NITTANY NOTES: Station to Station

Check out more of what the Nittany Lions are doing as they head into the stretch run of winter workouts.

For Penn State, a primary focus of the winter sessions is on "skill sharpening and enhancement" for the players. To work on this the players focus on a series of stations to work speed, agility, endurance and overall game fundamentals.

Currently the players are lifting Monday, Wednesday and Friday and participate in runs and stations on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturdays are generally an optional period of speed work and/or recovery stretch for the players. "[On Saturday] guys can often get in extra work on their [running] technique and get some extra stretch work in to help limber up their muscles which have been punished all week."

Sunday is usually an off day. The exceptions are for players who must report for "awareness training" because they were late for a workout or had some other sort of issue during the week.

Station Tuning

During a station session, the players typically participate in three revolving stations that last about eight minutes in duration for each player.

Generally the stations will focus on speed, agility and footwork. Here is a look at some of the stations the players will engage in:

Top Speed: Here speed coach Jeremy Scott will work the players through various speed drills. These can incorporate work on acceleration, cutting ability, control and directional shifts. The players can also focus on running technique. As one observer explained, "The way you control your body or use your arms on a run can greatly impact the [the players'] speed."

"Climb" It: The players often participate in the standard ladders station. It is a drill common throughout the football world. The drill lays out a "ladder" on the ground — the ladder is a series of boxes, about one foot by one foot in size. These boxes are one column wide and have 12 or so rows. One (and sometimes two) ladder is placed on the ground. From here the players run a series of drills. For example, they can run side to side to shift direction from forward and reverse motion. They can run side-step drills to test lateral motion. The can also run full forward or reverse drills. The point is to work footwork agility and speed.

Cone Work: Another typical drill will set four cones in a square formation in 10-yard increments. From here the players will work a series of runs like sprints, backpedals and shuffles to work their speed and also ability to make directional cuts. "With this the guys are really focused on their ability to set their feet and shift direction at full speed on whatever type of run they are doing," according to one observer.

At the end of these sessions the players will typically run "indys" or independent drills that are fundamental to certain positions. For example, these will range from take-down technique for linebackers, snap counts for offensive linemen, catching for receivers or protecting the ball for running backs, among others.

As spring practice approaches the players will extend these stations from three in a session to six to increase the amount of work they get in.

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