There are many ways you can train to get better at football. To further complicate it, each position has a different set of skills needed to be mastered to become great at football.
Balance training is great because it can help to boost your overall performance, coordination and agility which in turn will lead to better overall performance no matter what position you play or your skill level.
Conversely, balance training can be used to improve upon a particular skill by combining it with repetition training.
How balance training can make you a better football player
Balance training will allow you to get in tune with your body's balance system, allowing you quickly react to that off balanced feeling and allow you to correct your balance without even thinking about it.
Learning this skill is important because most of the time when you are in an off balanced position your mind and body will react automatically and you will either correct your posture or fall without even having a chance to decide on how to respond. Balance training will help to prevent you from falling by teaching you to correct your posture to maintain balance instinctively.
Balance training also improves coordination by teaching you how to control your body to keep balance in unstable places.
Coordination is the ability to control your own body, the better control you have over your body will make you a better football player. Balance training is just one more way to train to get better control over your body.
Balance training improves agility by allowing you to train the ability to quickly react then move your body as needed in a stressful situation.
Having a high level of agility is another essential skill to become a great football player because of how often you need to a make split second decision then follow through with it while under pressure.
Types of balance training
One method of balance training is to perform any movement that challenges your balance. You can train your balance with or without any special equipment. This type of balance training is to help improve your overall athletic ability by making improvements to your balance, coordination, and agility.
Another method of balance training is to combine it with repetition training. This method is useful for developing and improving a particular movement pattern or skills.
An example of this would be, having a quarterback throw passes while standing on a balance board over and over again to help them get comfortable throwing the ball in an unstable position.
Why Balance training for youth football can be helpful.
Something to keep in mind is that youth athletes bodies are always changing in weight and size from year to year or even month to month, this constant change can throw off coordination, balance, and agility. Going through these changes means that the athlete needs to adapt quickly to these changes just to maintain the same level of athletic performance.
Balance training can allow youth athletes to continue to maintain and improve their balance and agility while their body keeps on changing.
Furthermore, their is a theory out there that his constant change in body size once entering puberty is one of the reasons why there is a spike in injuries reported once youth athletes enter puberty.
Balance training for concussion recovery and prevention.
First off I am not going to claim that balance training is the miracle cure for traumatic brain injuries but I think any little thing you can do that may help with the recovery is worthwhile to try.
With that said you can find people who have reported that balance training has contributed to improving some of the symptoms, they were experiencing from receiving a concussion.
As of now, there are not any study's I can point to that can explain how balance training can help to recover from concussions. One theory is that balance training stimulates the brain, this stimulation causes the healthy parts of the brain to take over for the damaged areas of the brain.
How does balance training prevent concussions?
What is know about concussions / traumatic brain injury's is that they can hurt the coordination and balance systems.
If you receive a concussion and continue to play football without getting back to at least the same coordination and balance skills level you had before the concussion your overall athletic skills could be reduced.
If you have not tested your balance skills, you may think you are at the same skill level you once were before the concussion, but your coordination and balance system are now reduced.
Now you may go into a game thinking you can get away with pulling off the same moves as you are use to performing but now your body is just not reacting how it use to, this can end up putting you into situations where you are more likely to receive a concussion or another type of injury.
Balance training to help prevent ankle injury's while playing football.
One of the most common injuries in foot ball is a sprained ankle.
Balance training can help prevent strained ankles by strengthening your ankle muscles. Stronger ankle muscles will provide more stability and reduce the chance of rolling an ankle.
Additionally, after you have sprained an ankle you will need to try to avoid using it to help speed up the recovery, this could lead to a loss of strength and balance.
Once you have been giving the ok to start training again, you can use balance training to help strengthen those muscles back up and regain some balance skills that you might have lost during your recovery period.
Is it balance training worth the risk, some safety tips
Balance training can be dangerous, and may even lead to an injury that could stop you from playing football.
Now, this is the last thing you want to happen from implementing a new training program, so there are few ways to help minimize the risk of balance training.
Body weight balance training is the safest way to start. You do not need to start balance training with any equipment. Once you have mastered body weight balance training, you will be more prepared to move on to train with more challenging equipment.
If you do decide to start using equipment look for a product that will allow you to challenge yourself progressively. One way this is done is by using a balance board with an inflatable balance cushion under the board before you use it with a roller.
Another way this is done is that some makers of balance boards sell a variety of progressively more challenging rollers that can be used with their boards.
When using a balance training equipment, you can wear safety equipment used for skateboarding such as helmets, knee and elbow pads to help minimize the risk of injury.
When using equipment, you can keep a chair or any large object nearby to grab onto to catch your balance if needed.
Similarly, you can use the balance board next to a wall and practice using the board with your hand on the wall as you grow more confident remove your hand from the wall.
Another idea is to hang a piece of rope from a beam or rafter, and you can then grab onto the rope if you feel off balanced.
Body weight balance training for football
The two types of bodyweight balance training you can do are static and dynamic.
Static balance training is holding and maintaining your body in one pose for an extended period that will challenge your balance.
A good example of static body weight balance training is holding a yoga pose.
Dynamic balance training requires you to change positions often while challenging your balance.
An example of dynamic body weight balance training can be seen in some agility drills.
The first choice you have to make to begin balance training is to choose if you want to work on your general balance for overall improved performance or work on improving a particular skill that is needed in the position you play.
To get started with improving your overall balance you should go thought this playlist of how to videos for all the standing balance yoga poses and pick a few simple poses to work on.
Once you can hold one of the easier poses pose for 2 minutes you can progress onto the more challenging poses.
After you have mastered the harder poses, you can continue to make the poses more difficult by practicing the poses on a balance cushion or balance pad.
The balance pad will be a little less challenging than using the balance cushion depending on how much you inflate the cushion.
Dynamic bodyweight balance training for football.
Dynamic balance training for general balance can be seen in yoga flows where they quickly move through a bunch of movement patterns that will challenge your balance.
Below is an excellent example of dynamic balance training to improve your overall balance, coordination and flexibility.
Offensive line dynamic balance drill
Dynamic balance training drills can also be used to improve upon specific skills for the position you play.
More defensive line balance drills.
Wide Receiver dynamic balance drill.
Balance training with equipment
Using equipment to balance train is a good way to keep on progressing and challenging yourself.
Their are a lot of products available to choose from, but I think the safety of the device should be the first choice because the last thing you want is to sustain an injury while balance training that will prevent you from playing football.
The safer balance boards to use will allow you to control how challenging it is to use by changing the type of roller placed under the balance board or using a stability cushion under a balance board instead of a roller.
Training with a balance board can be used for developing general balance skills by just standing on the board and rolling back and forth or side to side. You can also perform some basic moves like squats on the board, but that is all you need to do for developing your overall balance.
I do not think it is worth the risk of injury practicing jumping, spinning, or board flipping moves, these sort of moves are better suited for people into board sports.
Two balance boards that allow you adjusted how challenging they are to use are the vew-do zone and the Indo board pro kit.
The vew-do zone is an excellent choice because it changes into a few different types of balance boards depending on what device you place on the track under the board.
Vew-do also sells more challengers rollers that can be used with this board so you can keep on challenging yourself.
The dimensions of this board are 29.5 inches long with a tapered boarded being17 inches wide in the middle, 10.5 inches wide at nose/tail.
The Indo board pro is another good choice that allows you to adjust how challenging the board is to use. This package comes with an extra large balance cushion measuring 24 inches across that you can use with the board or on its own to get started balance training. Also, you can change how challenging the cushion is to use by how much you inflate it.
The board Indo board pro is an extra large balance board the dimensions are 42 inches long by 15 inches wide.
So what board should you choose?
I think the vew-do zone board would be the best for youth, junior and maybe even high school level football players due to the size and value of the board. These boards allow you to progress from a beginner to expert level skills by using the different types of devices under the board.
The Indo Pro package is best for the college or more advanced level football players because the average player's height is over 6ft tall and around 250 pounds at these levels of football.
The large size of this board will allow people over 6 feet tall to use the board with a more functional stance and the bigger cushion that this package comes with will be better at taking the punishment that larger football players can dish out.
Combining balance training with repetition training for the refinement of specific skills.
There is not too much information out there right now about combining balance training with repetition training for football that is available for free, so you will have to get creative and come up with your own drills.
Below I show some examples of balance training combined with repetition training used to help refine a skill or movement pattern that is often used in particular position.
Football Kickers Balance Drill
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