Now that Off-Season football strength training is here for a lot of high school football players, parents and athletes are wondering what
their training schedule should consist of.
I can help you with that.
For high school football players, there is perhaps no more crucial period of strength and athletic development available than that during the off season. Too often the off season is neglected and this critical time is lost, resulting in a poor improvement rate in the athlete over the course of their high school years. As a strength coach, I consider the off season to run from November through June. I know that I will lose 3-5 weeks here and there with my athletes due to the holidays, Spring football and vacations. That only leaves me about 6 months to make them bigger, faster and stronger before high school football begins to ramp up. That is not a lot of time. I will need every minute of it.
For my returning athletes, they already know what to expect and they should be fine as long as they take the nutrition part seriously.
The new athletes will take 4-5 weeks to get up to speed. They’ll need to first understand “the process” as Alabama head coach Nick Saban calls it. My process consists of doing the same things over and over again. Showing up on time, weigh, warm up, log food, set goals, achieve goals. Repeat.
What are their goals? What are their physical limitations, if any? What is their mindset? If I feel an energy drain in
any of these areas, forget it. It’s not going to work. Not here, not with me, not this year. Harsh? Maybe. Would Nick Saban call this harsh? I think we both know the answer to that. My ideal clients are hungry, motivated athletes who will follow my process. My process works, it’s been proven over and over again.
I love my athletes, but I need them to understand how serious I take my role as a strength coach. I expect my athletes to be the biggest, fastest and strongest. At the end of the off season, I want to turn my athletes over to the high school coaches and have the coaches
say “What the heck?” And then let them run loose on the field.
Here Are My Thoughts On An Effective Off-Season Strength Program
First off is rest and recovery. Thank your coaches and the staff, take a week or 2 off after the football season. Focus on family and
friends. Enjoy Thanksgiving and just clear your mind. Towards the end of this week or 2, evaluate what your goals are regarding your next season. Do you want to play next year? Do you want to start next year? Do you want to be the best version of yourself next year?
Do you want to win a State Championship next year? Are you willing to put in 100+% effort to accomplish this? Do you want to be bigger, faster and stronger?
Be honest. Would you come train at my gym 3 x week at 5:30 in the morning before school when it’s cold and rainy? Does that make you
excited or does that make you feel like rolling over and going back to sleep? If the answer is “yes, I would come train at that time” then bring it. If the answer is “no”, fine, we can still be friends and maybe I’ll see you next year.
So here’s what to expect with my off-season training:
The athlete will arrive on time and have water. The athlete will fill out and turn in some short forms, they’ll get weighed, a bodyweight, bmi and body fat % account will be set up in their name and will be maintained by me. Next, we’ll have a get to know each other chat. We’ll warm up. I’ll work around any limitations and check their estimated 1 rep max in 4-5 core lifts. After about an hour or so, the workout is over. I’ll talk about the importance of nutrition and I’ll get their nutrition account set up. They leave.
I encourage them to let me know what type of training they are doing at school regarding strength training and
conditioning. I work with kids from different schools so some do a reasonable amount of strength training and some do none.
Some use a lot of intensity and some use little.
Nothing against the high schools, but they simply do not have the time or the manpower to oversee 25 + kids in a consistent, effective manner. A lot of coaches are also teachers who have a large class work load. Being a strength coach is a full time job and at the college level, they spend 8-10 hours a week with their athletes. High schools do not have dedicated strength coaches. But oh man if they did!
Typically, the decision comes down to training 1 x week, 2 x week, or 3 x week. Let’s look at each option so you, as a parent,
can make the most informed choice.
Pros of training 1 x week with me: The athlete is weighed, the athlete gets started on nutrition, the athlete knows what their estimated
1 rep max is on 4-5 core lifts. The athlete begins the mindset process. Setting goals, believing in oneself, soaking up the energy,
experiencing an elevated environment by training with athletes who are returning clients.
Cons of training 1 x week with me: Not enough volume (reps, sets). Need at least 3 x week for optimal results. I want the athlete to hit bench press, deadlift, squat, pull-ups, military press and cleans 1 x week. You cannot do this in one workout with optimum intensity. The athlete will realize up to 30% of their potential if they are consistently coming 1 x week, eating correctly, resting and has a good mindset.
Pros of training 2 x week with me: Everything the same as 1 x week training except the stimulus is higher (more volume) so progress is
twice as much as in the 1 x week training. I get to spend more time with the athlete, explaining, challenging, training with, tweaking and
motivating. 100% better results than just training 1 x week.
Cons of training 2 x week with me: OK, but not ideal. When I was still competing in bodybuilding, I would train 3 days on, 1 day off and
then 5 days on, 2 days off. See the difference? The teenage athlete is primed for growth due to the male hormone testosterone output
but they need the stimulus, the correct mix of exercises and the appropriate intensity. When I sought out bodybuilders who were more
advanced than I, my progress skyrocketed. The athlete will realize up to 60% of their potential if they are consistently coming 2 x week, eating correctly, resting and has a good mindset.
Pros of training 3 x week with me: Ideal. The athlete will get the full effect, will rapidly get bigger, faster, stronger as long as they
are following the nutrition process, resting and has a good mindset. Expect to gain up to 20lbs during the first off season. No supplements
needed. Just food and protein drinks. I don’t consider protein drinks a supplement. They are a food and they get added to the grocery
list along with the meat, eggs, etc.
Cons of training 3 x week with me: You have to hear me tell the same old stories over and over again.
The best results that an athlete has gotten with me was a result of 3 x week training starting in Dec and running through
the off-season. He’s a 3 year varsity member of the 2015 State Champion Cedar Park Timberwolves. He owns most of the all time
strength records on the Cedar Park High School Strength and Conditioning board. I said “all time”. Not current. He has 4 firm
college offers to play football next year.
To sum up, high school will be over in the blink of an eye. The competition has gotten tougher. However we feel about that, it’s just the truth. A pro level strength and conditioning program can be the great equalizer. If you really want to excel, you’ll need high level strength and conditioning, a solid nutrition program and lots of mental toughness. If your sophomore season is now over, you are no longer a sophomore football player, you are a junior football player. See how fast that went?
My advice to parents of high school football players who want to utilize my services is to get creative, get a car pool going, don’t try to do all of the driving yourself. If your athlete is 16 or 17, see if they can give their younger teammates a ride. Get creative. The results will be worth it. Got a group of up to 5 high school players who can commit to 2 or 3 x a week? Ask me about a group rate.
For high school football players, there is perhaps no more crucial period of strength and athletic development available than that during the off season. Too often the off season is neglected and this critical time is lost, resulting in a poor improvement rate in the athlete over the course of their high school years.
I’m forming my high school football player off season group now, please contact me for additional information, case
studies and references. Limited number accepted. Results may vary.
Please contact me if you are interested in my off season football training program.