5 Things Your Athlete Needs to Do for A Great Football Season
Football season is around the corner. For any young athlete, now is the time to prep for the upcoming season and do what you can to contribute to a successful season.
Here is a list of things a young football player should do in preparation for the season:
Task #1: Increase work capacity
To be successful in any sport, one needs to be able to handle the demands of the sport.
In simpler terms, you need to get in shape. The less time coaches can spend on conditioning and more on the tactical side of football, the more it benefits all parties involved.
Increase in work capacity = Increase in probability of maximal on-field performance
Task #2: Select appropriate stimulus to increase aerobic conditioning
Part of improved work capacity is increasing the aerobic capacity (engine) in a young athlete.
Pro Tip: This does not mean having a young athlete run or jog around the track. For one, kids often find jogging boring and will be less inclined to do it. Two, jogging is a poor representation of the sport of football.
The sport of football is a combination of sprinting, multi-directional movement and impact. Any type of conditioning should mimic that combination.
Task #3: Master basic fundamental movement patterns
All young athletes should be masters of squatting, crawling, skipping, jumping, etc. These fundamental movement patterns are the foundation of athleticism.
Increasing athleticism improves the ability for an athlete to complete game tasks such as blocking a defender, running a route and catching a football.
Increase in athleticism = Increase in ability to execute game tasks
Task #4: Practice winning habits daily
Challenge athletes to practice habits that professional athletes do.
This includes eating clean foods, staying hydrated and getting adequate sleep. These “little” things make a big difference in how well an athlete performs.
The younger an athlete starts to practice these habits daily, the easier it will be for them to do those habits when they enter high school or college.
Task #5: Get pre-screened/assessed
Every young athlete should have their movement assessed by a trained professional such as a physical therapist or skilled strength and conditioning coach.
It’s important to look for imbalances or dysfunction in movements such as running and squatting.
Communicating with the athlete about the type of dysfunctions/weaknesses they have and what exercises they can do to alleviate these issues is important in long-term athletic development.
Being proactive on this will minimize the risk of injury while at the same time maximizing performance. Assessing athletes helps them decrease injury risk and maximize performance.
Good luck this season!
About the Author: Jeffrey King
Jeffrey King, MA, CSCS
– Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10
– Co-author of Pigskin Prep: The Definitive Youth Football Training Program
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