Revisit The Playground

Bored of the same old training drills? Looking for a fun and imaginative way to get the heart racing and blood pumping round your body? Well rather than try to reinvent the wheel why not take a trip down memory lane to see if you can pick up some useful training drills. Exactly how far you go back is up to you but why not stop at your school playground for come inspiration. I'm sure that as a coach or athlete you are continually racking your brains for new training drills, but new is not always better, the games we used to play before the advent of computers now provide us with a wealth of training possibilities for adults. Still not convinced...try some of these in your next workout.   

Tag: You can play tag with two people and it involves sprinting, change of direction, decision-making and the ability to adapt to the other players. If you work hard enough you will only be able to play for short intense periods of time making it a fantastic anaerobic activity full of sport specific movements. You will improve your ability to make rapid directional changes, variation of speed and the ability to 'read' other players movements.   

Dodge Ball: A bit like tag but using balls to try and catch your opponent(s). Using one or more balls throw the ball at your opponent. It's important to remember that unlike your old PE teacher during a game of STINGER you're not trying to remove people's heads from their shoulders! Use soft balls and aim below waist height (but not at your opponents most treasured possessions). Once hit with the ball they are on and your opponents are being chased. Add in some extra people and additional balls and you have a great drill for maintaining body awareness and agility.     

Wall Ball: Throw a tennis ball against a wall and then try to catch it using one hand only. Sound simple...OK.... add some players into the mix to work on your positioning and agility. If your attempt to catch the ball is unsuccessful sprint to the wall and back before the next player picks the ball and throws it. Hand eye coordination, sprint speed and agility are just a few of the skills that can be developed with this game.   

King of the Mountain: The mountain in this case is a wobble board or stability ball. The object of the game is to 'attack' the person on the ball and try to dislodge them by pushing them at different angles. Now you are not literally trying to knock them flying, you are simply teaching them to adjust their position and resist the attack. A great workout to improve your balance and core stability.   

Pirates: Now I think that this game is no longer practiced in schools for fears of safety...what a shame I say. Who remembers the lessons where you arrived at the gym to find every single piece of kit laid out before you, wall bars, vaulting horses, ropes.... you name it they had it. Now what ensued was 30 minutes of running over jumping off and balancing on things in an attempt not to touch the ground (water) and be eaten by sharks!! Well this piece of nostalgia can be recreated using just about anything you have at hand and will challenge your body like no other activity. Sure you need to keep safety in mind but what a workout...and more importantly what fun.     

Hopefully you can see from these examples that there are many good ideas for training sessions that as children we simply took for granted. I'm sure with a little imagination your training sessions will once again become a fun activity that you look forward to rather than the same old boring interval session.   

Got any more ideas? Let me know.    

Strength and Conditioning Journal Vol 23 (4) 50 Revisiting the Playground