Ian MacDonald — Staff Writer
Eric Gustafson’s alarms sounded at 5 in the morning. He got a morning snack, got dressed, and started the journey across campus. More and more football players were herding up on their walk over to the dome. After dragging their legs through the piles of snow, they arrived at the big white bubble. Gustafson walked through the main doors and entered the pressurized field where the temperature increased by 50 degrees, and once the time reached 6:15, the players gathered around their coach to start their workouts.
The Dordt University football team has just kicked off their first half of winter season with early morning workouts in the newly built dome by the All Seasons Center.
These are running workouts that correspond to the lifting that they will be doing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the winter season.
The workouts start with reflexive performance reset stretching and an active warmup to prepare the players’ bodies for the workout to come.
After the warmup, they move straight into drill work for whatever the emphasis is for that day. Tuesday is more linear speed and Thursday is more change of direction.
Then after the first set of drills, they move to the conditioning/speed training portion of the workout, which is either accompanied by more drills, or something together as a group.
This is a very different situation from last year, where the players on the football team had to do their running workouts in the rec center.
The main issue with these workouts in the rec center is that there is a lot of change of direction on Thursday, which is difficult to do on gym floors.
The turf available in an indoor setting opens up a lot more options the team has for workouts.
Gustafson, a defensive end for Dordt, thinks this was a huge step for development in the offseason.
“There were a lot of things that we are doing this year in the dome that we didn’t really have access to last year,” Gustafson said. “A lot of that is just the sheer amount of space we need to practice as a team.”
The amount of space is important for the kind of drills that they do. There’s a lot more straight-ahead running now and the team can do better things in terms of speed work.
For example, last Tuesday was a linear speed emphasis day, which focuses on acceleration and deceleration. The last thing the football team did was buildups and flying 10s. This is where they would have to reach top speed at a specific marker and then slow down for the last 20 yards.
This exercise builds on the previous drills and will lead to more speed growth during the winter season.
Gustafson thinks that the ability to do this kind of running that was unavailable in the rec center is a game changer.
“We are a scary football team when we are fast,” Gustafson said. “When we’re able to train with the same running intensity as being on a football field, we could be even scarier.”