Video Article

According to CrossFit Football trainer Raphael Ruiz, the No. 1 goal of a good football strength-and-conditioning program is to increase speed. The No. 2 goal is getting athletes to replicate that.

“Replicate speed, replicate speed, replicate speed,” says Ruiz.

“It’s a very, very difficult pill for us to swallow as gym rats because, oftentimes, how many of us have ever been going through a workout or WOD where you know, ‘This isn’t as fast as I can go’? You know that, ‘This isn’t the best that I can possibly do. I just want to get through it.’”

When training athletes, however, the intent should be for them to perform as best as possible in their sport. That’s accomplished through the right kind of training, Ruiz says.

“You will always fall back on your level of training,” he says. “I want to make sure that my ‘default’ is as good as it can possibly be.”

Likewise, great coaches are able to train the emotional response, Ruiz explains.

“One of the things that we always tell the athletes is ‘be a bullet in a gun.’ No matter if you’re on field, no matter if you’re in the weight room, you’re trying to develop the mentality that you’re a bullet in a gun,” he says. “Squeeze the trigger, the bullet does what? Does it think? Does it hesitate? Does it go slow? It goes as hard, as fast as it can possibly go—no matter what.”

7min 34sec

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Additional reading: The Deeper Side of Coaching by Ben Bergeron, published on Dec. 2, 2011.

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15 Comments on “CrossFit Football: Teach Athletes to Be a Bullet in a Gun ”


wrote …

Actually, the number one goal should be injury prevention and deceleration then speed, speed, and more speed.


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wrote …

Ricky, I think "injury prevention and deceleration" are implied...A thorough warm-up, proper mechanics, etc are a given to prevent injury. For deceleration, when you teach olympic lifting, you focus on getting the bar overhead, not how to drop the bar. When you teach sprinting, you focus on acceleration, not slowing down.


wrote …

This is a spectacular video. I remember when I was playing in the semis in a state championship basketball game. Win this one and we play for the championship. One of our players was nursing an injury and he asked the coach if he should take it easy. "No," the coach said. "If you lose this one you're done. You put everything you've got into this game." I agree with that, and I agree with what this guy said, and I think if you go into competition worried about getting injured, you'll never win anything.


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Great Coach, Great Video


wrote …

This video reminds me of the workout I did yesterday, in which i wansn't a bullet..


wrote …

Ricky Frausto, i agree 100% w/ your statement. The best thing about that: if you emphasize preventing injuries 1st & foremost, there's ALWAYS an improvement in on-field, on-court, in-water & down-range performances. But the opposite doesn't always hold true. Later on in the lecture, we elaborated further into how the body is wired to reduce force, align joints and then to produce force. Too many of us coaches forget that "producing force" is only 1/3 of our responsibility to optimally develop our athletes as "prepared & effective".


replied to comment from Roger Lee

Roger, its great that you recognize it! Now make your changes and "be a bullet". Its going to take patience, forging in a hot furnace and an extreme dedication to a bigger picture. Good coaches prepare their athletes like sharp shooters & archers prep their projectiles. Give yourself an appropriate grain w/ optimal propulsion for your weight. Smoothed & polished to decrease resistance. House you in a secure and comfortable barrel, a steady hand and eye aligning you up in the direction that you will be most effective (coaching: skills and judgements). Then when the time is right, squeeze or release. Let you and your athletes fly, to do what we've prepared them to do.


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Points well-made, thanks


wrote …

Huge fan of Raphael . Really like the Quote " Perfom the common uncommonly well" Makes me really think about what we are doing as coaches and maybe we over complicate where simplification is really needed. Thanks Coach!


wrote …

i don't understand what "replicate speed" means. does it mean "be fast"? when your fast, your not replicating speed you are being fast. i'm just tring to figure out if i'm missing something related to the word "replicate"


replied to comment from Ryan Tyler

Hey Ryan. Yes Sir, fast means fast. So its more of a philosophical approach. Its what we term psycho-motor evolutions. If you're supposed to be fast, train fast. We can train anyone to be faster, but can we get our athletes to be faster every single time. This should be regardless of energy level, field conditions, lack of motivation, etc., etc., etc. Often times we condition ourselves to "just make a time", but what are we exactly conditioning for? If called upon in a game and committed to a movement and skill, rarely are we ever asked to produce a sub-maximal sustained effort. The jogging in between bursts in soccer, rugby, basketball or even back to the huddle in a high octane offensive scheme in football is a recovery and set-up phase. That is the easy physiological response to develop; work capacity. But what has proven the most difficult to develop is the athlete's ability to be faster and then to replicate that same velocity from the 1st play to the last. Again, you are absolutely correct in that a 4.2 is fast. But can we "condition the heart & soul" of the athlete to copy that absolute high speed every single play. Anybody can be trained to pull back on the reigns and just finish, its called jogging w/ a soft "J". But it takes a champion's heart to go as fast as their capable of going, every single play. Evaluate the difference between Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson's movements throughout the entire game (especially when the ball isn't coming to them) vs the rumors surrounding athlete's such as Randy Moss. The point that we were trying to make there was that even if you go beyond work capacity and develop greater strength and power. Then evolve even farther into developing faster and faster athletes. After that, success is graded by how well your football players are carrying that new level of FAST from the 1st to the 2nd quarter and then again from the 3rd to the 4th quarters. Ryan, i hope that this helps to clarify any confusion.


wrote …

I'm usually happy w/ one solid take away from a video or article. I got a solid 3 from this one. 1.) you'll fall back to the level of your training. 2.) replicate speed - the football players I train will get those shorter more intense couplets/triplets for higher rounds in order to ensure that they can repeat times consistantly.. 3.) Bullet in a gun.. Great mantra that will stick w/ players all the time Quarters 1,2,3 and 4..

Great points and speaks well for the whole CF Football community..


wrote …


Awesome video! I love any reference to the tactical athlete. It reminded me of the Ranger's Creed, "...I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier..." An Athlete's goal should be to be faster, stronger, and fight harder than their counterparts. I agree with the statement of how someone will go back to your level of training. We have a saying, "Better sweat now than bleed later". Great Job!


replied to comment from Ricky Frausto

Ricky...have you ever played football. And if so, college or professional. If not, you don't have room to talk.

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