The difference between good football teams and the best programs comes down to the little things. Doing the little things right include maximizing your offseason training. There are a handful of activities that every great football team does from winter through summer. Here are five offseason tips to help bring your team into the conversation of the most elite programs.
1. SET SMART GOALS
Almost every championship banner is conceived with a SMART offseason goal. SMART is an acronym for goal setting that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Adding these constraints will improve your team’s goal success rate and increase motivation to achieve your objectives.
While winning your conference or the state-wide championship may be the ultimate season goal, it’s important to give your players short-term, attainable targets that they can work towards throughout the offseason. These could include increasing your max bench or shaving time off your 40 yard dash. Every short-term, individual player goal should roll up in support of your overall, long-term goals.
2. START CROSS-TRAINING
Monotony can kill motivation and stall player development. Cross-training is a great way to keep practice fresh and energizing. Having trouble thinking of different and unique activities? Take the team to the natatorium for a day of training in the pool. If you’re looking to step way outside the box, look to different sports, such as ultimate frisbee or dodgeball, to build team camaraderie and work in a solid cardiovascular activity to practice.
3. KEEP YOUR TEAM ON THE CLOCK
A major pitfall of football teams during the winter is the inability to stay focused on the task at hand. Utilize a schedule or calendar board to plan workouts far in advance with specific exercises and time constraints. Building the framework for offseason workouts will keep your team on track. This foundation will hopefully translate from the weight room to the play on the field.
4. FOCUS ON AGILITY
When someone talks about offseason training, the first thing that comes to mind is strength training. While it’s crucially important to maintain muscle and increase explosiveness, speed and agility training can be the difference between good and great players. This includes increasing general speed, as well as lateral movement. Use a strength record board to track your fastest players by position, which will help build internal competition and support short-term goals.
5. KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO RECOVER
Offseason is traditionally the time when players are able to recover from any mental or physical fatigue. Even if your players weren’t subject to injury during the football season, there are a number of benefits to giving them some rest. Namely, when you begin intense offseason training with a totally healthy body, your team is able to get closer to their full potential. Harboring tweaks and injuries into the winter practices can actually set you back further than taking the time to heal.