Championship Off-Season

In a post Super Bowl press conference, Russell Wilson was asked when he knew the 2013-14 Seahawk team was going to be special.  He said he knew it early on because they had a “Championship Off-Season


Most of us are now well into our off-season programs.   Can you tell if your team is going to be special in 2014?  Are you having a championship off-season?

I can think back to all of the “special” squads that I have coached… and we had an inkling … normally about this time of the year… that the team was destined for good things.

What were the indications? What were the qualities that set these teams apart during the off-season?

Often, I think, it was a combination of things… both tangible and intangible.

Attendance. – Although attendance is critical, there was a difference between groups that “just showed up” and those that showed up with a purpose.   There was an intensity in the air with the great teams that you could feel… it was palpable, and contagious.

Team Bonding and Team Building – There is a huge difference between what I call “trust fall” team building and True Team BuildingThe teams that really bonded would work, eat, sweat, and puke together.

Leadership – The biggest difference that I could put my finger on is teams that had an “organically grown” group of leaders, as opposed to teams whose leadership was voted or appointed, were typically better… there was greater accountability.

Fun – With some of my best groups, the harder you worked them, the more fun they had.  It was like a daily challenge that “we could not break them”… it was very similar to the Short Work of a Long Road scene from the movie, Cool Hand Luke.

So, how would you rate your team at this juncture?  Are they a “special” team?  Are you having a “Championship Off-Season”?  Are you “feeling it”?  If not, is there anything that you can do to change the trajectory your team is on?

One thing that I am certain of… if you have too many conversations like the one below, it is probably not a good sign!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post today on their site.  If you get a chance to visit (and “Like” my post) you will find many good stories.

Jeff Floyd –


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!

sunI 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:

  1. Heat (and humidity) Acclimation
  2. Movement Acclimation

Heat 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.

Movement Acclimation

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.

RB patterns

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 –

A Championship Softball Off-Season

pat softballThe Truman Softball Team, led by head coach Amy Broughton was Missouri State 5-A Champions in 2012 and have one of the top pitchers in the country (Paige Parker) and 6 other starters returning for the 2013 campaign. Rather than rest on their laurels, these players and their coach are attacking their off-season program. Nearly all are, or have been, in the advanced strength and conditioning class at our school. Coach Broughton has her squad stay after school 3 days a week where they supplement the in class lifting they do with a variety of interesting athletic activities and challenges. Her focus is developing faster, quicker, and more explosive athletes- the same qualities we all are looking to develop.

In the workout that I am highlighting today, Coach Broughton’s emphasis was on Flexibility, Balance, and PostureYes Posture!

Coach Broughton took a cue from the University of Alabama’s softball program, after reading an article entitled “Stand Up Performance” discussing this facet of the Crimson Tide’s program. Here is a brief snippet from the article:

Most people know University of Alabama softball for its big bats, speed on the bases, and continuous winning seasons. While our lifting program helps produce those monster hits and our conditioning program helps keep the players’ feet churning, what a lot of people don’t know is that our focus on posture is also a major contributor to the team’s success.

Softball is about power and speed through precise movements, but if the body cannot maintain good posture throughout those movements, power and speed suffer. If a batter has some deficiencies in her posture, she will not get full force behind her swing. If a pitcher has poor posture, her pitches will not be as strong. Gray Cook said it best in his book Athletic Body in Balance: “Most athletes work around energy leaks instead of through them.”

The entire article can be found at this link – Stand Up Performance

The following video will show examples of each of these drills Coach Broughton had her athletes do for this workout.

  • High to Low Hurdles (6×3)
  • Thera-band side step (10)
  • Thera-band duck walk (10)
  • Thera-band in-and-out (10)
  • Thera-band toe pull (10)
  • Thera-band kick back (10)
  • Regular Jacks (25)
  • Scissor Jacks (25)
  • Seal Jacks (25)
  • Pop Squats – on coaches count (10)
  • Glue-Ham Drop (10)
  • Side Lift (10)
  • Kick Back (10)
  • Around the World (10)
  • Side Pulse (10)
  • Back Pulse (10)
  • Straight Leg Around the World (10)
  • Supine Run (10 each side)

I am very fortunate to be colleagues of many fine coaches at our school; I learn something daily from them. Coach Broughton is a great “teaching” coach, and an excellent example of a lifetime learner (Lifetime Learning) . In addition to using information from the University of Alabama’s Softball program, she incorporates many of Auburn University’s drills into her off-season program.

If you would like any additional information regarding the Truman Softball program, or what Coach Broughton is doing with her group in the off-season, just comment or email and I will connect you.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

Great Football Conditioning Test

40 testAs was discussed in a previous post on speed (Purple Cow Quality #2-Speed) during my time at the University of Central Missouri we transitioned from using the 1600m run as a conditioning test, to using one much better suited for football conditioning.  The test we used was the 40 yard x 10 test, and was brought to us by Coach Mark Thomas.  The 40 yd x 10 test is designed to test an athletes conditioning and speed combined, which is what is necessary to perform at a high level in the game of football.  It also definitely has the “gut check” factor, which was really the main reason we used the 1600m run previously

The object of the test is to run 10 – 40 yard dashes with a 30 second rest between each 40, with each 40 time falling within .50 seconds of the athletes personal best time.

  • 40 yards x 10 reps – 30 seconds rest between reps.
  • Each 40 within .5 seconds of your personal best
  • Example – Johnny Joe has a 4.49 personal best 40 time.  He must run all 10 40’s in 4.99 seconds or under.

In addition to being one of the best conditioning tests for football that I have seen, it was also a good speed/ conditioning workout.  We asked our athletes to run this test on their own once a month over the summer and send their results back to us on campus so we could monitor their progress.  When they reported for double day practices in the Fall, this test was part of a battery we put our athletes through.

This test was a much better indicator of being in football playing shape, or football conditioning than was the 1600m test.  You can download a pdf of the card we used over the summer at this link : 40 test card

Tomorrow – The Breaking Curve

Any Questions?  Just comment or email – I will respond!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

Jump Rope Training

pat jump ropeThis is not your 5th grade, out on the playground during recess, jump roping!  This is a slightly expanded, and better video, version of the jump rope training that I shared in an earlier post –Jump Rope Drills;  We do each pattern for either 20 seconds with a 10 second rest before switching to the next pattern, or 25 seconds on with 5 seconds rest.  These are the patterns in the order we complete them:

  • 2 feet in the same place
  • 2 feet front to back
  • 2 feet side to side
  • 2 feet round the clock- clockwise (12-3-6-9)
  • 2 feet round the clock counter-clockwise (12-9-6-3)
  • Alternate right left
  • Alternate 2 right – 2 left
  • Ali Shuffle
  • Rocker – right foot forward
  • Rocker – left foot forward
  • Rocker – side to side
  • Right foot in the same place
  • Left foot in the same place
  • Right foot front to back
  • Left foot front to back
  • Right foot clockwise
  • Left foot clockwise
  • Right foot counter clockwise
  • Left foot counter clockwise
  • Backwards

The following video demonstrates each of the patterns.  The male athlete in this video is a defensive lineman on our football team.  The female athlete plays volleyball, basketball, and soccer.  We feel these drills can benefit athletes in all sports.

We go through this sequence twice then end with the following:

  • 30 seconds – as many jumps as you can
  • 20 seconds – as many jumps as you can
  • 15 seconds – as many jumps as you can
  • 10 seconds – as many jumps as you can
  • 5 seconds -as many jumps as you can

10 seconds rest in between each “burn out” set

We finish with a 1 minute cool down of slow jumping – their choice, whatever pattern they want, 10 seconds rest, then 40 seconds cool down of slow jumping.  The entire workout takes between 26-30 minutes.

Here is a short video of an entire class (about 60 students) doing some of the drills

As always if you have any questions, just comment or email!

Jeff Floyd –

Be a Quick Purple Cow!

The next quality I am going to discuss, the next quality that will set you apart from the other 250,000 high school seniors that are playing football, is the Purple Cow Quality of Athleticism and Quickness

pro agilityThis quality is related to speed and explosion, which were discussed in previous posts (Purple Cow Quality #2 Speed and Explosion-how to get it) but slightly different. Coaches look for the ability of an athlete to change directions, stop and start, adjust angles, and their overall body control.  Some of this can be measured by tests, the most notable the NFL Pro Agility shuttle test.  This video is a very good description of the NFL Pro Agility shuttle test (also known as the short shuttle, or 5-10-5 shuttle).

Aside from testing, coaches will evaluate film, and possibly evaluate performances in other sports such as basketball or wrestling.

How do you improve your Athleticism and Quickness thereby improving your time in the NFL Pro Agility Drill?   How do you develop Purple Cow Quickness? Now that would be REALLY remarkable… a Quick Purple Cow!

Much of the same type of training (plyometics, dynamic weight training, etc.) that lends itself to increased speed and explosiveness will help improve quickness, too.  In addition, if you are currently not doing quickness drills as part of your workout program, ask your coach for a program you can do on your own, or look at some of these drills:

These links are an excellent series of drill,  Lateral Speed and Change of Direction Drillsfrom Central College:

Here is the Lane Shuffle Drill

And the Sprint Agility Drill

This link (Florida Gator Agility and Foot Quickness Drills ) will take you to another list of football specific drills from the Florida Gators Strength and Conditioning Coach.  There are drill descriptions and some accompanying video: 

Another good series, and time tested set of drills are the BFS (Bigger Faster Stronger) dot drills.  Here is a pdf file explaining the drills: BFS Dot Drill and this video showing an athlete completing the drills.

Like all the other qualities I have discussed, mastering this one does not come easy, or all at once.  Practice, improve, and become a Quick Purple Cow!

Tomorrow video and coaching points on the first of our four core lifts, the Bench Press.

As always, any questions comment or email… I will answer!

Jeff Floyd –

Jump Rope Drills

patriot jump ropeTypically once a week during the year we do a variety of jump rope drills with our athletes.  In our Strength and Conditioning class  we have students from all sports, both men and women , in-season and out-of-season, and in all shapes and sizes!  Along with a cardio benefit (our heart rates are elevated for 20 minutes or so) we also see benefits in quickness, jumping, agility and coordination with our athletes.  The workout is quick-paced and not monotonous, so it keeps our athletes fairly well engaged.

The workout consists of our athletes completing a series of jump rope patterns, doing each pattern for 25 seconds, with 5 seconds off to reset and communicate the next pattern.  We will go through the following patterns 2-3 times, totaling 25-30 minutes of jump rope time.  You can download a short video that shows two of our athletes demonstrating each of these patterns by clicking on this link:  Jump Rope Demo Video  (or click on the picture above)

  • 2 feet jump in the same place
  • 2 feet front to back
  • 2 feet side to side
  • 2 feet round the clock (12-3-6-9) clockwise
  • 2 feet round the clock (12-9-6-3) counter clockwise
  • Right foot only in the same place
  • Left foot only in the same place
  • Right foot only front to back*
  • Left foot only front to back*
  • Right foot only side to side*
  • Left foot only side to side
  • Right foot only round the clock clockwise
  • Left foot only round the clock clockwise
  • Right foot only round the clock counter clockwise
  • Left foot only round the clock counter clockwise
  • Alternating Right and Left foot jumps
  • Ali Shuffle
  • Backwards

* Not shown on video

After going through these patterns 2-3 times, we conclude with the following jumps, all with a 10-second rest in between

  • 30 seconds – as many jumps as possible
  • 20 seconds – as many jumps as possible
  • 15 seconds – as many jumps as possible
  • 10 seconds – as many jumps as possible
  • 5 seconds – as many jumps as possible
  • 60 second cool down – choice of jump at a comfortable pace
  • 45 second cool down – choice of jump at a comfortable pace

All the patterns are completed using the following guidelines:

  1. 1 jump per turn of the rope
  2. Stress staying on the balls of the feet
  3. If jumping on 2 feet, stress landing on both feet and jumping off both feet at the same time.
  4. If they miss (and they will at some point during the 30 minutes!) then they must get right back to spinning the rope

If you have any questions, please comment or email.

Jeff Floyd –

Two Birds With One Stone

All football coaches know and believe in the importance of conditioning.  Vince Lomardi’s classic axiom, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” is just as true today as it was 50 years ago when he coined the phrase.  At the same time, coaches (and athletes) are always strapped for practice time, both in-season and off-season. Just “straight running ” for football conditioning (such as “wind sprints“) might be good, but probably is lacking in the area of creativity and efficiency.  Today I am sharing my favorite sport specific (football) conditioning drill called “Pattern Runs” that allow you to “kill two birds with one stone”  combining football drills and conditioning.

This “Pattern Run” conditioning workout is designed to help you improve your conditioning for football by performing different movements specific to the position you play. The Pattern Run workout was developed by strength coaches in the NFL, primarily Russ Ball (then of the Kansas City Chiefs now with the Green Bay Packers). While at the University of Central Missouri, our staff received permission from Coach Ball to use it with our players (Coach Ball is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri) and when members of our staff moved to William Jewell College, we used this workout, and had excellent results, with our players there, too.

RB patternsThere are different patterns for each football position group.  A description of the workout, as well as diagrams (including target times and distances) for each position can be downloaded at this link:  Pattern Run Workout

Keep in mind that the target times are for college athletes, and the pattern terminology is what we used at the University of Central Missouri and William Jewell College.  This workout could easily be adapted using your terminology and a adjusting the times to the targeted fitness level of your players.

If you have any questions about this workout, or anything else I have shared, leave a comment or email.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –