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