I coined the term ‘edge training’ sometime ago when I realized my youth football athletes were spending a little too much time idle, and I wanted them to get some work in. To fix this, I set up a training program at home, a little bit outside of the box and set to be fun, practical and could be done anywhere.
Edge training is the process of gaining an extra edge while at home and without the use of any elaborate equipment or training tools.
Ultimately the goal is to improve hand-eye coordination (and other fine and gross motor skills), focus, flexibility, cardio and strength training. Your athletes will not mind doing reps if you set up the program correctly.
Here are some edge training ideas you can do right now:
Ping pong ball bounce off paddle or toss against a wall if no ping pong paddle. It’s all about control and concentration, proceed to bounce the ping pong ball against paddle, upon progression, make it a little more difficult by hitting the ping pong ball off the spine of the paddle continuously. Ping pong balls are great because they are lightweight and unpredictable, therefore concentration is paramount.
Bear crawls. Bear crawls are a fun and easy way to improve core and strengthen your athletes’ neck and spine. It is not about speed when it comes to these bear crawls- it is technique, ideally as you move forward you reach forward with your right arm while stepping forward with your left leg. Keep hips low, keep balance and coordination. Go forward, sideways then proceed backwards. Ensure good posture. I love this because you can perform this exercise anywhere. Here’s a plan to execute:
Planks. More core, because I believe youth football coaches do not focus on core as much necessary. Love this because it is easy to teach to any age. Let us keep it simple, proceed into push up position, body parallel to the floor and hold. It is beneficial to train core when possible.
Skips for height. Much to like about this fun edge training exercise. Kids will gain in explosiveness while strengthening glutes and legs. Good opportunity to get cardio exercise in ;). To perform, start with a simple skip, perform a few reps as a warm up. Now, it’s about height. Have your athletes jump and push off the ground with intent, drive the front knee up, reaching for the stars. Drive arms to improve torque. I prefer doing this on soft grass, as it allows for a softer landing. Always ensure proper footwear when performing these to avoid unwanted injuries. View the video on technique:
There is a common theme with edge training, keep it simple and fun. Also, you want to ensure you vary your plan, from the above examples, you will notice we have various exercises focusing on development — hand/eye coordination, crawling and stationary core, and jumping cardio. Good luck!