In the past conditioning was a simple task for Florida State head strength and conditioning coach Vic Viloria-- Have guys run until they can't anymore, and once more than few seek the shelter of the nearest trash bin you can call it a day.
But now that a higher quality of athletes are being produced at the high school level, Viloria and his staff have adjusted how they prepare players for the upcoming season.
"I think we've always looked at conditioning, as a former football player-coach, I think we look at conditioning as if you don't have a few guys throwing up it's not conditioning," Viloria said. "If guys aren't passing out it's not conditioning. I think those days are gone. The athletes are so much better. They're trained in high school, the speeds at which they can run are tremendous. The size and strength has allowed us now to fine tune."
Rather than have each and every player run length-of-the-field sprints, Viloria has instituted shorter sprints to better simulate the explosiveness of individual plays in summer conditioning. After sprints, players break into their segments for position-specific workouts.
"More of our running was focused on what we do on the field," said linebacker Christian Jones. "We do a lot of sprints like 20-yard, 30-yard sprints, 40-yard sprints just like what we do in the game. We have about a good 15-20 seconds of recovery. The conditioning is based off of how we are on the field and I think that's going to help us out there on the field."
Each position workout is designed to train the players to use the same amount of energy and effort they would during a play. Receivers focus on being able to get in and out of their cuts quicker, while lineman focus more on their ability to explode in quick bursts once the ball is snapped.
Viloria and his staff are able to tailor these workouts based on research data provided by special GPS devices that he and his staff went to Australia to learn more about.
"Without knowing the body or having tools, we've always just relied on just we're going to run sprints or we're just going to run gassers because that's what I ran when I played or Coach did," Viloria said. "We're streamlining based off of energy needs of position. We're not running plays, we're not running routes, but skill guys-- receivers-- are going to run at a high speed and we're going to cover distance. Big guys are going to be more explosive and work in the 10-yard box, 5-yard box, and be able to repeat that as the summer progresses."
The technology and research has not only allowed the coaching staff to adjust the off-season conditioning, but it has also altered how they look at things like a players' top-speed. Rather than using the 40-yard dash as a metric of how fast a player is, Viloria and his staff now tell head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff what a player's top-speed is in miles per hour.
The 40-yard dash will always be used as a measuring stick due to events and testing such as the NFL combine, but an actual MPH rating may be more usual for coaches.
"When we train speed we want to train absolute speed," Viloria said. "Being able to look at it has always been available with GPS and radars, you can track miles per hours, look at baseball. Sometimes if it's a forty it can be based off of who jumps first, but this kind of puts a number on the thing. We've kind of started looking into that process of tracking that actual speed instead of the 40-time."
Viloria credits Fisher for being forward-thinking enough to allow he and his staff to veer off the traditional strength testing path a bit in order to get better results out of the players and provide the coaching staff with more pertinent information.
The technology doesn't make workouts any easier or more desirable for the players, but it just makes them more effective. Viloria and Fisher both know that a championship can't be won in the weight room, but it can be lost. After a productive summer or workouts, it's now on the players to execute for a successful season.
"We've seen great results, but they've still got to go play football," Viloria said.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial