North American football is one of the most popular and exciting sports in the world, and while the term ‘football’ in North America will typically refer to the American game, north of the border, Canadians have their own unique version of football that overall has similar physiological demands. However, there are several noteworthy differences in rules and gameplay that will change an athlete’s approach to physical preparation. As a result, the purpose of this article is to compare and contrast how the differences in Canadian and American football might alter an athlete’s strength and conditioning program.
The FMS/strength debate is a contentious one, so I wanted to make sure I had the time to sit down and give you a thoughtful reply. Firstly, it’s great that you’re already starting to think critically about these things early on. I’d agree with you that it’s potentially dangerous to become narrow minded, no matter what stage of your career you find yourself in. That being said, jumping in head first into a particular stream or philosophy is the best way to learn about it, so long as you keep an objective/critical mindset and don’t drink too much of the kool-aid.
One of the most misguided ways that speed/power athletes can train is by using unstable surfaces. In a gym setting, unstable surfaces usually come in the form of BOSU balls, exercise balls, and balance boards. Uneducated athletes and trainers will often perform weight training exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifting and even pressing variations while standing or kneeling on these unstable surfaces.
In his book “Training Systems,” Charlie Francis defines recovery or regeneration to be the: continuous management of muscle tension/spasm, accelerated removal of the effects of fatigue, rapid restoration of body energy systems and substrates, and improved ability to renew physical activity without wasting unnecessarily the energy of the athletes. Low-intensity aerobic exercise, or sub-maximal exercise, for recovery purposes can be implemented in a variety of ways including running, biking, or swimming
One of the poorest trends in strength and conditioning for team sports is an over-emphasis on cardiovascular conditioning. Speaking from experience, this mindset is most prevalent in ice-hockey and swimming, where “dry land training” is synonymous with “let’s kick the crap out of our athletes”. However, this is also beginning to make its way into other major sports like basketball and football, where speed and power should be the main emphasis once an adequate cardiovascular base has been developed.