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Athletic Body Control The Movement Training Correlation to Football Speed

by: Dale Baskett
Football Speed Specialist
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Before we move to the details of movement training, let’s clarify what is football speed – the velocity and control by which variable movement patterns are executed efficiently without velocity loss. Most of the time it’s far easier said than done. My term for this activity is “Transition Speed.”

The second area to clarify is Athletic Body Control (ABC). The term “Athletic” means athletes and the exercises practiced by them in a sport that requires physical skill or strength. “Body” is the term that means the collective unit of body mass with moving parts. “Control” means to cause something to function in a certain way. Running fast while performing multi-movement changes requires efficient control of the body as an entire unit.

When considering training movement skills for football, you must recognize that movement is a detailed science of application for athletic body control. To create and train for high quality movement results requires movement strategies that will direct your athletes to control applied transition phases. Often coaches try to emulate the exact movements performed on the field for many positions. But these drills are necessary and serve a purpose for innate positional response. But they fail to deal with unfamiliar movement challenges that are less than deliberate. You need to provide situational cognition (perception) opportunity movement drills that train players for body control skills. These drills will equip players with control skills for negotiating all multi-movement challenges at high rates of speed.
Agilities – Terminology for Football Movement Training
Terminology in the football world has changed over time. Even with the changes, there’s still an understanding of the old and new within the football community. Often the same situations apply but with a different name tag.

Let’s take the term “agility”, a word that has been used for decades and still lives on. But it should have been replaced eons ago. The term is defined as: “the state of being agile, able to move quickly and easily.” The new term should be Athletic Body Control Training. The reasoning is simple. Football is about precise technical movements that are applied with optimum velocity control. An ABC training session focuses entirely on the technical execution of precise football transition movements. You could capitalize on your time efficiency for a more solid result. Eliminate the old tradition and create a new addition. Whenever I do a workshop or clinic, the first order of business is to examine the material being used for speed training. Next, I categorize it for application clarity, to properly place it where it belongs.

As an example, if it’s plyo work then call it plyo work, and if it’s conditioning, call it conditioning. Try to not lump everything together. Your athletes will focus better if they can identify the category and its purpose. An ABC session would be the opposite of the common agility sessions in today’s football programs. The focus will be on doing less, not more and specific, rather than random drills. The emphasis of each session is centered on refining movement patterns. Having less drills allows for optimal learning and less confusion. The time spent needs to be pointed toward teaching and refining the technical aspects of velocity and body mass displacement. You’re virtually teaching movement skill proficiency which is one of the most important components for football speed and movement.

Training for athletic body control isn’t about getting tired. Rather, it’s about creating athletic movement drills that refine technical mechanical movement control. It’s not about activity for activity sake or energized hustle. Everything should be relative to the title - athletic body control. The control factor is the main emphasis for all movement performance. In turn, it becomes an interfaced part of the foundation. One cannot substitute energy for foundational application.
Speed and Body Control
Running is what the game is about. Athletic body control is what we need to sustain maximum velocity with control. This equates to playing fast. Speed for speed sake, demanding that players move fast on every drill doesn’t deliver control with speed. The learning curve is passed by the most important aspect – technical control. The technique of any training endeavor, should always be the focus. Having an athlete’s feet landing in squares, or hopping to and from dots painted on the ground will not process movement that will be noticeable on the field.

The goal should be for every athlete on the field to move efficiently and  effectively with the greatest velocity possible. Moving around obstacles or another apparatus schematically placed is training the athletes to reinforce insufficient mechanical function, unless it’s addressed properly. Sports performance is the ultimate gauge by which you should evaluate the success of the processing system you’re applying.
Drills and Technical Applications
The technical movement drills are provided for you to learn the body control and movement factions that enable productive results for what really counts – playing fast with exceptional transition speed.

The drills included are to be applied to every schematic. They will stabilize body control and enhance transition speed.
A.  Eyes remain forward and level during all transitions.
B.  Arm–leg rotation remains active on all movement changes. It is common for limb speed to dissipate as soon as displaced movement change occurs.
C.  Elbows should remain inward, close to torso as movement transitions are performed. If they move outward, limb speed will dissipate significantly.
D.  Hips should remain up on a level sprint plane prior to and through the transition movement applied. 

Coach Baskett began his career as a football speed coach in 1979. During the last 35 years he’s 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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