Updated: Oct 19, 2021

I want to highlight Basil Weber my first athlete friend that is now facing a new challenge & opportunity in Finland with Kuopio Steelers. He is the proof that OL is much more than big lazy boys. I think he is one of the best inspirations for the young OL generation in Europe. His dedication, work ethic, and discipline has to be highlighted.

Conditioning refers to “WORK CAPACITY”. It means to develop the proper energy system you need for your specific sport to enhance your respective sport performance. Unfortunately, many coaches do not understand the different energy systems.

Off-season is the time of the year when you want to increase your performance abilities (strength, size, power, speed, conditioning, etc). During the season the goal is to maintain your athletic level, prevent injuries and stay fresh for the game. Therefore, in season, practices & games are sufficient to keep your conditioning level. Keep in mind, we can split the work volume during the season between the travel roster and the development team.

Most players either keep too much volume or stop completely to work out during the season which can lead to decrease performance and higher injury risk.

Generally, the training of Work Capacity and most conditioning programs may be delayed until later in the year and be consistent with the specific demands of the sport/position as it exists during games. For example, special conditioning training and Sport Specific practice itself (running routes, tackling drills, etc.) As we get closer to the season the energy system training will begin to get more sport specific, meaning that we will be training in shorter but more intense bursts of up to 10 seconds followed by a longer period of rest. Many coaches and athletes make the mistake of conditioning way too early and sacrifice time and resources that can be harnessed for the development of muscle mass, strength, and power.

Football requires The ATP-PC System (Alactic): This system doesn’t require or produce oxygen. It’s used for quick, explosive activities that last up to 10 seconds. The reason why is simple; a football play duration is between 4-10 seconds and the rest period between 20-45 seconds. Practically, this means that we will be performing short in duration, but high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a longer period of rest. If you develop other energy systems it won't help you to perform in this specific period.

The deal is to design your conditioning workout plan and testing protocol specific to what a football game requires. Some good examples of exercises that fit into this category are sprints, sprints with changes of direction, resisted sled/prowler sprints, overcoming a resistance (like flipping a tire) then sprinting, jumps into a sprint, reacting to a visual cue, etc. You can get creative with your exercises.

No matter how strong you are, you will not perform well on the field if you do not have a high level of conditioning and work capacity. In football, the saying goes that "speed kills, and you need to be able to sustain your speed through four quarters if you want to dominate at your position." It is easy to be fresh on the first play of the game. The key is to maintain power and focus during four quarters. Your effort endurance/resilience is a major factor of success. While others won't be able anymore to produce speed & power your level could remain the same. Conditioning also plays a major role in injury prevention. To keep the players on the field, a team has to make sure they are in good football shape.

Performing repeated bouts of these types of explosive activities will get you in true football shape. These types of activities will develop speed, power, and anaerobic football endurance, as opposed to taking away from your speed and power by running mid and long distances. You can also become position-specific inside the sport-specific needs.

Work with purpose and understand what you and why.

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