SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Coverage of the San Francisco 49ers

Anatomy of a Nutcracker

Singletary's all-out ball busting physical drill

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    NEWSLETTERS

     San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary is resuming his nutty methods of testing his players' manhood.

    The 49ers infamous "nutcracker" drill returns for training camp 2010, and guys are either manning up or keeling over.

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    The nutcracker drill works like this -- two 49ers line up against one another in a three-point stance, with a big red line on the ground in the middle of the group. Then Singletary blows a whistle and begins shouting profanities.

    The goal is to push your opponent backwards. For three seconds, the players push, shove, grind, hand-check, and generally nutcrack against one another. At the end of the three seconds, whichever player gave up ground is declared the loser.

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    Comcast Sports Net Bay Area has some great video of nutcracker drills, with Singletary's shouting edited into just the safe-for-work bits.

    The Mercury News' Tim Kawakami calls the nutcracker "the NFL equivalent of 'Shark Week.'" "You have to watch it. So much thrashing and crashing and potential for danger."

    The 49ers instituted the nutcracker in training camp last year. The drill quickly became controversial after Patrick Willis and Parys Haralson suffered injuries, and some even blamed the nutcracker for the Niners' late-season swoon.

    Guys did get hurt last year, but Coach Singletary modified the drill because he believes it works. The three-second limit was instituted this season, and smaller players are not made to participate.

    "The thing that we're trying to do is have our guys understand what leverage is," Singlteary told CSN Bay Area. "In football, the low guy normally wins. You can be big, you can be strong, you can be fast, but if you can't bend, and if you don't have leverage, chances are you are going to lose a lot of those individual battles."

    Going forward, there will be two sessions of nutcrackers in each 49ers training camp practice.

    And you can bet the family jewels those players will be good and sore for awhile.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who got a little sore south of the suspenders just writing this.