The 10 Most Diabolical Spring Football Practice Drills
These drills are tough.
We are talking about the drills that made you groan inwardly (to avoid running that extra gasser) whenever coach mentions them.
They physically drain participants to the point of exhaustion, make them vomit, cause a ridiculous amount of soreness or any combination of the three.
Of course, everybody experiences different responses to different drills, so feel free to throw in your favorite or least-favorite drill.
10. Carioca (Karaoke) Drill
For some of you, this may have been a breeze.
However, for those of us that were, shall we say, agility challenged, it was a nightmare.
Tripping over yourself is always embarrassing.
Doing it in front of teammates, coaches and anybody watching practice can be absolutely demoralizing.
OK, I'm done with the venting, maybe the therapy is paying off.
9. Monkey Rolls
This is a staple of football conditioning that teaches players to forget their aversion to hitting the ground while building agility and stamina.
But they really suck when done for any period of time.
Three players form a unit, all laying on the ground.
The middle player rolls toward one of the players on the side, who must jump up and over, continue rolling into the next guy, who jumps up and over, and the whole dreadful process is repeated until coach remembers to blow his whistle.
If you have been slacking in practice, that could be a very long time.
8. 50 40s
It's simple, really.
Sprint to the 40-yard line and back 25 times.
It may not sound that rough, but running that far is tough for anybody.
Think it's not?
Wrap your mind around this: that's 2,000 yards.
If you are not puking after that, you aren't human.
7. Bear Crawls
The only reason this is included is because it becomes exceedingly painful when done for further than, oh about 20 yards.
The participants must put their hands on the ground, butt in the air and proceed across the field in this position.
It's not good for the dignity, either.
6. Man in the Middle
There are other names for this, and it's similar to the "Oklahoma," with the exception of the fact that players call out their teammates.
Everybody gets in a circle.
One guy stands in the middle and points to a teammate, who must promptly rush him and hit him as hard as possible.
First guy to go down stays in the circle.
Other variations include a rubber duck and anti-freeze, but we won't go there.
5. Anything Involving Burpees
The burpee itself is difficult, especially in several repetitions.
But they get completely evil when variations are thrown in.
A standard burpee involves standing, dropping into a squatting position with your hands on the ground, quickly extending your legs to a plank position, bringing them back, then returning upright.
But when you throw in a push-up, do it one-handed, or worse, do two push-ups to break momentum, they get downright filthy.
Not only do football coaches have this insane idea that doing burpees in sets is a good thing, but they also seem to enjoy involving them in other drills.
This one is generally used for ball-carriers, but I had to include it.
The easiest variation has a ball-carrier running through two lines of players, who get to try and swat the ball and make him fumble.
When it becomes difficult is when the coach is sick of fumbling and gives license to get a little more physical with the ball-carrier.
At this point, he places several players in a row, and the ball-carrier must try to maneuver through them all while being pummelled repeatedly.
If he fumbles, he starts over; if he hits the ground, he starts over; if he gets knocked outside the gauntlet, he starts over.
3. 40, 60, 80, 100
The sheer distance you run in this drill makes it painful.
First, run to the 40-yard line and back to the end zone four times.
Break for 15 seconds, then run to the 60 and back three times.
Break, then run to the 80 and back twice.
Break, then run the entire length of the field and back once.
Try it, I dare you.
2. Mat Drills
Georgia has made these famous, but variations can be found at programs across the country.
The drill consists of five stations: a shuttle drill station, a running station, a footwork station, a crouching station and a wrestling mat.
Players rotate between stations in groups.
If one group is too slow getting to their next station, all groups must go back and start over.
The group on the wrestling mat is subjected to various kinds of torture, including, but not limited to, up-downs, monkey rolls and burpees.
While the physical aspect of this hour to hour-and-a-half long event is tough enough, judging from the number of times players vomit during the process, coaches like to add a little mental edge by starting them at some ungodly hour, such as 5 a.m.
That's not wake-up time, or time to get dressed, or time to get some tape.
That's 5 a.m., ready to suffer on the field.
1. Oklahoma (Pit)
Also known as the "Pit Drill" or "Big Cat Drill," this one is rough.
The mother of all drills.
It goes by many names, but just about every college program has some variation of this drill, and just about every football player likes to mention it as one of the toughest they have ever experienced.
It's a simple test of wills, really.
The most common variation involves a corridor of blocking bags or some other barrier, usually about three yards wide by four or five feet long.
Two guys line up and go at each other as hard as they can, and the first to be knocked out of the corridor or to leave his feet loses.
Good times all around.