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How to Develop Football Skills

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson we encompass the various methods for developing football skills. We also discuss the ever-changing role of injury and concussion prevention that is occurring along with an overview of crucial nutrition.

Football Skills

Football is an exciting game that involves an athletic combination of power, speed, finesse, and technique. Who hasn't been thrilled by a mesmerizing Joe Montana scramble or an amazing Lynn Swann catch? However, as we have learned from the concussion scenarios of recent years, football is also an incredibly violent game that can damage the body. Thus, it is crucial that the development of football skills is done properly in the formative years.

Football skills may be divided up into six main categories of passing, catching, running, blocking, tackling, and kicking. To throw a football, most quarterbacks place their hands on the laces and spread the fingers. Then, they bring the ball close to their ear like the great Joe Namath, put the arm close to straight overhead, and follow through. The goal is to throw a nice, tight, spinning spiral. To catch the ball, football players are taught to keep their eyes on it and watch it land in their hands. Kicking a ball involves placing it on a tee, while punting the ball consists of holding it, dropping it, and booting it out of the air before it touches the ground.

Activities and Drills

Activities

Football players are known for doing an endless number of unusual activities to get them in shape and keep them there throughout the season. We have all seen clips of football players running through two rows of tires set up side-by-side. All players run wind sprints, but today, many players run with a parachute behind them to create resistance. Another drill sets up 6-inch mini-hurdles in rows with the athletes running over them in all directions.

Drills

The NFL Scouting Combine is the ultimate test in football if the player wants to make it to the big time. There are six main drills that the scouts use to find star talent. They are the 3 cone drill, the 40-yard dash, the bench press, the broad jump, the shuttle run, and the vertical jump. For the most part, these drills test explosiveness, the ability to move quickly from a dead stop, and the ability to quickly change directions.

Techniques, Equipment, and Nutrition

Techniques

At first glance, football appears to be a game of brute strength. However, football players are also coordinated and technically-skilled. Who hasn't been shocked to see a giant 300-pound man on Dancing with the Stars performing an elegant and classy waltz? The athletes use various techniques depending on the position they play.

Equipment

Football players wear just about as much protective equipment as any other athlete due to the violent, high-speed collisions involved in the game. We immediately think of a player wearing a helmet, shoulder pads under his jersey, and cleats, but the list goes beyond the obvious. Players wear knee and thigh pads and many also wear gloves, elbow pads, hip pads, and mouth guards. This will vary from position to position and depend on whether a player is on offense or defense.

Nutrition

We would be remiss when discussing football skills without addressing the absolutely crucial role that nutrition plays in developing a fine athlete. Decades ago, players ate whatever food was available, but in today's educated world we know so much about what makes the human body tick.

Furthermore, specialized nutrition is created down to the calorie for each sport. Usually, the ideal pre-workout choice is to eat carbohydrates about one hour before the practice. The athlete should consume just under a half a gram of carbohydrates per body weight, an easy formula to remember. For a post-workout snack, eat another round of carbs 30 minutes after and then again 2 hours later.

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