June 9th, 2010 10:57 EST
Adrian Peterson`s Goal to Hold the Ball Tighter Adds a Little Sand to the Solution
Last NFL season, Adrian Peterson the first string running back for the Minnesota Vikings had a little problem with holding onto the football while crashing through the defensive front line of the opposing team. Peterson who has proven he has what it takes to play with the Minnesota Vikings is just about to the point he needs to be at to be called an all around running back in the NFL.
The Vikings who are now starting their pre-season practices and drills have come up with a possible solution for Peterson to get more of an intense workout and more of an out of the box solution to be able to squirt through the offensive holes and come out of those holes still holding the football. The solution is to use a 14-pound pound dummy football, or a fourteen pound football filled with sand while working out and practicing in pre-season camp. This is sort of the same as working out with a medicine ball. The average medicine ball weighs about 12 " 15 pounds.
The thinking behind this idea according to Solomon Wilcott`s of the NFL Network is, If you can secure a 14-pound football, you probably can hold onto the ball when defenders are pulling and tugging at it. " (Wilcotts, Profootballtalk.com, 2010) after he interviewed Adrian Peterson and talked to him about this new idea, or at least an idea that not a lot of football trainers and fans have heard about.
The big question now becomes will this concept work for Peterson? And will all the heavy lifting, or should I say heavy carrying in this year`s training camp turn Peterson into a running back that holds the ball so tight that not even a wrecking ball and chain could knock the ball out of Peterson`s grip. I guess we will see in the upcoming NFL season.
In my opinion yes; I believe this concept will help Peterson grip the ball tighter. The other challenges as a running back are you basically have to be focusing on many different things at one time when you are carrying the ball. The first thing is to know your position and duties on the next play. When the ball is snapped, you hesitate for a second, let the Quarterback fade back as if he is going to pass which will throw the Linebackers on defense a few steps backwards, or towards where the Quarterback has his eyes focused as if he is going to throw the ball in that direction. You then start forward, let the Quarterback tuck the ball in your gut as you slide past him like a piece of ice sliding down a metal pole, you then hit the hole where your front line has just opened for you. The best thing as you go through the hole is to grab the ball with both arms and tuck it tight into your body. This is the point where the defensive line is going to be punching at the ball, grabbing at it, and slapping at it in any way they can to try to knock it out of your arms for a fumble. Imagine running through a line of trees with no leaves on the branches on a windy day, this is sort of what it is like for a running back to run through the offensive line and then into the front defensive line and secondary. The smaller branches are slapping at your body and the bigger branches bump you and knock you off balance.
After you shoot through the hole and are free and clear of the defensive line and the linebackers, then you can tuck the ball in either of your arms and run like the wind towards the end zone. You are concentrating on the play, watching the front line until the hole opens up, you are watching and trying to stay behind your lead blockers if you have any, then you mind clicks into the scoring mode. You really are not concentrating on holding the football, or watching the defense come at you to try to knock the ball loose. Any new training method to help hold onto the football better is a welcome suggestion for any running back.
The new training method of practicing holding a 14-pound football while running plays and drills in practice is a good idea, but the only thing that will really matter is if Peterson`s hard work pays off and the concept teaches him to grip the ball tighter.
Smith, David (2010) Adrian Peterson`s Hopes Heavy Football Helps Reduce Fumbles,
(http://profootballtalk,nbcsports.com) Retrieved 2010.