As a football coach it is critical to put your players in a position where they are 100% protected and can remain healthy throughout the season. Beyond equipping them with the proper padding a coach can help the players develop their body to prepare for the collisions that take place over the course of a season. The Flat Back Bear Crawl for Spine and Neck Strength is the perfect exercise to build up the strength in your player’s necks and spine. This strength will help not only allow them to assume proper posture, but will also help protect against concussions by giving the neck the added strength to cope with blows to the head.
Bear Crawl For Spine and Neck Strength
From an equipment perspective the set up to the drill is very simple. The coach puts out 4 cones to create a 10 yard by 10 yard box. The more difficult part of the setup is to make sure your players understand the purpose of the drill. Athletes see a drill and normally want to do it as fast as possible because most drills in football are judged based on speed and explosiveness. With the Flat Back Bear Crawl it’s important to emphasize to players that this isn’t a speed or explosiveness drill, instead it is a pre-hab drill that is designed to prevent them from getting injured. And while they will not be judged on the speed, they will need to have perfect technique to get the most out of the drill.
The coaching points for the technique are very straight forward, but combine to create a great exercise for athletes. Players will get on the ground with only their hands and feet touching the ground. They will then crawl forward while trying to keep their stomach as low to the ground as possible and their back totally flat. Once they have reached the point where they can touch the cone in front of them they will move sideways (still facing the same direction) while trying to keep their body low and back flat. When they get to the next cone they will finish the drill by going backwards. Once the whole group has gone through in one direction they will go back in the opposite direction.
This drill is not meant to be a physically demanding drill. While it will physically stress some of the players the first couple of times they do it, by the end of the week they will be able to complete the drill with ease and can focus on their form. This makes it a great warm-up drill that players can complete in pre-practice so they can begin to get their brains focused on the work ahead of them.
(See Also) Pattern Running Change of Direction Drill