Let me preface this post with these statements: I am a pretty tough cookie. I am tenacious. I ran a 5K three months after having my hip replaced. I tell you this not to brag, but to underscore how difficult the acclimation process is.
I just returned from 10 days in Northern California. I worked out every day, running 2-4 miles, or walking 3-6 miles. The terrain is flat, and more importantly, the temperature was in the 70’s with NO humidity. It felt great – like I could run forever… that I could Do More!
I just finished a run at home in downtown Kansas City – my first since returning. The temperature was not oppressive (in the 70’s) but it IS humid, and the terrain is hilly. After a mere 1.5 miles, with a hill ahead, and sweating like a P.I.G. my jog turned into a walk. Sure, some of it was mental, but keep in mind that my perception is my reality. In my head, if the humidity and hills are killing me physically… then the humidity and hills are killing me physically.
Two things to point out regarding your athletes (and you) as we head into the depths of summer:
- Heat (and humidity) Acclimation
- Movement Acclimation
Dr. Daniel Lorenz posted a very good article on the PrepsKC site outlining the importance of, and steps to, get acclimated to the summer heat. It pretty much follows the MSHSAA (and other state High School activity associations as well) protocol for heat acclimation. It is a physical AND mental acclimation process. I am preaching to the choir, I know, but the more of your athletes (and coaches) that can be acclimated by the end of summer and the start of practice, the more efficient your actual practice time will be.
I was not ready physically or mentally for the challenge of the hills in my run today. I had spent nearly two weeks running on flat terrain. Are your athletes training in the summer doing things that will carry over into your practices? Are they getting down, and coming out of the stance they will be using? Are they practicing the movements they will be doing in their position group – backpedaling, shuffling, 3 step drop, pass set, defensive charge? Are they completing explosive movements for a short duration – the length of a football play? If not, even if they have been working out, when it comes time for practice, they will be smacked in the face like I was in my run today.
Two very good conditioning drills that will help get your football athletes ready: Pattern Runs, and 40 yard dash drill. I have detailed each in these posts – Two Birds With One Stone, and Great Football Conditioning Test .
The Pattern Run Drill, which we got from the Kansas City Chiefs, is the best football conditioning drill I have ever used.
The diagram above is a sample of the Running Back pattern runs. The entire workout is explained in the post Two Birds With One Stone.
Questions and comments are always welcomed!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org