The Power of Goal Setting One important thing that I have learned from working with top athletes is that if you do not have specifically defined goals, you do not have direction. The first winter challenge for you is to write down all of the football and physical fitness goals you want to achieve by spring. Not only does this force you to determine where you want to go, but this helps make sure you get there. Sample goals should be about how much you would like to weigh, what your body fat will be, and the totals of your best lifts, shuttles, and speeds. The second challenge is to make these goals public to the important people around you. Tell everyone what your winter goals are, and post these goals somewhere that people can see them. By doing this, you have made a commitment to achieve these goals, and if you do get off track, they will remind you to get back on the path. The last challenge is to get a winter training partner with similar goals or a personal coach. You are not going to want to train hard every day. So a coach will keep you focused and working hard.
Running All Year is a Key to Speed
Every day, I receive questions from coaches and athletes asking what I think are some key ingredients to becoming a faster, more successful athlete. I always start my answers with one word: consistency.Consistency must be a principle underlying your speed work if you are ever to reach your athletic potential. Without consistency in your training, there will be periods of time during the year where you are actually getting slower. Even though you may be lifting weights and think that is enough, you canít neglect running and speed work. The most successful athletes that I have encountered adopted the principle of consistency when it concerns speed training. Even if they are performing only one or two speed workouts per week throughout the year, they are still going to improve performance. Each workout that you perform throughout the year is another small step toward your goals. Think about it, every little thing you do or do not do is either getting you closer, or further away, from the prize. When an athlete stops speed work for portions of the year, that athleteís nervous and muscular systems lose the ability to produce fast, powerful contractions and the coordination that is required for perfect technique. Science has shown that as little as one week without speed work can start to slow performance and make the road back to peak performance a more difficult one. In addition to this, athletes that are not training at all, or are solely working on strength training without speed, are at greater risk for injury. Their muscles are simply not prepared for the velocity of the contractions during eventual practices and games.
As with anything you want to achieve in life, nothing can replace consistent work toward that goal. We all know that speed is a skill, and to master any skill, there must be continuous practice. Now get to work!
QUICKNESS TRAINING TIPS
Just because an athlete looks quick doesnít necessarily mean he is. Quickness is how fast you can change direction. Quick people are those who use the fewest steps to change direction. Generally, people who look quick are the ones who take one or two extra steps. Their movements are quick, but really their change of direction isnít. To improve their ability to change direction Cover One uses a specific plan which has some very specific doís and doníts.
Your quickness training first and your conditioning second.
Your quickness training before you lift.
Some kind of "shake down" run after quickness drills if you donít immediately follow them with conditioning. This keeps your legs loose and facilitates recovery.
Use rotational movements with full range of motion.
Incorporate plyometric work.
Try quickness drills in the sand to improve your acceleration, turning and balance
Try the ankle flexor drills "barefoot"
Sets of 5-6 reps with a decent amount of recovery.
Rest one day between intense workouts to allow nervous system to recover.
Do lots of distance running; it reinforces slower motor patterns, and youíre trying to build quicker ones.
Perform quickness training when your body is fatigued, because quickness drills require quality movements.
Immediately follow a hard lifting day with a quickness workout.
Take extra steps when making a change of direction. Try to minimize steps and change direction without repositioning your feet.