ASK COACH MILLER
Al Miller, a member of the inaugural USA Strength and Conditioning 2003 Hall of Fame class, coached for 21 years in the NFL.
Al Miller, a member of the inaugural USA Strength and Conditioning 2003 Hall of Fame class, coached for 21 years in the NFL. His era at the NFL level included stops with the Denver Broncos (1985-92), the New York Giants (1993-96), and the Atlanta Falcons (1997-2006). While in Denver, the Broncos participated in four AFC Championship games, three Super Bowls, and one Pro Bowl. At this point, Miller took a position with the New York Giants for four years followed by a position with the Atlanta Falcons. He worked with the Falcons for nine seasons during which the team participated in two NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl and one Pro Bowl. Miller’s strength and conditioning programs have been crucial building blocks for the foundation of four Super Bowl teams.
Miller is considered a pioneer in the field of Strength and Conditioning as he developed and implemented each team’s workout program which was tailored to the individual needs of each player. His careful attention and dedication was one of the biggest factors in helping to limit the number of serious injuries players incurred throughout the season. Miller understands and believes that super conditioning is required year-round and has developed an off-season program which enables players to be at their best from the first day of camp through the end of the season.
Prior to his NFL ascent, Miller, 58, served as the strength coach for the University of Alabama under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant from 1982-85. He also worked in that same capacity at Mississippi State in 1980 and at Northeast Louisiana in 1981. He received the ultimate compliment when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Northeast Louisiana in 1992 for his exploits as a wide receiver.
Coach Miller’s Outstanding Accomplishments and Awards:
- 1981 - Elected to the Northeast Louisiana University Golden Anniversary Football Team
- 1992 - Inducted into the Northeast Louisiana University Hall of Fame
- 1993 - Receipient of the President’s Award for NFL Strength Coaches
- 1998 - Recipient the NFL Strength Coaches Emrich-Riecke-Jones Award
- 2004 - Voted NFL Strength Coach of the Year
- 2005 - Inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame
- 2007 - Honored by the CSCCa (Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches assoc.)as one of the “Legends in the Field” of Strength and Conditioning
Choose a category below and click on questions to see the answers
I’m 5'2'' and 100.7 pounds. I run a 4.8 in the 40 yard dash and am 6th grader this year. I play QB. Do you think that’s the best position for me? josh ellis, toledo,ohio
I am 5'10”, 140 pounds, and I run a 4.46. I want to play quarterback because I feel I have the traits of a quarterback. I'm smart, fast, strong, a leader, and have throwing power. The only thing is that my coach keeps putting me at wide receiver. How should I address this situation? Eric Lawson, New York,NY
Many times throughout your life you are going to experience similar situations. I truly believe the very best and quickest way to a decision for all is to have a sit down discussion about whatever the situation is at the time. Now it is your football position, but 20 years from now it may be a position you hold within a company where you are looking to move up. Regardless of the situation, a face-to-face discussion about your position is the very best way. One other important point to understand is that you must be sure that the outcome of the meeting is crystal clear to yourself and coach. Always repeat in your words back to the coach what you understand him to say so there will be no misunderstanding at a later date on what exactly was said.
Good luck! I hope this will serve you well not only now, but in many other situations in life.
I’m 5’11” and 180 lbs. I run a 4.47 40 and am a freshman this year. Which position would be best for me? Tevin Thomas, Statesboro, Ga
I can say typically, with the physical traits you possess, a running back is usually the choice. Regardless of what position you choose, one of the most important bits of information is that just because the good Lord has given you talent, make sure you do your part in developing that talent. Don't think small, think big. By that I mean, you will not be the only person with those traits. When you begin to climb the ladder of competition, you will find more and more with equal talent or beyond your own. If you understand this, you know that you need to make sure you do whatever you can to grow your talents in order to take you a long way in the game of football. I've seen WAY too many talented players with NO WORK ETHIC. Regardless of what avenue you choose in life, your work ethic will allow you to climb the ladder of success or NOT. This is where you come in by committing yourself to being the best that you can be. You only have one life to live and one high school career! You want to be able to look back on it when you are an older man with fond memories and a sense of accomplishment.
Football is big in Georgia. If you know your football history, then you know that one of the greatest backs to come out of Georgia was Herschel Walker. His work ethic was very good. Use him as an example of how to climb the ladder of success. Good luck, and work hard!!
I have a grandson who is a big Steelers fan and growing up he wanted to be an NFL player. He is 15, 6’ 4”, 280-300 pounds, and has decided not to play football in his sophomore year of high school. Everyone has tried to convince him to continue to play, and he was even asked to go up to varsity. I don't know how to help him believe in himself again so that he will continue to play football. Can you help me to be able to talk to him and perhaps convince him to play again? His school has just started, and he isn't currently on the football team. Please help! Ms Margie Harrison, Bay City MI
There obviously has been something take place in his life that has changed his mind about committing the effort, time, and hard work necessary to achieve the success with football that all of you hope for him to achieve. You need to sit down and have a VERY thorough talk with him. Have him explain to you WHY he has made the decisions he has made. There could be one of a hundred different reasons for his not wanting to go out for football, but you will never know unless he comes out and tells you. He needs to understand at this young age the tremendous rippling effect that this decision will have in his life because once his high school career ends, it is over FOREVER. There is no going back and there are no do-overs. It is finished, and the one opportunity to make his life a better life and more fulfilling life may be gone FOREVER as well.
Not an easy answer for you here. However, it is important that HE make a BIG BOY decision and make it for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones. This is where a good parent or grandparent comes into the mix. This is where you can make a difference in his life by guiding him down the right road and not letting him lose his way. Good luck! The world needs to start saving our young people and WINNING with them rather than losing them to lives that are unproductive and unfulfilled.
I am one of the shorter people in my league. How do you recommend I use my height as an advantage? Cole Cooper, Cedar Rapids Iowa
What do I tell my boys about hard work and making the team? My younger son is very athletic, and he is watching his brother struggle with a love of sports and not always making the team. Politics and coaches’ sons and the rest rear their heads here like everywhere else. Through it all, his brother persisted, and now, with maturity his brother has become quite an athlete. He starts varsity in three sports amid the usual surrounding hoopla. What advice can you give a young athlete to get through all the politics and disappointments that inevitability come with too few spots and too many players? Things can be kind of rough. He has watched his friends quit sports because of no playing time. He has been bumped up to the eighth grade (older kids) team because of his abilities and, at a rural school, too few players in the year ahead of him. I tell him if he loves football, the game itself, not winning or hoopla, the rest will fall into place! I tell him to be the best player he can be. Is there anything further as a parent I can tell him? He rolls his eyes and points out the coaches and teachers kids always play no matter how many mistakes they make and while this may or may not be true, I would like him to focus on things he can do something about, like his own training. Any words of wisdom? ThanksLydia Rennicke, Luck, WI
I truly believe in my heart of hearts that football has shaped my life for sure as well as so many other lives of people that I know that have become very successful in different walks of life. I cannot tell you how many letters and calls I've gotten down through the years from kids that said thanks for not letting me quit and pushing me to be the best. I cannot begin to even explain how much those calls/letters mean to me, but now it is your turn to do the same for your son. Make him stay the course and fight the good fight. Hold him accountable for his decision to join the team. It is up to you to put your foot down about giving up as he has the family name to protect.
You also have a chance to show and tell him of so many of the things life will throw at him and play it out in front of him each time the subject is brought up. It truly is an awesome job being a parent. I have told my children that the hardest job I've ever had in my life is being a parent. Good luck with yours, and I hope these words have given you something to tie to and a means to reach your kid. It has worked for me, and remember that each and all of us are tested to the max at some point in our life, and if he is interested in becoming an active member in society he has got to stay the course and understand this may be the first of MANY struggles he is going to see in his life.
What tips can you offer for helping to keep up good sportsmanship? I feel that I am a great team player, but at times my sportsmanship can seem low. I would like to better myself so that I can better my other teammates. Jokiem Crawford / Lakresha Hill, Joplin, MO
The rules are there for all of us to follow. In today's modern game there is a lot more trash talking and other forms of disrespecting our opponents than there was when I grew up and played. If you choose to lose your sportsmanship during a course of a game then it sheds light on not only your team, school, and hometown, but your family as well. My suggestion to you is to simply be as good of a player as you can be and play the game hard and fair without doing all of that other stuff. Just by being who you are and how you go about playing your position, about how you treat others, about how you don't do anything cheap on the field or in the locker room will go a long way in answering your question. One of the best things you can be in all of life is a good example.
When I grew up, there was a kid I went to school with that had a bad childhood disease that almost rendered him immobile for his entire life, but he fought through this disease and was the first kid who chose to play up on our junior high team from grade school. We all thought he was crazy, but he made it! He went on and made All-American as a linebacker in high school and an outstanding hurdler in track and field. He went to college and had a wonderful college career and has spent his entire life coaching and teaching other kids. He NEVER once treated anyone with less class or dignity. His example so many years ago sets an example for me to this day. I have thanked him many times since then and told him how much I appreciated him setting the standard. This is something you can do also - it just takes the same mindset of my friend. Obviously, it worked as it affected MY life significantly! I hope you can choose the same path.
Good luck to you! I have no doubt that you will be highly successful because YOU want to be.
I play outside linebacker on my school's varsity team. I believe that I have the size, but not the abilities. Please tell me some ways to improve my game. Inderjeet Singh, Queens, NYC
Next, begin the acceleration portion. These are some things I will give you that regardless of what you are doing with your program, you may supplement these things on your own. Every time you go out to run, you should always do 3-4 sets of 15 yards of ankle flips. Ankle flips are done by standing erect, and placing your hands on your hips as you do NOT want to use your hands/arms in any way to assist your jumping. Keeping the knees as straight as possible and using primarily only your ankles, begin jumping forward for 15 yards. Make sure to spend as little time as possible on the ground when you jump, and do NOT hit on the heels of your feet. You will land on a cocked and strong ankle that should strike the ground with the ball of the foot. Rebound as high as possible on each jump and continue moving in a forward pattern, until you reach the 15 yard marker. It is very similar in nature to jumping on a pogo stick if you understand that concept. The ankle flips can be and should be done 3 times per week. The next drill is pretty simple - a 10 yard sprint. Have a competent person (who knows how to time someone) time you in a 10 yard dash. To get the most accurate time, use the following method. With your hand on a line and the timer 10 yard away, sprint as fast as you possibly can for 10 yards. Upon reaching the 10 yard mark, do NOT stop quickly and return, but rather continue at a 3/4 pace (75% effort) for the next 20 yards which brings you to 30 yards in all. After finishing the 30 yards, stop and walk back to the starting point. Continue this method for a total of 10 reps. You should try to get your times down to 1.7 sec. By doing these short dashes, you build up your speed qualities (which are most frequently used in football), but also your speed endurance. These 10 yard sprints will be of more help to you in football than running gassers all day long! Good luck.
My sons first year in football was wondering where to find nfo on wildcat are the formations Ark ran when they had McFadden And Jonestoby byrd, naples,tx
I'm 14 years old and homeschooled. I love football and I need to know if i can go to the NFL even though I've never been to school.Isaac Findley, Amarillo,TX
It is possible to be drafted into the NFL without playing college football, but it is extremely rare. With that being said, it has happened - Eric Swann was drafted as the 6th overall pick in 1991 having only played semi-pro football. It is so rare becuase college and pro teams need to evaluate you somehow, preferably based on competition against your peers.
If you have the "dream" to play in the NFL then you are going to have to make some life altering decisions, along with your family, as to the next few years of your life. Good luck and I hope it works out in your behalf.
I'm 14 and I want to know that even if I don't play football in high school, can I still try out for college and the NFL?vinny, owings mills
I will be a Junior at Burlington Township High School in Burlington New Jersey. I am 16 yrs old, about 5'5, 145 pounds. In benching, I max out 250 pounds, power-clean about 205, and squat about 325 pounds, my fastest time in the 40-yard-dash is about a 4.49 (hand time). I can play defensive back and running back, but I enjoy playing running back the most, many people tell me my attributes most fit for a running back. Basically, I want to know what it takes to have recruiters watching me...and do I have what it takes to be recruited to even a D3? Especially since my school is not known for having recruiters around.Lekan Sumonu, Burlington, NJ
I would suggest you get your squat up to double your body weight and work as hard as possible on your power clean, too. Spend the majority of your time working on your 10 and 20 yd sprints as this is the distance you will need most as a RB. Work on jumps of all kinds and get to where you can stand without moving your feet and jump onto and step off of as high a box as possible (try doing this 3 times per week for 10-20 reps). These are the tips I can give you for what I would try if I were in your shoes. I hope all works out for you as you hope, and you can obtain a good college education while playing.
I'm 14 and play high school football. I'm going out for quarterback and I was wondering if you have to get noticed in high school and play D1 ball to make it to the NFL or can you still make it at a D2 college?Matt, Boston,MA
Along those same lines, I'd like to give you some advice. Enjoy your high school years as much as possible and put forth all of the efforts you can muster to do as well as you can both athletically and academically. You can only take one step at a time when you go through life, and as a young person you want to always speed up the process and move on down the road. Enjoy your high school career, and if you are good enough to go on to college and have a school pay for your education with a scholarship then you are one lucky young man. Make the most of each and every opportunity life puts before you. Good luck and my challenge to you is see if you can make the all-state football team in your home state.
I’m a junior in high school and never played organized football. I’m 5'5 and a half. I’m 200 pounds, but don’t look like it. Is it too late for me to try and play football? I’ve been playing and taking guys 6'0 and 6'1 down with ease when I do play for fun. People think I can do good if I try. What do you think I should do? christian , avondale, arizona
If you're not real strong but but you're a really good ball player, do you still have a good chance to play Div 1 ball? At outside linebacker or would i have a better chance at corner or safety?Dalton mckelvin, camden arkansas
My son, 17 years old, playing for the Vienna Vikings would like to visit a trainingcamp this year in the USA , do you have any recomendations please best regardsMichael Kunz, Vienna, Austria, Europe
I have a couple of brilliant AP English Language 11th grade students who play football, but one of them thinks he doesn't have to work in class, because football will take him through college and into the pros, and he doesn't need to prepare to do anything after this. Would you please provide me with the statistics of high school ball players who make to the pros, made it successfully through college if they didn't make the pros, made it through college if they depended on football and became injured and unable to continue on a football scholarship, and made football an excuse not to study to the best of their ability in other areas? All of your support in this would be helpful.Elizabeth Dinlocker, Dillard High School
When your making contact in football how do you position your body? What do you do with your head, shoulder, arms and feet? What does stamina have to do with football? I also play for the awesome cougars little people!!antonio,lyn, peterson, ashville, NC
As to your second question of stamina - I can answer it very simply, it is extremely important. If you come out and run up a score of 21-0 in the first quarter and then run out of gas (stamina) in the second, third and fourth quarter, you will probably get beat 50-21. It is very important. Watch the high level college and professional games when there are two excellent teams playing. Watch the pace and intensity of the game - it will pick up to a high point somewhere in the second half (more than likely around the end of the third quarter and most definitely the fourth quarter). I used to work for a man that said that regardless of the score play the fourth quarter like you are behind. It is the fourth quarter where so many famous games have been won or lost and so many great plays have been made. Look at this year's Super Bowl - the last 4 minutes of the game. Both teams were playing at a higher and higher rate until the deciding play.
I am sure the awesome cougars little people football team will be so much better with you on it. I hope this can be of some help to you and your tackling ability. Good luck to you and the Cougars!
I have been starting MLB on defense for two years, and I'm going into HS. As a freshman I want to be on the varsity team, but you have to show the coaches how amazing you are before they would consider it. Each year I have had an eight game season with an avg. of 157 tackles a season. I have always stood out as a leader on and off the feild, and I have lead my team in defensive stats each year by at least 45 tackles. I am the strongest, and second tallest player at 6' 4''. What can I do to gaurantee my spot on the varsity team?Houston, KS
I am 15 years old and play high school football. I played quarterback when i was 10 and 11 years old, then I got big and played tight end and linebacker, now I play wide receiver for my high school. I have a bad ankle that is missing lots of ligaments and tendons, and playing wide receiver makes it worse. I was wondering if I should go back to playing quarterback, and if so how hard is it to adjust as a quarterback when you haven't played in 4 or 5 years. If I don't find another position then I will have to call it quits, and I really don't want to. Tyler Sanders, SC
Coach, I have what it takes become pro but I don't have videos of me and I'm wondering if people are scouting. Terence Crafton, Kansas City Mo
Hey coach I was scouted to play basketball and represent the U.S the summer but I really want to focus on football help me out please!Terence Crafton, Kansas City Missouri
What the most important thing to practice on defense?luis, El Mirage, AZ
Are soccer shoes and football shoes the same thing?jason duke, georgia
Now that we are in the middle of the season, how do you know when kids are ready to play after sprains or strains?Jerry, Westchester, NY
One thing many people do not do, but is highly important, is keep this person coming in and getting treatments on the particular area of concern for the remainder of the season. When the season ends continue to bring the athlete back in for follow up work and have him do the rehab exercises for at least another 3 weeks after season ends. If he is a senior, then he will finish his eligibility, but if he is an underclassman, then when the semester is over, have him back in for rehab getting more aggressive with trying to build back strength/flexibility to the area.
As far as a strain of a muscle is concerned, a person should be out the next day doing some movement work on the strained area. To make this answer simple, I will use the hamstring as the muscle that is injured. Have the person walk the next day and then have him ice as much as possible. Before he ices, you need to stretch him as much and as long as possible with all of the muscles that surround the hamstring, as well as the hamstring itself. Have the athlete do this for 3 times per day, and after a few days, if you have the ability to use a swimming pool, then use it to do your running motions and exercises in the pool. The water resistance is perfect and consistent for the right movement needed to replicate the running motion. Once the pool work is done, continue your stretching just as before and you need to make sure you hold the stretches for 90 seconds each stretch. Once the pool work can be done well, then use the running drills called the ABC's of running. I suggest doing 10 reps for 10 yards for each exercise, and walk back to the start point and go again. After you watch the injured athlete perform these and he can do so without any hitch in his gate, then he can start striding for lengths of 30 yards. Start his volume of runs low and make sure he gets ample recovery time. Have him perform the toe touch stretch for 60 seconds after each run.
Another great method of treatment is finding a massage therapist and let that person break down the scar tissue that occurs from strains and pulls within the hamstring group. The scar tissue has to be broken down before there can be full restoration. If a therapist is not available, then use the STICK, which can be found in many of your sporting goods booklets, to assist in warming up the muscle before exercise. The STICK also helps to reduce the scar tissue and any other trigger points that may be associated with the pull/strain. Ask for the input of the athlete, but at the same time you must understand that it is your decision as to whether the player is ready or not. Remember most every athlete I've been around wants to play, and they will think they are fine when in fact they are not quite there yet. If you make a bad judgment by put them back into play too soon, then you stand the chance of losing the player for the rest of the season.
How do you get gaps so the running back has room to run ??Ian, Ashlan,WI
One of the best means for creating those gaps is for the RB to understand where the hole is and for him to not "dance" in the hole. Once a RB chops his steps, then he has to reaccelerate and that is way too much time to spend at the LOS with the ball. He has one cut and one cut only - anything more than this is not going to create any yardage. I feel this is a very simple thing, but not coached hard enough and understood by many running backs.
I broke my femer when I was 6, can I still play football?Steven, Cecilton, MD
When punting, can you line up in shotgun formation and hike the ball to the qb and pitch the ball back to be punted?scott c. buttrum, michigan city ,In.
Now that we are approaching preseason, do you have any tips for youngsters and High School players returning to football practice?Jerome, Bronx, NY
The next thing is to cut the reps of your exercises down to no more than 3 reps per exercise (in a lot of cases only do 1 rep), but you may end up doing 3 sets of one rep. Do a workout which would look like this: 1) warm-up very well 2) do these percentages of max -50% x 5 reps, 60% x 2 reps, 70% x 1 rep, 75% x 2 sets x 1 rep. This will give you 10 reps, and will be more than enough to keep your strength during two-a-day practices. This same sequence with a few adjustments during the year is the same thing you need to do to continue your strength program during the football season. You need to structure your workout days to parallel your practice schedules. Make sure during the season you get a very light workout along with some tempo runs to flush out the body of any soreness from the games. This will help you recover more quickly as well as be ready for the next week of practice and game. The other workouts can be on Monday and Wednesday assuming you played on Friday nights. Make sure you cut out a lot of the "extras" that you do during the off season as this will expend energy and you do NOT have any to waste. You'll be fine if you stick with the main exercises such as cleans, squats, and presses.
There are many reasons to keep the lifting going during the season, but I am sure that you can certainly maintain your strength level if not increase it during the season, even with a season as long as the NFL complete with playoff games. This will give you a big advantage for the upcoming year and will greatly enhance your chances of not being injured.
How can i get my football team to never give up?Jerry, Phx, AZ
You need to reinforce your teachings (verbally) to their efforts during practice. When a kid is seen not giving a good effort, you need to point it out to him and to the rest of the team. Then, you can use this and other examples of what you are looking for to teach. When you change someone's learning curve, even though they are young and adapt quickly, it is going to take time. Be patient; praise the efforts of the ones that go all out, and point out the efforts of the ones who do not. You can also tell them about the lessons they are learning for later life. Although, they will more than likely not pay much attention as many of my past players did, but will come back to you 20 years later and say thanks for teaching them the ability to not quit. Please believe me when I tell you this - NOTHING can take the place of a young man coming up to you and saying thank you for teaching me a life lesson on the football field that is serving me in my present day life. No amount of money can buy that type of respect.
Good luck and good teaching/coaching!
I have two questions; I am trying to turn around a struggling program with very few natural athletes in the upper class, any suggestions? Also I am coaching nine-man football for the first time, do you know anything about a nine man defense for a slower team with some size?Gordon Hooks, Huron, SD
You also have to remember, that at some point during your career, you are going to face more talented and better coached teams that are just flat out better. You will be MUCH better off doing the things you can do well, rather than trying to "trick 'em" with some new formation or defense. Most blitz packages and "trick plays" work best because the opponent is worried about stopping your A game.
I coached and taught for a while in the public schools and you need to know that each and every year that you are not going to be delivered a championship team, but what you teach the kids through football WILL LAST THEIR ENTIRE LIFE. Things they are going to have to "live" each and every day can be taught on the football field. In the end, regardless of the outcome of the season, you will have done a great service for each player if you teach them the basics -preparation, discipline, hard work, team work and sacrifice. There are not many places left in today's society that can and will teach these basic elements of life.
I don't know anything about nine-man football, but I will give you my suggestion. If you are a big team that cannot run well, try to close down the middle with your size and force the other team to run outside. Hopefully, you can put two corners or outside linebackers that have better speed than the others there. They may be able to out run you as a team, but can they out run these four players? I hope this helps.
I hear that running on concrete is bad for your knees, is this true?John, Texas
My name is Carlos Carrillo. I am a Junior at El Diamante High School. I am 5'7”, 153 pounds, and I max out 185 lbs. for bench, 200 lbs. For power cleans, and 300 lbs. for squats. I was playing tight end and wide receiver, but my coach put me on O-Line. Is this the right position for me, and if so, what can I do to become better at it? I've never played guard or tackle, but that is the position my coaches have placed me. Carlos, visalia,california
As far as the placement of position at either WR or OL, I'm out of my league to answer that one. The ONLY way to clear up a point like this is to request a visit with your respective coach and have him explain to you what he and the head coach see in you that has made them make the decisions to move you to the OL. They should be open and honest with you in the matter. Make sure you do not leave that office until you get the answer to the question you are seeking. Make sure you are at peace with the decision before leaving. Make sure you also speak your mind to the coach as to what you think you want to do. It is communication in this manner that makes the job much easier for both you and the coach as well. It is something you are going to have to do many times down through the years with the boss you have or the girl you marry. A good, sit down conversation about what is going on with you and your job or your family is very similar to the conversation you’ll be having with your coach. This is a good opportunity to learn how to do it correctly. Good luck, and I hope you have a great high school career regardless of the position you play.
Hi Coach, I am from Australia and I am extremely interested in playing for a local club. I am 15, 5 foot 9 by conversion and i think about 130 pounds, however I am very lanky. I would like to play quarterback and hopefully one day play for the national team, but I would like to know what kind of speed/agility drills i should be doing by myself. I have a weight program going and was wondering what kind of exercises i should incorporate to better suit this position? I also would like to know if you had any recommendations for things I can do by myself to get my skill level up? Thank you!Nathan P, Australia
One thing you can do on your own is obtain a 4kg medicine ball that has some rebound quality to it. Grasp the ball with both hands while standing approximately 3 yards in front of a solid wall (preferably brick/block). Put both feet shoulder width apart with the ball over your head. Locate a point on the wall above your head and throw the ball at this particular point as hard as possible without moving your feet. The ball will rebound off the wall and back into your hands if thrown properly. At which time you need to get the ball out of your hands and thrown against the wall as fast as humanly possible. Do this for 20 reps then break for 2 minutes and repeat again for a total of 3 series/sets. This can be done each day you lift. It is a good way to warm up prior to practice. Hope this can be of some help, and remember - it is not how much you can lift, at your age, but rather how technically sound you are in lifting what you can.
I am 15 years old. I am 5'9” and about 195 pounds. I play defensive and offensive line, but on offense, I can’t block that well. I can hit hard on the defensive line, but I can’t really block. Do you have any advice? I’ve tried doing what my coach says, but I just can’t get it down. Andrew Gore, La Pine,Oregon
To address the issue of strong legs, the easiest way to find out if your leg strength is sufficient enough is to perform the 1 leg squat. Stand on anything solid and well balanced that will maintain your bodyweight and place one of your feet in the middle of the box and allow the other foot to hang down the outside of the box. Maintain contact with the down foot by placing the toe of the down foot against the box. Once you have assumed this position, which will put you in a 1 leg squat position, begin to squat on the leg that is in the middle of the box paying very close attention to maintaining and keeping the heel of the foot solidly placed on the box. NEVER allow yourself to raise up on your toe. Go down as far as possible with ease and do not “fall” down to the bottom and then stand back up. You should be able to perform at least 10 reps of this exercise. If you cannot do this exercise, then you have discovered a problem with your blocking - weak legs. It can be fixed with doing this 1 leg squat exercise for 3-5 sets x 6 reps for 3 days per week preferably on alternating days such as a M-W-F.
Hope this helps out some, and good luck to you this year.
I am a rising senior, age 16, and playing varsity football for Hoggard High School. I play fullback, but I always have at least two people in front of me. I really love to play the game, and the first time I've ever tried out and played was my sophomore year. I am 5' 7” and weigh maybe 178. I bench 245 and squat 375. My 40 is 5.34. Do you have any ideas on what I could do to better round me out as a player physically, especially on my speed? Darius Brunson, Wilmington, NC
One other very important aspect is to start sprinting 10 yards as fast as possible. If you can, have a competent person time you. Once you've run the 10 yards at full speed, continue running for 20 more yards for a total of 30 yards. Do not run full speed the last 20 yards – only run at 85% capacity. This will give you the same feeling as running a 40, but without the possibility of an injury. Also it is important to understand that it is a whole lot easier to "fix" the beginning of a 40 yard timed dash than to start out trying to correct the back end of the 40 yard dash. Run 10 reps of these with a slow walk back to the start line between each rep. When you've reached 10 reps, then walk and jog either a lap on the track or a lap around the field. Remember, walk 20 yards and jog 20 yards. Upon returning to the start point, if your conditioning level allows you to do so, run another 10 reps of 10 yard dashes. Make sure to time each so you can understand if and where along the rep scheme the speed begins to diminish. I think when you will find coupling all of these exercises will improve your 10 yard dash times. When this happens it is almost a given that your 40 yard time will improve as well. Good luck and go burn'em up.
I am a well respected football player at my school. I weigh 125 pounds and am 5'5”. However, when I have tried out for the school team, they don’t think I am good enough to play on the team. I have a vicious hit when I tackle, and have soft hands, but coaches don’t think that I am big enough to play linebacker. What are some suggestions for me to gain more muscle mass? Sam Braden, Conway, SC
Now, I'll give you a few ideas to help add a few pounds. You first need to understand that you will never gain 100 pounds and grow another foot taller. You need to understand we have to work within the confines of what you have. My first and foremost suggestion is to start a well designed, correctly taught/coached and properly applied weight program focusing on leg strength first and foremost while not being overly concerned with other nonathletic exercises. If you have a competent coach to help you with the squat and power clean, I think you will find that the results will be outstanding. Make sure you learn HOW to do the exercises properly FIRST, then worry about how much you can do later on.
Another idea for you is to find a good high grade protein at a reputable health food store and make yourself a shake after each and every workout. The key is to drink the shake no longer than 15 minutes after the workout. This provides the maximum benefits of the protein shake. Drink another one prior to going to bed as this is the period of the time during the day that the body restores itself from the stresses of the day. This shake will enhance your recovery and apply the needed building blocks for a weight gain effect to take place.
These are a couple of tried and true suggestions that have worked for many down through the years, and I feel certain they will work for you as well. Good luck, keep up the great attitude, and NEVER let anyone dash your hopes and dreams.
I am 13 years old. I am asking what can I do to get thicker? I have played football for two years, but played safety both years. I want to play QB on the high school JV team. Please give me some tips. I also have a dream of going to the NFL. I have a great arm and have been practicing my throwing. Michael, Columbia,SC
In answer to the part about getting thicker, my answer will always be to get involved with a well thought out, planned, taught and disciplined weight program. You will be amazed at the results you can make at your age with a well designed program. It will not only give you additional bodyweight, but will most definitely increase your athleticism. Good luck, and always follow your dream to the top.
I play football. I am 5’10” and weigh 187 pounds. I bench press 180 pounds, squat 300 pounds, and run a 4.8 40 yard dash. I want more speed and muscle. How can I get that?edward whitfiel, memphis tennessee
My son is blazing fast. He can run the 50 yard dash in 6.4 seconds. He plays running back for his team, but he’s light. How can he gain some more weight so he can move up to the next division? Thank you! Coach Mikemike huddleston, florida
I'm 14 and play left tackle and defensive end. I was wondering what kind of protien you suggest? I know alot of players who use creatine, should I use that?dylan donohue, Marysville, WA
As far as protein powder or other supplements is concerned, my suggestion would be to consult your family physician to discuss what is best for you. Good luck
I have a very high metabolism, and I’m a scat back - a very good one at that. I’m a sophomore in high school. What should I eat to gain weight?Terence Crafton, Kansas City, MO
Mr.Miller I have a son that is gonna be 9yrs. old and is a three sport athlete.( Wrestling 4yrs, Football 1yr, and Baseball 4yrs.) I really want to work with him on his Strength Training and Speed. what type of Drills or Conditioning do you suggest for such a young boy? with out over doing it or hurting him...Do you have any suggestions on some video's we may want to look at? Thank you, I appreciate your time Gary BarberGARY BARBER, Mingo Jct., OH
I'm a sophmore at 5'5 127 lbs and I'm a scat back, but im concerned about my weight.Terence Crafton, Kansas City, MO
I coach youth football and there is an ongoing debate as to when our kids should start a weight training program. At what age do you recommend lifting to begin?Darrin Conrad, Oakdale, CA
I can refer you to the videos I've done to help you see the things that need to be done with athletes prior to a formal lifting program. Remember that a lifting program is just the same as the education program-when you start off in kindergarten or first grade, you are trying to learn how to write and say the ABC's and color within the lines etc. As the child gets older and progresses from grade to grade, then the education process becomes more in depth, just the same way that a lifting program should follow.
Please do not be one of the many to do a disservice to the young people and get them involved too quick into a formal lifting program. Give them what they need and allow them to progress as their abilities will allow them to. They will be much more capable of handling a lifting program after they have followed what we have set up for them to follow. Take a look at other answers I have given on this website, they should answer a lot of questions you may have at this time.
What is/are the best supplements to take for post workouts? marc fusco, bluffton, sc
I will add this-the period for supplementation to work best is the first 15-20 minutes after working out and prior to going to bed each night.
I coach 10 through 14 year old kids. Do you have a set of basic drills to improve strength, speed, and quickness.Jack Klauing, Louisville, Kentucky
First for this age athlete, I think the main thing to do with them is to get them started on a proper weight training program. If you request a copy of the JPD speed and strength DVD shot in New Jersey with Bill Parisi and myself, then you will get a lot of answers to your questions. Additionally, you will have a "how to" guide to view as well.
To answer your question regarding strength, I highly suggest the complex exercise. This particular set of exercises will increase strength, increase work capacity, increase cardio and will detect any joint mobility problems in the athletes. The complex is a series of six exercises done in succession without setting the weight down. The first exercise is the upright row done from the knee. The athlete has to assume a proper athletic stance with his shoulders slightly in front of his knees, back flat, eyes forward and feet underneath the armpits. The first movement is to stand up and simultaneously raise either the dumbbells or barbell as close as possible to the body up to the chest level making sure to keep the elbows higher than the weight. Also, when you raise the weight to it's highest point, extend up on your toes as much as possible. This will give as much work to the important ankle joint as possible. The second movement is the mirror of the first one (upright row). It is the muscle snatch. It is the same exact movement as the first, but done by standing up as fast as possible and pulling the bar overhead. The easiest way to explain the portion of movement from the chest (where the upright row ends) and the remainder of the lift is as if you had two Frisbees in your hand and are throwing them straight above your head. You will not be strong enough to do this without having to "catch" the bar in or around the nose area of the face. Turn your wrists under the bar at this time and press out the remaining portion of the lift. DO NOT move your feet or bend your knees to make this portion of the lift easier. The third portion and the fourth portion are combination exercises - the back squat and the push press overhead. Lower the bar to the back of the neck after completion of the muscle snatch and place it squarely on the shoulders. In proper squatting form where you keep the end of the bar BEHIND the toes of the foot and come down to just BELOW parallel, rise up fast and when the legs reach just about full extension begin to press the bar overhead. Lower the bar to the back and repeat. Make sure you come down very smooth and slow to the bottom of the squatting position, but rise up fast enough to give the bar some "jump" overhead. The fifth portion of the lift is accomplished by taking the bar from overhead and placing it in front of the body at arms length. Once in this position, assume the first position we have talked about - the correct athletic stance. Now, instead of stopping the bar at the knee, continue to bend the knee more which will allow the bar to go below the knee. Keep the eyes and back the same as in all other positions, but now place all of the weight of the body on the knuckle of the big toe to the heel. You will NEVER let the heels leave the floor in the bent over row portion of exercise. You should be able to wiggle the big toes while doing this exercise. From this position the bar will be below the knee, but very close to the knee/leg area. While maintaining this position using nothing but the arms, pull the weight to the chest until it touches the chest and return to the starting point. The last and sixth portion of the lift is the RDL, which stands for Romanian Dead Lift. Assume the standing position with the bar in front of the body at arms length and with a SLIGHT bend in the knees, weight on the heel of the foot and not the toes. Let your hips move backward and allow your upper body to bend at the waist and the bar slide along the leg until it goes beyond the knee joint and the upper body is parallel to the floor. When you have reached this bottom position, keeping the weight as mentioned, straighten the body back up to the original starting point. I recommend standing up on the toes once again while shrugging the shoulders. The shrug happens the same way as if someone asked you a question and you did NOT know the answer.
Do six repetitions of each exercise for a total of 36 reps. This will accomplish some of the facts we mentioned earlier. It will give you a tremendous amount of work as you can multiply the number of total reps (36) times the amount of weight lifted to give you the total tonnage of the exercise. Even with small weights such as 30-50lbs, you can lift a large amount of weight if you do 3 to 5 series of the complex. The complex, along with some incline presses, bench presses and some sit ups without feet being grounded and hands on hips should be enough for anyone, much less a beginner in lifting.
Another great point is that once you teach the complex properly and the kids master the technique of each portion, there will NOT be another facet of lifting that will require double teaching. You will be able to assume the correct positions for doing any major lift you will be asked to do, IF you master these positions and movements. You will also master the number one component of all sports - learning how to apply force into the ground which initiates movement.
IF you increase the strength component of the young athletes, then you will increase their speed, too. Speed is no different than "learning" how to do the above exercises properly. You have to learn how to run and move properly. It is a learned activity, just the same as shooting a free throw, throwing a baseball or putting a golf ball. Teach the correct running form by repeating 60 yd runs with a walk back to the start. The coach should position himself around the 50 yd area and instruct each athlete as they come by about some facet of their running. Do not give them more than one aspect to correct per time, per day and per workout. You should instruct the kids to run at 80-90% of capacity for this activity. OBVIOUSLY this will not occur without a thorough and proper warm up. Start with 6 to 8 runs and as the athletes accommodate to it, then you can add more and more reps. You must understand that around 2,000 yards should be max for anyone.
Quickness is the first segment of acceleration/speed and is best developed by developing strength along with some two footed jump drills. I love doing standing long jumps and rockets. Standing long jumps are just what they sound like - stand with the toes behind a line and jump as far as possible marking where the heel hits. Measure the jumps and you will find the faster athletes jump the furthest. The rockets are accomplished by squatting down and placing the fingers BETWEEN the toes and not in FRONT of the toes. Head is up, and back is flat. When you jump, extend BOTH arms as high as possible. As soon as you land, bend the knees and assume the starting position, and go again. If done properly, the exercise will resemble a pogo stick look.
Hope this helps you. I recommend doing the complex on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the running on Tuesday and Thursday. Good luck! I guarantee you if you do this for two months in succession, you will have tremendous athletic development.
I don't have access to a weight room, is there anything I can do without free weights or machines?Joey, Fl
Write the following list on a 5x8 note card that you can carry with you during your exercising. Have the equipment needed already set up and ready to be used before starting. Go from one exercise to the other without rest, continue until you reach the last exercise. Once you complete the last exercise, take a 3 minute rest, or if you know how to, check your pulse and when it returns to around 110 bpm, begin again.
Follow the order of exercise and number of repetitions noted for each.
1. BENCH STEP-UP
With one leg on a solid bench or chair, step up until the leg on the chair is straight-you do not need to put the other foot on the chair as only straightening the leg you have on the chair is needed. Switch feet after the reps have been completed. (10 reps per leg)
Sitting on the floor without the feet under anything to secure them and hands on hips with your chin tucked to your chest, do a sit up until you almost reach vertical with your upper body, and then come back down to where the shoulder blades touch and repeat. (15 reps)
A fairly standard exercise that every athlete should know how to do. Make sure you keep your eyes looking forward and your chest will graze the ground on each rep. Keep the body from "sinking" or jackknifing from the hips. (12 reps)
While still on the floor, assume the position of superman flying with your hands touching and extended out in front of you and with your feet touching and together behind you. Start by raising the right hand and left leg simultaneously. Switch to the other side and repeat, To finish, raise both hands and both feet at the same time. This works the lower back very well. (8 reps of each movement 8+8+8)
5. FRONT LUNGE
In a standing position with your hands beside you, take a long step forward and allow the opposite knee to graze the ground. Push yourself back to the starting position Stay on this same leg until the required reps have been done. (10 reps per leg)
From a secure bar or other apparatus overhead, reach or jump up to the bar with an underhanded grip shoulder width apart, and then pull yourself up until the chin can come over the bar. (10 reps)*
*If you cannot do 10 reps to begin, then do as many as you can but use good form and DO NOT cheat. You will soon be able to reach the desired number. If you are unable to do any reps at this, then see if you can lower the bar and with your body at an angle and the bar at about chest height, use the same grip and pull your chest up to the bar-this is less demanding and may need to be the way to start.
Sit with your behind at the edge of a chair and your hands gripping the sides of the chair. Extend your legs in front of you, lift your feet up and pull your knees up to your chest. Extend your legs and allow your feet to come back to the original place. Try to keep the feet from touching and keep a constant movement without jerking. (20 reps)
Start in a squatting position with your hands between your feet (not in front of your toes) and your chest and eyes upward and outward. Jump as high as possible keeping your arms tightly at your sides. Once you hit the floor, go back to the starting position and jump again. (8 jumps or rockets)
The goal is to complete 3 circuits, but you will have to determine your own work capacity. Always remember to start correctly and do not sacrifice proper technique of the exercise to accomplish a required number of reps. If you do it right, it will pay off. Make sure to keep moving after one complete circuit and do not sit down. Try to drink some water and keep walking.
I am a 15 year old boy, am I too young to start lifting? How much should I lift? Rick, NY
You also need to try to understand that the quest is not to see how much you can lift to start off with, but rather to start training properly (technique wise) to establish the correct motor pathways for things to follow, and to allow for a total overall body development. Remember when you train to be an athlete, you are training differently than other lifting regimes, but yet again similiar to all.
I am a fifth grader, and I play running back and linebacker for the Junior Cougars. What can I do to increase my strength and speed for the upcoming season? Jack Alberti, Toledo,Ohio
For the above mentioned exercises, I'd start out by doing 2x10 (2 sets times 10 reps per set) for each exercise for the first 2 weeks. The exercises that you can do for these sets and reps, add another set of 10 reps to the exercise. Another great exercise for you to do is to purchase a 4 or 5kg medicine ball. Stand with both hands under the ball and squat down with the ball going down below the knees and then explosively throw the ball as high and as far as you can. Go retrieve the ball and throw it back to the same start point. Do this for 10 reps and repeat. Next, do the same thing, but this time throw the ball over your head backward. Do this for 10 reps. After that, hold the ball with two hands just as you would a basketball at chest level, then squat down and keeping the ball on the chest explosively jump out of the squat and throw the ball with a 2 handed chest pass as far as possible. Go retrieve, and repeat for 10 reps.
Next, stand on a soft surface, and mark the start line. With both feet on the start line and without moving your feet, see how far you can jump forward. Have someone measure how far you jump and keep up with the results. I'd do this on Tuesday and Thursday for 10 reps each day. After 2 weeks of doing this, add another set of 10 reps on each day. Keep track of your improvements and learn to land in a good well balanced position without falling.
These are a few of the things you can do to get yourself started. I understand that you will become "bored" after a while doing the same routine over and over, so I suggest you resubmit your question to me again once you have done these exercises for a while. Remember, you just cannot go into a weight room and start lifting weights without the proper preparation of your body to withstand the rigors that weight training will put on you. Otherwise, you will do more harm than good. In the meantime, you need to locate a coach that understands the correct sequence to put you through to start you on your weight lifting path of improvement. You need to understand that the lifts you do need to also be preparatory and not "full blown" training in the beginning. I cannot emphasize enough to you the importance of the mastering all the exercises in the preparatory period BEFORE you engage in formal lifting.
I hope these suggestions will get you started on a safe and sound program for development.
I,m a 6’2” and 180 pound sophomore. I play OL for my school's varsity and JV teams. I want to play TE or WR, but my hands could be better, and I could be faster. What can I do to improve my hands and my speed ? bryce , Westfield,WI
The second part of the question is you need to improve your leg strength and standing jumping ability. These two qualities will equate into acceleration speed which is exactly what the game of football is all about. I'd have you start out by standing on a secure object (box or bench elevated approximately 28”) and placing one foot off of the secure object. Then, balancing yourself on one foot, lower your body to where you squat on one leg. Come all the way down as far as you can go until you place your hamstring to your calf of the leg making sure you come down slow and under control. Stand up, and repeat this for 6 reps per leg doing 3 sets. Wait approximately 2 minutes between sets. Next is the standing long jump. Mark off a place on a soft surface of either grass or a tartanistic surface and place your toes on the line. Jump as far as you possibly can. Either have someone else mark where your heels hit or have it pre-marked for your jump distance. The distance you are trying to obtain to start with is 9'. Start by doing a jump, landing under control, and slowly walking back to your starting mark. Continue for 10 reps. Do these jumps on the same day right after you do your one leg squats.
If you get to where you can do 4 sets of 6 reps with the one leg squat and can jump 9' without problem, you are ready to move on to the barbell squats and sprints after your jumps. These will enhance your sprinting ability for the distances you need as a football player. Good luck, and I wish you well.
What are some nutritional tips you can give me as a receiver that is trying to gain speed?Lascelles , Brooklyn, NY
Not sure if this helped much with the speed factor as a WR, but it will certainly help you with what and how to eat as well as things you can look for while doing so. Good luck, and work hard!
I am 13 years old, 5'7”, and 155 pounds. I can bench 130 pounds, and I'm really strong and have good technique. I play MLB and DE. I'm really slow though. How can I gain speed without losing any of my beef? Sam Markelon, Burlington,CT
One other thing that you can do is either join the track team and run the sprints regardless of whether or not you ever compete in a track meet. This sprinting that will enhance your abilities. If you do not choose to join the track team, then my suggestion is to have you run two times per week doing 10 reps of 10 yard sprints with a walk back to the start before repeating each time. Work on your speed, and do not hasten your return to the starting position without full recovery, which should not take too long. After running a set of 10 reps for 10 yards each, walk and jog around the football field two times. Then, repeat the 10 reps of 10 yard sprints. After two months, you can progress to 20 yard dashes, but only do 10 reps total of these. Have someone time you, just as you measured your jumps and you can tell what your results are on each and every sprint indicating your progress.
Good luck, and get started squatting, jumping, and sprinting.
I am 16 years old going into 10th grade, but I think next year I am going to be starting on Varsity. I was wondering how to get recruited because I don’t think my high school is very well known, but I love to hit people. It’s the thing I do best. I want to know how to get faster. Right now I am playing DB. Cristian Romero, Irving, Tx
If you are a DB, then trying to get faster is certainly an important part of the position. Make sure you get as strong as you can in the weight room, especially in the squat lift. My other suggestion for speed is to join the track team. Coaches all over the nation will look at the times posted by athletes in track as a means of determining talent. Track is a wonderful sport, and who knows, you may even get a scholarship offer in track, too. One other point I want to pass on to you is this - sprint backward for 10yds just as much as you sprint forward. Your backpedal speed is just (if not more) important than your straight ahead speed. Get to where you can backpedal from a standing start for 10 yards in the 1.8 sec range or faster. Then, slowly work it down from there. Good luck, and I hope to be watching you on TV one day in the near future.
My son is 15 and is playing WR. How can he get faster without hiring a speed coach?Harold King, Atlanta, GA
The second major component is warming up properly. Stand in the middle of the football field and have your son on one sideline at the goal line. Have him run 100 yards at about 80-85% of his maximum speed. You should be checking for how your son places his foot on the ground. He should not be sprinting, but also not jogging for this exercise. He SHOULD place the foot underneath him in a cocked, strong position causing him to land on the heel first and then roll to the toe. He should NOT extend his leg out in front of himself. He can practice this motion in a standing position while stabilizing himself with one hand and moving the foot through the correct action of rotation. Watch the foot and the foot should be in a position where the toe is pulled back to the shin bone as much as possible. After the foot comes close to striking the ground, then your son needs to recover by bringing the foot back to the butt and not allowing it to flow behind him causing him to lose time in recovering the movement of the foot.
Another thing you can to help your son with speed training is make sure he is participating in a good, well-rounded strength program because he will need to get his squat up to at least 1.5 times his body-weight. Realize that every time the foot strikes the ground while sprinting, there will be 3 times his body-weight striking the ground. If his legs are not strong enough, then he will sink into the ground causing him to stay on the ground longer and be slower.
Additionally, have him do jumps of two types. First, have him see how far he can broad jump. Measure the jumps and keep up with the distance as this will indicate more leg strength/explosion being acquired, which means more speed is being produced. Next have him jump on boxes/benches or anything that is solid and will withstand his weight. Have him stand in front of the box, jump on top, step off, and repeat. Initially, each jumping exercise needs to be done for 2 sets of 8 reps and have a 3-4 minute walk around in between the sets.
Finally, make sure he runs short sprints of 10 to 20 yards working on this part of sprinting first. This is the most important part of sprinting for a football player and should get the most attention. My suggestion is to warm up well, run 5x10 yard sprints with 75 second rests between each. After 5 reps, walk/jog 2 laps around the football field walking 20 yards, then jogging 20 yards. Then, repeat the 5x10 yard sprints.
This will help if he follows it to the letter. Good luck.
I have heard some discrepancies regarding the proper form when you run. Is it better to run on your toes or flat footed?Kerrin Quinn, New York, NY
The first aspect you need to understand is that we are talking about the phase of running after we get out of the acceleration phase, which usually occurs between 15-30 yds depending upon the athlete. In the acceleration phase the foot will strike the ground with the ball of the foot first, due to where the hips are in respect to the feet. Once you've obtained "full stride", then your foot will strike the ground on a cocked ankle, where the ankle is the strongest. You will not point your toe, as no one is strong enough to stay on their toes as a ballet dancer, and you sure as heck don't want to be on your heels, as then you would have your feet in front of your hips, and this does NOT allow for speed. The ankle will be in a cocked position, and will change very little if any, as it recovers from the ground to cycle to the next stride. The easiest way to describe how this cocked ankle should look would be to stand in place and place your hands beside your hips and begin jumping as if you were jumping rope. During the jump, you can "experiment" with how the foot strikes the ground from the toe all of the way back to landing on the heel. You will quickly find out that your foot is fastest off the ground, once you strike the ground with the ball of the foot, without allowing the heel to hit. As you can imagine this is going to take a lot of ankle/calf strength and therefore needs to be trained along with how to run. With the help of the coach and your own "feel" for how you hit the ground the foot placement can be obtained.
I play running back for my team.But I feel like I,m still too slow. I a a bigger more powerful back, but I neeed to improve on my quickness and my second speed. To you what makes a good running back? Khalen Hudson, Rancho,CA
As to how to increase your quickness and acceleration speed, I suggest you start in the offseason on a well-rounded strength program, jump program, run program and flexibility program. Most of these have been covered in past questions, and if you can refer to the website, you will see the programs I mentioned. One great thing I would suggest for you to do to increase the acceleration speed is hill training and/or sled pulling. If you have a hill near your training site then use it, and if you don't, then go to the stadium steps. Use the following protocol for sled pulling and hill training. Run 3 reps with the sled for a distance of 20 yards with a full 2 minute rest between repetitions. At the end of the 3rd rep, take the sled off and run a rep without the sled. Take a break of 8 minutes and continue to stretch and move (do not sit down) and then run another series the same way. Once your conditioning level jumps up in about 2 months, then add another series. You can do the same thing with hill/stadium running, but run 4, then take the 8 minute break before running another series. Now, it is very important for you at this time to make sure you run 3x50 yard strides at around 80% of max to re-elongate the stride. This is very important when any type of hill work is done, but you do not need to do it when you are running sleds since the last rep of each series will be an unweighted run.
Good luck, and make those tacklers FEEL your size!!
How do you get your 40 yard dash better?Patrick, conway
I am 6'1, 207 and run a 5.1 40...what position should i play? What can i do to improve my bench and speed?Isaac, MA
There are a number of things to consider when improving your bench press. The first thing is how long have you been working out? If you have been at it on a consistent basis for a couple of years, then you will have already made some significant gains. Some suggestions I have are to start adding some dips after your bench press day, as well as adding some tricep extensions with either a barbell or dumbbells. Also make sure you do not bench press more than 2 times per week, preferably a Monday and a Friday. Also you need to create some variance in your workouts, such as doing pauses for 2 seconds on your chest on Fridays. Do not do more than 3 reps per set and stay around 75% of maximum energy to begin with. You can start with 3 sets on the first week, 4 sets on the second week and 5 sets on the third week, and then drop back to 2 sets on the fourth week. Your body will need a recovery week every fourth week to adjust to the work load you have placed it under the previous weeks. Without a proper recovery week of less work and less weight lifted, then the body will not have time to recover/replenish itself from the workload, and if you continue lifting heavy and hard, then you will become over trained, and will most certainly begin to lose not only strength but weight which will in turn make you lose your appetite to train. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to come back from overtraining, and in a lot of cases longer than that. You do not need to concern yourself too much at a young age about how much you can do for one rep, which is maxing out, but rather see if you can obtain 3 reps with increasing weight as time goes by. Too many max days in a short period of time, at a young age, will have an adverse affect on you and your strength levels. You have to learn to become stronger while you are working out, and realize that maximum attempts during the training year should be kept at a minimum. You get stronger by training, rather than by maxing out.
As far as the speed goes, you need to understand one thing-the stronger and more explosive the legs are, then the faster you will become. The two joints I always recommend to strengthen are the ankle and hip. The knee is the fulcrum between these two joints, and will have to move if the other two do. The foot is the first thing that hits the ground, and the reactivity of the ankle/foot will result in your speed. If the foot is on the ground for a longer period-then you are slower, and if it is on the ground for less than one second, then you will be faster. The ankle can be made stronger by doing one legged dumbbell toe raises, and it can be made more reactive by doing reactive jumps. A couple of jumps to do are ankle flips, with your hands on your hips and with very little if any knee bend, jump with just the ankles as the joint of movement. These are more hops than jumps and can be done for 20 yards. Walk back and repeat for 3 to 5 series. Another good ankle jump exercise is the basketball back board touch. You can do the same over a door frame too. With your hands extended over your head, use your ankles to jump up, and as soon as the foot touches the ground, jump back and try to touch the same place with your hands. Remember in both the ankle flips and backboard touches, the heel of the foot should never touch the ground.
The hips are best developed by the barbell back squat. Once you are able to squat double your bodyweight, then that is enough strength to be at your optimum for speed development. Make sure you find a knowledgeable person to teach you the proper way of squatting, and make sure you do not start out with too heavy weight. A lot of problems occur from doing this exercise improperly, and that is why a trained person should be able to watch you squat for at least the first 6 months. Also one legged squats are great. Sit in a chair with your buttocks at the edge of the chair and both feet placed firmly and flat under you. Stand up a few times with your eyes and chest up and without bending forward at the waist. Now if this is easy and you can accomplish without any problem, then remove one foot from the floor and extend that leg forward, and now stand up on the one leg. Do 10 reps with each leg and try to do 3 sets on each leg. Remember, you only have one foot on the ground when you run, and you will need the strength in each leg equally.
Does running uphill increase speed on the field?Luis, NY
Another great exercise for athletes that aren't strong enough to begin with is to hook them up to a weighted sled of nominal weight and while maintaining excellent running form, walk for 40 yards. Remember to maintain perfect form and not allow yourself to lean into the walk. This is a good specific strength builder for running as is the uphill work. Also, remember to stretch the calves of the lower leg very well as they will be very sore from the uphill training.
What are ways I can improve my speed? Mick, NY
What type of running drills can I apply to my practice to keep my running backs from being so high going through the hole? Coach Corey, Washington D.C.
Hey Coach Miller!! I play high school football now but I haven't played since I was 11 and I forgot how to tackle. I mean I know how but I always keep my head down and it doesn't feel like it but my head is down. So coach can you help me out with that because I play strong and free safety and I'm expected to lay the hat on the ball carrier. So please help me out coach with anything you have for me when I tackle. Marlon, Jax,florida
I have a son who would like to be a kicker, where can I get information on how he can learn how to kick correctly?Paul, Southern California
I am a left handed quarterback and I have struggled to get a snap for a center. I have looked online and found that Steve Young put his right hand on top of his left, which I have started doing and its alot easier. The coaches say I have trouble getting the laces on the throwing hand and have changed the way the center snaps the ball. Do you know anything about left handed quarterbacks and getting the snap? ThanksTyler Conti, Youngstown, Ohio
How can I get linemen to stay low, fire off the ball, be aggressive and finish thier blocks?George V. Duncan, Franklin, NH
My 12 year old son really needs help with his recieving technique. What simple drills are there to help him with his hand strength and hand positioning?Jonathan Smith, Fort Valley, Ga
I suggest you start off throwing the ball to your son and watching how he positions his hands when receiving the ball. Also watch his eyes to see if he is following the ball into his hands. You want him to focus on the point of the ball and position his hands away from the body and put the trigger fingers together along with the thumbs which will almost make a triangle gap between the hands. Look the tip of the ball into this "triangle" and as the ball enters the triangle, the girth of the ball will cause the hands to collapse on the ball and end up in a catch. This should be started by a very simple means of throwing him the ball while facing him (approximately 10 yards apart) and coach and critique each catch until you "teach" him the correct feel/sight of catching the ball. Once this has been accomplished, then you can increase the complexity of the drills by having him turn halfway around and turn and face you quickly before making the catch and finally turn all the way around and upon your command turn and find the flight of the ball and create the triangle at the same time. Once you have this drill down, then you can escalate to other more complex catches, but you must remember the FIRST MAIN OBJECTIVE - LEARN TO CATCH THE BALL FIRST AND GET FANCY SECOND.
Not only will your son soon acquire the ability to receive better, but it will give the two of you quality time together. This is something that will be remembered by both of you far longer than any of the catches he will make.
How can I get my son to tackle better? (He's 10yrs old)Brad L.Cheatham sr., Youngstown, Ohio
My son plays quaterback, he's 12. He doesn't have the strongest arm. Most of his throws the ball almost looks like a lob. What drills can I have him work on to gain arm strength?Jeff, Michigan
One great exercise I used for all quarterbacks is the medicine ball throws against a stationery wall. Stand approximately 3-5 feet in front of a solid wall and hold a medicine ball overhead with both hands. The ball should weigh around 2kg (4lbs). Keep your feet no wider than the arm pits and square your shoulders to the wall at all times without moving them. With the ball overhead and your body square, pick out a point on the wall to throw the ball. You can use a piece of tape to mark the spot. Throw the ball with both hands as hard as you can on the wall and expect for the ball to rebound quickly back to you. When the rebound occurs, catch and throw the ball back as quick and hard as possible.
This exercise develops strength in the same area and is the same release as throwing a football. You can do 15-20 throws before practice each day as a warm-up. It can also be used after practice as a strength builder (which is what I think you are looking for) on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday rotation using 3 sets of 20 throws per set. Rest about 2 minutes between sets.
Remember one more important aspect of throwing the football is leg strength. This is paramount in assisting the throwing of the ball.
Should pre-practice warm-up be the same as pre-game warm-up? If so what is the reccommended routine?Austin, NY
The routine should always have the same theme. First and foremost, the goal should be to create blood flow to the muscles themselves. This is accomplished with movement, which will encompass the major joints of movement- the ankles, knees and hips. With these major joints being moved along with the shoulder girdle area, the athlete is sure to bring blood flow to the muscles that create movement. After the blood flow to the muscles occurs, you should engage in stretching the areas, but not holding the stretches more than 10 seconds.
I always would have the athletes start out with skipping forward for 40yds, and then backward skip for 40 yards followed a side slide, which is a lateral side straddle hop one way for 40 yards then returning the opposite direction. At this time, I would have them stride down and back the same 40 yards. Once they return to the start, I would have them perform a series of squats in place for 10 reps followed by a body rotation of 5 circles to each side and 5 lunges (can be done in any or all planes of movement- forward, lateral, backward, crossover and diagonal). Then, we would do a toe touch stretch where we would place one foot over the top of the other and hold for no longer than 10 seconds.
We would continue to integrate the movement patterns with stretches to the areas. After a few series of each, we would have the athletes get up and perform another 40 yard movement of walking lunges or a low skip and scoop. This would give us another 80 yards of movement and then right back down on the ground for additional movements and stretches. You can build this into a very inclusive package of warming up.
We always would end up with 2x40 yard build ups, where I would give the players a certain percentage of effort to run. Finish with a backward run.
I am a huge football fan and know alot about how to play the game and what techniques to use to play most positions. My 11 year old son wants me to coach his team next year. How do I get started?John, Grand Rapids MI
Make sure you practice the kicking game and show them the way to line up on kickoffs and punts and how to receive a punt. You must have a schedule of how you want to teach each segment of the game and your installation plan in place prior to the start of the season. These check points will serve you well throughout the year and will keep you on track to accomplish what you need to in order to give the kids what they need. If for some reason they do not understand a certain phase of the game, then stay there until it is learned because you can't leap frog ahead and not cover an aspect. Simple to complex is the way to go.
You will find that if you teach the basic fundaments of football and you have a plan for what you want to accomplish with the kids then you will be far, far ahead of most of the other coaches who are more interested in lining up and "cutting it loose" without understanding the basics. That is the way it has always worked, and that is the way it works today. The only thing that has changed is the losers have a different set of excuses.
Make sure you teach life's lessons along the way as well because the football field, in my opinion, is one of the last teachers of life, that still exists. Make applications from your own experiences and how the lessons on the football field are direct teachers of how things are in real life situations. If you can help out one kid along the way and change his life in a positive manner, then you've been paid in full. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.
I have a 19 year old brother who is looking to become a football coach. I wanted to know what are the first steps he should take to do so. Also is there a program he should enroll in that could help him? He is signed up at our local community college to studying coaching. Should he start out coaching a little league team, or a midde school team? Thank youJenn, Maryland
Your brother needs to understand too, that he just simply cannot "go by" practice when he feels like it, but needs to be there rain, sleet or snow each and every day to observe the things that will help him in later life. He needs to come home each night or certainly each week and have a 30 min period of time where he sits down, writes down on paper what he has observed both good and bad, and make comments in regards to all things observed. He needs to write down his feelings about what and how things are done as well, and this will help him to develop his own style of coaching, what type of offense, defense and special teams he will run, and how to set up and run a practice properly. If he learns from the best, and is in observation of them each and every day for a couple of years, then he will have NO problem making definite decisions on what he needs and wants to do as a coach. In many ways, he will be further along than some players, as he will get a chance to observe ALL aspects of the game, rather than just one position. He also needs to observe games, and game management which includes play calling, clock management, situational football, when and where HE would take a chance of some form or fashion, and more importantly watch how the two teams on game night try to beat the other, and what he would do to counteract their plans.
One little diddie, I'd like to pass on to him, is that young men need a strong male figure in their life, that will teach them the game of football correctly, and in doing so make them aware of the things life is going to throw at them once they are out in the "real world". By showing them the similarities of life and football, your brother can not only be a good coach to his players, but more importantly be a person that will prepare them for the "game" that will take his players all of the way through life. Good luck to him and you can be a major supporter for him, as my sister has been for me.
Are there recommendations from the NCAA or NFL on age appropriate number of practices/length of practices per week?(Does more practice make them better?) I am looking for input on 7th grade middle school boys (12-13 yrs) in particular. Malinda, St Louis MO
Now I will address your question of does practice make them better? If you have ever played a sport then you know that all sports require endless hours of practicing a particular skill, whether it be putting a golf ball, shooting free throws, hitting a baseball or any other skill pertaining to each particular sport. This is why school grounds have kids shooting baskets, driving ranges have people hitting bucket after bucket of balls and soccer fields have kids practicing their kicks into the net. So YES, practice does help quite a bit as even learning how to type on your computer requires practice to become proficient with where the keys are located. Remember one very important point - if a young person is out practicing his/her particular set of skills, then he or she is not getting involved in the negative types of activities that we so frequently read about our children getting involved with. They are doing something productive, something they are taking pride in, and something that may last them a lifetime. This will keep them on the straight and narrow through their most formative years.
There are guidelines in college on the practice times, but to my knowledge there are no such restrictions for high schools. There are certain guidelines that have to be followed in the NFL concerning practices, but practice times are highly scrutinized as well as at the college level. Practice time for the young men in junior high school should be understood and correctly applied by the competent coaches hired by the school system in your area.
It’s my 7 year olds first year playing tackle football. Wanted to know if there is any drill you suggest that would help him tackle with more tenacity? Avery Ages, Glendale, AZ
I'm coaching 9 man youth football,can you help me of the offense set-up and defense set-up?keenth walker, harker height TX
I am coaching a 9 man football team for the first time, just wondering if you had any advice for an offense, from what i hear, you just remove the tackles but i am still strugglingGordon Hooks, South Dakota
When coaching db's, what do you tell your players? Meaning, do you tell the db's to look into the backfield momentarily to determine run or pass and play it accordingly? When does the db step up to help out on run defense(as rb could throw pass to wr)? Is the db's primary concern pass 1st and run 2nd? Could you please clarify... Jeff, Barrie/Ontario/Canada
My 11 yr old son played youth football for 5 yrs with only one winning season. Now he wants to take a year off. What do I say to him?paul ellis, new york city
I know and LOVE the game of football, and am studying the essentials to attempt the coach at a beginning level. I know the fundamentals of the game from shadowing other coaches and believe i could have a positive impact. My main concern is I'm not extremely athletic or a talented player. Will this impact my respectability on the field? Michael, Phoenix, AZ
I am interested in coaching high school football, I know the game, but have little experience and limited education in regards to football. What would be the best way to get my foot in the door at a program?Ross, Cincinnati, Ohio
Coach, I coach and 10 and under team here in Erie, Colorado. I am having problems getting through to my running backs the importance of exploding through the line and down field. I was wondering if you have any sugesstions on drills and or ways to explain. Thank you in advance for your time. Coach Jeff Jeff McCarty, Erie, Colorado
One of the best tried and true drills that can ever be used for the running backs as well as the offensive blockers and the defenders is the one-on-one blocking/tackling drill between the dummies. It teaches the back about gaining the tough yards first and allows the RB to understand that there will more than likely be some contact at the point of attack. At this point, he needs to initiate it and run through the arm tackles that should occur if the offensive blocker is doing what he is asked to do. It is a great drill that can help out everyone involved in the drill. I would use a lot of this in the off season and limit the reps during the season, but still brush up on the quality and speed of the drill by having each back get 3-5 reps once or twice earlier in the week. You can do a lot of coaching with the kids who, at their age group, need all of the understanding about how the game should be played as they can handle. They need to understand that the successful teams run the ball well and defend the run well. You can do both in one simple drill.
This is my first year coaching 9-10 year old ball. I have a nice sized line, a power full back, a pretty quick and fast Wing Back, but I can't get my tail back in high gear. He waits for the pitch without running and doesn't explode throught the los when running up the middle. Are there any drills that will help light a fire under him. I really don't have another RB and I don't want to switch to 2 backs in the backfield in this league. Tony Glass , Vancleave MS
As far as drills are concerned to help him, I'd suggest a simple one that includes the linemen as well. Place two dummies 3-4 yards apart and put an offensive blocker and a defensive person opposite each other with the running backs lined up their same distance from the LOS. Have the two linemen perform a one-on-one drill and the back take a direct handoff from the QB. This will teach the importance of hitting the hole quickly, teach blocking to the OL, and teach defending a blocker and making a tackle to the defensive player.
My 8 year old son just started his first time in youth tackle football. The league mandates no contact the first 2 days of practice though in full uniform. The 3rd practice day is the first time they can tackle. They tackled for 1 hour and 15 minutes straight of a 2 hour practice and were tackling until the last minute of practice. (first part of practice was team talk, run, exercises, run, water break, shoulder pops). I found the 1 hour and 15 minutes of contact tackling the first practice excessive for most boys wearing a helmet, pads for the first time. What our your thoughts? Thanks ScottScott Pederson, Redmond, Washington
I would hope the coaches of your son's team would be wise enough to know how much is enough and how many reps a kid can have before his well-being comes into the picture. As I have stated before, a good coach is a good teacher. The better coaches a kid can be around at any age, then the more the kid will progress. This does not mean that the coach may be liked by many of the players/families, but they do understand that the coach is doing the best thing for the child's development - this is the bottom line. I would hope that your son's coaches understand this and the teaching progression of all fundamentals.
My 10 year old son has been given the opportunity to switch to the better football team in the league. We are torn about leaving his current team and wonder which is more important, being loyal to the team for which he has played the last 2 years, or moving to a team which may (or may not) have better coaching and athletes.Angela, Cincinnati, OH
I know the glitz and glamour of possibly better coaching and a team is intriguing, but my finding is that they very seldom turn out to be the bang for your buck that you so desire.
I am trying to coach 10 year old linebackers. I played college ball, but didn't start playing until highschool. I am confusing the kids. What do you suggest you teach kids about the position at age 10?James Smith, Cincinnati
If you go back and look at all of the successful head coaches of the last 50 years, you will find they were strict technique teachers, which makes their teams tough and hard to beat because as the opposing team you have to be just as well coached on your fundamentals or you be beaten at the point of contact.
My suggestion is to slow it down and teach the basic fundamentals. I promise you that during mid-season to the end of the season, you will see marked improvement in the skills linebackers need to play the game the correct way.
I have a first year player (7 years old). He is timid when it comes to hitting. Any suggestions?Paxton, Midlothian, TX
On the same note, by teaching a young person how to play football I truly believe you have one of the last bastions of teaching life's skills to young people. You are teaching these kids things that they are going to have to rely on in the everyday world of today. Again, as we mentioned at the onset, that the better teachers (coaches) will do the best jobs of teaching and have more "successful" players/students. They will teach them the things that will carry them through life-discipline, work, team chemistry/bonding and winning. These are lessons that are learned from just the simple beginnings of football.
In closing to this question, be patient. Do not negatively coach this kid because if it takes him until he is a senior in high school and all he ends up playing is in a backup capacity, he STILL has learned and achieved far more, than when he first started. YOU can take pride in the fact that you helped him through the hardest phase-the learning phase!! You will take great pride in your efforts (as all teachers and coaches should) when they see their students/athletes go on to become good people/players.
how do i get my 5 and 6 year olds to get in a better 3 point stancecoach pickle, slidell louisiana
what age do consider safe to start tackle footballMichele, ohio
With all that being said, I would pick the ages of 8-10 years old. I think this will give them ample time to develop their abilities into fine senior high football players. In this case, they should have at least one good year of preparatory work prior to their eighth birthday.
My 14 yr old son wants to play quarterback but his coach says he doesn't have good footwork. Are there ways to improve footwork or is it too late?Chris James, MA
One of the best exercises to use to help create ankle reactivity and coordination is rope jumping. Have your son start with going 15-20 seconds per rep and teach him how to cock the ankle where he strikes on the ball of his foot, but not on his toes, which will elevate the heel of the foot too much. He will feel the strong position when he lowers his heel to the ground. This will create a muscle memory of the correct position to be in when moving his feet. Expand his time and reps to whatever he can handle and once he has the ability to go for 60 seconds without missing, then have him go one footed. There are a number of other exercises that he can use to develop this aspect of ankle reactivity, but he must finish each workout with his proper sequence of steps that is required of his QB coach. He will develop quicker and better foot agility, but he needs to rehearse his actual movements, where he can put his newfound quality into actual football movements. Just like with any other learned motor skill this will take time and reps and consistency and most athletes get bored by the same old thing. Once you see this happening, then shoot me another question and I will show you another stage to go to that will keep his attention and will continue his progress.
I'm in 8th grade and just finished my season. I'm going into high school and I would like to try out for freshman and JV for next year. I play guard on offense and nose guard on defense. I'm going to try out for JV instead of just walking on for freshman. What should I do to prepare for the tryouts? James Reilly , Ny
Mr.Miller, I work with two great young men who are looking into attending a football camp this summer. I am their counselor and quite honestly have no idea where to begin to find this information. Extraordinary circumstances for exceptional young men. Please help.Ann, Los Angeles Ca
If my son wants to focus on football, but play other sports during the winter and spring seasons, what sports do you reccomend he play that will better his football abilities in the long run?Kathy, Madison, Wisconson
Another thing your son needs to start is a well designed and implemented strength program under the guidance of a qualified teacher/coach.
I'm 15 5"10 and i play quarterback, and the most common mistake my coach tell me is that i'm to stiff. What can i do to change that?Eric Lawson Jr., Brooklyn, NY
I'm 14, 140 pounds, and over 6 foot. I want to be a quarterback, but I can't throw that far. What can I do to increase my throwing power?Angus, Northern Jersey
One other exercise you need to do 3 times per week, as in a Mon-Wed-Fri scenario, is a medicine ball (4KG) wall throw. This is done by standing approximately 4-5 feet from a solid wall holding the ball with both hands over the top of your head. Aim for a spot at about the same height as the ball is located above your head. You can mark this easily on the wall with a piece of tape. With both feet square to the wall and the ball overhead, throw the ball as hard as you can at the piece of tape on the wall. The ball will quickly rebound to your hands, and you have to be ready to catch it. When the rebound catch occurs, get the ball out of your hands as fast as possible throwing it once again with as much as you can muster against the wall all the while staying in place with your feet and keeping your body erect. Do this for 20 total throws on the wall. Wait 2-3 minutes and then repeat for another set. Rest another 2-3 minutes, and repeat for a third set.
Over the course of the spring and summer months leading up to next year's football season, you will find that these weight training exercises along with the above mentioned ball throw will make marked improvement in your throwing capabilities. Once the season starts, use the ball throw on the wall as a warm up exercise BEFORE going out to practice.
Good luck in your quest to be the best!
What is the best drill for helping OL with getting better feet?Aldine Payne, Glenn High School
The one drill I like personally more than rope jumping is one I learned from Don Chu, who is the guru of jump training. Standing on a grass field, place your hands on your hips and stand erect. With primarily nothing more than just the ankles and a VERY slight if ANY knee bend, begin “ankle flipping” while jumping and moving downfield. Go 20 yards to begin, and walk back and repeat for a series of 5. As the reactivity and strength of the ankle begins to occur, add more reps until you reach 10. Then, add more distance. Jump as high as you can and expect to feel the ground with the foot and react to it with as much force as the foot/ankle can generate into the ground. Try to understand how the foot is striking the ground and try to "sky" as much as possible.
With these two things accomplished, you MUST practice what you do. As an offensive linemen, you have a specific technique. It is the same as a golfer putting the ball or a basketball player shooting a free throw - it is a learned skill. You have to understand what the techniques are of your specific position and the offense you run as all are different and require different foot sequential steps and movement patterns. BUT, if you master the two above mentioned tasks prior to the technique work, or better still, in conjunction with the skill work, then you will be far, far ahead. Good luck, and I hope this helps!
I'm a 6'4" 220 pound sophomore starting offensive tackle for my first time. I'm good with my hands, but I'm having a tough time getting them in the right place on the running game so linebackers easily juke me out. Do you have any advice for me? Zach Kirchner, Tea,SD
Hope this can be of some help. Remember when you practice that you have to have a particular technique you are trying to perfect. Without that, you are just going through the motions. Make each practice and each drill a positive experience. That will only happen with great concentration and physical effort. Good luck to you, and knock 'em out of the hole.
When playing LB what are the reads and keys to look for and react to? Elijah, Flint,Mi.
What’s the best hand position to teach QBs when receiving the ball from the center? allan mcghuey, lemoore,ca.
I am 11 years old. When I started playing football, I was left corner and made lots of interceptions. Then last year, I was put at outside linebacker. I am not the size for that. Why might they have put me there? Aaron Spangler, 105 Zepp Road,Gettysburg PA
People have been telling me that just because I’m a girl I can’t be a defensive linemen, but that’s what I want to be. I am bigger and stronger than most of the other guys on my team. Do you think I should go for it? Allie , California
I don't know if that is much of an answer as I find myself vacillating back and forth while trying to put myself in your father's shoes. I hope this in some way can lend itself to assisting you in a decision. I always think it is up to the individual to weigh all of the info and make a well informed decision based on their feelings. Only one person can answer if you are playing for the love of the game, and that is YOU. Good luck, and I'd like to find out what decision you made and why you made it.
I’m 5’8” and 230 pounds, but I’m fast and can catch. Could I be a TE?Odell, Temple Texas
What can I do to help train for the defensive back position?Angus, North NJ
Another major part of the skills needed is to be able to move backward which takes a whole new learning curve of its own. Start out by skipping backwards for 50 yards and bring your heel of the foot up to your butt. This will do a few things – 1) it will warm up and strengthen your hamstring muscles and 2) it will give you the feeling of moving backwards while at a much slower speed than the position requires. Work in some forward skipping and some lateral skipping for the same 50 yards. I'd suggest 3 to 4 reps of 50 yards each of these. Once you've done this, then progress to running at approximately 80% speed forward and return by running backwards for the same distance all the while trying to get your heel to reach up and touch your butt before extending it in your backward run.
The next progressive step for you to master once you've been able to do the above without any hitches in your movement pattern would be to sprint for 10 yards backward. In your DB stance, sprint backwards as fast as possible having someone time you for each rep. Once you have gone past the 10 yard cone or line full speed, then turn over either your left or right shoulder and run another 5 yards. Switch shoulders each time you do a rep, and try to stay on as straight a line as you possibly can. Run 10 reps of these. This should get you on your way to understanding the movement patterns for a good DB. You can submit another question to me once you have mastered the above mentioned techniques. There is more to learn, but we must start with the simple stuff and move to the complex later. Good luck.
I'm 13 years old, 5'9”, and 140 pounds. I want to be either quarterback, half-back (running back), or defensive back (safety or cornerback). What can I do to be better? Which of these three positions would be best for me? Angus, Bloomfield,NJ
From the positions that you have chosen, your best asset as a player is going to be your speed and quickness along with your ability to actually play the game. It appears you have good size for a 13 year old, and maturity will help you as well. My first suggestion for you is to join the track team and concentrate on the runs up to 400m along with trying your hand at the long jump and triple jump and maybe even the hurdles. The track background gives you exactly what you need, and also what college recruiters can qualify you with as far as true speed is concerned. Track is a great sport for individual achievement and also a team concept of winning championships. Another very important ingredient in getting better is the same thing I have recommended to kids before - find a good weight training program that teaches the correct way and uses the correct program to improve your athleticism. This is easily said, but harder to do. Hopefully your school has one in place, and you can spend your time there, but if not, then you may have to seek out a qualified instructor that can provide the necessary guidance to give you what you need.
Good luck, and I hope you can find what you are looking for. I think track will be a great choice for you, and one you will enjoy as well. I do know that NJ has a great indoor season, too.
I've always wanted to play wide receiver or slot receiver for my school team. I'm in high school now and know that it is really important that I get a lot of playing time, but I know that I need to improve. What things can I do at home in my spare time to work on my skills as a wide receiver?Peter Ugoh, Houston, Texas
The next part is quite simple. Learn to catch the ball with as much consistency as humanly possible. Take the approach of if it touches my hands then I should catch it attitude. Have someone (brother, dad, or next door neighbor) throw the ball to you every day, if possible. Learn the small details of watching the ball completely into your hands. Once you've mastered this, work with catching one handed then work with two hands over the shoulder and then one hand over the shoulder, etc. Another technique you can work on in your backyard is to come out of your breaks with as little footwork as possible and run precise angles on the patterns. If you work on a sideline route, put a marker where you need to break and back off 5-8 yards then accelerate to your point, plant, and cut. Also place a marker 1 yard in front of where the cut mark is located and work on ending up at the second marker 1 yard ahead of the plant point on each rep. This will give you good hip mobility and speed out of the cut, which will give separation on the pattern. Work on both sides. Once you've perfected the out route, then do the same thing and work on either the deep hook pattern where you will need to once again come back to the ball from the plant point. The other patterns - fly, dig and slant - are not as challenging footwork wise and the ability you gain from learning the hook and out route will carry over to these and make learning them much easier. Because you are only backing off approximately 5-8 yards in front of the break, you can run quite a few patterns in your backyard before tiring out. I hope this can be of some help to you. If you master these above mentioned techniques accompanied with the physical development end of it then you will be well on your way to being as complete a receiver as you have the ability to be.
I am in high school and have been moved through four different positions - TE, FB, DE, and LB. My dad wants me to play QB, but the coach already has three good QB's so I would not get a lot of playing time. I really want playing time. Are there any other positions I should try out? bailey, Loganville,Ga
You don't know it right now, but you are learning many of life's lessons as you are having to make these decisions at a young age because there will be other times in your adult life that you will have to make decisions that are similar to those being made by yourself now and those decisions will have greater ramifications on your life. Examine the problem you are facing and make a good, logical, and systematic decision upon which way to go. NEVER forget this process of decision making because you will use it many times again in the future.
Good luck with your high school playing days, and good luck with your decision making! You need to understand you only have ONE high school career and you want to be able to look back on it fondly and with memories of games, practices, scrimmages, pep rallies, and friendships that will carry you to your last days on earth. Enjoy the journey!
I’m 16 and 6'1" weighing about 240 pounds. I’ve played right and left tackle since 7th grade. I’m entering the 11th grade as a starter on Varsity, but I feel that my talents are being wasted because I have great hands and would make a great tight end. My problem is I run a 5.2 and need to get it down to a 4.8 plus my coaches won’t listen to me even though they have seen how great I am at catching. What do I do coach? Payton Kemp, San Antonio,TX
The next aspect is short jumps. These can be done before your sprints or tempo runs. Do 3 x 15/20 yards of ankle flips, which is accomplished by placing your hands on your hips, keeping your knees as straight as possible with little bend, and using your ankles primarily to "pogo jump" the required distance. Get as much height as possible, and do NOT spend a lot of time on the ground as you want as LITTLE ground contact time as possible. The other jump exercise is the standing long jump. Mark off a starting line and a distance of 9'. Without moving your feet, jump OVER the 9' line. Repeat the jumps for 10 reps with rest in between.
I sincerely believe if you follow the guidelines above, you will most assuredly improve your speed to your genetic capabilities. Good luck, good training, and I hope you have a very memorable senior year in high school.
I play football for the Roosevelt Rough Riders at Roosevelt High School. I’m a sophomore and going to be a starter at right tackle next year, but I’m a great tight end with great hands. I feel like my talent is being wasted by me just being a blocker. They won’t put me at tight end because I’m a little too slow. What can I do to improve my speed and convince them to make me a tight end? Payton Kemp, San Antonio, TX
You must realize that ANY gains you make will be slow in coming, but after a month of training you will begin to see marked improvement in all phases of your athleticism. I think when you run your sprints during the summer for the coaches they will see the improvement in speed has occurred from your hard work. This should get you a LOT more attention from the coaches when you ask for a position change. Good luck, and train hard because you only have ONE high school career.
I'm a junior, 6'3, 200 lb center for my high school team. I play JV football center as well. I think that my talents are better suited for a receiving TE position more than center. I have hands and I run under a 5.0. I've tried requesting a position change but my requests fall on deaf ears. Do you have any ideas on how I can change my position so I won’t be riding the bench my senior year? Matt Solomon, Boca Raton, FL
My suggestion about a face to face meeting, will alert the head coach as this is not just a "how are you doing" type of meeting. Make an appointment with him, and tell him you need 15 min. of his time for some help with a problem, and you are turning to him for help. There SHOULD NOT BE a head coach out there that will EVER turn his back on a student/athlete who is seeking his help. Sit down with the man and lay out your thoughts to him, and await his reply. You may very well learn something you NEVER thought was ever in the picture about your situation. This is my suggestion to you, and I think this will lead to a sound resolution to your problem and hopefully a successful career as well.
I’m 16 years old. My height is 5'7. I’m a Tight End. I want to upgrade to a Wide Receiver, but I’m too big. What can I do to lose weight and be able to become a Wide Receiver?Jose Vieyra, San Fenando,CA
Second, you need to increase your exercise. If you are practicing 5 out of 7 days a week, I suggest you add extra conditioning work for yourself on days after practice, but far enough away from game day that you do not wear yourself down prior to game time. This can be achieved by striding either 50 or100 yards at 85% of your maximum speed. Make a good stride from either end zone to end zone or across half of the field, walk across the end zone, until you reach the far sideline and repeat the stride. Start with 6x100 yards and 10x 50 yards. As a Wide Receiver, you will be required to run a lot more than a Tight End will run so the extra running will help you in that respect as well.
After your games, if your coach does not bring you to school for a recovery workout and watch film, then you need to go out and loosen up well and get your run in on the day off. Follow your runs by a good stretching session. This will really help your recovery from the game, and prepare you for the next week's game.
I think if you follow this format that you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Good Luck!
Hello, I'm playing Middle LB in Germany. How can I improve my tackle skills? Sometimes I stop before I tackle. greetings leviLevi, Berlin, Germany
Coach, My son is a punter. Do you have a punter's specific training regimen to suggest? Thanks, BillBill Short, Memphis, Tn
I am kid playing tackle football and when i'm running back my coach says to just power through even if there isn't a hole. But when I look at great running backs in the NFL, they wait for the hole to develop then turn on the speed and power through. My coach says I am wrong doing this and that I need to power through even if there isn't a hole. Should I do that or still wait for the hole to develop and then power through?Carter, Phoenix, AZ
I just started my high school football season as a freshman. I play defensive tackle and offensive guard. As defensive tackle, when the center hikes the ball I can’t shoot off from my stance. Can you help me?jesse wall, baton rouge
I want to know if it is better to come out of a 3 point stance or a 4 point stance for D-lineman? nathan, Edmonton,AB
What parts of the Offensive Center can be in the neutral zone?Paul Garrett, Paso Robles,CA
Do you have any tips on helping me snap quicker and more accurately?Alexander Ferree, Denton, TX
What would you say to a ten-year-old who doesn't care about schoolwork, is falling behind in class, and only cares about football? He thinks he doesn't need to worry about keeping up with the class or working hard because high school (rather, high school football) seems a long way off. No one is trying to tell him not to play, just to make him understand that his schoolwork matters. Kate, NY
I have a naturally athletic son with an unbelievable amount of talent. However, our high school coach is young and not interested in helping kids play after high school. What can I do to get his name, stats, and talent recognized? He is a senior now, and the season is over. Please help!Heather Meyer, Grayling, MI
Does choice of high school for my sons really matter? The high school which my sons are zoned for is fairly new and the coaches seem unable/uninterested in helping the players with exposure to acquiring college opportunities. As such, I am looking into Stephenson High School which is a known football powerhouse and very assertive in assisting their players with obtaining exposure and scholarship opportunities especially at Division I schools. Stephenson High is not on a comparable level with our zone school as it relates to academics, but that does not worry me because I have always supplemented my sons' school work. This is the reason that they are straight A students and will remain as such. Am I obsessing over nothing or is there reason for concern? If high school choice does matter, and we remain at our zone schools, please let me know what steps I may take to increase the visibility of my sons with the scouts and at the national level. Thank you for your time and consideration in advance! marcell elliott, ellenwood, ga
In answering the other question as to changing schools, I sure would. If my son was at a school where the coaching staff were not good teachers and were lethargic in their jobs, then you better bet I'd take my son and put him in a place where he could have a grand experience in his high school years. Bad coaches/good coaches - I am very sad to say that there are both out there just like in any other profession. If you have the ability to remove your son from this experience, then by all means, do so. He will have a much better chance of being taught some of life's most important lessons on the football field in a better environment. Give him as much of a chance for success as possible as he is only going to have ONE high school experience. As a parent, you should be concerned on making it as good for him as possible.
I wish you and your son the very best.