When considering physical training for a football team, coaches must keep in mind the general physical condition of their players, as well as reasonable goals for the team to reach over the course of a season. As the coach prepares for practice, he should plan to work on all three areas of importance in football: strength, cardio health, and skills. By keeping this triad of training goals in mind, the coach can plan a physical training regimen to get his players into tiptop shape.
Routines play a significant role in helping prepare a football team for games. Coaches should have a predictable and consistent schedule for players so that players know what is expected of them at each practice. Also players can judge how far along they are in practice based on where they are in the practice routine.
Coaches need to assist all players, but especially ones new to the sport, in how to create an effective weight-training routine to do on their own time. Developing strength is vital to being a competitive team. In addition to on-field exercises, players will need to spend time in the weight room getting comfortable with lifting heavier weights. Some positions require more attention to strength than others, meaning that linebackers and defensive ends will need to increase their strength more than quarterbacks, for example. A good coaching staff will help each player plan to reach the strength level that he needs.
Cardiovascular health and respiratory health give players the overall fitness that they need to make it through tough games, especially in hot or humid weather. Team practice should include running long distances, as well as sprinting shorter distances. Team drills should focus on bursts of energy, and instruction should help players learn to use their energy and breath wisely to get the most out of their drills.
While better overall strength and cardiovascular health will show general team improvement, working on skills through position drills is the only way that teams will be able to improve their records. Players in each position should work on drills intended to increase their ability to perform the tasks of their position, whether that task is passing the ball, blocking opposing linemen, or kicking field goals. Coaches should have very specific drills intended to allow the player to hone those skills. Don’t overdo it, however. Working on position skills should happen no more than two to three times per week for high school players to allow muscles time to heal and build up properly.
Though it should go without saying, hydration and general nutrition also play a major role in physical fitness for football players. Coaches need to pay close attention to how much players drink and how often the coaches allow water breaks. Not doing so can be dangerous to the health of athletes, but it also can interfere with their body’s ability to operate at optimum levels. Spending some time at the beginning of the season talking about nutrition and hydration is time well spent in getting a team to prime physical condition.