Speed Drills for Pro Sports

I have had a few people email me regarding what type of speed drills I would choose for college and professional football players (American football).  If people wish, I can write about speed work and demands for football, aka soccer, in an upcoming article.

Back to the purpose: what speed drills do I like to use with my college and pro football players?

To start, I have all my athletes perform a proper dynamic warm-up, which includes many drills, such as:

  • Walking A’s
  • Marching A’s
  • B’s
  • Plus the conventional drills we all use as track coache

I am going to assume that these athletes know many of the basic drills mentioned, so I won’t spend much focus on this.  Here is the catch: I will watch an athlete, and if there are mechanical issues, then we will focus on a drill or drills SPECIFIC to that athlete.  The purpose of this is to reinforce a good habit and correct the issue(s).  I learned a long time ago from good coaches that anyone can teach the X and O’s, but the good coaches can see and make adjustments in making the athlete better.

So, we at SST do not really spend much time with so-called drills to improve performance.

Part 1

Where do I differ with my athletes?

  1. Know your position! For example, I don’t waste my time doing repetitive 100-meter sprints with O linemen. I have seen this numerous times with coaches and just shake my head. What is the purpose of 300-lb men running 100 meters?  When do they ever do this in the game?  The question I then get is do we need to condition them? No! These guys are paid to have a fight in a phone booth. Conditioning drills should be more functional, such as tire flipping and pushing cars!
  • 2. Top-end speed: Athletes such as wide receivers and running backs focus on top-end speed. Development. I do not waste time with linemen with this training method- we may spend one training block a year on long runs over 40 yards and that’s it!

Part 2

  1. Agility training: I believe many of us spend too much time on linear speed training for sports when we should focus more on lateral speed work.  Unlike track, sports are multidirectional, and GREAT athletes not only possess top-end speed, but also the quickness of a cat. Think Barry Sanders from the Detroit Lions; he would break ankles on the football field! There are many methods to teach agility, and we focus on closed and open-chain agility exercises.
    • Closed-chain: These types of drills and exercises are what we call patterned drills. Examples include all ladder drills and specific drills that are patterned.  With high-end athletes (could be high school as well), we tend to spend very little time with closed-chain exercises.  The few we like to include in our programming in the early preseason are drills in which we have our athletes learning how to decelerate. (Note: Sometimes, an athlete has a difficult time changing direction, not because of form, but because they tend to be eccentrically weak. This has to be taken care of in the weight room.)  We use the cue “STICK IT” to make certain they stop on a dime!
    • Our drills for this may be as simple as a 5-yard sprint and stop before the line. Our athletes focus on accelerating as fast as they can but then lower their hips and stop on a dime before the line!  The next progression to this is having our athletes perform the same distance but moving in a different direction (backpedal, crossovers, and shuffling).
    • After we have mastered the ability to stop after moving in all directions, we teach our athletes how to change direction, which is VITALLY important in ALL sports!  For example, we will have an athlete shuffle for 5 yards, and once they touch the line with their foot, they change their body position and direction and shuffle back.  We cue the athlete to stick it where they started.  Once they master each direction, we then progress to multidirectional movements, such as sprinting for 5 yards then crossover back and stick it.  Your imagination is endless with these drills, but we try to be specific to the sports and position.  For examples, defensive backs in football focus on all, but we tend to have them backpedal much more since they pretty well do this on every play.
    • Open-chained agility: This is SPORTS. React to what you see and make it happen.  When is the last time you were in a game of football and a player was running and a coach yelled to go left then right, etc.? NEVER!  Games are played by reaction with your senses, especially your eyes.  This is why I firmly believe younger athletes should play multiple sports. In fact, kids should play more in uncontrolled environments. This is where they can be creative and learn to react!

Part 3

  1. Acceleration phase: Approximately 80% of most sports are played in this phase, so we spend at least 80% of our time training in this phase.  Drills that I like to use include:
    • 2-point starts
    • 3-point starts
    • Band resisted starts: This is one of my favourites!  Note: Please make certain you do not apply too much resistance in order to keep the athlete’s mechanics from being altered.
    • SpeedSac resisted starts: These are similar to sled sprints, but I have found that the SpeedSac to be more effective for two reasons. We can alter the weight to be more precise compared to the sled.  The SpeedSac also has less shifting, as does the sled, thus our mechanics are not altered as much.

So, to answer the question, I like to spend 80% of my time training with open-pattern agility and acceleration exercises with my so-called more experienced athletes!

I follow the 80% rule in most things in life, and in this case, these training modalities provide our athletes with the best bang for their buck!


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Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos

Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos – Gluten Free

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Gluten Free
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Tacos
Calories 128 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppers
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and top with Sriracha. Bake for 30 minutes (or until they’re fully cooked).
  3. While the chicken is baking, heat the tortillas up (optional).
  4. Top each tortilla with chopped red cabbage and chopped peppers.
  5. When the chicken has finished baking, shred it and place in the tortillas.
  6. Top each taco with feta cheese and a drizzle of lime. Enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

***Sweet Tooth Alert*** When your dying for a cookie, here is your best option!
Prep Time 9 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 20 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 plus 1/2 cup oat flour 140g
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp regular sugar unrefined if desired
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or more if desired
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
  • 3-5 tbsp milk of choice as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees.

  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. Add wet, and form into a big ball.

  3. Now make little balls from the big one. For soft cookies, refrigerate until cold (otherwise, just bake right away). Bake for 7 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven when they’re still a little undercooked, then it’s important to let cool 10 minutes before removing from the tray, as they’ll continue to cook while cooling. They should have spread out, but every now and then they might not (climate plays a huge role in baking), so just smush down with a spoon if needed.

  5. You can also choose to make extra cookie dough balls and freeze them to bake at a later date.

  6. For softer cookies, store in a lidded plastic container. For crispier cookies, store in a lidded glass container.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Coconut Flour Pancakes


Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword Breakfast, Pancakes
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Lg Eggs organic, free range
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Honey Raw
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Coconut Oil/Grass Fed Butter For Frying

Instructions

  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and honey.


  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together. Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.


  3. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the batter starts to bubble. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.


  4. Serve hot with butter, coconut oil, honey, syrup, or fruit.

Sausage Stir-Fry Breakfast

Sausage Stir-Fry Breakfast

Course Breakfast
Keyword Breakfast, breakfast bake
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • ½ Yellow Onion Diced
  • ½ Cup Mushrooms Chopped
  • ½ lb Chicken/Turkey sausages nitrate/nitrite free, sliced
  • 2 Cups Spinach Shredded
  • 2 Cups Kale Shredded
  • ½ Cup Cherry Tomatos Optional

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add coconut oil when hot.
  2. Add diced onions and sauté until they soften. Then add mushrooms and sauté until both are tender
  3. Remove onions and mushrooms from heat and set aside
  4. Add sausage and cook until browned, tossing frequently
  5. Add greens, onions, mushrooms and sausage and reduce heat to medium-low, and cover.
  6. Serve when the greens are wilted and soft (about 5 minutes).

Eggs with Avocado & Salsa

Eggs With Avocado And Salsa

Course Breakfast
Keyword avacado eggs, eggs, southwestern cuisine
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs Free Range
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • ½ Avocado sliced
  • ½ cup Raw Almonds Sliced or Slivered
  • 4 tbsp Salsa Garden Fresh
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  1. Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil
  2. Beat eggs in a small bowl, and pour into skillet
  3. Cook for 1 minute and turn heat to medium-low and add seasonings. Finish cooking (about 2-4 minutes longer).
  4. Top with almonds, avocado and salsa

Tex-Mex Breakfast Scamble

Tex-Mex Breakfast Scramble

Course Breakfast
Keyword eggs, southwestern cuisine
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder Sub: Ground Chipotle
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • ¼ Red Onion Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
  • 1 Jalapeno Diced (Optional)
  • 12 oz Chicken Breasts Cooked
  • 1 Medium Tomato Diced
  • ¼ cup Fresh Cilantro Chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Scramble eggs in a bowl. Add cumin, chili powder, sea salt, and water.
  3. Add onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno to the hot skillet. Sautee 3-5 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  4. Add eggs and chicken, and cook while continuously stirring until eggs are light and fluffy.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, and top with fresh cilantro to serve.

Breakfast Stir-Fry

Breakfast Stir-Fry

Course Breakfast
Keyword breakfast hash, breakfast stir-fry, southwestern cuisine
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 8 Bacon Slices Diced
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • ½ Yellow Onion Diced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato Diced
  • 1 Medium Zucchini Diced
  • 7-8 Green Beans
  • 2 Handfuls Spinach
  • 1 Avocado Sliced
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  1. Cook chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Drain fat when done
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil and when hot add sweet potato stirring often for about 10-15 minutes
  3. Once potatoes are softened add in onions and sauté until they turn translucent
  4. Add zucchini and green beans to the sweet potato mixture and cook just until they turn bright green
  5. Combine bacon and vegetables and spinach. Season with freshly ground black pepper, and top with avocado to serve

Recipe Notes

Optional – Add a poached egg to your dish for added protein and texture!

Fruit Salad with Salmon

Fruit Salad With Cinnamon

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword fruit salad, quick meal
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mixed Berries
  • 1 Apple Diced
  • ½ cup Pecans or Walnuts Chopped (optional)
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Place the fruit evenly into two bowls
  2. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (optional) and cinnamon

Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs

Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs

Course Breakfast
Keyword quick breakfast, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ cup Egg Whites
  • 4 oz Smoked Salmon sliced into small pieces
  • ½ Avocado
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 4 Chives Minced
  • Capers (to taste) Optional

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan when hot.
  2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a small bowl and mix in egg whites.
  3. Add eggs to the hot skillet, along with smoked salmon. Stirring continuously, cook eggs until soft and fluffy.
  4. Remove from heat. Top with black pepper, avocado, and chives to serve.