In this day and age, no football coach would dispute the importance of year round weight training. I think we established that in last week’s article and it was promised that this week we would answer the following questions. What about the multi sport athlete? What if the basketball coach has a different program? Or the wrestling coach, or the baseball coach? What if it’s game day? These can all present problems in a year round weight training program. In my opinion, it is best if all sports programs in a school are on the same strength training program. Many athletes in high school are multi sport athletes and thus will always be on the same routine. I also believe, if possible, it is advantageous for all lifting to be done during the school day in an athletic PE class. This accomplishes two purposes. First, it allows kids to get their lifting in during the day and does not add another time commitment to their already long and busy day. It also promotes the multi sport approach, which I am a strong proponent of. I am not in favor of the football coach who demands that his players don’t run track in the spring or wrestle in the winter so that they may attend his before/after school lifting program. But, all coaches and PE teachers MUST be on board with this idea of all athletes on the same program. The athletic director should provide leadership and training for the entire staff. Everyone’s gotta be on the same page! I’m not going to try to tell you what is the right approach or wrong approach, only what we did and why it worked for us. We had a five pronged approach.
- All PE teachers and coaches in our school had to attend a clinic ( we chose BFS as our program) and get certified to teach and implement the program. Our Athletic Director
mandated that we would all be on the same program for all sports. No lone wolves.
- We had no special athletic period, so athletes were strongly encouraged to take weight training during the day, interspersed with students who were interested in general fitness. Classes were mixed with boys and girls and it was freshmen through seniors. Students were placed into 3 or 4 person groups according to size and strength. A typical group of boys was freshmen and sophomores in a group and junior, senior boys in another group. Same with the girls. Boys with boys and girls with girls.
- We prescribed “Game Day” routines for varsity athletes. All varsity athletes participated in the “game day” routine on days in which they played a game. They DID NOT get the day off, but we did alter their workout. Generally, they worked with much less weight (50% of Max) and focused on technique and control. This way they were fresh and capable of performing their absolute best in their contest. However, it should be noted that as the head wrestling coach, I wanted my wrestlers doing the normal workout during the regular season. We were shooting for a tournament time peak.
- We had a plan for JV student-athletes and our plan was pretty simple. JV athletes participated fully every day, no matter if they have a game or not. We were aware that this
might leave them slightly more fatigued than they other wise would be, but our philosophy with our JV programs was development, not wins and losses. Our Athletic Directors were on board with how we took this philosophy to the weight room. If development over the long haul is what’s most important then we simply couldn’t afford to have JV student-athletes dedicating one to two days each week missing their weight training session. They could potentially miss out on as much as 40% of the training program if we had them do the “game day” routine during their season of play. We were not willing to sacrifice 40% of their long term development for the potential of a JV win here and there. Did anyone really care if the JV team went 16-10 instead of 18-8?
- Tournament time! Our philosophy was to do all you can for the athletes to get them ready for the state tournament series or
playoffs. Now they MUST be fresh and at their best. They still had to dress for class but greatly reduced the amount of weight and exercises being performed. They could warmup, spot, and do a little light lifting on game day. We, and most coaches, felt that peaking at state tournament time was what the hard work was all about.
This routine worked for us and I really liked it. I’ll admit, it may not work for everyone. If you’ve got a PE teacher or two that just sits at a desk reading the newspaper, forget it. But if your PE staff and coaches are really getting after it – it will work.
What is my favorite strength training program for the high school athlete? My personal favorite is the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program commonly known as BFS. I love the way the log book keeps records and motivates the athlete. Part of my student’s grade was based on keeping an accurate set/rep log book. I also really liked how the program alternates weekly routines on a four week cycle, allows for the athlete to break tons of records, and how it handled the bench press by using the “towel bench” once a week. My only negative with the BFS program is the dead lift. I have found that technique breaks down as the kids lift heavier weights. Perhaps that was my fault, perhaps not. Never the less, the dead lift always gave us problems. I used it, but limited the amount of weight the kids could use. Overall, we all loved the way BFS fit into our PE program.
Commit to a program, lift regularly, lift with intensity. As always, I would love to get your thoughts on this or any other subject concerning football. Tell me what you think on Twitter. @TheChiefpigskin.
Coach L. Albaugh DBLITY
Speaking of developing players… the staff at Dallas HS, OR is doing an incredible job building great football players. Coach Andy Jackson left the room buzzing after his presentation on Developing An Elite Defense at Practice during the 3-5-3 Clinic 2017. “I’m 100% confident that my team will play better defense next year simply because I saw this presentation.” – Head Coach Nate Albaugh | Champaign Central, IL
Developing An Elite Defense at Practice
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53 Minutes - $29.95