As fans, we wait through the five-ish months of no football. Looking for any news on our favorites teams/players “like shipwrecked men turning to seawater from uncontrollable thirst”, Bane. This is not true for NFL players who are or should be, training year round. This is where I think players are in their training programs.
In training athletes, there’s a general guideline that most strength and conditioning coaches use.
- Hypertrophy/Endurance (build muscle, training out bad technique)
- Strength (improve muscle efficiency)
- Strength to Power (improve explosiveness)
- Competition (sport specific training)
At this point in their training program, football players are in the sport specific phase of training. Having already put on muscle, worked on their exercise technique, improved their strength, power, and now it’s time to train for competition. Although your Miami Dolphins are living their lives, vacationing, being with their families, or doing charity work, you’ll also notice some of your Miami Dolphins are training. Some with other NFL players including teammates. Just checkout Jarvis Landry’s Instagram.
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Sport specific training encompasses exercises influenced by the movements done in the sport that the athlete performs. At the “skill positions” you’ll notice the emphasis is on foot-speed, agility, and overall speed drills. Cone drills designed to mimic routes, shadowing, edge-work, lateral drills, ladder drills, etc. With some of these drills being done with some form of resistance, i.e parachutes, sleds, resistance bands, or other. The trench positions also perform some of these drills just tweaked. Their drills mimic pass-rushing, run blocking, or different angles in footwork.
The exception being the injured players, who are likely keeping up with their rehab work and resting. Their drills are obviously more controlled, less intense, and designed to help improve the musculature around the injured areas. Stability, endurance, and range of motion are the priorities. Assisted/non assisted exercises depending on the severity of the injury or where they are in their recovery.
The fact is NFL players now more than ever need to train before they train, in order to gain whatever edge they can to put themselves in the best position to succeed. Most of the injuries that players accrue early in camp, early the NFL season, can be contributed to muscle imbalances/weakness gained do to inactivity. When you stop training your body begins to regress from whatever gains you achieved.
I think that your Miami Dolphins need to take it upon themselves to continue training throughout their “break”. My philosophy towards what these players should be doing at this point, training. Train year round, take time off intermittently throughout the year but not for long periods of time. This is important because it is human nature to make our lives easier. What’s easier than doing nothing relative to training and playing NFL caliber football? We tend to let ourselves go and this is where the muscle imbalances/weakness start. Then, these players come to camp and try to microwave their training to get back to where they were. Now, they have to lose weight, train their newly acquired weak areas, and get in NFL football shape again.
It’s easy to say they need to train year round because it’s their jobs, they’re football players. But, they’re more than that, they have families, and other interests outside of football. This message is more for those who want to be great, who strive to have a bust in Canton. Here’s a quote from the show House M.D that best expresses the unique drive and sacrifice it takes to be transcendent.
"John Henry Giles: [to House] I know that limp. I know the empty ring finger. And that obsessive nature of yours, that’s a big secret. You don’t risk jail and your career to save somebody doesn’t want to be saved unless you got something, anything… one thing. The reason normal people got wives and kids and hobbies, whatever, that’s because they ain’t got that one thing that… that hits them that hard and that true. I got music. You got THIS, the thing you think about all the time, thing that keeps you south of normal. Yeah, makes us great, makes us the best. All we miss out on is everything else – no woman waiting at home after work with a drink and a kiss. That ain’t gonna happen for us."