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AFM Magazine

Speed Report Ė Execution in Football and In Football Speed

by: Dale Baskett
Football Speed Specialist
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In football, execution is a key component to  winning, performing consistently, confidence, attitude, focus enhancement, skill development, and a commitment to excellence.

As Vince Lombardi said, ďThe quality of a manís life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field or endeavorĒ. Lombardi believed in the premise of having pride in execution to the maximum degree. His premise in the world of football speed is absolutely paramount for results. I never knew Lombardi but did have the privilege of being hired by Hall of Fame guard Jerry Kramer. After his retirement, he flew his two boys out to train with me for a week while one was in high school and the other in college. It was an honor to work with his sons and help improve their speed skills.

Cyclic Execution and the Eyes - Key Elements

Even though movement on both sides of the ball must be executed effectively, offense is more of a designed plan than defense. Precise movements must be biometrically executed when running at an aggressive high velocity. Cyclic execution has to be controlled to establish maximal speeds, even though we know that the eyes are critical to performance. Another eye technique is often overlooked Ė the visualization of a goal.

Seeing the execution of your task visually before you take a single step is an enormous aid to performing the applications required. Visualization can be the best measure taken for assuring maximum movement patterns. The first step taken must be mechanically accurate due to the fact that every other step follows the first movement. Many movements always cause a certain amount of velocity deceleration during the transition phase of a movement.

What I call pre-visual training can alleviate a great deal of mechanical ineffectiveness by applying visualization training consistently. Your athletes will play much faster because they virtually have seen the goal in their mindís eye before taking any action. I utilize this technique daily with all my drills sets. It soon becomes a solid habit with the players. It will pay huge dividends by establishing this method into your program. You will also experience concentration and focused growth dramatically over time.

Another piece of the puzzle is cyclic focus. This is, technically, the most difficult element the athletes have to deal with during football speed drill work. Why? Because if they canít feel whatís going on within their body and limbs during the phases of variation speed movements, they will never control transitional direction changes effectively. Keep in mind that the greater the speed, the more difficult this mental feeling process is to control. Always train slower, first to gain control and feel, then increase speeds in increments. If not, control and execution will be lost in the movements.

The motor imprint has to be established accurately over a period of time to gain the mental feel for conscious processing. If you hurry this process, you and your athletes are likely to fail every time. By ignoring cyclic function control processing, you are really working in vain. Many coaches do. But itís easy to fix and apply if you have the right methods and tools as well as directions for the proper applications included. You risk the loss of developing the most important aspect on the field - trained speed. I encourage you to contact me and train with the correct speed methods.

Physical Prowess or Execution

Thereís nothing wrong with strength and power for the game if you understand categorizing what, when, where, why, and especially how. But you cannot include speed execution with the muscle forces that roll out of the weight room. However, Iím not implying that being physical is negative.

Power gain has to be in direct compliance with mechanical efficiency. The weight room doesnít offer continued cyclic movement. Coupled with limb speeds at excessive frequency, the two do not equate. The frequency is nonĖstop limb revolution from point A to B but the same is not true in the weight room.

The athlete must have a bit of cyclic control to direct the power gained. Itís an entirely different skill set that doesnít come out of the weight room. At least two days per week for processing the skill set are needed. The training should take place on a good surface thatís flat for consistent strike stability so each step taken can produce greater velocity control. An uneven surface is a challenge to rhythm and control. We need solid motor imprints to gain the efficiency factor that is critical for improving speed. Youíre not going to get fast running on a rocky beach. Try to find some surface that works.

Iíve covered the what, when, where, and why issues. Now, the only one left is how. The easy answer is execution. The following drills will help you with the development issues concerning speed execution. They are only as good as the execution of the technical application described as the diagrams progress. Remember, execution is the focus on everything presented.

Diagram 1. Shuffle with eyes level with a five yard plant burst to various angles. Keep upper body tall over the foot strike on shuffle which will keep you in position to control transition.

Diagram 2. Shuffle for five yards (same technique as in diagram 1). Switch at zone two to a lateral run with upper body staying tall over the foot strike. Set a rhythm on the lateral run at 80% of maximum speed. At the next zone, increase speed to 100% on lateral movements. Burst straight ahead on last zone with eyes level. Have a quick limb reaction on exchange from lateral to sprint phase.

Diagram 3. Straight burst to quick plant to lateral movement (stay tall with arms active on the plant). Keep the arm rotation short and rhythmical during lateral phase. Burst straight for five yards and then decel for five yards. Stay tall over foot strike on the decel phase.

Diagram 4. Release easy at 60% of maximum speed. Plant at eight yard strike at 80% (keep arms active on the plant ) to straight stride. Plant again at the last cone to accelerate straight for 12 yards. Make sure you have an aggressive limb rotation on the sprint. 

Coach Baskett began his career as a football speed coach in 1979. During the last 33 years heís consulted and trained hundreds of coaches and thousands of athletes nationwide. In the last year he has worked directly with high schools in California, Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. Over the last few years he has also consulted with Texas Tech, Ohio State, USC, University of Washington, and the University of Mount Union. You can reach him directly for more information or if you have specific questions on your training program. Coach Baskett is at and 858-568-3751.


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