Do Top Baseball Players Make More Than Top Football Players Improve Football Speed Immediately with Four Simple Drills

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Improve Football Speed Immediately with Four Simple Drills

What is the best way to speed up a football?

Improve acceleration!

This means achieving full speed in the shortest possible time. Football requires short bursts of speed, and the most successful are those who can quickly gain top speed. Remember Barry Sanders? Not the fastest guy on the field but no one accelerated better, so he was very hard to bring down.

Teaching acceleration, however, can be difficult. A push-off requires the runner to apply more force to the ground for a longer time and cover more ground. Explaining this concept to any player, especially a young one, gives them a lot to think about. This is where simple hurdle drill technique improvements can be made infinitely easier by making them more automated.

The hurdles used for these drills are only 6 and 12 inches high but will add great length if properly spaced. Runners should be instructed to push-off hard as opposed to reaching for obstacles. Proper spacing will also force the athlete to stay low and lean more forward for more mechanical advantage in pushing the hips and legs. It also forces a more powerful arm swing.

By adding a plyometric component to these drills, athletes will also learn how to land properly. By simply timing them through the drills, they quickly learn how to land properly with better body control as this significantly improves their timing. Landing hard with stiff legs will slow them down, versus a soft, quiet landing that will result in greater acceleration and less time.

Here are four drills guaranteed to improve acceleration:

1) Obstruction begins – These are ten yard sprints using 1 to 3 hurdles (6″ high). Space the hurdles enough that the athlete tries hard to get over each one. Use one hurdle at first to improve the first step and eliminate stutter stepping, then progress to three. From a standing position. Or start from three points.

2) 12″ hurdle jump to sprint over 2 hurdles – Jump two feet over a 12″ hurdle, land on two feet, and then accelerate over the next two hurdles for a total of 10 yards. Again, gradually space the hurdles further apart for more impact.

3) 12″ hurdle jump to sprint laterally over 2 hurdles – Same idea as #2, but move the obstacle to the side to force a cut and sprint. Start with 12″ cuts at a 45 degree angle, progressing to a 90 degree cut.

4) Single leg hurdle hops to sprint – Set three six-inch obstacles equally spaced. Hit each hurdle using the same leg, then run 10 yards. Begin by having the athlete stick the landing in a single leg squat position between the first two hurdles to force good landing technique. As soon as you land on the third hurdle, immediately push the landing leg into the sprint portion of the drill. Progress by accelerating the hops between obstacles.

Tips for success

  • Obstacles should be properly spaced to force the athlete to push harder. If too far away they will try to reach to get on them. The difference between pushing and reaching is obvious to both coaches and players.
  • Do these drills by position or with children of similar ability. Skill players are faster off the line and can handle greater distances between obstacles. Bigger athletes need shorter distances, too much will cause stuttering steps.
  • Be creative. There are many ways to modify these exercises to make them more challenging. Include different jumps or change the direction of the sprint. Have your linemen pull on them, throw to receivers on the jump, and then accelerate over the hurdles.
  • Just so you know it works, dash 10 yards without a hitch. Add 3 obstacles at the correct distance and run again. In most cases the time will decrease immediately. Some kids will need a few repetitions to learn but all my players improve within three trials.

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