The football off-season is an important season for athletes. Football is a unique sport where players can’t just show up and play. They need to be well-conditioned physically and prepped mentally to minimize mistakes on the football field.
Football, unlike most sports, has the athlete training more than they’re actually playing. Football players train 7-8 months out of the year, only to have a 3-4 month football season.
Football training can be strenuous. Constantly putting the body through stress and rehabilitating muscles to ensure they’re flexible and well nurtured.
To ensure players are 100% bought in throughout the off-season, adding a few elements to your training is important. Creating an atmosphere that is both fun and competitive will have athletes addicted to the process.
Here are a few ways to enhance your football off-season workouts.
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1. Create Competition Between Players
Competition breeds champions. It’s the lifeblood of every team, whether it’s the fourth quarter or off-season. Competition in the off-season is a necessity.
There are a few basic ways to create competition throughout the off-seasons:
- Create teams and combine the total weight
- As Coach Grayvold mentioned on our podcast, each grade is its team, competing against each other at the end of the workout. Coach gave an example of a tug-of-war contest, sprints, etc. It encourages players to get other peers to join, or they’ll lose drastically.
- Players can also compete with GPAs, a high GPA is rewarded, and a low GPA is punished. This concept works great among teams.
Using competition to build a team structure helps solidify a team, especially in the fourth quarter.
2. Accountability Among The Team
Accountability is one of the biggest contributing factors in the off-season. The more players at a workout, the higher the energy and camaraderie are naturally built.
The problem lies with big/small programs getting players to a workout. Accountability among the older players drives the younger players to attend the workouts.
Coaches will often have a competition where players can earn “points” for attendance. Enough points; players can earn meals, t-shirts, shorts, and more! It all depends on the team’s budget.
Although the prizes are great, the accountability of players attending workouts shouldn’t be baited with prizes. Coaches must create a high-energy atmosphere where players are excited to lift and grow.
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3. Track Off Season Lifts
Progress can be measured in a few ways. Whether on paper or a tablet, having players’ visibility see the progress will help them with motivation.
We’ve written about tools like Teambuildr, which helps teams track progress, attendance, and player growth strictly by entering information on a tablet or phone. Analytics are tracked in a nice and easy-to-read database for the coach, who helps them stay organized on progress and attendance.
If coaches don’t want to spend the money on off-season programs, we recommend creating a paper workout in excel, which can track player progress.
Simply having pens and pencils laid out, with each player assigned to their sheet, can get messy sometimes and is more effective than having nothing.
4. Track Weight/Body Fat
Tracking weight and body fat progress is another way to keep players motivated. Every off-season, players should set goals they want to reach as their bodies develop over time.
Weight loss for overweight players, gaining weight for undersized players, and putting on muscle mass must focus during the off-season. Lifting weights with no goal in mind, both body fat and weight-wise, does not give the athlete anything to strive for.
Body fat calipers, which are relatively cheap (found here on Amazon for $12), are great for tracking body fat.
The off-season in football spans over 7 months. It’s a long period of time for players who get an average of 9-11 games per season. Creating a fun and inspiring environment will help your players thrive in the off-season.
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What are some ways you enhance your off-season? Let us know in the comments below!