During the NFL Lockout, players are taking offseason workouts into their own hands. Many teams are getting together for player led workouts that have had upwards of 45 players in attendance, but how effective can these workouts really be? Can the players really be improving without the presence of coaches?
Of course, physical activity will get you into shape, but there is no substitute for activities specifically relating to football. One player, Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, discussed the difference between being in shape and being in football shape.
“I don’t care who you are, I think the only way to get in football shape is to do football things with the team. I can run like I’m Forrest Gump from one coast to the next, but if I don’t do drills that pertain to football, I’m not going to be in football shape,” said Tillman, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. “The first day back, even guys who have been working out, it will be a little tough for them just because of the pace we go at. It’s so much faster.”
Tillman’s quote shows that while players may be out on their own working out, there will still be a period of time early in the season that will be filled with sloppy football and uncharacteristic mistakes. The players are doing the best that they can do during the lockout, but there is simply no substitute for team organized activities.