Athletes of American football need the ability to stop, start, and reach top speed in an efficient manner. Football players on the defensive side of the ball require the skill of stopping a backward run and accelerating to a forward run. This action is termed the break. Football players receive year-round training in an effort to improve performance. Yet, many times, these athletes may not focus specifically on the muscular systems that are unique to the position they play. The law of specificity states that the more specific the training is for the action required, the more beneficial the outcome. This study utilized seventeen defensive players of a Division IA football team and compared the effect of two training programs on acceleration during the break. The first program was a standard conditioning program (SCP) for football players. The second program was the SCP combined with three ballistic-plyometric drills (BPD) designed to improve the acceleration of the break. The groups were pre tested and divided into either the SCP or the BPD using a matched pair ABBA procedure by position, from fastest to slowest. After six-weeks of training, the BPD group made a 24.9% (p<0.05) improvement in acceleration from 11.14 ± 0.43 m•sec2 to 13.78 ± 0.44 m•sec2. While the SCP group pre tested at 11.9 ± 0.41 m•sec2 and post tested at 12.42 ± 0.34 m•sec2 for a 6.3% change that was not statistically significant. We conclude that the addition of three specific ballistic-plyometric drills to a SCP will improve acceleration out of a break in American football players.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





agility, backpedaling, football, strength training