I love to ponder stuff. I love to read research. And, I love to read differing opinions of strength and conditioning. I really look forward to having my thinking challenged. I wasn't always this way, though. There was a time that any challenge to my thinking made me bristle with antagonism, but over the years this has changed. I think for the better. I don't have all of the answers, actually probably very few, but I'm willing to keep trying to ask better questions.
One area of strength and conditioning that I've tried to examine over the years has been the physiological response to sports, especially American football. In some ways, it has been almost a taboo subject to study. Many of the studies presented, I think, contain a lot of internal biases and seem to really be written to support a certain brand of training, to justify rather than to examine. All too often when I review such studies I find myself hopeful only to conclude at some point, "Here we go again."
Now, one study I think is worth a read is a 1997 study by Pincevero and Bompa, titled, A Physiological Review of American Football. I've provided a link to the abstract below, the full study is thought provoking and raises some issues that I think are pertinent to the sport in regards to energy systems and conditioning.
We've come to over-rely on blindly-formed, circuitous information on energy systems and their role in conditioning for football, in my opinion. It seems that cardio-vascular conditioning for football has become a four-letter word. When you think about it, this thinking has evolved with very, very little data to support it other than what's continually passed on in text books.
I can't say this loud enough. I think the injury data in the sport at the NFL level is confirming this fact, football athletes probably "play themselves into shape" during the in-season rather than being ready to compete from off-season "football-specific" conditioning. If you examine the injury data in the NFL, I think you may begin to think differently about conditioning.
I think this is something to at least consider. Anyways, I hope you'll take a look at the study.