stability drills. This serves as an extended dynamic warmup that is fine-tuned for an individual. Nolan will use straps and bands to call on an athlete’s full range of motion. Hurdles can help loosen the hips and hamstrings. Foam rollers and lacrosse balls are used to massage soft tissue.
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