In an effort to increase the transfer of training to sport performance, sport-specific training programs should be developed. Competition modeling has been proposed as a method for developing metabolic conditioning programs that mimic competition environments. This process involves both a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of competitive conditions of a sport. The purpose of this observational research was to construct a competition model of American football for 3 different levels: high school, collegiate, and professional. Observations of 30 football games at different levels were conducted and modeled with respect to length of play, length of recovery between plays, plays per series, and stoppages per series. The resultant data demonstrated that differences in these variables exist between levels of play. High school plays lasted, on average, 5.6 +/- 2.0 seconds and were slightly longer than college (10.47 seconds) and professional (10.44 seconds) plays. The average time for recovery between plays was longest in National Football League (NFL) games and shortest in high school. On average, the work to recovery ratio was most strenuous in high school (1:5.5), college (1:6.1), and NFL (1:6.2), respectively. Differences in the identified competitive conditions, although slight, do exist among high school, collegiate, and professional football. In order to design specific metabolic training programs for American football, coaches should consider the identified models. Exercise to rest ratios and volume of work performed in a training session should be designed to ensure that players are preparing specifically for identified game conditions.
(C) 2006 National Strength and Conditioning Association