IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa football's offseason training is as demanding as any around the country. The Hawkeyes pride themselves on turning high school kids into grown men during their careers, and one aspect is more important than all the others for that development.
"They know each and everyday, they need to come in and compete in order to play here," said Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
Competition in any football program is essential. For Doyle, it's the foundation for his player development in the offseason.
“Competition is a critical component to high-level training,” Doyle said. “And when athletes are held accountable to their performance on a daily basis, it's going to contribute to high levels of performance and improve performance.”
The players compete within their position groups in various strength, speed and agility drills depending on the time of year.
“We like to say...anything that we can measure, rank and post," Doyle said.
The contests keep players accountable while also serving as motivation during training. Parker Hesse said competing in the offseason prepares the Hawks for the pressure of Saturdays in the fall.
"If each and every day you've had that, you know, almost game-like pressure of, 'I got to do this right now', and you've focused on your fundamentals, and kept your poise through that,” remarked Hesse, a senior defensive lineman, “it makes it easier on Saturdays to just focus on the little things you need to focus on to win football games."
The competitive nature doesn't start when the guys get on campus in Iowa City. It begins all the way back during the recruiting cycle, when Kirk Ferentz and his staff identify that trait.
“If we think we find something, in terms of their makeup and their competitiveness that we like, we'll recruit them and then figure out where they're gonna play later on," Ferentz said.
Doyle said another benefit to competing every day is that guys will make better lifestyle choices in order to beat their teammates at the competitions throughout the strength and conditioning program.
“Iowa football is not for everybody. It's gonna be demanding and we're going to compete on a daily basis,” Doyle said. “And when guys hear that and they say, 'yeah, that's what i'm looking for. I want that.', those are the guys that are going to fit in at Iowa football."
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