americanfootball

Being The Best: American Football Exclusive with Adam Hope

What does it take to be the best? Genetics, skill, dedication, training, practice – All of those. However, I always remember the saying “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard”….

 

Know your Nutrition

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for nutrition, the demands of each position require different nutritional goals. For example, the diet of a 290lb Lineman will be much different to that of a 170lb Defensive Back. However, I would firstly suggest eating enough calories to suit your training needs; you cannot perform if you’re not properly fuelled. Secondly, eating high quality food sources and avoiding processed foods – you wouldn’t put poor quality fuel in a race car. Finally I would stress the importance of post workout refuelling; simple carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio. My diet typically played around with carb cycling, where I would consume a larger proportion of carbs (mainly starches) on higher intensity training days. I tried to eat well but also within the constraints of a student budget; this involved a lot of eggs, milk, rice and beef and Peanut Butter.

If I was to recommend supplements I would suggest Creatine, ZMA and vitamin D.

 

 

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Train by Season

  • Off-season training: is about looking at your weaknesses and improving them. This should include working on the movements involved in the game and perhaps improving your strength, speed, fat loss or weight gain. It all depends on the individual, but simply put, it is a time where you can focus a great deal of time on physical improvement.
  • Pre-season training: should taper towards the specific requirements of your sport. So for me this was typically improving my footwork agility and power endurance. You want to be prepared for the upcoming season to hit your first game at full speed.
  • In-season training: for me this focuses on skill development, and strength maintenance. I typically drop to sub-maximal training, and remove speed work as this is covered in practice and during games (extremely taxing on the CNS). For guys who may not see a lot of game time, you can add more training sessions in to help improve your weaknesses. I typically switch to full body training and incorporate relevant shoulder and hip mobility work.

 

 

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Train Sport Specific

The biggest mistake I see is players training like a bodybuilder. If bodybuilding made you a better player, then all bodybuilders would play in the NFL. Performance is totally different to Aesthetics. Look at the movements of the sport, look at the performance requirements of the sport, and incorporate them in your training. The commonly used ‘3 sets of 10 reps’ isn’t the best for American Football!

Adam’s Top 5 Exercises for Sports Performance
  • Push ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Medicine ball throws
  • Hill Sprints
  • Single leg Split squats

 

Adam Hope
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American Football… In the UK!

MASS spoke to MASS SPC 2014 Athletic winner and GB American Football player Adam Hope.

Name: Adam Hope
University: Nottingham Trent
Course: Building Surveying Msc
Year of Study: Graduated in 2014

More and more students at University are getting into American Football, and with its recent introduction to BUCS (British Universities College Sports) it’s more important than ever that players are exploding over the touchline and bringing the point’s home for their University. MASS spoke to MASS SPC 2014 Athletic winner and GB American Football player Adam Hope to find out all about what American Football has done for him.

The sport of American Football has taught me much about myself and has instilled traits that I will carry forward to other aspects of my life. Dedication, perseverance, attitude, commitment, effort and success are just a few of the qualities that you’ll learn! Not only have I (and many others) developed these traits but I have done so whilst having extremely great fun and making some life-long friends from multiple countries. American Football at University level is a must. It is a sport that rewards effort and commitment, where rewards are earned not given; for me, this is the thrill. I would encourage everyone to try it and stick at it for at least a year.

 “Getting involved in American Football at University was one of the greatest decisions I have made in my life.”

 

Great Britain

Community

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Playing football at University brought me a whole new circle of friends – far bigger than I’d ever imagine. There is a great community amongst American

Footballers, from all teams, across the

globe and being part of American Football has allowed me to make great friends from all across the UK and USA, it’s really quite amazing.

Its allowed me to travel to Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, and the USA and make some great connections along the way. Events such as team socials, long journeys

to away games (always the best), play-off football, end of season meals, tours and exhibition games have added all given me some great memories I will never forget.I love it so much because of the rush of adrenaline you get when you make big play, lay a huge hit, truck an opponent, or score a vital Touchdown in the dying seconds. It’s a sport where all players can make an impact and can change the tempo of the game in one single play.

Finding the time

Having the time to be an American Football player as part of your University life all comes down to time management and priorities. Some people prioritise FIFA and drinking, others don’t. I find training and playing extremely enjoyable, and it’s great to give my mind a rest from studying. It may seem like a lot of time to commit but the rewards really are worth it. Quite simply, you make time, you learn to make the most of what you have and in fact become far more productive.

 

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Where it all Began

I first was introduced to American Football about 6 months before I was set to start University, through a friend for my hometown Youth team; Sheffield Tomahawks. As a scrawny 70kg lad I wasn’t the biggest, but I was quick. As such I was selected to play Running Back (RB). After a summer playing this position I decided to continue the sport at Loughborough University and ended up as the starting Running Back for 4 years. During my Freshman year I started off playing a combination of Slot Receiver and Running Back – quick, yet not big enough to carry the full load running the ball. I sharply realised I needed to add more size and with some help to my training and nutrition I was able to add approximately 15kg in my first year. Ever since then I have honed my position as a work-horse Running Back. All in all, I have been playing for 6 years now and still love the sport.

 

Adam Hope

Achievements

My highest achievement as a player has to be representing Great Britain in both their Senior team and Student team, and scoring in both tournaments. Representing the senior GB team has to be the greatest, as it took the greatest amount of work. I was first invited to a trial for the GB Lions in 2010, weeks before the European Championships in Frankfurt. I didn’t make the cut, and I promised myself that next time round I’d be selected. It took a hell of a lot of work to make the next team, and at times I questioned whether the effort was really worth it, but standing on the field in Milan under the flood lights with 3000 fans watching and hearing the national anthem play was such an immense and proud feeling that confirmed it was all worthwhile. Other achievements I am proud of have been winning the League’s Most Valuable Player award and receiving Full Colours from Loughborough University. Whilst I never played the sport for accolades, it is a great feeling to have your efforts recognised – and American Football is a sport that does so.

 

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What are you doing now?

Since graduating in June 2014 I’m in full time work and am currently awaiting details for the next GB tournament, I hope to make the team once again!

 

Thanks for sharing your story with us Adam. From all of the team here at MASS we’d like to wish you a MASSive good luck with all your future endeavors!

 

If this article has inspired you to start playing then wait no more… get onto your SU website now, call up your Uni’s American Football team and get down to the next training session!
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