It’s tough to stay in game shape over the winter, and a global pandemic certainly hasn’t helped matters. But fret not, for help is here. These three drills will get you back into the swing of things for the fast-approaching Spring 2021 season!
1. Split squats
Helps with: quad strength, conditioning, injury avoidance
Aside from the brain, there is no more important part of a football player’s body than the quad muscle. Active and engaged on every single play, your quads are the pistons of your body, working to provide power and speed to send you flying past your opponents.
To perform at their best, our quads need care, and if you don’t believe me, believe Toronto Argonauts WR Natey Adjei. In this video, he breaks down how to properly do split squats at home, along with a host of other great exercises (extra weight optional).
The more you work on your quads off the field, the more performance you can expect from them on the field. This especially applies for running backs and receivers like Adjei. Your quads will determine how fast you can get in and out of cuts, and how elusive you can make yourself on a play-to-play basis.
2. Over the shoulder tennis ball toss
Helps with: hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, reaction time, hand speed
I know most football drills don’t start with their participants sitting on the floor, but if you’re looking to ease your way back into game shape, this is the drill for you. Take a seat and have a partner (as long as they’re in your bubble) sit behind you. Give your partner three tennis balls, and have them lob those green spheres over your head. Keep your head still and your eyes forward. As they come into view, try and catch them while keeping your eyes “downfield.”
This might not sound like something that will help you out on the field, but getting practiced at being able to react and catch an object that flashes in front of you quickly will help with your ability to catch the football on both fast and slow-developing routes.
When running a hook or a slant, the pass will often be thrown before you can get your head around. This drill will improve your ability to catch a ball that is already halfway between you and your quarterback.
It will also help with over-the-shoulder passes. If you and your quarterback are truly in sync, the ball should be about three quarters through its journey as it descends from the heavens and into your arms. This doesn’t leave you a lot of time to react as the pass arrives, but if you put in some work with the tennis balls, reaction time can be improved.
3. The ten-yard game
Helps with: reaction time, catching ability, completing the catch, hand strength, defensive playmaking
Let’s face it – there’s only so much you can do without a football. This drill will re-familiarize yourself with catching the ball, without you needing the space that running through the route tree requires.
As long as you have ten yards of grass (or carpet) and a football (or Nerf football), you can play the ten-yard game. Have you and a partner stand ten yards apart, facing each other, and with your partner holding the ball. Think of your partner as an opposing quarterback, and you as a safety ready to make an interception. Have your partner throw the ball in a random (yet attainable) direction in front of him/her. It’s your job to either make the catch, or get a hand on it.
This drill might not be the best for your next laundry cycle, but getting a little muddy isn’t something the Toronto Flag Football League shies away from. It will also help you with completing the process of the catch all the way to the ground, as it will test your ability to hold onto the ball through contact with the turf.
Flag football drills tend to emphasize offence, but just like in tackle football, a great defensive stand can mean the difference between a win and a loss. You never know when it could be your turn to make a play. With this drill, you’ll be ready for when your number is called.