Uncadan (by the way, good to see your name in the comments section again, buddy) mentioned the importance of explosiveness in his comment two entries ago, and that brought a certain memory to mind for me. See, I wasn’t the fastest football player in high school. I was actually faster as a junior than I was as a senior (as a junior, I managed a 4.6-second 40-meter sprint). But I worked a lot at developing power in my legs back then. There was a hydraulic lunge-style leg press (where you push the pads with your shoulders like you would if you were pushing someone’s car), and I spent way too much time on that thing trying to un-skinny-ize my legs. It never happened.
But I did find some satisfaction during my senior year. That year, after football practice, one of the coaches hooked up a nifty device he had to a soccer goal on the next field. The pulley-ish device would be tied to the goal on one end and wrapped around a player’s shoulders (like the straps of a backpack) on the other end. But it would dole out the same amount of resistance for everyone.
Initially, I didn’t realize what was going on, but the offence was having a competition to see who could travel a certain distance the fastest. Someone had a stopwatch, and someone else was standing in a position with a hand extended. When the player slapped his hand, the timer hit the stopwatch.
After watching all of these large and in charge offensive lineman inch their way from the pole to the hand, us defensive backs asked if we could give it a shot. We actually did pretty good, it seemed. Then they hooked me up. And when they said, "Go," I just felt like a sprinter coming out of the blocks. I pounded and pounded against those straps like they were that kid I hated in gym class, and I felt like I got pretty good time. But I didn’t stop to check. I went straight from there to the locker room.
As I was leaving after having changed my clothes, one of the other DBs, Bob, grabbed me and said, "Nice work, [Caloi]." When I looked at him quizzically, he responded that I’d scored the best time out of anyone on the team. "Really?" Not bad.
After reading this, you shouldn’t be the least bit shocked when I tell you my high school football nickname: