Vol.2, No.3

High school football conditioning drills

Conditioning for high school should be sport and position specific.

Football players stretching
Photo Credit: Eliza Snow
Using methods such as running long distance and one hundred yard dash sprints for high school football conditioning is now giving way to scientific methods of training. In the 1980's the term sport-specific became very popular as training became a much higher priority for coaches and athletes on the high school level. Looking at each position needs and the overall demand football places on the body has enabled the development of far more superior training methods in the past 20 years.

Asking 250 pound and higher weighing lineman to run long distances and jump all over the place is actually counter productive. Most linemen on any given play only move about ten yards. They also use more force and power then any other position. Using short area sprints and drills for lineman is the primary mode of training to follow. Use these methods for lineman to achieve a high level of conditioning.

Run interval sprints of 5, 10, 15 and 20 yards. Have linemen set in their stances and explode out for short sprints. Start with five repetitions of each distance from larger to smaller. Gradually building up to ten repetitions of each distance. Use rest intervals of 10 seconds between sprints. This will enhance endurance and quickness.

Jumping rope provides linemen the best method for developing quickness and balance. Also using a weighted otherwise known as a "heavy rope" jump rope can be very helpful. Start with time periods of 30 seconds at a time to really work on coordination and conditioning. Using a ten period system works best. Simply time the athletes for 30 seconds then rest for the same and repeat that format 10 times. Build up to 1-2 minute periods after a few weeks.

For skill position players conditioning becomes more diverse and intricate. These players need to be able run distances up to 100 yards, change direction, move back wards and change speeds. The following drills are the best drills for each area.

For distance training the sprint-glide drill is very effective. Have players start on the goal line. They begin with a half speed glide for 20 yards, then run full speed for 20 yards, half speed glide for 20, and then sprint full speed through the end zone line. This drill should be done for ten repetitions with 20-30 seconds rest between sprints.

Change of direction is enhanced with the following drill. Have the players set up in a back pedal position. Upon a "go" signal they back pedal for 10-15 yards then on a whistle signal the turn around and sprint forward for 20 yards. Focus on the players staying low in their turns and accelerating as fast as possible. Players should run this drill for 10-15 repetitions.

Using a running rope or speed ladder is an excellent way for players to work on foot speed and change of directions. Have players run forward, side ways, and shuffle through to enhance these areas. Also include bounding and hopping drills. Each type of foot drill should be done 2 or 4 times. This training drill is fast paced and up tempo. Key your players to move fast and efficiently.