Performance Needs for Football
Excerpt from 'Complete Conditioning for Football' and NFLHS.com
Many factors make up a good football player. Some players are born with the natural talent to play football, while other have to work harder to make up for a lack of ability. But regardless of your level of talent, you can become a better player. There are no shortcuts to becoming the best player you can be, however; it takes lots of hard work and dedication. This book provides you with a conditioning program that has been proven to work for thousands of football players, including the 1994 and 1995 National Championship team at the University of Nebraska. The hard work will come as you condition, using this program: the dedicated effort must come from you.
A sound character is the basis for being the best player you can be, it assures a solid foundation. Character is a person's attitudes and behaviors, based on the individual's values. A person's values reflect his view of reality.
At the extremes, two opposing views of reality are evident in today's world, and each of us falls some place between the two. These views govern the values, attitudes, and behaviors that in turn determine our character. One view holds that each person is to do his own thing. That is, there is no absolute truth; rather, whatever a person does can be rationalized to meet the needs of the situation. This views holds that life is short, so get the most pleasure as possible out of it right now; the end result is more important than the means. The other view holds that there are infinite and unchanging absolute truths and natural laws that govern all people, and that you must live in harmony with these fundamental principles to achieve your maximum human potential. To know yourself, you must have a philosophy of life that does not change according to the situation, a philosophy that gives you a true personal identity. Through knowing yourself you acquire self-mastery and through self-mastery you can delay gratification and make sacrifices.
Coach Tom Osborne, formerly the head coach of the University of Nebraska, stressed six character qualities and values during team meetings, which are:
The most significant aspects of his messages are the cornerstones: belief and unity. There are many different character qualities and values that vary with the individual. What is important is that you select a few basic character traits that provide a code of conduct based on your own personal values and an ultimate meaning of life for you.
In order for any football program to work, you must first believe in it. For example, the Nebraska football team believes that if they are the most physical football team, they will win games. Many programs fail because the athletes do not believe in them. They question what the coach is trying to accomplish or feel something else will work better. Belief is best instilled in players by coaches whose action reflect what they communicate to the team. A coach with a strong belief has the ability to demonstrate his knowledge and understanding of the program to the team.
Unity is the University of Nebraska football team's motto. A team that has strong unity unleashes the greatest effort possible from each player and coordinates it so the team works together as a unit. A team without unity may get great effort from each player, but the efforts are not in harmony with the rest of the team.
Resolve is a fixed purpose of mind to focus all actions on the accomplishment of a specific goal.
Discipline means following through on your resolve. The simple disciplines of coming to practice at a certain time every day, doing certain workouts in the weight room in the off-season, and making a consistent effort on the playing field enable players to begin to gain some control over their lives and to become disciplined in other endeavors.
Courage enables you to conquer your fear. You can begin to understand more about yourself based on how you react to fear. Each time a problem is met head-on and defeated, courage is strengthened. Eventually, encountering problems is seen as opportunity to exercise and strengthen your courage.
Perseverance is the ability to continue to believe in yourself when facing adversity. You need perseverance in all aspects of your life, including conditioning for football. Every player has reached a plateau in his training in which no further progress seems possible regardless of unrelenting endeavor. Don't become discouraged when you reach a training plateau; they are normal and necessary for your progress.
There are no shortcuts or secrets to achieving your maximum potential. You must take one step at a time, one step building to the next step. Sometimes you must take a step or several steps back and go around in order to reach your goal.
Mike J. Arthur, C.S.C.S., is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable strength coaches in the nation. He joined the University of Nebraska staff as an assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1976. In 1994 he was named assistant director of athletic performance at Nebraska. During his tenure at Nebraska, the university has produced many advances in the strength programs used by athletes throughout the nation. His research helps Nebraska stay on the cutting edge of football conditioning. In 1995 Arthur was named National Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Society.
An AAU wrestling champion at 123 pounds for Nebraska in 1970, Arthur was a collegiate and junior national powerlifting champion in the 132-pound weight class in 1977. A ten-time Nebraska powerlifting champion, he set a world record with a 540.25-pound dead lift in the 132-pound class.
He and his wife Reena have two daughters, Tara and Rachel, and a son, John.
Bryan L. Bailey, C.S.C.S., specializes in reconditioning athletes. He has served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach on the University of Nebraska staff since 1987. Nationally recognized for his innovative training methods for reconditioning, Bryan works with doctors and trainers to modify injured athletes' strength and conditioning programs.
Bryan received a B.S. degree in exercise physiology from the University of Nebraska and an M.S. degree in exercise science from the United States Sports Academy.