Maintaining Tempo

maintaining tempo in football

Experts say that any game is won weeks before the kickoff ever happens. Teams start the winning process during the conditioning and practice sessions weeks before the season begins. Solid practice is essential in making players both physically and mentally strong enough to compete and win. And one of the keys to having a successful practice, is maintaining the tempo.

Maintaining the tempo of practice means there's no downtime. Not a second is wasted as the team moves from one play to another or repeats the same rep until players get it right. 

There are three reasons why tempo is so important for the game of football.

1. Energy--Maintaining the tempo of practice is good because it keeps the energy of the entire team up. Energy is infectious and having a strong, vibrant energy will take a physically talented team to the next level.

2. Get in more reps--Maintaining the tempo of the practice means no down time, so a team can get more reps in. More reps mean more opportunities for coaching tips to stick.

3. Keeping players engaged--Being able to maintain the tempo of practice helps keep players minds engaged on what's going on. Rather than getting distracted or bored, athletes are able to focus on the task at hand and truly engage throughout the entire practice.

The Importance of Rest


We're getting close to that time of year. Spring ball is wrapping up, and fall training is a few months away. Summer is a time for both the body and the mind to rest. And rest is so important.

Rest is essential for the body to regenerate. Physically, rest allows the muscles to replenish glycogen and repair body tissue. It's the regeneration phase when the body (and mind) really develop.

There have been many studies done about the condition of overtraining, but it's always a good idea to take a break when you notice the following symptoms: 

  • Moodiness and depression
  • Overall fatigue that doesn't go away after brief rests
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased illness and injuries
  • Altered sleep patterns. 

This depression could dampen the overall competitive desire. And a team that doesn't really want to win, won't.

Physical rest is good for the body and can help the recovery process. One of the easiest ways to get physical rest is to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes it harder for the body to maintain endurance. It also raises the cortisol levels and decreases human growth hormones which are essential during tissue repair. Sleep helps mental health, hormonal balance and muscular recovery. 

Mental rest, however is just as important as physical rest for competitive athletes. Taking a break and enjoying activities that are not a part of training are important for getting quality mental rest.

The benefits of mental rest include: 

  • Increased alertness and focus
  • Help with visualization
  • Improved learning
  • Enhanced mood (which helps the entire team.)

So, enjoy the time off. Get plenty of sleep. Chill with friends. Bring on the Netflix marathon. Fall will be here before you know it. 

The Importance of Off-Season Conditioning

The college football season has been over for a month. The peak recruiting season has been over for a few weeks. Spring football, for most programs, is still roughly one month away.

From a fan's perspective, this is a quiet time. There aren't even any preseason magazines to enjoy!

Do not underestimate, however, how important this time is in the life of a college football team.

Winter conditioning is often where some of the best teams are built. It's time when players, after some time off to rest their bodies, begin the slow climb toward peak health and strength, two things that get worn down considerably during the course of a long season. It's when a program's strength and conditioning staff takes over the coaching and works on the mindset of players by training for increased mental and physical toughness. Players call upon this training once the season rolls around.


Winter conditioning also helps identify new leaders among the players. The outgoing seniors are either preparing for their shot at the NFL or some other role in the job market. New guys, often seniors-to-be, set the goals and worldview of the team in January, February and March. Captains aren't often elected in the winter, but captains are discovered and shaped at that time.

Coaches generally adopt more of a hands-off approach during this period. They're still around, of course, making plans for the future, but they also want their strength staffs to do their best to build team bonds before spring football when all those players will be competing against each other for playing time.

Winter conditioning is also the time when dreams of better seasons are born. For any number of programs coming off of disappointing seasons, winter is when players envision a better season and make their pacts to achieve that vision.

The game of football takes a well-deserved break, and this is one of the slowest times of the year for the game. But football life is perpetual, and there's something important about this time, right now.