By: Steve Yahns, MS, CSCS, NASM-PESAssistant Director of Performance, Lead Methodology EducatorSpectrum Sports PerformanceSpring football: How Are You Getting Better?

For many high school and college football players, the spring football season can be seen as a pain in the butt requirement that interrupts your long off-season or spring break plans. But we all need to view spring football as not only an opportunity to get better, but really as the start of next season.

Let’s face it, nobody should’ve been happy or satisfied with last season. Only one team won it all and every player on that team should still not be happy or satisfied with the season. Don’t get me wrong, the coaches, players, staff, and family members should always take time to celebrate an amazing accomplishment like winning a title, but each and every player knows that they could have played better. Everyone can improve and the truly great players are never satisfied with an individual win or a winning season. Once again, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take time to appreciate the accomplishment, but we should always realize that we can get better. Great players are desperately hungry to improve in every way that they can, so great players embrace spring footballand see it as a chance to get better as an individual and as a team; great players love such opportunities. While it may seem as an interruption to your ‘off-season’, great players understand that this is the beginning. The off-season in football is short, but who cares? Football is the greatest sport on the planet, and the chance to play should be an honor, and the chance to improve should be seen as a privilege, not a duty.

Now, I get it. Spring football is required so all of you will be there, but the question is, what are you doing to get better once spring football ends? There is about a two month period between spring football and practices. Remember, those who view spring football as the beginning of a new season understand that a lot of work needs to be done to improve. They understand that from day to day, week to week, and month to month more and more hay must be put in the barn. If you see yourself as a good player, who strives to be great someday, you realize that you don’t get a summer break. You realize that you don’t get to take vacations. You realize that everyday is a chance to get better, so that when games roll around you’ll be the one who deserves to start, you’ll be better than the man playing opposite of you, and your team will be better than your opponent.

So what are you going to do to get better? What are your physical weaknesses? If you are participating in an off-season program, are those weaknesses being addressed, fixed, and turned into your strengths? Make sure you answer these questions, and then think about what ELSE you can do. For example, can you back squat a ton of weight, but can’t squat your own body weight on one leg, or even balance on one leg for that matter? Or, can you power clean a lot of weight, but continue to have hamstring pulls or chronic low back tightness when running? Don’t get me wrong; don’t stop training your strengths, but give equal or more attention to destroying your weaknesses and making them into strengths. For example, let’s not worry about adding on another 20 lbs to your already impressive 400 lb squat, but let’s address why it takes you so long to get out of your stance and run once the ball has been snapped. News flash!!! Your 400lb squat is worthless if you’re the slowest guy on the field!!!!!

Great players tackle their weaknesses head on and chip away at them until they become strengths. Is this your mindset? If not, change your mindset or be happy with remaining an average player. So, let me leave you with this. Think about, and maybe even analyze what your training plans are after spring football and decide if you are currently doing everything you can to get better. Don’t hesitate to look for help from experts who specialize in helping athletes reach their peak mental and physical levels.

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