Resistance Training for Acceleration

Sprinting has been described as consisting of a series of phases: an acceleration phase (typically the first 10 metres), a transition phase, and a maximum velocity phase.  For sports such as soccer, rugby, football and basketball, maximum velocity is not always attained, and repeated short sprints are more common.  Taking this into consideration, the ability to develop speed in as short a time as possible (acceleration) may be of high importance to many athletes.  It has been proposed that acceleration and maximum velocity are relatively separate and specific qualities.

An athlete’s ability to accelerate his or her body during sprinting is dependent on several factors.  These factors include technique and the force production capability of the body, in particular the leg muscles.  It has been shown that the technical aspects may have less importance for the acceleration phase of performance than for a typical sprinting event.  For example, in many sports the athletes have to accelerate from a lying or crouching position, from landing on 1 leg and pivoting, from catching a ball, and so on.  Therefore, the force capability of the muscle may be more important in improving acceleration of the athlete.  This point was supported by R. Mann in his publication titled “The Elite Athletes Project: Sprints and Hurdles.” which stated that the ability to perform well in sprints over short distances is dependent on the ability to produce large amounts of force at crucial times.

A variety of methods are used to enhance force output.  These methods include resistance training, plyometric training, and assisted and resisted sprinting techniques.  For this article we will focus on resisted sprinting which involves athletes sprinting with added load.  This load can come in different forms: weighted vests, sled-sprints, uphill sprinting and limb loading.  More specifically, this article will focus on the towing of weighted devices such as sleds which is the most common method of providing towing resistance for the enhancement of sprinting.

It has been shown that the use of towing as a form of resistance may increase the load on the athlete’s torso and therefore require more stabilization.  This training stimulus may increase pelvic stabilization, leading to a positive effect on sprint performance.  Increased torso loads also cause an increased upper-body lean and increased thigh angle at both the beginning and the end of the stance phase.  This increased thigh angle reflects the increased need for force production during the prolonged stance phase.

It is important to note that sprinting speed should not be decreased by more than 10% when adding resistance; adding too much resistance may alter running kinematics in ways that are not desirable.  It is also maintained that sled-sprinting should not be employed when the desired training effect is neural (i.e. maximal velocity).  Sled-sprinting is an effective method for a metabolic training effect (i.e. acceleration).  Due to evidence that only the first 10 metres of a sprint have been designated as the acceleration phase, it is suggested that sled-sprints should be performed for distances no longer than 10 metres.

S.S.T. holds that a well implemented speed program should include a variety of methods to achieve desirable results (i.e. resisted sprints, assisted sprints, unassisted sprints and resistance training).  Also, methods such as resisted and assisted sprints should be used sparingly, such as in the final or next-to-final block of an athlete’s periodized program.

To find out more information regarding SST’s upcoming Lightning camp please visit our website at www.sstcanada.com

 

How to improve your 40 yard dash- Part 1

If you want to go places in football, then you had better work on your 40 yard dash. While the forty yard dash is probably the most overrated test, it’s also the test that most coaches rely on when scouting a player. Given the emphasis that is placed on this one test, I am surprised at how many athletes come to combines and camps unprepared. I see athletes wearing the wrong shoes or the wrong clothes and I can tell that many of them don’t know the proper starting technique or running mechanics. Furthermore, it’s obvious that most players haven’t done any effective speed or strength training leading up to the big day. I tell my athletes that they have to consider the forty yard dash as a job interview that could land them a scholarship or millions of dollars when their stock goes up in the draft. Remember that first impressions mean everything, so plan ahead and be prepared to run like a professional. Don’t get me wrong, running a great 40 yard dash doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a great football player, but it will turn heads and give you the chance needed to show universities or professional teams what you can do on the field.

When training for the 40 yard dash, players tend to forget how important it is to be STRONG! I have yet to see a weak player run a great forty yard dash. As a Sports Performance Coach I know through personal experience that players who speed and strength train on a continuous basis will experience dramatic gains over those who only focus on speed training. One athlete who followed SST’s 12-week speed and strength training program went from a 5.05 to a 4.62 at the National football combines this year.

There are three main factors that SST considers when designing a strength training program for football players who want to decrease their forty yard dash time. First, we assess the player’s experience and abilities. Factors such as age, previous training experience, fitness level and amount of time available for training are considered. Next, we evaluate the player’s 40 yard dash to determine weaknesses. Do we need to improve his start, decrease his ground contact time or work on reaching maximum speed? Lastly, we focus on strengthening the player’s weakest muscles. As a general rule SST has found that football players tend to have weak lower back, hamstring and VMO muscle (VMO, or vastus medialis, is the teardrop muscle found on the inside of the quadriceps), therefore for the purpose of this article we will highlight , what we believe to be, the top six exercises designed to strengthen these muscles.

In Part I of this two part article, I will explain the first three exercises: snatch grip dead-lifts, tire flipping and Olympic lifts and their derivatives. These exercises strengthen lower back and hamstring muscles which are key components for achieving maximum speed.

Exercise #1 – Snatch Grip Dead-lifts

If I had to choose only one strength training exercise to improve a player’s 40 yard dash time, I would pick snatch grip deadlifts because they work the entire posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). Snatch grip dead-lifts are a bit different than your traditional deadlift in that they recruit more of the hamstrings due to the angle of the trunk and a wider grip.

Results: improve start, increase maximum speed

Description: Starting position- feet are shoulder width apart. Grip is wider than your traditional grip. Elbows are turned out. Shoulder blades are retracted. Knees over the bar. Chest and shoulders over the bar. Lower back is arched. Initiate lift with hamstrings and lower back. Maintain lower back arch throughout. Keep bar path straight.

Variations: snatch grip dead-lifts off a podium, snatch grip dead-lifts with chains and traditional dead-lifts.

Exercise #2 – Tire Flipping

Tire flipping is not your traditional weight room exercise but it’s a functional way to develop the posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). This is a grueling exercise that has lot of return for its effort.

Results: improve grip strength, decrease 40 time (after 12 weeks SST athletes decreased their 40 time by up to 3 tenths)

Description: Start in a deadlift position and grab the tire from underneath (fingers under the tire). Lift the tire using your legs and pop your hips forward. Flip your hands around (palms on the tire) and push the tire away from you in an explosive manner. You must keep your back arched throughout the entire movement to prevent lower back injuries.

Exercise #3 – Olympic Lifts and Derivatives

Olympic Lifts consist of power cleans, hang cleans and snatches. These exercises must be done explosively which means as fast as possible. The amount of weight doesn’t matter as much as the speed of the bar. Of all the Olympic lifts the snatch uses the most muscles in the body. People tend to shy away from this exercise but I have found it to be the most effective and easier to teach than cleans. In order to achieve maximum results and avoid injury it’s important to employ proper technique and use the right weight when performing Olympic lifts. If you are not familiar with Olympic lifting and their derivatives call your local weightlifting club or email me at sst@sstcanada.com

Results: faster starts and less ground contact time

Description: An explanation of hang snatch from thigh will be provided because it is the most applicable. Starting position – feet are shoulder width apart. Grasp bar with hook grip. To determine the distance between hand placements measure your elbow to elbow distance with arms straight out to sides. From this point move the bar explosively from thighs by extending the hip, knee and ankle joints in a jumping action. This is also known as “triple extension” of the joints. Keep the bar close to the body. This is a very important element and should be perfected. At maximum plantar flexion (up on the balls of the feet), shrug the shoulders, flex and pull with the arms. Pull the bar as high as possible. As the bar reaches maximum height, flex and then rotate elbows around and under the bar. Then fully extend the elbows and lock the bar overhead. Catch the bar with knees and hips flexed and squat down slowly and under control. The hang snatch is a complicated exercise that should only be performed in the presence of a qualified coach.

In Part II, I will explain the remaining three exercises that focus on increasing VMO strength: squats with chains, wobble board split squats and sled dragging. Strengthening the VMO muscle will help decrease ground contact time which is vital in order to increase speed. The less time a player spends on the ground, the faster he’ll be!

Larry Jusdanis is the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. SST has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports. SST’s no nonsense approach to training has been used by thousands of athletes’ from a variety of sports all over the nation!

Larry Jusdanis

Owner, Sports Specific Training

Sstcanada.com

Director of the National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE)

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Quarterback Vs. Pitcher Vs. Bench Press

We had a great question come in regarding our Blog last week; why we exclude bench press in our Baseball players’ strength programs (if you missed it, check out that Blog here)

The question was: Was having a similar conversation today about QBs and bench press. What do you think?

Here is my response:

While quarterbacks have similar stresses on their shoulders as pitchers, those stresses are a lot less than that of a pitcher. The record velocity for a quarterback throw is ~60mph whereas the highest recorded MLB pitch is ~105mph; they are in completely different ballparks (pardon the pun!). Because of this, throwing injuries are also a lot less common in quarterbacks. If we look at a study by Dodson, C.C; ET. Al  there are only 10 reported cases of UCL tears in NFL quarterbacks between 1994-2008 vs. 36 UCL tears in MLB pitchers in the 2015 & 2016 seasons alone! The majority of injuries NFL quarterbacks sustain occur through direct contact, ~82.3% (according to a study by Kelly, B.T.; ET. Al.) while overuse injuries account for less than 15% of injuries.

Another thing we have to consider is that most quarterbacks take long breaks from throwing in the off-season while pitchers (especially younger ones) have a tendency to jump the gun on their throwing programs and (in my opinion) on average do not let their shoulders recover long enough in the off-season.

What this tells me is that the durability of a quarterback’s shoulder is much higher than that of a pitcher’s and can more than likely sustain higher stresses off the field in the gym. While it may be a good idea to avoid bench press for similar reasons as our baseball players do (exacerbates negative adaptations from throwing, too far away from throwing motion on force-velocity curve, and failure on a heavy rep puts the shoulder in a vulnerable position), having bench press in a quarterback’s program is probably less likely to causes negative performance outcomes on the field. Which is, arguably, the most important thing to look for when choosing exercises for your athletes.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our Bench Press vs. Baseball Blog where we will show you pressing exercises much more suited to overhead throwing athletes, quarterbacks included!

If you have any questions or comments about this or any of our other blogs let us know in our comments section or send our author an email directly (cplewes@sstcanada.com)!

 

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10 Foods Staples to Throw Out NOW!! – Part 1

With busy schedules of work, school, kids, training, housework – the list can go on and on – pantry staples can be a great time saver in preparing your meals, avoiding the drive-thru and keeping your nutrition on track. However, there are many everyday staples in your pantry that are doing more harm than good and need to be thrown out immediately!

healthy pantryHaving healthy, nutrient dense pantry staples on hand will help keep you full longer, aid in lean muscle growth, increase your energy and help the waist line shrink!

Read on to find out what time saving staple need to be kicked to the curb and what you can replace them with!

1. READY-TO-EAT BREAKFAST CEREAL

These are the first thing that need to hit the trash bin!! This staple is quick, easy, LOADED with sugar and not much else. It is easy to be fooled by labels boasting about ‘added vitamins’, and pictures of whole almonds, oats, grains, mountain scenery… But even those cereals marketed as ‘healthy’ are usually loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates and they lack sufficient fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help keep you energized and full for the start of your day. Because of this you are more likely to have a crash in blood sugar levels mid-morning causing more sugar cravings and having you reaching for snacks that contain more sugar and doing so earlier in the day then you should be.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Oatmealoatmeal

Were not talking to Quacker packets loaded with sugar. Stock your pantry with plain oats (steel cut are even better) that can be made on the stove top. They only take a couple minutes to prepare and you can customize them with all your favourites – almonds, cashew butter, fruits, seeds, flax-seed, organic honey, dark chocolate shavings – the possibilities are endless and delicious!

2. WHITE RICE

White rice is about as void of nutrients as a product can get. The heavy processing the rice goes through strips rice of almost all vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Along with that white rice is a refined carbohydrate meaning it is digested and absorbed by the body quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar levels which in turn forces your body to process the sugar quickly and leads to fat conversion and storage.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Red, Black or Wild Rice
These whole grain rice options may cost an extra buck or two but they are worth the splurge! Whole grain rices have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are digested at a much slower rates. Allowing your body to properly prowild ricecess the carbohydrates and using them as fuel instead of converting them for fat storage. These options will also keep your blood sugar levels more stable leading to less cravings and the extra fiber will help keep you feeling full longer.

 

 

 

If you liked this post make sure to check back in a few days for Part 2!

If you have any questions or comments about this post make sure to ask in our comments section or email SST Mississauga’s Lead Strength Coach, Courtney  ( cplewes@sstcanada.com ).

Sports Nutrition on the Road – Part 4: Low & High GI Carbs & Energy Drinks

In case you missed the beginning of this series: PART 1, PART 2 & PART 3

OTRN part 4

In Part 2 of our sports nutrition on the road series we spoke about Low- and High-GI Carbs, but what are there? And why do they matter to you performance?

Carbohydrates are important for athletes because they provide you with your main source of energy for exercise and competition. Without an adequate supply of carbs your performance can be severely limited. The Glycemic Index (GI) is an index of foods with different kinds of carbohydrates; complex, simple, etc. Foods are generally rate as “Low GI” or “High GI” based on the speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body.

Low GI Foods are rich in fiber, and have carbs that absorb slowly and take a longer time to deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your working muscles

  • Eat these the night before games and at your pre-game meals
  • Potatoes (preferably sweet potatoes)
  • Pasta (Whole wheat)
  • Beans and nuts (not peanuts)
  • Rice/Grains (wild rice, quinoa, barley)
  • Fruits -apples/pears/cherries/grapefruit/bananas/pineapple
  • Vegetables – carrots/broccoli/mushrooms/peppers/tomatoes

High GI Foods consist of sugars and starches, and have carbs that absorb rapidly and deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your muscles quickly

  • Eat these within the first 12 hours after competition to reload the tank quickly
  • Some may also be eaten within the last 30-60 minutes before competition, at halftime, or between innings/periods
  • Baked potatoes
  • Corn chips/rice cakes/pretzels
  • Brown rice/Jasmine long grain white rice
  • Cereals (corn and oat-based)
  • Sweetened fruit drinks/dried fruits/watermelon
  • Sports Bars or Drinks

 

Energy Drinks

Energy drink such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp, etc. contain incredibly high levels of caffeine, other stimulants, and huge amounts of sugar. They DO NOT provide any kind of sustained energy you need for an athletic competition and can actually have the opposite effect. Energy drinks can actually promote poor sleeping habits, caffeine/sugar crashes, and nutrient wasting by stealing your appetite from healthy foods.

Because these drinks are caffeine laden they also have a significant effect on dehydration as well as raise your heart rate and blood pressure. If you are in a sport in which randomized drug testing is common place these drinks can also exceed the legal caffeine limits set by CESP and WADA.

These are all things you definitely want to avoid on game day!

 

If you found this info useful be sure to share it with a friend!

For more info on this topic email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 3: Game Day

In case you missed PART 1 or PART 2!

Awareness, knowledge, and preparation are key when wanting to make huge difference in your game day performance.  The benefits of nutrition, in respect to athletic performance, can mean the difference between winning and losing and an optimal vs. subpar performance.

Think about your body like a high performance race car.  Dale Earnhardt doesn’t put regular gasoline in his car before a race he uses Sunoco Green E15-a 98 octane fuel blend specifically engineered for high-performance engines! Basically, the best of the best! You need to approach your game day nutrition in the same manner. By doing so you can maximize gains you have made OTRN part 3from training, increase your energy levels, recover faster and think more clearly.

 

How to Prepare on Game Day

Pre-Game Meal

  • 4-6 hours before game
  • High Complex/Low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Hydrate well: sports drinks (Aminocore, BCAA’s with electrolytes), water

2-3 Hours before game

  • Moderately-sized snack: more low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Continue to hydrate
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

1 Hour before game

  • Small snack: easily digestible foods (fruit, pretzels)
  • Continue to hydrate with water or a sports drink such as BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

30 minutes before game –“Top off the tank”

  • High-GI carbs that will absorb quickly and deliver glucose rapidly to working muscles
  • Hydrate with water or a sports drink such as a BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

*Caffeine has major dehydrating effects, can make you jumpy, and raises your heart rate and blood pressure; all the things you should avoid on game day!

 

Post-Game Recovery

30-60 minutes after competition

  • VITAL PERIOD!
  • Replace every pound of weight lost through sweating with 20-24 ounces of fluid
  • Make sure to fuel your body for recovery
    • Ingest food with a concentration of 4:1 ratio carb:protein blend drink – better than water
    • Carbs should be of the High-GI variety to replenish glycogen stores quickly

60-90 minutes after competition

  • Continue to hydrate

Within 3 hours after competition

  • Mixed Meal – combination of protein, carbs and fat
    • Carbs here should be of the Low-GI variety so as not to spike your blood sugar levels
  • Continue to hydrate
  • NO soda, alcohol, caffeine

Within 24hrs after competition

  • Strictly Limit: Alcohol, Soda, Caffeine in any form
  • Dehydration, lack of sleep, and lack of nutrients are detrimental to recovery

 

Meal Examples:

  • Game day breakfast:
Three soft boiled eggs with a pinch of sea salt and two pieces of
whole grain toast with organic butter, small Greek yogurt & fruit mix with ground flax seeds.
  • Pre-Game Meal:
Grilled skinless chicken breast with brown rice, broccoli and a salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Pre-Game Snack:
Oatmeal with ground flax seeds, walnuts, banana, unsweetened shredded coconut and a drizzle of pure maple syrup!
  • Post-Game Recovery Shake:
Six ounces coconut water, six ounces water, 2 scoops good quality protein and one banana.
  • Post-Game meal: Grilled skinless chicken breast, sweet potato and asparagus
A good blend of lean protein, complex/nutrient dense carbohydrates and veggies. The foods your body needs to repair itself!

 

REMEMBER – Game day nutrition and recovery are vital to successful performance week-in and week-out, but eating well on game day only works if you are eating well all week as well! Don’t wait for the pre-game meal to get everything you need. Approach your nutrition with the same discipline as your training and you will maximize your potential as an athlete.

Keep a look out for PART 4 coming soon!!

If you liked this post be sure to share it with a friend!

If you have questions or would like more info about this topic please email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

 

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 2: Dehydration & Jet Lag

Dehydration & jet leg Blog

If you have missed the first part of this blog series click here to view Part 1!

One of the big killers of athletic performance is dehydration and jet lag. Adequate hydration is critical to over-coming any time changes as well as keeping yourself functioning to your full potential. Athletes should always carry a water bottle and sip fluids frequently. Airline travel is especially dehydrating due to the pressurized cabin. Athletes should carry an empty bottle with them through airport security and fill it with water as soon as they are through. Athletes should aim to drink a minimum of 1 cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel.

Other tips to help reduce dehydration and jet-lag while traveling are:

  • Consume a high carb meal or two prior to travelling; this will help build extra glycogen (energy) and fluid stores
  • Drink one cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel
  • Limit pop, coffee, tea, and alcohol
  • Pack extra calories with nutritious portable snacks – pretzels, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts
  • Upon arrival, go out in the sunlight to help adjust to the new time zone
  • Allow 1–3 days to adjust for every time zone crossed, plan your travels days accordingly

Stay tuned for Part 3: Game Day Nutrition!

If you liked this article please be sure to share it with a friend!!

For more info about this article email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

Qualities of a Good Quarterback Part 1

 

I know I’m going to restart the old debate with this question: “Why aren’t there any Canadian Quarterbacks in the CFL?” I’m sure you’ve heard a multitude of opinions on this issue; some you probably agree with, others just don’t ring true. I firmly believe there is more than one answer to the Canadian QB Question.

One thing I do know for sure is that we coaches need to do a better job of instructing our young Canadian Quarterbacks. I’m not just referring to high school athletes. I think good serious training can start as young as 8 to 13 years old. This is a great age, when kids are prime for both physical and mental development.

What can we do? Over the upcoming weeks this five-part series on Quarterback development will cover:

  1. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 1
  2. Qualities of a good Quarterback, Part 2
  3. Drops, drills and technique
  4. Throwing mechanics, Part 1
  5. Throwing mechanics, Part 2

Many people believe a good Quarterback is the player who can throw the furthest. Don’t laugh…I was at an all-star camp and was asked by the head coach to have the Quarterbacks just drop and throw as far as they could. They chose their starting Quarterback from this one drill!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SUMMER CAMP

What are some things I look for when choosing a Quarterback?

Mental and Physical Toughness

QBs often get all the glory when things are going well, but they also take most of the grief when a team is not performing up to par. I want to see a QB’s reaction after he throws an interception or after he throws a few bad balls. How does he react and how does he try to overcome this bad bout? The great Quarterbacks are able to come right back to lead their team down the field, letting go of what just happened.

Can the Quarterback stand back there waiting to throw the perfect ball knowing, that because he has to hold on to the last second, he’s going to get hit hard? Over the years I have played with some great Quarterbacks and have had the opportunity to watch numerous others. One strong characteristic that is common to all the great ones is that they will take the hit for the team. There is no better way to gain the respect of teammates than this. Let’s be honest, football is a physical game but most Quarterbacks are untouchable during practice, while everyone else is suffering full contact! Not only is this a good way to gain the respect of your team but, at the same time, you let the opponent know that whatever they do, they cannot rattle this Quarterback.

What kind of athletic ability does he have?

There are going to be numerous times in a game when things breakdown, such as when the WRs fall down, or when someone doesn’t pick up that safety blitz. A QB needs to be able to improvise and create under pressure.

Seldom does a Quarterback just drop back and throw without having to deal with external factors, such as linemen in his face. This is why I have our young Quarterbacks practice throwing off-balance and from awkward positions. Don’t get me wrong, our athletes practice the proper mechanics of throwing at least 95% of the time during camps, but they need to be prepared to throw even when things breakdown.

Excellent Quarterback ability doesn’t mean just running a great 40-yard dash. I want to see a QB who can create more time in the pocket. Take a look at great Hall of Fame’s football great, Dan Marino. Marino could have used a sundial to time his forty, but, man, could he avoid rushes with little movements in the pocket, and then throw darts all over the field!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SUMMER CAMP

Manage a Game

Quarterbacks such as Tom Brady are great game-managers on the football field. Good QBs take what the defense gives them; they rarely force throws and ultimately they make good decisions. Good game-managing Quarterbacks exude confidence, which will spill over to every other player on his team. More and more coaches understand that they can’t count on the Quarterback to win the game on his own. If they surround the QB with good talent they just need the QB to distribute the ball to the playmakers.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SUMMER QB CANADA CAMP!

In the coming weeks we will discuss one attribute that is MUST for all successful QBs!

Please visit www.qbcanada.com for additional information on our upcoming camps!!

The Death of the Modern Day QB?

The Death of the Modern Day QB………. What?

I just finished watching film of Peyton Manning break 70,000 all-time yards and win on a miraculous play on Thursday night football. For every Peyton, Tom Brady, Big Ben and Andrew Luck there are Jamarcus Russell’s, Akili Smiths, Tim Couches, Ryan Leafs, and the list goes on of highly drafted NFL “busts”. Unfortunately these QB’s did not have illustrious careers for a multitude of reasons, and to pinpoint accurately after the fact is still a challenge, even with the advantage of hindsight. But one reason that might have been characteristic of all of them is their being “system” QB’s.

What does this mean and what is happening?

What are some of the issues and challenges in developing NFL QB’s?

1. QB’s do not play under center- unlike the NFL where QB’s go under center frequently, high school and college spread QB’s seldom take a snap from center. Why is this a concern? QB’s do not learn how to play with their backs to the defense for that split second. They do not learn how to properly drop. Personally, as a former QB I hated being in the gun as I got lazy with my drop mechanics and I see the same thing now when watching high school and college spread QB’S

QB’s and offences are about timing-drop 1 2 3 and throw- or set up and go through your progressions. Spread QBs’ legs sometimes get what I call “cement feet” – feet that don’t move because they simply don’t have to

2. Spread QB’s don’t have to think at the line of scrimmage…..what’s occurring is that the offence sets on the ball in a no huddle attack. Defense sets and then the offence all looks over to the coach for the proper play he has devised versus that particular defense. This has taken away the post-snap decision making of QB’s that is essential to becoming an NFL QB.

3. NFL defenses are way too fast for the spread- unlike college and high school – in the pros QB’s are playing against the best of the best…one thing NFL manager’s look for is team speed.

Remember a few years back when Colin Kaepernick took the league by storm running the spread and zone read….NFL Defensive coordinators have figured it out and as result Colin and the 49ers have struggled. In fact last Monday night the 49ers player with 3 TE’s a majority of the time and pounded the rock with Carlos Hyde…outcome- they controlled the clock…managed Colin’s mistakes and the 49ers were victorious.

Another reason – the “Robo” QB

As a QB coach I have fallen into this trap over the years but have changed my philosophy over the past few years. What do I mean with Robo QB? We try and make each QB have the most perfect mechanics and harp on this so much that we sometimes forget to let the kids play and react. Don’t get me wrong, all great QB’s have superlative mechanics to ensure the most important quality a qb must possess: ACCURACY- This is to me is the difference between good and great. Great QB’s with accuracy are able to place a ball on what I call a dime!

The issue is that we as QB coaches are paralyzing some of these young kids. Look at Phillip Rivers- his throwing mechanics are unorthodox but he makes it work. If it works at an age past puberty, refine their technique somewhat but don’t overburden the athlete. Remember it takes 3000 perfect reps to change the hardwiring in someone’s body. The problem arises with QB’s and other positions in sports in that the athlete will revert back to their mechanics taught at a young age. Thus it is imperative as coaches that we stress and teach proper mechanics BEFORE PUBERTY. But once it sets in, let “perfection” go and now change your approach to working with what the QB has – they can still get better. Look at MLB pitchers – MANY of them have unorthodox mechanics or at least what people would say are not “perfect” ones, but they are in the big leagues while tens of thousands with “better looking” mechanics are on the outside looking in at being a pro. Why? They have figured out how to use what they have such that they have bridged the gap and zoomed past those with “prettier” deliveries. This can be done in football too, so beware of taking too much time trying to create the next Robo-QB – you may be better off working on other areas with them. I use this saying to teach…before puberty there are many highway lanes and they are all open but the further we age from puberty the less lanes and more congestion there is within the nervous system of the body. Find the paved, clear highway and take it.

As stated above, I myself am a spread offensive coach and one of the reasons is that it is easier for a QB to determine reads and play at a high speed. Why do I do this? We at the younger level of football do not have the ability to teach/practice with kids 8 hours per day like we do in the pro ranks. We just don’t. And fluffing it for 10-20 minutes a week in practice doesn’t do too much good unless the kid is going to take it himself and work the other 1200 minutes on it on his own. If he does, great. But if not, more and more as time goes on, the chances of making them better mechanically shrinks and shrinks.

Hey don’t get me wrong. Mechanics can be improved later in life but progress will be slower and minimal. But what has happened with me and definitely with high school and college coaches across North America is less time is being spent on developing prototypical pro QB’s and more has been put into developing them to run an incredibly successful system. The thing is, this system does not always translate to the NFL, so the question is, what is the long term outlook on developing prototypical QB’s for the league? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see what develops over the next ten years or so. History tells us that the future doesn’t always quite work out the way we think it will, but only time will tell.

Agree or disagree- I would love to hear it as I am open to all learning experiences!

Larry Jusdanis is the proud owner of Sports Specific Training (the largest sports training company in Canada) and QB Canada- Ranked as the #1 QB Academy in Canada

Coach Mike and Will Finch will be holding a Qb mechanics class every Monday- starting in June

Click here for Mike’s 101 Mechanics

www.Qbcanada.com

www.sst.training

CFL COMBINE READY! Mercer Timmis!

mercer Timmis combine

The Combine is here and I am feeling ready. All the sacrifices that have been made through these last few months have all been preparing for this weekend. It has been filled with a strict nutrition plan, and countless hours on the field and in the gym. With Larry’s Combine prep program I feel that I am as prepared as I could be.  This last week in Burlington, was the final preparation in order to get ready for the combine. It was focused primarily on technique and making sure my body is primed for this weekend. With The help of Larry, the SST Burlington team, and Steve Bodanis they have prepared me for success and I am looking forward to an exciting weekend in Toronto. 

Mercer E Timmis

Haskayne School of Business ’17

Risk Management: Insurance and Finance