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PITT Football
Physical Preparation

Individualization of Training
  • Head S&C Coach Buddy Morris, Asst S&C Coach James Smith, graduate assistants, and interns make certain that each player, as an individual, receives a great deal of coaching

  • Given very few exceptions, no more than 25 athletes are being trained at any one time in the PITT Iron Works (weight room), or in the indoor or outdoor UPMC Sports Complex football fields. This is done to guarantee that each athlete receives a maximum amount of coaching.

  • The PITT Academic Support Personnel work hand in hand with the coaching staff in order to ensure that the athletes' training schedules exist harmoniously with their class schedules. This is a fundamental component towards safeguarding the S&C staff's directive of keeping group size small in order to individualize the training.
  • Individualization of Training
  • Injury Prevention and Rehabiliation
  • A Unique Training Methodology
  • Special Physical Preparedness
  • Tactical and Technical Preparation
  • Psychological Preparation
  • Duratz Athletic Complex
  • Pitt Football Ironworks
  • UPMC Indoor Sports Complex
  • UPMC Outdoor Training Fields
  • Recovery and Regeneration
  • The training is programmed and organized based upon the level of physical preparation of the athlete, the individual needs of the athlete, the athlete's state of readiness on each and every given day, the point in time relative to the training and competition calendar, and the positional requirements of the athlete.

  • Down linemen/Jumbo Skill Position Players (Guards, Tackles, Centers, Ends), Big Skill Position Players (Line Backers, Tight Ends, Full Backs), Small Skill Position Players (Defensive Backs, Running Backs, Receivers), Quarter Backs, Punters and Kickers are all trained according to the dynamics of their position.

  • The individualization of the training is directed towards every aspect of the players' physical, psychological, tactical, and technical development.

    Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation

  • All efforts are collaborated between the team doctors, athletic trainers, and S&C coaches in order to ensure that every injured player is on the fast track to attaining the green light to go all out.

  • All injured players go through a three step process on their way back to being cleared to go 100%. 1. Training room therapy and rehabilitation, 2. Modified physical training/therapy that exists as an aggregate/joint effort between the athletic training staff and S&C staff, and 3. Modified physical training that ramps the sportsmen back up to 100%.

  • A significant portion of the physical training load is dedicated to drills that serve to reduce the possibility of sustaining an injury. In this regard, a great deal of special exercises are performed during the advanced stage of the warm up, which precedes the primary phase of the workouts, that target the muscles that articulate the neck, shoulders, hips, and knees.

  • Warm ups prior to training are extensive and minimize the possibility of sustaining a non-contact related injury.

    A Unique Training Methodology

  • PITT Football exists as the prototype coaching model. Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt, all position coaches, S&C coaches, athletic trainers, and team doctors work within close proximity to each other and work in complete unison.

  • The fundamental basis of the Football Physical Preparation Program at PITT is rooted in the scientific process of sports preparation that originated and was pioneered in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc Europe.

  • The training program runs year round and is separated into blocks that emphasize the development of special physiological characteristics that together form the advanced structure and function of the human organism that is required to demonstrate excellence in the sport of American Football.

  • Orthopedic considerations form a fundamental criteria for selecting the exercises used in the physical preparation for PITT Football.

  • Coach Morris and Coach Smith know that they are training football players, not Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, strongmen, or track and field athletes. For this reason, the training program does not interfere with the athletes' process of developing mastery of their sport by challenging them to develop mastery of another unrelated and highly demanding sport. Nor does the training program require that the sportsmen perform exercises that present unnecessary and unwise structural stress.

  • There are no exercises that may be performed with barbells or dumbbells that directly correspond to the attainment of sport mastery of football players. If the opposite were true then one might observe Hall of Fame inductees attributing a great deal of their sporting success towards their mastery of this exercise and that exercise. The reality, however, is that we have not, nor will we ever witness masters of the sport of football attribute their success to the performance of particular weight room exercises.

  • World class weightlifters, powerlifters, strongmen, sprinters, jumpers, and throwers are tremendous athletes. The training means and methodologies utilized by these great sportsmen may be adjusted with great success in the training of football players. The training means, however, are just that- a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. If the opposite were true, and the development of a great clean, snatch, squat, bench press, deadlift, tire flip, farmers walk, or atlas stone load had any strong correspondence to the mastery of football then one might observe weightlifters, powerlifters, or strongmen change the course of their endeavors and sign NFL contracts. Once again, the reality is that we have not, nor will we ever.

  • American Football is a game that demands extreme preparation in the tactical, technical, psychological, and physical regimes.

  • In this regard Coach Morris and Coach Smith dedicate themselves to the practical application of their continued study of the biomechanical-kinesiological-bioenergetic-biodynamic structure of the sport form of American Football.

  • For this reason, the Football Physical Preparation Training at PITT forms no allegiance to any weight room exercises in particular.

  • What the program does form an allegiance to is the development of an unbreakable will of iron, and the physical capacities (general, general specific, and specific) necessary to assist the players in their process of attaining sport mastery.

  • The traditional means of primary emphasis used in training, for the purpose of general physical development, are squat variations, bench press variations, jumps, medicine ball throws, multi-directional drills and sprints. The technical execution of these means is instructed in great detail and efficiency is demanded from the sportsmen. All other means serve a supportive/auxiliary role in developing the muscles of the shoulder girdle/neck, trunk, upper/lower back, hips/buttocks, arms and legs.

  • If an athlete possesses an anatomical peculiarity or injury that prevents the productive execution of a particular exercise then that athlete simply performs any one of a myriad of other exercises that serve to strengthen the same muscle complex.

    Tactical and Technical Preparation

  • In the context of training the football player, the tactics are realized every week in preparation for each new opponent and the techniques specific to each position are instructed by the sport coaches. In addition, the Tactical and Technical Preparation must be directed towards the physical training program. In the context of physical preparation the tactics are realized via the execution of the planning strategy and the technique of the training means are critically instructed.

  • It has already been stated that the planning strategies utilized by Coach Morris and Coach Smith have concrete foundations in the scientific process of sports preparation originated in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc Europe. In this regard, a great deal of time and energy is expended in order to secure consistent and reliable results from every player on the team.

  • Also previously mentioned is the fact that the technical execution of the training means is instructed in great detail. This is only possible because of the great deal of individualized coaching offered by the entire S&C coaching staff.

    Psychological Preparation

  • An element that is fundamental towards attaining sport mastery yet often overlooked in terms of its trainability is psychological preparation. The preparation of psychological strength is no less trainable in an organized method then the preparation of the physical condition. As a result, the football players at PITT are subject to both programmed and non-programmed psychological lessons that serve to develop their will.

  • An iron will that is trained to overcome any possible circumstance is an intrinsic trait that must be developed in order to attain sport mastery.

    Special Physical Preparedness

  • It is here where the Football Physical Preparation Training at Pitt is intent on further distinguishing itself from the competition. As a result, every aspect of the athletes' preparation is geared towards improving their football playing skills and not simply restricted to increasing strength and power as expressed via lifting barbells.

  • There comes a point in which any further improvement in weight room numbers fails to be realized on the field. It is at this point in the players' development in which a greater percentage of the training load must be directed towards the improvement of very specific aspects of the players' positional requirements.

  • As the players advance in their physical preparation certain special exercises, general specific and specific that have a much higher transference to their positional requirements will consume a greater percentage of the training load. Such special exercises exist as permutations of the movement skills and strengths that are inherent to the players' individual demonstration of sport form. The significance of these exercises lies in their transmutative properties; the exercises serve to more specifically direct the general developments in strength, power, speed that is yielded via the traditional exercises, into the realization of sport form at a higher level of performance.

    PITT Football Training Facilities (UPMC Sports Performance Complex)

    Duratz Athletic Complex

  • The Duratz Athletic Complex, located directly next to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sports Training Complex, houses the entire PITT Football staff offices, team, offensive, defensive, and position meeting rooms, state of the art video and media technology departments, staff and team locker rooms, Iron Works Weight Room and Athletic Training Room.

  • The PITT Iron Works weight room, named by Head S&C Coach Buddy Morris in 1980, is equipped with many types of apparatus that accommodate a multitude of training directives.

  • The indoor facility houses a full size practice field surfaced with Field Turf, a revolutionary playing surface that provides all of the safety and playing characteristics of natural grass, and is surrounded by a 3 lane synthetic track.

  • PITT Football players have access to two outdoor fields fully equipped with lighting for night workouts. One of the fields was recently resurfaced with Field Turf in order to provide the players the option of practicing on natural grass or turf.

    Recovery and Regeneration

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