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Football Speed Training - Tires

To an outside observer, football looks like a sport of primarily brute strength and so it seems that training for football would involve a great deal of maximal strength training with strength and hypertrophy as the primary goals. And while strength is a key element in football, the importance of football speed training cannot be overlooked or overemphasized.

Speed within the game of football takes place in short bursts of maximal speed, usually starting as quickly as possible from a stationary position and often involving acute and precise changes of direction to either avoid or tackle an opponent or react to a quarterback’s throw.

One of the persisting images in most people’s minds of football training is that of players running through a tire course, carefully and quickly hopping feet in and out of the center of the tires time after time after time. It’s important to note that the reason most people have this image in their heads and why it is that football movies and documentaries almost always show this footage is because this is a drill that’s effectiveness yet simplicity will ensure it stays part of football speed training with no end in sight.

This simple tire drill, repeated again and again, teaches the player’s mind to make short, quick, directed movements and make them fast. An essential element of football speed training is precise and effective footfall patterns such as these. Being able to depend on your mind to automatically adjust your body’s movements for agility allows your body faster.

Just as essential to football speed training as agility and footfall patterns is explosive power in the form of quickness. The ability to go from a full sprint from a still position as the ball is snapped represents an athlete’s quickness and, obviously, the quicker a player can bring himself into a full sprint, the better. Training to run against resistance, whether that be with a partner and a resistance band or with a resistance parachute, teaches the body to the appropriate muscle fibers for the movement so that doing the same movement when the resistance is gone is faster and better.

Sprinting drills must also be a part of football speed training to teach the athlete’s body to reach maximal speed in the shortest amount of time. Since running in football is never a distance challenge, sprints should be limited to 40 and 100 yard runs with time to recover. Starting in an upright, standing position, in full uniform when possible, the player should be directed to sprint over the ending line and begin to slow only when this line has been crossed. Sprint drills can begin with a 40 yard dash and then be increased to 100 yard dashes as the player’s ability increases, but to sprint or run any longer than that is a waste of time for these purposes.

Combined with the correct strength training program, these drills are the essential basic elements of any football speed training program.


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