Take Inventory for Off-Season Improvement

It is important to not simply role into off-season workouts doing the same thing that you were doing during the season. Pause, process, take inventory, and form a plan to improve your game.

The season has come to a close and private workouts, college camps, 7on7, and summer ball are about to be front and center. No matter how your season played out, it is important to not simply role into off-season workouts doing the same thing that you were doing during the season. Do not get stuck in a plateau physically. Pause, process, take inventory of your skill set, and form a plan to improve your game.

The best way to improve is by understanding what you have to work on in the first place. Younger levels can keep this process super simple. However, the higher the level, the more detail the inventory on your skill set should be. Try to drill down and understand what type of player you are and why you lean that way. Below are a few items to inventory… Look at the points that are lagging behind and write out a plan to improve them during the off-season.

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SKILL SET
Speed: It’s more than just a 40-yard dash time. Zoom in on game speed or positional speed. Do you play running forwards or in a back pedal? Are you in a 3-point stance? What areas need improvement? Breakdown the way you play the game.
Size: Could you be stronger? Do you need to drop a few pounds to become quicker? Figure out a plan to increase, or even just to begin your exposure to the weight room. Everyone can be more productive working out.
Specialist Skills: All specialized positions have their own specific skills. Evaluate those individually and work to improve the small details. This includes Punters, Kickers, and Long Snappers.
Specialized Position Skills: ALL positions on the field have small details that can be evaluated. Back pedals for Defensive Backs, proper steps for Linemen, routes for Wideouts, footwork for Quarterbacks, and on and on…Evaluate yourself at the positions you play and find things to improve upon. Everyone has something.

PLAYBOOK
You can break the playbook down into three stages. Once you are 100% on the first stage, move to the second, then the third.

1. Do you know what you are responsible for on every play? Make sure you understand what you are supposed to do, and more importantly why? Blocking assignments, reads, fits, routes, drop zones, steps, player to guard, etc. To play fast, you must know what you are doing.

2. What are the guys next to you doing on each play?
 Football is a team game that takes all 11 guys to work together on each play. Knowing what guys around you are doing will improve your confidence, leverage, communication and teamwork.

3. What is the other team doing on each play? This goes for both sides of the ball. If you understand this, it will make you a better player that can read and anticipate faster. Some of the best players I have seen, on defense specifically, consistently knew exactly what the offense was doing.

In closing, it is progress not perfection and a realistic goal is to incrementally improve a lot of different things a small amount. In other words, if you improve one department by 3% and another department by 5%, you have improved 8% as a whole. Again, don’t just lazily jump back into working out doing the same things you did before. Take an inventory, and target certain things in your game that will help you improve your overall game. Remember, daily improvement is the name of game when it comes to athletics.