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10 Spring Practice Drills We Couldn't Handle

Ian BergCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2017

10 Spring Practice Drills We Couldn't Handle

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    Spring football is used as a separator for coaches with the most grueling and intense drills. Players are pushed to their breaking points in 15 practices, and memories are made in trash cans that line the practice fields.

    Famous drills like the "Oklahoma" show up, but so do gassers. Anyone who has ran a gasser understands the pain and intensity that goes into that minute long sprint.

    This is a look at those unbearable drills that we couldn’t even begin to handle with our Coors Original and jalapeno Cheetos in hand.

    Here are the 10 drills that would blow us away if we hit the field today. 

Oklahoma Drill

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    The Oklahoma drill is one of the most intense in football, and it is utilized in different variations at every level of football.

    One of the first introductions to contact as a peewee football player will come during an Oklahoma drill.

    The concept pits a blocker against a defender in a tight rushing lane with a ball-carrier trying to break past the defender while staying in the lane.

    This is a match of will for both players that are engaged.

    This drill teaches toughness, effort and builds character along the way. Players will hate to get beat in front of their peers, and will work to ensure it doesn’t happen throughout spring.

    Everyone gets better with the Oklahoma drill. 


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    Gassers are the toughest sprint drill that will ever be attempted by a football player.

    There is always a way to increase sprints without the appearance of punishment, and gassers are the way to do it.

    Players run in position groups and sprint from sideline to sideline four times. Other variances have players run to the sideline and back, and then each hash-mark and back.

    Either way is tough and covers a lot of ground in about a minute’s time.

    If you haven’t tried a gasser, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest sprint exercises.

    This drill will make you hit the trash can with yesterday’s Gatorade. 

3-Cone Drill

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    Of all the drills listed, the three-cone is the easiest to handle.

    The problem with the three-cone arises when it is turned into a speed drill in a position group.

    Most position groups will run this with four to six players and move as fast as possible through the cone setup for 30 seconds to a minute.

    When the drill finishes the coaches provide a 20 second break, move the cone position for the turn and run it one more time to the opposite side. This drill will wear down a unit and build camaraderie as players push each other to finish strong. 

Monkey Rolls

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    Monkey rolls are one of the first drills that any football player will ever perform.

    They are used from peewee leagues all the way up to college for conditioning—and often for discipline.

    This video is a high school group performing the drill. As you can tell, by the end they are barely able to move around.

    This drill is designed to help push teammates (and have fun) while punishing a group of players.

    By the end of the drill, the world is spinning and you can barely move your legs; but laughs ensue shortly after you can stand again.

    Of all the drills this is the most lighthearted, but it will wear down even the three most athletic players on a sideline. 

Rope Drill

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    From tug-of-war to speed drills, there are a number of ways that ropes are used in training,

    But this is a very unique variation of a spring drill that uses basic equipment to stomp down players with a tough conditioning exercise.

    You will notice two players competing to mimic each other’s movements as they continue to move the rope.

    This is an agility and speed drill that would put us on our butts after 15 to 20 seconds. A couple of rounds with the ropes is a solid day on the conditioning field. 

Mat Drills

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    Mat drills are conditioning drills that are lumped together and require a group effort—plus a lot of intensity.

    Position groups are placed together and each group runs from different stations for a prescribed period of time. It is usually a group of six stations that are based off of speed and agility exercises.

    Sprints are also typically included.

    This is a tough drill that pushes the limits of an athlete’s conditioning.

Running the Gauntlet

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    The gauntlet is one of the nastiest hitting drills that occur during spring training.

    Both sides of the football run this drill to gain an edge and ensure that players are tough enough to push through piles.

    A ball-carrier takes the football and runs at a line of players (typically three) standing in a staggered line. As he makes it to each player they continue to fall back, add resistance to the point where all three have earned a hit and the forward progress is stopped.

    This isn’t a drill that is won, but one that is survived.

Bear Crawls

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    Bear crawls suck.

    There is absolutely no other way to put it.

    This is one of the worst exercises to attempt in full pads, but unfortunately it is a staple in football.

    Sometimes these are used as a stretch exercise.

    Other times they are a punishment that comes in 100 yard increments.

    No football player carries fond memories of this exercise.

    A belly full of beer and cheese dip would spell disaster if we hopped up and tried a few hundred yards of these. 

Up Downs/Belly Flops

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    Whoever came up with up downs is likely the same innovative mind that developed the spork.

    They serve a purpose, but we all hate them.

    This is an exercise that is as pure as punishment can come on the football field.

    From the standing position you simply flop to your belly, hop up and pump your feet only to do it again. If a staff is feeling real hairy you will do them up and down the field as you sprint in increments of five or ten yards.

    This exercise is as nasty as they come. 

Bull in the Ring

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    The bull in the ring is the most intense football drill in the game. A player steps into a circle of fellow peers and awaits the arrival of the attacker.

    It is a one-on-one hitting drill that puts the attacker at the advantage.

    It is a random selection situation where players are taught to keep their head on a swivel. Players will be tapped in to attack the "bull" one-on-one, and it goes on for several rounds.

    No one can stand forever, but this teaches players the edge that is needed to win football games. 


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