The game of football demands that you respect your body. It is vital that you not only get all your muscles in proper condition, but that you keep them that way. A muscle that is in good condition will not be easily injured.
The idea is to start out gradually, not trying to do everything in one day. Take a few exercises and do each a few times the first day. As the days go by, include all the necessary exercises and increase the number of times you do each one. Be very careful that you do not overstretch or tear any of your muscles. This can cause a permanent muscle injury that will either reduce or completely eliminate your active football play.
Here are a few suggestions on exercises that you can do:
(a) Touch your toes with your fingers, holding your knees stiff.
(b) Finger-tip push-ups and ordinary hand push-ups.
(c) The side-straddle hop, which is performed by jumping from a position of feet together to feet spread wide apart.
As you jump, you raise your arms from your sides and clap your hands together overhead. You return to your original position and then repeat the jump. Do this exercise rapidly.
(d) Do a half-knee bend, rotating your trunk, or bending forward and backward from your hips. Then, go into a full knee bend with the same trunk action.
These are all exercises you can do on your own time around home and with your buddy. Now, many boys find such a training program of exercises rather boring, but it is absolutely necessary if you are going to put yourself into proper shape to successfully play football. You simply cannot get into shape sitting in front of a television set. A boy can have a world of football talent, but it isn’t of much value to anyone when he has to spend all his time on the side lines with an injury caused by improper conditioning.
Along with your calisthenics, you need a good running program. In our game of football it is often said, “If you can’t run, you can’t play!”
You do not have to be extremely fast to be a football player, but you do need four running abilities:
(a) The ability to start quickly from a standing-still position.
(b) The ability to run with a smooth, effortless motion.
(c) The ability to change both your pace and your direction quickly and smoothly.
(d) The ability to “run all day” without getting winded. Of course, if you are a “speed merchant” it will mean much to your success on the football field. You can actually increase your speed to a slight degree through daily training.
When the coach calls on you to run the full football-field length of one hundred yards, you should be able to do so with ease. All coaches pay very close attention to the way a player runs. Despite the heavy equipment worn, football is a game in which speed plays a most important part. Every coach dreams of fielding a team of eleven “horses” who can really get out and go!
A good running program always includes “wind sprints.” The sprint action should cover ten to fifteen yards. You start out by walking, then jogging, then running, then sprinting. From your sprint, you slow down to running, then jogging, then walking. You repeat this several times over. During the first few days, do not try for quick starts or all-out speed. Work up to these two efforts gradually.
Apply yourself to getting fit and you will play a much better game of football.
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