I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Benefits of In-Season Training

As practices and games get going for the 2013 season, one of the questions I am frequently asked is whether I think in-season training is beneficial for athletes. There are mixed opinions on the issue, but I strongly believe that athletes can benefit and improve their performance by continuing football training during their season. I recognize the challenges of finding time during the grueling fall schedule, but with focused effort and minimal time commitment, athletes can really hone their performance. At Riggs Premier Football, we have specifically designed some training options for athletes this fall to meet what I believe are athletes’ prime needs during the season, and I want to give some insight into why we chose to offer these options.

Fall is the best season of the year! I love hearing the whistles blow, the team chants and the excitement of football practice kicking off, and as a coach, I truly love practice. It is always exciting to know that the team has a chance to step onto a field, focus and work, and become better through their efforts. Most people involved in sports love participating in games, but I have always enjoyed the practice aspect of athletics. But just as practice can help prepare a team, it can sometimes set back an individual player. Practice times are limited and coaches have to figure out where to cut drills and times to condense all of a team’s performance aspects into their practice. Many times, the “individual” component is cut out and athletes will not get specific focus on their personal performance. In-season training is designed for this purpose.

Athletes work very hard during the off season to build strength, speed and skills, and in-season workouts can still be utilized to maintain the individual skills that were developed during the off season and to continue to enhance performance. The rigors of repeated practice, film, and games don’t leave athletes much time to tweak their game technique, so working with a coach who can observe their game and help with key performance adjustments offers a definite advantage during the season. Specific focus on fundamentals and key position skills can be very beneficial for athletes and can help minimize the risk of injuries. Athletes who pursue in-season training can also take advantage of extra “eyes” for film study to further enhance their understanding of the game and their contributions on the field. With even half an hour to an hour per week of training, athletes will be able to maintain their off-season gains, discuss and tweak their individual performance, and regain focus on position fundamentals.

Another aspect of the season that is challenging for young teams, particularly, is the inability to focus and develop a team’s passing technique. The full 11-man format limits the ability to pass the ball, so that skill often doesn’t get the attention it needs. Consistent pressure in a QB’s face prevents an offense from being able to open things up and get the ball to their skill position players downfield. A lack of practice time also makes it difficult for an offense to expand its schemes of attacking defenses downfield. We are offering a 7 on 7 Tournament on August 31st to allow teams to develop their offenses to work timing to stretch the field, and to allow a QB to develop confidence in his throwing without having defenders in his face. Teams can use the 7 on 7 in place of a regular practice, and the tournament format is fun and competitive.

Options are definitely available for athletes who think they need extra focus or training during the busy season. I hope that everyone is off to a great start with the 2013 season, and I hope you will join us for some of these training opportunities!

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