Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Football is a difficult sport to prepare for. Yes, you can lift to become stronger and run to increase your speed, but if you really think about it, there is a lot more involved than solely improving these two components.
What also needs to be addressed is mental toughness, hand-eye coordination, activation of fast twitch muscle in live situations, reaction time, footwork, and stamina. You can be strong and fast, but if you're lacking in any of the previously mentioned areas, your opponent will beat you. This is the reason why I incorporated boxing into my program years ago.
Boxing is the only sport that can actually make a young athlete become more athletic and have a profound impact on their playing ability in any sport. Gymnastics, rugby, lacrosse, and wrestling are honorable mentions, but over time become impractical when an athlete reaches a high level in their chosen sport.
I like to make things simple to understand, rather than use complex words to make myself appear intelligent. Here is a diagram explaining my approach for off-season training:
From the above diagram, an athlete will lift weights during the off-season to prevent injuries for the upcoming season. The program should be designed to address weak body parts and/or muscular imbalances. Boxing will be implemented to focus on the attributes that will make him a better athlete on the field.
How important is it to be athletic in football? All you need is size, strength and speed! WRONG! I will remind everyone how every year in the NFL combine, there are those who sign contracts with teams because of the numbers produced in the events tested.
Unfortunately, even those who seem so gifted do not pan out. Take injury out of the equation and you will be surprised how many of the prospects do not make it in the NFL because of they are lacking one of the components boxing addresses.
Let me finish this article by letting my readers know I am not trying to make football players become professional boxers. That is the complete opposite of my intentions. Boxing is used as a tool to make them better football players.
Sparring is an option, but not required, just in case parents are worried about their child's safety. There is a lot to be gained with learning the basics of punching and moving around a double end or heavy bag.
Please feel to contact me with any questions or comments: Gareth@hcpbarbell.com