Strength and Conditioning Professionals are often challenged with creating the “ideal” program to best prepare their athletes for competition. When creating strength and conditioning programs, a concept that is often the key is the principle of specificity. An effective program is only as good as it can translate over to the playing field. In this article, authors measured the duration of a football play, rest intervals between plays, and series of plays.
The authors used multiple different styles of offense for their data collection (pass oriented vs run vs balanced). The results of this study found that the immediate energy system (ATP-PC) would seem to be most used during Division IA football plays. The longest play was measured at 15.01 seconds and the shortest at 1.44 seconds. The average duration of a play was found to be 5 seconds and the average duration of rest between plays was 47 seconds.
So what does this tell us? Well, we can make multiple inferences from the conclusions. It is apparent that the phosphagen system is stressed the most during the course of an average play (5seconds) and therefore when creating a strength and conditioning program we must focus around challenging the phosphagen system. Additionally, a strength and conditioning professional may want to incorporate variable exercise to rest ratios because many offenses can be a good balance between run and pass. As far as physical therapy rehabilitation goes, in an ideal world where we have enough visits to see the athletic patient into the “return to sport” phase, we might consider dosage based on these principles if that patient is a football player. Overall, this study gives evidence-based support to length of a play, rest time, and series of plays. Remember the principle of specificity when reading this article because this study speaks volumes to that principle.