7 Drills to Improve Team Conditioning

Greenwood High (S.C.) coach Dan Pippin, a VIP guest at the USA Football Conference in Orlando, Fla. in January, believes his players are in the best shape in the Southeast. He offers seven offseason conditioning drills.

Track workouts. Shorter distances like 40s, 80s or 110s translate to speed on the field. Pippin also has the entire team run quarter-miles – more for mental toughness than the the physical rewards.

Power cleans. Pippin believes the transfer of power from the toes to the shoulders is most similar to the strength players showcase on the football field. Pippin has his players max out on the power clean during testing days.

Squats. For linemen, squats will improve a player’s ability to sit in the proper stance in pass protection and stop the momentum of a pass-rusher. For skill position players, it will improve a player’s ability to break tackles.

Track hurdles. Pippin lines up hurdles on the track alternating one that is set at the highest level and one set at the lowest. The players must go under the high hurdles by bending at the knees with their chests up. They then step over the low hurdles to increase hip flexibility.

Bag work. The Greenwood coaching staff sets up bags between yard markers – typically four per 10-yard stretch. The players then shuffle back and forth by stepping over the bags.

Box jumps. Pippin is always looking for ways to break up the monotony of the weight room, and he’s found that box jumps bring out the competitiveness in players. Rather than set a number of reps for players to complete, set a time and watch them compete to see who can do the most.

Footwork ladders. Pippin wants players who can get from Point A to Point B the quickest, but often on the football field, the quickest way isn’t a straight line. Footwork ladders help players improve their footwork so they can get around blocks and piles.

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