Football Stretches & Warm-Ups

Warming up before a game or practice helps prepare you physically and mentally for exercise and competition. Before running hard, throwing deep passes and tackling opponents on the football field, you should be warmed up and loose to avoid injury and increase physical ability. It also allows for quicker muscle contraction and relaxation, increased force production, better reaction time, improved muscular power and strength, increased blood flow to muscles and enhanced metabolic reactions.
Football players need to loosen up their hips, backs, shoulders and leg muscles before engaging in practice or playing a game. The NSCA recommends dynamic stretching prior to any physical activity. It actively prepares the muscles, warms up the body and takes the muscles through their full range of motion. Dynamic stretching is a functionally based exercise that uses sport-specific movements to prepare the body for activity. While players are lined up, have them perform: walking knee hugs to stretch the hips and glutes, walking leg pulls behind the back to stretch the quads, pump stretches for the calves and low back, the Spiderman stretch for the groin and hips and the inchworm stretch for the hamstrings.
After dynamic stretching, proceed to the warm-up. Warm-up motions can involve stretching, too, but are designed to gradually increase heart rate more so. Start with simple motions as jogs, lateral bounds, high-knees, backwards pedal and butt kicks between five and 15 yards, instructs Mike Gentry, author of “A Chance to Win: A Complete Guide to Physical Training for Football.” Have players increase the dynamics of the warm-up by incorporating different motions into one — have them backpedal until they hear the coach’s whistle, signifying that they must quickly turn and run the rest of the distance forward.
Move to specific warm-ups, or, in this case, position drills. This can be a good transition into the practice itself. It will also bring players together for specific questions and last-minute tweaks with their position coaches before the game. During this warm-up time, for example, running backs practice their steps and hand-offs, defensive lineman practice engaging and releasing from blocks, and quarterback and receivers go over passing routes.
Static stretching before practice or a game is traditional habit for sport, but may not be beneficial — or even detrimental — to athletic performance. The NSCA reports that static stretching before activity can compromise muscle performance. Static stretching prior to activity has been shown to decrease force production, power output, running speed, movement time and muscular endurance — all integral components of performing well, physically and skillfully, in the game of football. Static stretching after activity is more practical, and will allow the muscles to cool down and relax after engaging in exercise.

The History of Sports in the United States

Sports have been a big part of American culture for many years. Professional sports like baseball, basketball, football, and hockey have become massive industries and the economic center of many cities. Sports are also a big part of growing up in this country since these sports and others are prominent in youth leagues, high schools and colleges. The popularity of sports is a big part of the history of the United States.
Baseball is considered America’s national pastime. Major league baseball is a central part of American sports and attracts more fans and sells more tickets than any other professional sport in the world. It is believed to have been developed based on sports like rounders and cricket. For many years most fans believed that Abner Doubleday created the first set of baseball rules, but others suggest the first official set of rules was created by Alexander Cartwright of the New York Knickerbockers. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first official professional baseball team, and soon there were several different leagues. The American and National Leagues are the major leagues today. There are also hundreds of minor and independent leagues. In the 1920’s, a more precise set of rules was created which made the sport more organized and less physical. Until 1946, African-American players were not allowed in the major leagues, but today the sport is played by athletes of different ethnicities from countries around the world.
The sport of basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian-born physical education instructor at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. While teaching at the YMCA, Naismith wanted to give his students something active to do while inside on a rainy day. After many ideas, he eventually came up with the sport by hanging a peach basket from the elevated running track, 10 feet above the gymnasium floor. The game evolved over the years from Naismith’s original rules. Many more rules and new equipment helped to perfect the game. Eventually professional teams and leagues were developed. The sport also became quite popular on playgrounds, especially in thickly settled urban areas. Today, the National Basketball Association, or NBA, is one of the most popular sport leagues in the world.
In the 1870s rugby was becoming a favorite sport played by college athletes in the United States. In 1876, Walter Camp developed a new sport based on rugby and called it football. In the 1890s the sport gained interest and started to become a professional sport. The Allegheny Athletic Association was the first completely professional team and played a short two-game season against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1902, baseball’s Philadelphia Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies formed professional football teams, along with the Pittsburgh Stars, and formed the first professional football league, the National Football League. Through the years the rules and scoring of the sport changed several times. The American Football League, or AFL, was also formed in 1960 as an alternative league considered by some to be inferior to the NFL. But in 1970 the two merged with the AFL teams becoming the American Football Conference, or AFC, and the NFL teams becoming the National Football Conference, or NFC, The top team from each conference would compete yearly in the Super Bowl for the NFL championship. Today the NFL, is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, and the Super Bowl is one of television’s most watched events.
The sport of hockey, considered by many to have been invented in Canada after a game called “shinny,” has history dating back to the late 1800s. A similar sport, originally called “ice polo,” was already being played on American college ice rinks. Ice hockey started to become more popular, and professional leagues started popping up in the United States, the first being the International Professional Hockey League with teams from Pennsylvania and Michigan. In 1910, the National Hockey League, or NHL, was created in Canada. It was called the National Hockey Association until 1917, and later expanded to include American teams in 1924.

What Is an Illegal Shift in Football?

Nothing frustrates a football coach more than penalties, especially when those penalties are unforced or mental errors. An illegal shift is an offensive penalty that is unforced, meaning the offense commits the violation before the play begins without the defense having an effect on the foul. Illegal shifts can happen in a couple of offensive scenarios, so understanding the rule is important to eliminate the mistakes.
Illegal shifts are a type of motion penalty that occur when more than one player on the offense is not set before the snap. A shift is a pre-snap movement where two or more offensive players change positions. The movement becomes illegal and results in a penalty when those players do not reset and establish position after the shift. According to NFL rules, illegal shifts result in a 5 yard penalty and a replay of the down.
Illegal shifts are common with teams that use pre-snap resetting to confuse the defense. The idea is that the defense will be based on the original lineup and will not be able to realign in time after the shift. In addition, shifts can occur when teams audible to change the original play at the line of scrimmage. After the play is audibled or changed, the offensive team often has to change its formation to run the new play. Snapping the ball too quickly before everyone has set and finished moving can result in an illegal shift penalty.
The best way to prevent illegal shifts is to limit tricky pre-snap motions, which can throw off the offense almost as much as the defense in many cases. In addition, breaking the huddle earlier can eliminate penalties that are caused by running out of time to complete the shifts. Signaling in the plays faster from the sideline is often an issue with the shift and the slow huddle break.
Illegal shifts are often confused with illegal motion penalties as the Team Speed Kills website calls them sister penalties. Shifts are a team foul with multiple players, while an illegal motion penalty is called on one player, usually for a player moving toward the line of scrimmage before the snap of the football. According to Team Speed Kills, a player moving toward the line must get set for one second before the snap.