If you're a fan of pro football, you admire NFL players for their extraordinary displays of skill and courage on game days. But you probably don't realize how hard those players work all week long. I do, because I play flag football.
Whether you play tackle or flag, conditioning is key. There is a lot of running. If you haven't trained properly, your legs will hurt. Sometimes they're still sore the next day, which is a problem many NFL players face.
To stay on the field, flag football players must dedicate themselves to a rigorous workout schedule. This is no different than the pro game.
Sunday: Flag football is played on Saturdays, so Sunday is a day of rest. You should watch at least one NFL game every week and learn as much as you can. What constitutes a catch? It keeps changing. Is grabbing a flag pretty much just like tackling? It appears so.
Monday: This is also a day of rest.
Tuesday: There is no better way to build up stamina and endurance than riding an elliptical machine. Twenty minutes is standard. If you're going to push it to 25, do it now, on Tuesday.
Wednesday: If you didn't overdo it yesterday, you can get back on the elliptical. Otherwise, push-ups and sit-ups. After a few sets, you will understand why NFL players are in such great shape.
Thursday: Already? The week has gone by fast and game day is right around the corner. Time for one last ride on the elliptical machine. You might wonder why the elliptical is better than a treadmill. My building has an elliptical.
Friday: The day before each game is easy on the body and hard on the mind. You should sit back and relax, but you can't keep your thoughts from wandering onto the field.
If you think that's rough, take another look at Tuesday. That's the day NFL players collect their paychecks. We don't get any money. There is no benefit to playing flag football.
I know what you're thinking: Pro football is more dangerous because of all the contact. Think again. One of our players broke his finger, and it was sticking out sideways. I have never seen that on an NFL field. And because there is no tackling, there is nobody to land on when you hit the "turf." My friend is living proof of that.
The new NFL season kicks off in just a few short months. I can hardly wait, and I think I know why. I have an appreciation for the game you can only earn by playing -- and training -- all season long.