Team Toughness

November 1, 2018

When Nick Savage, SCCC, CSCS, Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Florida, showed up to coach the Gators’ offseason conditioning last spring, he brought an unusual training tool. He brought a rope.

Why? Because Savage knew that the team was only going to be as good as they could be as a unit, so he intended them to train together—tied together, that is. According to a recent article in Swamp 247, in one several unique offseason conditioning drills, Savage tied groups of a dozen players to each other and had them run up and down the stairs in Swamp Stadium.

“You had o-linemen and receivers both on that team and you had to hold that rope,” said Head Coach Dan Mullen, who came on board along with Savage last December, both from Mississippi State. “So it’s not like a skilled guy can go faster on those. A lot of different things we do as groups, within their team. So that’s ... just don’t let go of the rope. Sometimes, it’s, “I want to go faster, I want to go slower.” But you’re as good as your teammates are. And we are as good as we are as a team, not, hey, you see how fast I can run the stadium? That’s great, but you left your teammates behind so that does us no good. It’s we are as good as our team is."



According to Mullen, the team came back from the offseason with a new mental toughness that’s leading to success late in the game when fatigue used to set in.

“A lot of the offseason adds up,” Mullen told Swamp 247. “Nick (Savage) does a great job with different, special work outs that we do. We have our St. Valentine's Day work out. We have Stadium runs. We do a bunch of different special deals. We will mix them up from year to year.

“I think those have a lot to do with our success because when you get into those games, you need something to look back on,” Mullen continued. “And the fact you can look back on and say, 'hey, I trained so hard and put myself through so much in that offseason training with so much intensity, I did it for this moment, -- not when you’re up big -- I did it for when we are down in the fourth quarter and we have to find a way to make a play to win the game. I have that to look back upon and I can take with me moving forward.’”

There is no question that players are attributing that late-game strength—mental and physical—to their offseason efforts.

"Definitely, it showed up a lot,” Junior receiver Josh Hammond. “It’s just guys not being tired afterward and continuing to play, continuing to play … When those games get tight and it is back-and-forth, back-and-forth, we know that we have each other’s back and we are still ready to play football, even if it goes into overtime. We are ready for it. Just the preparation we put in all summer and on campus has prepared us for these moments.”

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