The world is a crazy place at the best of times but with coronavirus keeping most people either in their homes or forced into a scenario where they’re largely alone, it’s reached whole new levels of madness. It’s bad enough you can’t watch football but to be unable to play it is agonizing. Don’t fear though. There is gear out there to help you enhance your game – even if you have to train alone.
Here we look at five pieces of kit you should consider buying to improve your odds of a future in the NFL.
Number 5. A generic practice net
If you have just a few yards of space, then don’t rule out the prospect of accuracy training. Invest in a pop-up net. Sure, you’ll be hard-pressed to replicate the distance of your throws and/or kicks, but they’ll certainly allow you to practice your release and/or contact. Master that element and the other aspects of the skill will soon follow when you get back to full-fledged training.
Expect to pay: $100
Number 4. A sprint sled
A sprint sled might sound like a silly suggestion if you’ve not used one before. Trust us though, they’re an incredible tool for building core strength and upper leg power. Essentially, you attach the sled to a harness (most will come with one), and then you run.
You’ll have the ability to add weight plates to your sled as you develop, and we guarantee you’ll feel the effects of such hard running. Come game day, not only will you feel fitter and stronger, but your body will be used to resisting an element of drag back too, which could help you in contact.
Expect to pay: $50-70
Number 3. Speed hurdles
Do speed hurdles improve your overall pace? Well, yes, they do. They just happen to do a lot more than that too. They will also give you much-improved foot speed and increased agility. That’s why the top Kentucky Derby contenders use it to boost their horse racing skills.
To use them, simply space them at half meter-ish distances and power through them time and time again. Hop, skip, sprint – they’re a really versatile tool for explosive foot exercises and, unlike the more traditional marker cone, you can’t kid yourself as your legs tire because your form will see you knock the hurdles over. If you work hard then when you take to the field again you’ll have no trouble skipping through the opposition defense.
Expect to pay: $15-25
Number 2. A tackle tool
If you’re missing the thrill of a big hit then maybe a tackling dummy will help you out. They do exactly what they say. They’re designed to be durable and stand firmly in place waiting to receive hit after hit. They are far from a useless piece of kit but are tailored towards the sheer force of a tackle rather than the technique or accuracy.
With the condition that’s where you want to improve, then consider a tackling wheel. You’ll need a fair amount of space to use one so either a big yard or nearby field but they act as a moving target forcing you to consider all aspects of a tackle. Surprisingly, in many cases, they’ll be the cheaper option too.
Expect to pay: Anything from $100-1,000 depending on your budget and preference
Number 1. A high and tight ball
That’s right, at number one we suggest investing in a high and tight ball. It looks like any standard football, plays like any standard football but it’s not a standard football at all. The ball is developed with sensors inside it that trigger off feedback through the medium of sound when you’re not handling it correctly. Regular use of the high and tight will improve your grip and all-round handling ensuring you protect the ball better and reduce fumbles. Not convinced it works. Several NFL and college teams use them all the time in their training. A glowing endorsement.
Expect to pay: $100+
There you have it, five pieces of kit to level up your game.