Speed Drills for Pro Sports – Part 1 (of 3)

Since my last few articles, “To Squat or to Power Clean, That Is the Question” and “How to Train the 40-Yard Dash in the Weight Room – Part One & Part Two” I have had tremendous positive feedback. With this in mind, 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 coaches

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.

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!
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