If you’re like most defensive backs, you probably hate your individual period at practice. However, if you want to be elite, you need to slide into the minority group that loves indy for what it is and that’s the key to your success.
Yes, I know, I played the game too. Some days you just don’t want to practice and even when you do, your position coach getting you tired to start off practice just seems like the thing you least want to do. Hell, you’re half way trying to figure out if you even want to do this practice thing today and your coach has your quads on fire with some new drill he came up with to fix all the trouble you’ve been having in the game. On top of that, all these same drills that we do every day is just boring the hell out of me. I get it already “knees over toes in my backpedal”.
Unfortunately for many, the time they realize the true importance of an individual period is when they become a coach and must now face the players he coaches trying to half-ass their way through his drills. Life can be cruel like that.
Allow me to bend your ear on this. Your individual period is the most important part of practice. Indy period is where you get the tools to go do the job. Once you hit 1-on-1’s, 7-on-7s and team period, you are being asked to fix the car. If you didn’t get the tools you needed in your indy period, you won’t be giving that car the tune up that it needs. If you do that routinely, your coach most likely won’t ever let you get behind the wheel of that car.
Elite players know that to master a skill they must do it 1,000’s of times the right way so that there is little chance that they can do it the wrong way when the moment calls for it. As much as you can put on auto-pilot when the game starts, the faster and more reactive you will be to the things happening around you. If you have to spend time thinking about your stance, your pedal, your kick slide, where your eyes are and where to place your hands, the less you are thinking about what the offense is doing. That turns you into a slow player that lacks anticipation and is totally reactive.
Here’s the other thing, your individual period is where your coach is evaluating you the most. It’s his 1-on-1 time with his group. It’s his time to really teach you what it is he feels you need to know to play at a high level. Disregard his drills, disrespect his time and he’s forming an opinion on you that will only result in a relationship that won’t be in your best interest.
Most of the greats in sports like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Usain Bolt talked about how much they hated training but how they tricked their minds into loving it. If the thought of indy makes you sick then you need to change your mindset. Adopt the thought process of the greats and trick yourself into loving it. Kobe Bryant was in the gym at 4 AM on most days doing the drills he learned in high school. Wrap your mind around that. When you do, I am sure you can grind your way through your individual period and develop to your true potential as a player.
Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp. He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football all americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.