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Physical Skills Needed to Play Football

By Christopher Michael

It takes the human body one-fifth of a second to see a play unfold, process the information and react. The quicker your body moves to react, the better you're going to be at football. A great football player builds power, agility and balance on a foundation of muscular strength to make the big plays.

Five-Skill Set

Strong muscles move faster than weak ones, so strength training is a big part of football. But strength is a measure of physical fitness; the foundation on which physical skills are built, not a skill in and of itself. Football requires agility, the ability to change direction with a purpose. Balance centers the body to snag difficult catches, make a tackle, blast a block or sustain a blow. Speed can be developed with proper form and exercise, helping you hunt down your prey or break away from the pack. Power allows you to move your muscles at high speed with maximum strength for vicious hits. And reaction time, which can be sharpened down to that one-fifth-of-a-second threshold, gets you in the right place at the right time.

Skill Positions

Three positions on the field covet one skill above all else. The quarterback needs a fine touch to loft passes downfield and the ability to fire the ball into tight spaces at full speed. Place-kickers boot an oblong ball through a goal at impressive distances. And punters toss themselves the ball and then boom it with precision to keep it inside the sidelines and goal line. Coordination is the ability to use the senses with your body parts during movement. And while agility, balance, speed, power and reaction time help a quarterback or kicker perform, they are not as important as coordination.

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