This concept is Completion vs. Performance – The link between practice and on-field performance.
The hardest part of working with athletes is motivating them to perform. It’s like the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I could have the best workout but I would still need my athletes to work as hard as prescribed.
This happens in weightlifting and conditioning. Have an athlete perform 5 repetitions and they COMPLETE their set. Have them perform a set number of sprints and they COMPLETE this number. Time them or create a sticking point for their weight, now they PERFORM. Create incentives or race athletes against each other, now they PERFORM.
The point is: if your athletes are practicing BAD skills, then they are working on BAD performance. If they are just doing the bare minimum and COMPLETING drills, then they are not working on PERFORMANCE.
Here are just a couple of ideas to motivate athletes to work harder and sharpen their skills with strength and conditioning:
Racing – Competitive Speed Groups
This is from Mark Watts at Denison University. For sprints they line their athletes up in 3 lines, matching people of similar speed. After the first sprint, the athletes line up from left to right as #1, #2, #3. As the sprints go on it will be obvious to the athletes who is on the left side the longest and who remains on the right side.
This can also be accelerated to another level. Once an athlete is #3 more than once, they can be bumped backwards in line and the more frequent #1 from the second row can be bumped up. This drill will isolate those that talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.
Why this is good for your team:
1) Highlights younger athletes that are faster than believed
2) Keeps upperclassman honest with their skills/speed
3) Motivates everybody to try harder – on EACH sprint
*similar drill can be constructed with agility drills or obstacles
Strongman Training/Team Competition
Strongman training can be very beneficial and it’s just plain fun!
Most pieces of equipment can be converted to a strongman implement
*Dumbbells as farmers walk
*Heavy weights or sandbags as Husafell stones (weighted carry)
*Loaded bars in place of Log competitions or actual Slater Logs
*Assorted equipment for loading and dragging
*LOTS of equipment that is specific to strongman
Strongman training is a motivational tool by having weekly, biweekly or monthly competitions as a reward for hard work.
*Side Note: It is tough to do daily strongman training, because it has such high variability and intensity. Regular strength training should account for much of the needed strength and conditioning for strongman events because they are resisted athletic movements.
How to organize an inter-team competition:
1) Break up into teams of 4 or 5
2) Create a series of events that can be altered or adapted (deadlifts, DB deadlift, Hex bar
deadlift, etc.) to fit your equipment
*Set up 4 or 5 of each event depending upon # of teams (4 teams = 4 deadlift stations)
3) Allow athletes to compete in their respective positions or weight classes (teams should have
a balanced team – lightweights, middle, heavy or receiver, running back, lineman, etc.)
4) Keep score and reward
Why this is good for your team:
1) Allows positions to operate outside of their “position click”
2) Allows underclassmen a chance to participate with upperclassmen
3) Keeps moral high and gives some motivation to those working hard in the weight
room – shows accomplishment
4)Builds sense of competitiveness and team WEEKLY
*Many teams do a big competition at the beginning of the year and then abandon
this idea, allowing athletes to operate in bubbles instead of as a team
*This keeps your lifting program accountable and your athletes accountable
for each other
Many other things can be done. It just takes creativity. These are planned progressions and activities, but remember to use time wisely.