The average football play lasts five seconds with 25 to 30 seconds between plays.
Coaches understand that to prepare for this, there’s little use for long distance running or 100-yard gassers. Football conditioning must be tailored toward anaerobic training to produce athletes capable of keeping up with the pace of the game.
Ryan Sprague of Stack.com offered these four football-specific conditioning drills to work into your preseason plans.
- Sprint ladder. Encourage speed, agility and coordination while building leg muscle strength. Do pairs of 10-, 20-, 30-, 40, 50-, 40-, 30-, 20- and 10-yard sprints with 30 seconds between each sprint.
- Sprint-stride intervals. This is a fine-tuning of the traditional 100-yard sprints. Instead of all-out sprints, have players perform interval sets of 20-yard sprints and 20-yard strides for the full length of the field. Strides help players develop the ability to cover more ground in less time, resulting in greater speed production. Make sure to rest 30 seconds between each set. Start with four sets and progress to 10 as players get in good shape.
- Tempo runs. Another drill using the full 100 yards. Start athletes at the corner of an end zone and stride for 100 yards, focusing on long steps at medium speed. Jog to the opposite side of the end zone, then do another 100-yard stride. Start at four sets early on and progress as the season nears.
- Four quarters. A progressive sprint drill that builds football endurance. Four 10-yard sprints with 10 seconds of rest in between. Four 20-yard sprints with 20 seconds of rest in between. Four 30-yard sprints with 30 seconds of rest in between. Then do alternating 20-yard sprints and 20-yard strides for the full field with 30 seconds between each segment. This ends one quarter. Three more to go.