The mental and physical benefits of playing football carry over into all kinds of other sports, allowing you to DO:MORE on and off the field.
Football builds athletes who have strong muscle mass from head to toe, but who can also stay quick on their feet. The sport also demands that players become accustomed to hard knocks – hits so huge that they knock the wind right out of you.
Check out the benefits of playing football and how the sport helps you DO:MORE in your other favorite sports.
Toughness – Hockey and Basketball
Football epitomizes toughness. It’s a sport made up of hundreds of hard knocks per game. No matter which side of a hit you’re on, you’re going to feel some sort of impact. Forming a tough outer-shell will come in handy in several sports and outdoors pursuits. Taking checks from hard-hitting opponents on the ice during a hockey game will feel exactly like your hits on the field. The same goes for playing an aggressive streetball game, where rebounds and blocked shots are won by swinging elbows and shoulders. Being able to snap into that frame of mind, where no hit can jar your focus, is an immeasurable skill that transfers easily to the hockey rink or basketball court.
Hand-eye coordination – Baseball
This skill mostly applies to quarterbacks and receivers, so if you have a chance to play one of these positions, you will reap many benefits. Throwing a football may be different than throwing a baseball, but the arm motions are very close. If you have built a foundation of throwing a regulation 15-ounce pigskin, you won’t have a problem throwing a baseball, which clocks in at a mere five ounces. Just as placing donuts on your bat during warm-up helps you swing a lighter bat with ease, throwing the lighter ball will seem like throwing a feather. Likewise, the diving catches that wide-receivers tend to make or the all-out sprints made by a safety to swat away a ball both bear a strong resemblance to an outfielder’s standard practice. Catching a fly ball on the run will seem like a breeze after a few games running pass patterns or covering fleet-footed receivers.
Agility – Tennis and Basketball
Every time you juke an opponent, swiftly change directions or break into a sprint, you’re increasing your agility. In sports like tennis or, if you play guard or small forward, basketball, this gives you a game-winning edge. On the tennis court, when your opponent whips a forehand over the net to the far corner of your side, you’ve got to have a lightning-fast first step. It’s the same movement a running back performs when he cuts hard to one side. Ditto for driving to the hoop during a basketball game – a movement that’s often made from a dead standstill as the defenseman stares you down. A player will make one quick fake, just as a wide receiver would at the start of a pass play.
Muscle building – Soccer and Climbing
Going out on the field without a honed layer of muscle is just as bad as going out without standard pads. The weight-lifting associated with training is a huge benefit of playing football. Having a healthy dose of muscle mass is a perfect base for mountain climbing. To get through thousands of feet of vertical gain, you’ve got to have quads like pistons, which any player on the football field will have, whether he’s the kicker, quarterback or linebacker. Those quads also make you a lethal weapon on a soccer field – kicking hard and fast helps get the ball downfield past the defenders. Football players are used to making quick bursts of speed, something that heavy leg lifts, an exercise part of a football player’s gym routine, will help with. This ability is crucial in soccer while trying to outrun a defender when your teammate has intercepted the ball or you’re sprinting to receive a pass.
Strategy – Boxing
Football requires more strategy than any other sport. It’s a game made up of dozens of individual plays, each with its own complicated patterns of movement and logic. This kind of tactical strategy readily applies to boxing. In football, you are trying to systematically find your opponent’s weakness and exploit it. If the other team has a weak defensive line, you will want to inch your way up the field with running plays. If your receiver has a step on one of their safeties, then you’ll want to tire out that safety with a few plays, and then throw long to your guy. Being a successful boxer demands a very similar kind of strategic thinking. You have to constantly evaluate what is working and what is not. Ifs your opponent is weak on his left side, then you have to hammer his left until you land a punch. If his footwork is sloppy or predictable, then you have to wait for him to slip up or repeat the same pattern until you work inside for a jab. The two games share an incremental characteristic where wearing down the opposition and working open the cracks is critical.
For more football content, check out these football training drills and exercises straight from pro camps.