The End of the Team Stretch Period

I’ve given up on team stretch. Between the loss of time, the waste of time, and the clouded purpose I decided to move on from it this past spring while I was still in Oregon. We instituted pat & go and OL agilities on offense days and pursuit drill on defense days.

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A loss of time

When I haven’t had a football weights class, I’ve lifted the players three days a week before practice for a max of thirty minutes. Since we practice in girdles and shorts anyway, it’s easy for the players to change into their t-shirt, girdle and shorts and come in and lift. Then after weights, quickly throw on volleyball knee pads and cleats and grab your uppers and hit the field. But if you’ve warmed up to lift, and lifted, why warm-up again to practice with a team stretch? It seems like a loss of time that could be used more constructively.


What’s the purpose?

I’m not really sure why you’re lining the kids up to do a 10 minute warm-up when they’re already warm. Also, what’s the purpose? If you have already lifted they’re ready to go. If you haven’t (you either don’t lift or you lift mid-day) pat & go is a great way to stretch them back out as is pursuit. For pursuit you may ask, “but isn’t this a sprint drill?” then why not have the players jog to their cones/areas for a rep to loosen up? So why spend the time putting the players in lines, and being picky and doing a warm-up longer than anyone in science suggests?

 

Steve Kenyon recommended 2-3 dynamic stretches to get the body warm before a lift. Dale Baskett trimmed ours down greatly when we hired him as a consultant at CCA to improve our field work sessions. I’m not saying I haven’t used a dynamic routine (see below) but as we adapt and grow we throw things away that aren’t purposeful.


A Waste of Time

I often find it to be a waste of time in general. If the purpose is redundant and it takes forever to do and stretches practice out even longer… why do it? I would rather warm up with something purposeful like pat & go, pursuit, or even kicking game. Those things are an integral part of football practice, and improve your actual football ability.

 

Another thing is when we do team stretch, it’s often a screw around time. Now we eliminated that at CCA by making all coaches be there and present in the drill. But that took years and a lot of work, and when coaches were late it was hard for one person to coach up 30 kids. However, pursuit drill takes 2 coaches, and pat & go split with OL agilities takes 2 coaches. As long as two guys are on-campus- you should be good to go!


Pre-Game

Friday before a game your squad will warm-up with pat & go for the QB/RB/WR and the OL will warm up in a blocking circuit (punch from knees, step & punch from GHP, and yo-yo drill from a fit) down in the end zone. Instead of a team stretch why not just get right into QB’s and Specialists doing their early warm-up before you get into pat & go? Then roll into some offensive indy before defensive indy (if you’re ironman, if not do your thing) and then the team period.


Pre-Practice

Some squads like to rep kicking game as their first session. I prefer to open an offense practice (if you’re ironman) with pat & go for the QB/RB/WR and agilities with the OL. If you’re a 2-platoon the offense can work pat & go while the defense does pursuit drill. If you’re an ironman squad run pursuit on a defense day.

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On mixed days (Monday and Thursday) I prefer to warm-up on Monday with speed camp and Thursday we can jump right into pat & go and OL agilities to get your pre-game routine down. On a Thursday run through we will rep both pat and pursuit.


Wrap-Up

In the end it is what you prefer as a coach. I prefer to get out of on field practice in 90 minutes. I can’t see a reason to practice any longer than that.

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