Speed / Movement / Agility

ELITE/PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL OFF-SEASON MOVEMENT, SPEED, AGILITY, FOOTWORK, METABOLIC CONDITIONING (TRAINING CAMP PREPARATION PHASE)

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NOTE: VIEW TRAINING SCRIPT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ARTICLE IN THE RESOURCES TAB

Typically for football players, the off-season is set around 4 primary phases/macrocycles:
• General Preparatory / Re-Alignment / Regeneration – immediately after the season that focuses on low volume and full recovery from the season
• Intensification – Preparation for spring activities centered around on-the-field football work
• Spring ball, OTA’s, and/or Mini-camps – low volume of maintenance work as the focus shifts to football
• Training Camp / Season Preparation – secondary intensification that increases volume again, gets into more sport-specificity, and peaking of maximum power

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College Football Movement

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When periodizing movement training or “speed work,” BPS found its best to plan a 4-week mesocycle.  We take into consideration active recovery days, “off days,” neurological specific days, linear speed days, position specific days, and aerobic conditioning days.  Typically our high neurological days are on Mondays due to the fact that most athletes will be “off” Saturday and Sunday and it is important to stimulate the athletes neurological system into a heightened state.  We do this first thing in the week so we can enhance performance on our aggressive linear speed day and position day that will follow the “neuro-Monday”.  Wednesday is typically our active recovery day to allow the body to adapt from the training in first half of the week.  This will help our athletes get the most out of our position work on Thursday and conditioning work on Friday.  Each week progresses in volume and difficulty of exercises as well as intensity and specificity.

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3 Coaching Cues For First Step Acceleration

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As with any human motion, an athlete first needs to accelerate whether he/she is walking, running, or sprinting.  This starts from the bottom (ground contact) making the foot and ankle (support systems) a prime factor for first step acceleration.  Keep in mind; the strength and mobility of the foot will determine the level of speed and efficiency for which the first step occurs.  Most of the time we are asked how to apply these coaching cues to a sprint so we will address this topic.

  1. The Ankle Stretch Reflex
  • Minimize the total time of stretch reflex between the ground contact phase and toe off phase of movement and you will maximize the power of the first step. Take the back foot in a 40 yard dash start for example: If you can cue (back ankle in the “locked” position) and train an athlete to have great ankle mobility while having a “stiff” strong ankle, you can decrease the athletes’ stretch reflex time and thus initiate a faster first step into the acceleration phase of a sprint.
  1. Arm Action
  • To initiate the first stride into a sprint or run you must simultaneously initiate an arm action. This mean the right arm must move forward very fast to quickly force the left leg into a forward motion acceleration stride.  Once the arm and leg reach the controllable end range of motion, the right arm will rapidly fire backwards (stretch reflex), thus making the left leg fire rapidly downward (stretch reflex) and behind the athletes’ center of gravity.  Therefore, cueing a powerful arm action stretch reflex will greatly increase the power of the first step acceleration stride.
  1. “JUMP OUT”
  • Saying this very loudly to an athlete prior to a sprint will stimulate his fight or flight response within the body. This response may increase adrenaline, a powerful chemical that will increase heart rate and deliver more nutrients to the muscles faster.  This will allow for muscles, especially the gluteal muscles, to more powerfully contract and directly increase the speed of the first step in acceleration.

**For complete instructional videos on exercises that can enhance the acceleration stride and more sign up for our BPSU online university and attend our Level 1 or Level 2 Workshops @ http://www.bommaritoperformance.com/workshops/bps-university/

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Deceleration Bounding Series

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A vast amount of literature exists for bounding plyometric drills when it comes to forward sprinting.  Acceleration bounds with a piston action (alternating leg and single leg) can be used to enhance first step, acceleration, and continuation through the drive phase.  It can also be used to enhance any re-acceleration out of any deceleration or change of direction.  Absolute speed bounding with a cyclical action (alternating leg only) can be used to enhance the “transition” of gravity dictates the body becomes upright, and continuation onto absolute speed and absolute speed maintenance.

Plyometrics implemented to enhance deceleration mechanics is extremely efficient, but often under-utilized in many programs.  Any change of direction can be considered a form of deceleration.  In addition, any change of speed, even in a linear direction, can also be considered a form of deceleration.  The BPS Acceleration-Deceleration Zone series on the University exemplifies a great basic form of overall deceleration and re-acceleration.  As previously noted, this can be an excellent training system to enhance any change-of-direction, any change of speed in a linear motion, and any change of speed into a change-of-direction.  All of which will occur in any sport at any position at various speeds and angles.

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MULTI-DIRECTIONAL MOVEMENT PATTERNS – FOCUS ON LATERAL RUN, BACK LATERAL RUN, BACK ANGLE LATERAL RUN

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When thinking about multi-directional movements, many coaches think only in terms of changing directions.  While that is certainly important, there are many additional aspects to consider with regards to movement and speed patterns in “multiple directions”, even before a direction change occurs off of the pattern.  For instance, an analysis of what is occurring during a highly dynamic “lateral” motion, which is a pattern that is commonly placed into speed/movement-training programs could lead to three primary options:

  • LATERAL RUN (LR)
  • BACK LATERAL RUN (BLR)
  • BACK ANGLE LATERAL RUN (BALR)

There are numerous other primary options for movement in a multi-directional sense – such as lateral shuffle, backpedal/anglepedal, and forward multi-directional – but they are more controlled motions.  Looking at a faster, more dynamic motion, including when it needs to be executed at full speed, the three primary aforementioned motions apply.

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Rules for Youth Athlete Speed Development

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3 Rules for Youth Athlete Speed Development

  • The Structure Rule

CAMPS – Before any training sessions, it is always important to have the structure of the training session outlined for maximal efficiency to maximize adaptations.  First, we need to increase the threshold ability of accepting and redirecting force for the ankles, knees, hips, trunk, and upper extremities.  This means, a well-designed CAMPS is vital for ensuring an athlete is prepared to execute the planned work for the day.  For example, start with SSP and progress from isometric modifications to full reflexive movements.  Once the base of support for the body is strong and tissue temperature is elevated, progress into SST that is skewed to prepare the muscles related to the planned movement or exercises of the day.

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DRAFT PREP- MOVEMENT 2

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Draft prep movement training can be a challenging periodization to plan for since there is a short mesocycle of typically 8 weeks.  The goal is to reach the highest genetic potential of speed for each athlete safely but quickly.  You will see how we periodize for our draft prep training down to the week, day, and exercise.

The format we use to lay out the periodization is organized so we can see the day and type of training to the left.  Moving to the right you’ll see the aspect of training weather its camps, plyometrics, technical drills, or application drills.  Our camps are always first and designed to specifically prepare the athlete for the type of training planned for that day.  For instance, Mondays and Thursdays are agility days that involve lots of lateral change of direction may dictate that more lateral lunging or hip adduction/abduction focused exercises will be implemented into CAMPS.  Plyometrics typically follow CAMPS.  Application typically follows the plyometrics and the technical drills are implemented between application drills based on flaws the athlete may present during the application drill.  The volume (reps and sets) for each application drill depends on form and injury imitations.  Typically, if the athlete is healthy high volume of basic level speed work is recommended in the first week.  The focus of Tuesdays and Fridays is linear speed.  Wednesday is our active recovery day with the focus on doing speed drills in our Olympic pool.  The pool allows us to de-load the joints since the pool water will support half the weight of the athlete.

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Bone Growth and Youth Development

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12-2-16

Adam Boily MS, MATJS, USAW

Here might be the most commonly asked question a strength & conditioning professional must answer to youth athlete parents.

Question:

“Will my 13 year old child (or younger or teenager) have a stunted growth from lifting weights?”

Answer:

It depends. It depends if the athlete is exercising biomechanically correct or not. Stunted bone growth may occur when the open growth plates located at the ends of bones become damaged. Damaged open growth plates can happen for various reasons, which include an injury from sport or poor exercising technique. For example, if a 12 yo athlete playing soccer sustains a trauma to the knee in a soccer game, he/she could incur growth plate damage around the knee. Another way an athlete can sustain growth plate damage in the knee would be biomechanically incorrect weight-bearing exercises. Say a 10 yo athlete is front squatting and during every repetition their right knee caves in with a valgus moment. If an expert S&C coach is not there coaching the athlete out of these poor mechanics, overtime knee growth plate damage might occur before the plate close. However, most youth athletes will not experience growth plate damage from training or in sport as long as qualified professionals are monitoring exercises.

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RUNNING BACK SPECIFICS BALL CONTROL AND LOW CHANGE OF DIRECTION

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Any Running Back needs to be able to easily and fluently switch the ball from one arm to the next with ease. They also need to be able to stay low on change of directions, and change directions on a dime. This drill first and foremost focuses on ball control. Note how our NFL RB clients Malcolm Agnew, Nick Hill, and Aaron Ripkowski moves throughout the drill. The ability to change hands is a trainable effect, and note how this drill forces the player to change arms efficiently.

3 Rules for Youth Athlete Speed Development

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Adam Boily MS, MATJS, USAW

3 Rules for Youth Athlete Speed Development

  • The Structure Rule

CAMPS – Before any training sessions, it is always important to have the structure of the training session outlined for maximal efficiency to maximize adaptations.  First, we need to increase the threshold ability of accepting and redirecting force for the ankles, knees, hips, trunk, and upper extremities.  This means, a well-designed CAMPS is vital for ensuring an athlete is prepared to execute the planned work for the day.  For example, start with SSP and progress from isometric modifications to full reflexive movements.  Once the base of support for the body is strong and tissue temperature is elevated, progress into SST that is skewed to prepare the muscles related to the planned movement or exercises of the day.

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MAKING YOUR PREPARATION SPECIFIC

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PETE BOMMARITO MS, CSCS, USAW, MATCS

When planning out a preparation for the movement/speed/conditioning session for the day, it’s always a good idea to include a good amount of exercises that is as specific to the patterns that will actually be performed.  In the Preparation section of Bommarito University, there are 4 primary sections for Preparation to be performed at the beginning of all sessions.  And the overall Preparation can be best described as CNS Activation and Muscle/Joint Preparation Systems (CAMPS):

  • Support System Preparation – primarily the “impact” joints of the toes, feet, and ankle
  • Trunk/Spine Preparation
  • Suspension / Support / Trunk (SST) Systems Preparation – focusing on the “link” between the Support and Trunk/Spine which is the suspension system through the hips, knees, and pelvis
  • Unloaded Speed/Movement Preparation

When focusing specifically on the SST Systems Preparation, notice there is an extremely large volume of exercise choices in the database for all 4 sections.  The 4 sections of the SST are:

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