One of the themes of the early off-season (usually a 1-3 week period) is to RESET OUR SYSTEM…
Resetting the system refers to taking a step back, revisiting some of the basics (mobility, form running, aerobic fitness, strength technique, etc.). We like to change up the program style (mixing the strength with various forms of fitness, simple circuits, integrated activities). This is often refreshing, from both the physical and mental perspective, and it is not quite as challenging as some of our other seasons.
We take this time to reconnect with the basic fundamentals, and there are no competitive testing or training goals. Instead we focus more on teaching, learning and most importantly, understanding the how and why we do what we do. This understanding phase is critical for getting players to buy into the program. The better they understand the system, the more effort they put into each workout. If you know where you are going, and you can clearly see the path in front of you, it’s easier to put your foot on the gas and attack the training at full speed!
One aspect of our program that drastically changes from season to season is agility. In our early off-season agility program we put all the attention on the deceleration or absorption aspect. We use simple exercises to help the athletes rhythmically absorb during the deceleration phases (this is also true for our jumping and landing / plyometric program during the early off-season). Here are some of the drills that we ran this week during the agility portion of the workout…
- Ladder: Fwd / Diagonal Hops (across the ladder) with a focus on deceleration (rhythmic hip and knee bend) as the player leans back into the ladder
- Ladder: Lateral Down 2 Back 1 Hops with a balanced absorb to pause on the hop back
- Defensive Footwork: Backward, Diagonal Crossovers with the primary absorption into an athletic position occurring on the inside leg
- Forward to Jockey Back: a 10 yd sprint forward to jockey back with an emphasis on absorbing rhythmically in the deceleration into a defensive position
- Stair Jumps: Rhythmic jumps up the stairs (hitting every stair, skipping 1 and skipping 2) while focusing on full extension in the jump and rhythmic absorption in the landing. We also do this on one leg, and for players that have trouble (weaker players) we let them hold on to the rail as they hop up the stairs. This assists them in balance while also helping to unload the landing leg, making it easier to absorb rhythmically.
Why do we slow things down and absorb? The focus of the early off season is strength, stability, rhythmic technique and positioning. The slower you do the drills, the more strength is required. The slower you absorb in hopping motions the more stability, balance and strength you will develop. Too often players land to stiff (lack the strength to fully absorb), and although this is great for speed and stretch shortening cycle phases, it is essential to strengthen the landing in the early phases. This is a critical component of both agility and reduction of injury risk.
Focus Action of the Week:
Try to remove all the negative aspects from your life while embracing the positive aspects. You will be amazed at how good you will feel.