Last Updated on March 28, 2010 by Jimson Lee
There are a lot of coaching experts out there who deal with sports specify.
And they all charge big bucks.
I simply look at any given sport and break it down to the fundamentals of training principles and sports physiology.
For example, I’d rather focus on the short speed of a Soccer player than to advise a 10km long run after the workout. After all, its first to the ball, right? What use is being “in great condition” at the 85 minute mark if you can’t beat your opponent to the ball?
Or, why is it when a Hockey team has a bad game, the coaches punish them with a 7am morning skate practice? The coaches feel they are sluggish from lack of cardio, so they inject more cardio into their practice!
A hockey shift last up to 45 seconds on a good shift and can even be as low as 20 seconds during overtime periods. With 3 lines, they have twice the recovery, plus additional timeouts from regular whistles.
So when I came across this article on ESPN on San Francisco 49er’s Josh Morgan, I shook my head in disbelief.
The part questioning Morgan’s speed "triggered" something in him. Morgan reported spending extra time at the track with 49ers teammate and fellow Washington, D.C., native Vernon Davis, and Davis’ younger brother, Miami Dolphins first-round choice Vontae Davis. Their trainer would make up workouts from hell.
They might run 10 100s in less than 12 seconds apiece, six 200s in less than 22 seconds each and two 400s in a time Morgan couldn’t quite recall, other than to say it was less than 50 seconds.
You start praying for your legs so you can walk to your car and get home after that workout," he said.
My reaction? WTF?
- 10 x 100m in 12 seconds?
- 6 x 200m in 22?
- 2 x 400m in sub 50?
Are these workouts misquoted or was there an error in the printing?
What are the goals of these workouts? Speed or just plain “conditioning”? Getting the legs “ready” for football?
What’s the longest play in football? A rare 100 yard punt return?
Unless Josh Morgan plans to be a two sport athlete for Track and Football (like X-Man Carter once upon a time), I find these quoted workouts scary for a football player as compared to doing shorter sprint workouts to a max of 7 seconds.
Even some of those projected workout times are shocking for a regular Track athlete. Why is he doing Intensive tempo lactate tolerance butt-locking workouts?
Let’s take a look.
10 x 100m Workout
A 10.5 100m sprinter doing a tempo workout at 75% would do the 10×100 in about 14 sec. 12 sec is about 87% medium intensity and will surely cause butt-lock from lactic acid at interval number 6 onwards.
If an athlete wanted to work on speed and speed endurance, I would recommend (building up over the course of the season) 4×30, 60, 80,100,120, 150 all with full recovery.
John Smith as well as Tom Tellez from the Santa Monica Track Club days would do a similar “Sprint Breakdown”: 100, 80, 60, 40, 20, all from the blocks with 6-8 minutes recovery between runs.
6 x 200m Workout
6 x 200m in 26 with short recovery of 90 seconds would make better sense, or 2 x 200 in 22 seconds with full recovery of 10-15 minutes. And this is for a track sprinter. See the Clyde Hart Train Slower to be faster article. Or see my post on the 6 x 200m workout.
But 6 x 200m in 22? Ouch.
2 x 400m Workout
This is a classic special endurance workout with full recovery for a 200-400 sprinter, and not a Wide Receiver. To prevent staleness, we would start a training cycle at 500-500 (20 min recovery), then the week after 500-450, then 450-450, 450-400, 400-400 and so on. As the volume decreased, the speed increases. Plus with the volume decreasing, we add more volume to another workout during the week, usually a speed endurance workout.
I like to keep an eye on training volumes, including foot contacts for plyometrics and weight training numbers, of course.
This isn’t really uncommon though. Most athletes.. and heck.. a lot of coaches don’t know the first thing about proper S&C and specificity. The amount of hamstring strains, repeatedly each season, on some football teams show that their S&C coaches don’t know how to properly program to prevent such injuries.
Then again, in professional sports MOST of the coaches are there to NOT get the athletes hurt — not to help them get better S&C work.
When you see shoddy workouts like this you know that the players who are doing them are either really football smart and/or have incredible genetics.
Jimson Lee says
@Steve – yes, the Coaches’ role is NOT to screw up your athletes.
jimson, would you be interested in providing me with a 400m/800m training programme?
I play football and did track and 10×100 is not very intense. Try 240 yard dashes, goalpost to goalpost, and make sure you give them all you have. Most I ran was 15 with 40 seconds break in between. After about a year, I went from running a 4.9 to a 4.4
And if you want to get better at football, specifically LBs, RBs, and WRs, squat your ass off in the weight room and buy the parachute