Before beginning to put in work this off-season, you must look ahead to next season. Football is a game that consists of rapid changes in direction on the field, and off the field as well. These changes can vary from moving up in level of play, a philosophical change by coaches, or moving to a whole new program. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure your off-season workouts are 100 percent focused on preparing you to succeed next season:
-What will physically be asked of me to compete throughout the entire season?
For example, let’s say last year you struggled throwing the deep comeback after play-action, but your offense is switching to a more quick passing game centered attack. Would it make very much sense to devote a great deal of time perfecting the skills needed to execute the play-action comeback throw? No. Another example: Your coach is planning to feature you as more of a runner in an option attack. In order to absorb the additional hits and be an effective rushing threat, you will need to add additional body mass while increasing quickness and overall speed.
Addressing these questions – and those mentioned in Part 1 of this series – you are now prepared to set specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely goals to guide your off-season development.
We at National Football Academies are big advocates of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals as they tremendously streamline the action phase, propelling your development to another level.
Let’s review S.M.A.R.T.
-The goal should clarify what actions you are going to take.
-Be able to track your effort and progress towards reaching your goal.
-At this very moment you are ready to take action, and you have the resources required.
-This goal is relevant to one of the areas of development you defined during your last season review and next season expectations.
-You can complete this goal within the off-season’s timeframe.
While setting your goals for the off-season, we suggest starting with the biggest needs first. This should be a skill, or physical or mental component you struggled with during last season. It can also be a major philosophical change from last year that requires the development of a new skill. Don’t overload yourself; pick a few goals at a time. We also suggest dividing current goals among the three areas of development – skill, physical and mental. Additionally, make sure to use the resources at your disposal. Get teammates, parents and coaches involved to encourage and guide you through the process. Lastly, remember to push the pace, limits and boundaries. Set goals that are currently above your performance level, but reasonably reachable.