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Band Sprints With CrossFit Football by Raphael Ruiz - CrossFit Journal

In CrossFit, HD Videos, Sports Applications

February 08, 2012

Video Article

Band sprints are no joke.

“It gets a little serious ... especially if you’ve never done ’em right,” Raphael Ruiz says during a CrossFit Football Trainer Course.

He instructs the group on how to do band sprints safely and effectively. Build up to the sprint and then kick up the asphalt, Ruiz explains. The goal is to teach athletes speed, not to provide so much resistance that they’re barely moving.

“We’re not trying to make this an ugly run,” he adds. “It doesn’t have to go very far, but it should look like a sprinter.”

Still, Ruiz says many running techniques lose the essence of what it is to be fast, particularly for athletes like football and baseball players, whose speed can win or lose a game.

“What is running fast? What is the definition?” he asks. “You get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible. Understand that.”

9min 25sec

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Additional reading: Sport-Specific Training Using CrossFit Fundamentals by Kevin W. Cann Jr., published May 14, 2011.

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27 Comments on “Band Sprints With CrossFit Football”


wrote …

Sorry, but I don't like Rafael's training method. If he was my " coach" ! I would be looking for another... Especially if I paid for advanced training . He may know his sh.t, but don't talk down to the people paying your salary. Look at pull up virtuosity video and see the teaching method used there. Effective and respectful.


wrote …

Great stuff! I use this at least once a week in my high school sports class. Keep the videos coming CFFB crew.


wrote …

CFFB is awesome. John and his team really know their stuff. Great Cert


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Great video,
Way too many people do band sprints the wrong way.

Raph is one of the best coaches I've ever had contact with.

His roster of Elite athletes and World Champions speaks for itself.


wrote …

In my very, very humble opinion, a good coach always struggles to balance on a very fine line. This line is the bridge between two separate but intertwined areas of foci for a performance coach. On one end you have weight room successes through positive reinforcement and coddling to ensure retention and positive outcomes in training. On the other end you have to deal w/ the very harsh reality of on-field, on-court, in-water and down range "preparedness & effectiveness". To look at the disappointment in the athletes' faces as they recognize that the training you provided failed them is a brutal hurt. Sometimes you have to walk an athlete through their journey, but sometimes the insulting nature of a drill instructor will save his or her life when they are sprinting from cover to cover. Sometimes coaches' sand paper approach comes off harsh and they may lose clients, but to see someone perform effectively and to get home safely is just enough thanks. Often times good, effective coaches aren't liked, but they don't care as long as they are respected for the job that they do.


replied to comment from Fred Abbatantuono

I really don't understand what's the big fuss you are referring to Fred.

Fine he might be blunt at some points but not respectful?


wrote …

Great video Raph! Bringing the idea of 4th and goal, stealing second, or running away from a bad person is great way to use emotion to enhance your training. If it brings out better performance in your client or athlete, as we saw in the video, you are a better coach for doing it. Keep up the great work.

p.s. I've been doing band sprints incorrectly, love the cue DIVE AND DRIVE!!


wrote …

It's a shame that the first couple posts are negative. Guys, Raph is so ahead of the game with his understanding of human performance. And as he said, there is a balance that he has to maintain. Obviously it's going to be a struggle to maintain a balance- that's what life is about.

Keep it up Raph, and I hope you guys continue to make videos. Hoping you guys plan a trip to OH soon.


wrote …

Raph, I enjoyed the CFFB cert. thought you, John and Max were awesome coaches. I agree there is a line and never felt that you or anyone crossed it when teaching the class. You were always respectful to us students as well as firm in making sure we understood importance of movements and skills. Keep up good work and some people just can't help being haters.


wrote …

Huge fan of band sprints for Basketball, Also, a huge fan of his coaching style. As a Basketball Coach, I understand the need for intensity in your coaching. He was intense not degrading, When you are coaching athletes in competitive sports, I believe they look for you to provide motivation and intensity for them to mirror. They need to know you believe in what you are doing. Not only was he inspirational in his style, he also supplied positive reinforcement when warranted. Great Job and Great Video.


wrote …

Good vid. Didn't really notice anything that could be construed as 'down talking' or 'degrading' as some of the other responders mentioned.

To be more applicable for basketball, can these be done on an indoor court surface? It's a bit more slick which might get you used to sprinting in those conditions, right?


replied to comment from Raphael Ruiz

I was very fortunate to be a part of this certification. I never felt that you degraded us, humiliated us or talked down to us. The fact of the matter is, you are trying to prepare us to be better coaches and better athletes, not coddle us. Your coaching techniques were very effective from my perspective. For those that are offended by your style, I say "CFFB isn't for everyone."


wrote …

Raphael, excellent job. Thanks for the tips. Forget the haters.


replied to comment from Dave Traeger

I do all my speed work indoors, so players are used to running on the same surface; obviously grip changes a lot from pavement, to turf, to BBALL Court. I also do banded defense posture drills using bands where the players are pulling the load from the side. I also like to use the 360 resistance belts. This allows the player to quickly change direction, drop step, and a perform a ton of other movements all with resistance.


replied to comment from Dave Traeger

Great job Dave! When you're using resisted jumps, hops, bounds, skips and runs in your program, be certain to keep in mind the traction that your athletes are getting. If you happen to be on a track w/ spikes, a clean basketball/volleyball court etc., there is less coefficient of release. This allows for the athlete to aggressively "Dive & Drive" out over top and to feel like they are a rear-driven car that is pushing them down the court or track w/o falling or slipping. But keep in mind, the greater the lean, the greater strain on the lower leg musculo-tendinous complex. Be sure to progressively (over the course of months) build up in speed, aggressive angle and volume. Perform a thorough dynamic warmup and most important: prior to and during, ensure that your athletes are effectively increasing the active mobility of their calves, soleus, achilles, plantaris and such.


wrote …

Raph, as a rugby coach I always try to use a calm and measured manner with my players. I don't believe that the drill sergeant screaming/belittling approach, which I often see football coaches use in particular, is effective long term. However, I didn't see any of that evident in this video! All I saw was a knowledgeable coach, excited about what he is doing.

One question about your philosophical words on speed, being defined as the quickest way from point A to point B. But isn't the analogue of the form vs power output in the broader Crossfit world? In other words, yes the goal is to get from A to B in the quickest time, but there is some need to focus on form/technique in order to achieve the goal. It seemed to me from the video that you were implying that to heck with technique, just get there, whereas to me as a coach, I want some focus on technique during training, because ultimately that should result in quicker times. Obviously this video is just an exert, so maybe some of the message is lost, my apologies if I haven't correctly understood your point.

Thanks for another good video.


replied to comment from Matthew Parsons


Absolutely correct good Sir. i don't believe in demeaning anyone. From what we've gathered about State Dependent Learning, we strive to utilize what we term as the "Spielberg Approach". We feel that like good directors getting their actors into character, a good coach should develop the emotional responses.

In terms of speed: what we've recognized over the years, he majority of the problems w/ peoples' running technique is often corrected w/ a comprehensive and integrative performance program that ensures a multidirectional emphasis on quadruple extension. the aggressive extension of the ankles, the knees and the hips needs to "extend" the spine so that their center mass moves. If optimal mobility and structural integrity are developed, then the limiting factors for being fast are decreased. For example, poor arm swing is often attributed to upper cross syndrome/weak middle to low traps. if that exists, then the athlete tends to swing side to side; which reduces speed. Stride length is often inhibited by the opposite hamstring and ipsilateral hip flexors; which reduces speed. If an athlete takes ownership of structurally aligning their joints and integrating them into one another, then form is easy to teach. The last piece of the puzzle is what was shown on the vid and was our attempt to teach the emotional response of sprinting. we spent the entire morning teaching posture, arm swing and "Dive & Drive" techniques. So yes, a mix between form and application of power exists, but in the end some athletes often times "think" too much and become paralyzed. At that point where acceleration and sprinting warrants itself, the state of emotion that they learned the patterning will manifest itself as their biomechanical habits.


replied to comment from Fred Abbatantuono

Fred A... I dont know you never met you so I'll critique you with the same insight you used to critique Raphael Ruiz, actually never mind that'll take too much effort. What I will say however, is that I have yet to meet anyone in the athletic industry as knowledgeable, and professional as Mr Ruiz. He is a walking wikepedia, and you would be a fool not to want him as a coach. I never at any time felt as if I was being talked down to, and I learned so much in the short time I was around him. You might want to reconsider what you said, and instead attend the cert, but judging by your statement your t levels may be too low to handle the weight being moved that weekend. In any case thanks Ruiz for all you do.


Keith Wittenstein wrote …

Raph is an amazing coach! Go watch his youtube videos and you'll see he is intelligent, kind, humorous and ferocious. There are few coaches that inspire me as much as Raph. Great Video!


wrote …

Really loved this video - I go to a bootcamp style class where we do band sprints, and do them totally wrong! I need to get this video into the hands of my instructor, who is otherwise a good coach and a good guy.

As far as coaching style, Raph I thought you were great! I tend to dislike coaches who go in for excessive drama, but I didn't see that in you. I'd say your athletes are lucky to have you.


wrote …

I've done the CFFB cert with Raph, and I found him to be extremely respectful, knowledgeable, and focused on making everyone better.

There are not many coaches I know who put it all together like he does and focus on improving the entire athlete.
Great video and a great cert!


wrote …

I did these today, Raphael, exactly as you explained them, but I couldn't go anywhere! My girlfriend was holding for me, but it's like I was running in place. What do you think I was doing wrong? I was pose running and everything. I don't get it.


wrote …

Maybe I'm too anti drill instructor . I watched the vid again and with all the comments in mind, I offer my apology to Rafael.. I guess when dealing with a group, you must cut to the chase and present the vital information as quickly and efficiently as possible for the good of all. I will keep it in mind. Thanks for sharing.


wrote …

Fred, no apologies necessary Sir, you are absolutely correct! in the settings that we put ourselves into, such as our seminars, our workshops and in just about every coaching scenario, we're given an opportunity to develop a relationship w/ our athletes. These athletes respond to certain approaches in their own dynamic and individual way. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we fail. As an individual session works itself through, a micro-cycle, meso-cycle, macro-cycle and such, we learn from our athletes in reference to what responses that they need. But this doesn't always coincide w/ what they want. Rarely does anybody want to get screamed at or overly coddled. But you're right, developing the emotional quotient of being able to read your athletes in order to develop the most effective framework for learning is crucial for being a good coach. Because in the end, a strength/performance coaches' main responsibility is to help the athletes develop greater skill acquisition so they have something for their specific sports(s) coaches to mold into better "players". Thanks again Fred for your feedback.


replied to comment from Raphael Ruiz

Raph, thanks for taking the time to respond. That is great clarification.


wrote …

Raph...we have one dude who seems pretty sensitive and obviously prefers an arm round the shoulder approach to being told straight. If he can't see that its just you getting your point across well and with conviction, over talking to people like crap, I wouldn't sweat it. He must get offended real easy in life! Completely focusing on the wrong thing.

He wouldn't last 2 mins working with Coach Burgener!


wrote …

I am new to CF but I have been a high school weight training teacher for 6 years. There are so many positives about Ralphael's style of teaching, training and coaching that i want to embrace and use effectively. On a side note I don't coach football but I do coach track & field. Sprinting mechanics can be a beast to teach to an athlete, especially if they haven't been exposed to them before setting foot on the track. Of course you don't want your athletes performing movements wrong but you also don't want to spend too much time on a drill or concept that might be lost on an athlete who just isn't getting it. I don't beleive he was promoting the idea of abandoning good form/technique he was simply cueing them with something they could instantly do and understandably run faster because of the cue. For insttance, at one point he says something like "pull him over and make the guy work hard behind you." This type of cue was to keep the person doing the pulling honest and I liked that. I don't find it hurtful as musch as i do helpful. How can I find more video's like this one? I am in the learning stages and this is extremely helpful for me in my CF journey.

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