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5 Fallacies of High School Football Off-Season Strength and Conditioning- PART 1

Part 1-Part 2-Part 3

As December rolls in, so does the end of high school football season. Some teams continue with playoff runs, hoping to make it to the coveted state championships they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives. Trust me, every year the 4th quarter comeback gets more dramatic and the number of tackles in that final game go up. Now is also the time many more high school teams are sitting at home watching the playoffs and will soon enter a strength and conditioning program delivered by the football coaches. These programs will become the primary mode of training for these teams until spring begins. These training sessions will lay the foundation for the next season. Off-season training at this level always begins with high energy and even higher hopes. But once the fallacies of a poorly thought out program begin to show through, the energy dissipates and hope turns to despair.
18217 High school is the most anabolic time in an athlete’s life! This can be an amazing opportunity for an athlete to grow into a beast if done properly! It is also can have the reverse effect if the athlete is put through a strength and conditioning program that does more harm, than good. We’ve put together a list of five fallacies many high school football programs are guilty. The goal of a high school strength program is to develop young athletes with the goal to put them into a position to succeed on the field. And ensure those athletes are not dealt setbacks the could plague their budding careers.

1. Assessment
What does an assessment at the high school sport level usually entail? Height, Weight, and testing 1 rep maxes. The purpose of an assessment is to identify an athlete’s limiting factors; what is holding them back. If there is huge number of common limiting factors across the team, this helps to determine the training focus addressed in their strength program.

Most off season football high school programs are on the right path. A program steeped in training for Strength, Power and Speed is the ultimate goal. However, only a handful of players will benefit from this stimulus. If limiting factors are not identified early on and addressed, they will affect the athlete's performance and prevent them from reaching their full potential. Height and weight measurements are not indicative of instability, imbalance, biomechanical issues, unidentified previous injury, or any other potential setbacks for success. The off season is the time to identify potential limitations in a controlled environment, and provide a place to address these problems before they bleed into next season.

Another assessment high school football players are subjected to is testing of 1 rep maxes. This is single minded in a sport coaches eyes, because it only identifies ‘weak’ and ‘strong’. The funny thing about these tests is that they are not accurate with many of their athletes. Why does this assessment not represent a true picture of each athlete’s strength? A true 1 rep max requires a trained, efficient Central Nervous System (CNS), which young developing high schoolers do not have. What is your CNS? Simply put, it is the central computing system of the body that includes your brain and spinal cord which process incoming information and sends out commands the rest of the body follows (2). The quantity of muscle mass involved in a lift is not the only thing that determines muscular strength, but also the extent of individual muscle fibers firing within the muscle and muscles groups working together (3).

The importance of the CNS in training according to Dr. Fred Hatfield,

“You have to learn how to coordinate your movements- the dozens muscles involved as prime mover, synergists, and stabilizers- so that maximum usable force is applied to the resistance, and minimum negative forces are generated.” (1)

Dr. Squat refers to this as strength coordination. These athletes need reps and time to learn the movements, gain coordination of their bodies, and muscles need practice firing when called upon. 1RM testing may be effective towards the end of a high schooler’s career, as their training age increases, but not for the initial training years. It truly takes years.

Bad Form 2. Application and Execution
The success or failure of implementing a strength program at all levels is determined by the application of the program, and execution of the movements. More often than not, the sport coaches are the ones who are in charge of program application and instructing the kids how to execute the lifts contained in the program. These coaches are often limited by their personal experience in the weight room. Pulling a quote from CrossFit, "We fail at the margins of our experiences." Instructing and teaching athletes with little training experience how to move is not as simple as putting a bar on their back and telling them to ‘just squat.’ This method does lead to some weight being moved, but doesn’t teach the athlete how to control and use his body to generate force to an outside object or resistance.

The sport coaches may have an eye for detail on the field, but could be missing improper positions during training in the weight room and field drills. The number one cause of injury to this age group during strength training is due to improper technique (3). These missed issues could lead to greater problems when the stress on that limiting factor is greater during the football game or during an ill advised 1 Rep Max lift or field drill.

Usually, every play called on the field has a purpose, just as every movement in a strength training program should have a purpose. Why should the emphasis on position and proper execution only be reserved for the field? Invest in the time to instruct kids on proper execution of movements. This will not only make for a more effective strength program, but also a more body aware and coachable athlete on the football field.

Football Team Workout 3. Numbers?
If YouTube clips of  your high schooler benching 400 pounds is the highlight of the year for the football program, you’re not doing it right. Getting the kids strong is one thing, but developing the ability to use that strength is another. Numbers are important as biomarkers for improvement, but they should never the end all be all of a program. Coaches should be bragging about amazing plays on the field, taking the third stringers and developing them into starters, or scholarship offers for their athletes! Not what a player put up in a halfdeadlifted “bench press” or a quarter, broken squat.

Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine the strongest squatter for a high school football team is able to "low bar/goodmorning/roundback" squat 450 lbs at a weight of 250lbs. His teammate maxes out at only 315 lbs, one time, and weighs the same 250lbs. The 450 lb squatter lines up at defensive tackle and the 315 lb at offensive guard. During one on one blocking drills in practice there is a distinct difference between the two’s performance. The 315 lb squatter is manhandling the 450 pounder. Why? He is using ALL of his 315 lbs strength developed in the weight room. In theory, the stronger athlete "should" have won the battle. Problem is, many times an athlete is unable to reproduce the weight room strength on the field due to poor position and posture.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You get what you emphasize in a program. If all the coaches care about are numbers, then so will the kids. If your goal in the weight room is to get athletes to squat 450 lbs, that number doesn’t mean anything unless they can use it. Power Athlete emphasizes the posture and position in the weight room as a way to increase performance on the field. While numbers are important, they are less important when compared to to developing reproducible movement patterns for young athletes. These patterns pay dividends on the field; true skill transfer.

Klein Bearkats This concludes Part 1 of the Fallacies most associated with a High School Football Off-Season Strength and Conditioning. We listed these three first because of their focus on immediate impacts and direction the coaches put into place during the beginning phases of developing and implementing an off-season strength and conditioning program.

The standards and goals of any program will always accompany the highest of expectations. With this in mind, what is the definition of insanity? If you are a coach who is consistently sitting and watching the playoffs every year, you need take a look at the core values of your program. And this begins with the off-season program. The culture and success of each team or player begins with the development of a solid strength and conditioning program built around improving strengths and identifying and addressing weaknesses. Development means nothing though without effective application by coaches and the athletes properly executing what is required of them. But what if you don't know where to begin to develop your program into a powerhouse through effective strength and conditioning practices?

Welcome to Power Athlete...how can I help you?

Part 2 will tackle fallacies within the guts of off-season strength and conditioning programs, but until then we want to here from coaches in the field and strength coaches working with high school level athletes. Does your program lead to success on the field? Did it help the team? Why did you choose those movements and drills? What are some barriers you've faced from other sport coaches to changing strength and conditioning practices? Looking forward to writing a Best Practices for Off-Season High School Football Off-Season Training!

Sources:
(1)Hatfield, F.C. (1989, pg. 208). POWER: A Scientific Approach: Advanced Musclebuilding Techniques for Explosive Strength!. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, Inc.

(2)Verkhoshansky, Y., & Siff, M. (2009, pg. 71). Supertraing: 6th Edition. Rome: Ultimate Athlete Concepts.

(3)Zatsiorsky, V.M. & Kraemer, W.J. (2006, pg. 193). Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Tex McQuilkin
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Tex McQuilkin

Director of Training at Power Athlete
MS, CSCS, SCCC, CHES
Book a consult with me regarding coaching, training, life, education... anything your heart desires. Click below:
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Tex McQuilkin
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25 Responses to 5 Fallacies of High School Football Off-Season Strength and Conditioning- PART 1

  1. Arthur

    Tex,
    I am currently at Texas Lutheran University in my junior year in undergrad studying Kinesiology and minoring in biology. I plan to teach and coach and I especially want to get into coaching strength and conditioning. My professors here at TLU are helping me out with our material being covered in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics towards application other than theory. Do you have any suggestions that could help me with my future in coaching? Such as ACSM certifications, certain classes to take, etc? Thanks for your time.

    -Arthur

    • Arthur!
      You are entering a highly competitive field, but seeking to learn as much as you can outside of the classroom will separate yourself from the pack. Best advice I can give you is to try and get a diverse practical strength and conditioning experience as possible. Volunteer with the TLU strength coaches, but take the tasks with the most active participation on your part. Shadowing football is cool, but you will learn a hell of a lot more applying or writing a program to the Women’s Golf team personally. Communication is the most effective tool you have as a coach, and finding your voice is hard when your only job is to hold a clipboard and write in numbers.

      Spend your summers interning at any college program that will let you actively coach some athletes. Football at D1 level won’t be possible with the Nick Saban Strength Coach rule, so find a FCS for football or a D1 that you can work with Olympic Sports teams. Observe everything the coaches you work with say and take notes, but don’t hold it all as gospel. If you like something they say, do your research on it. Hold onto it if it works, if not, discard it.

      Make as many contacts as you can, and no job is ever too small.

      As far as continued education goes, if you’re shooting to coach S&C at the college ranks you will NEED a CSCCa certification which is only available through an internship with a Master Coach. This certification is becoming a necessity for schools hiring. For personal development, I suggest NSCA’s CSCS. Will it make you a better coach, no, but will show a base level of knowledge of strength and conditioning principles and that you’ve invested time in studying.

      Power Athlete is also coming to Katy in February. 2 hour straight shot on I10 East from TLU. Read this is and see if your interested in the course: Beginner’s Guide

  2. Chad Dame

    I’m the strength coach at our high school. I started using crossfit football last year. I love that we do so much squating and Olympic lifts. Its also great to see the other athletes lookat us like we are lunatics during some of the words. My bragging moment is exactly what you suggested. We had a kid who was average in 10th grade. He spent the entire off season in the weight room following your program. He had the best attendance on our team. He ended up starting both ways and earning post season awards. Without this program he was destined to spend the season on the sideline.

    My biggest challenge is getting more athletes in the weight room. Any ideas from other schools?

    Second challenge what programming for swimmers??

    Love the program thanks!

    • Chad,
      That’s great news about your two way athlete! Quality S&C becomes even more important when small teams are forced to run both ways. If this kid is just a badass and the coaches can’t take him off the field, it is more of a testament for what you have helped him do! I’m going to shoot you an email, we would love to hear more about this success story!

      This program can be applied to Swimmers. The beauty of that sport is that it is conditioning!, and you can spend a lot more of your time on focusing on Body Awareness and Strength Training.

  3. Chad Dame

    Does anyone hold crossfit competitions st your school?

  4. Dustin Davis

    Tex,

    Looking forward to this series of articles. I am a CF Level 1 Trainer, as well as NASM PES certified. I have being coaching/strength coaching for the better part of a decade. When I found CF I began using it myself and with my athletes and clients. Now I am a teacher and continue to use CF principals.

    My first year at my current school, St Joseph of Santa Maria, CA, they had a decent program that was well received and well attended, but to many guys had big bench numbers and crappy cleans, squat form was marginal at best. I slowly began crossfitting them in the spring and summer and into the season…I took a program from 2-7 to 8-3 and league champs.

    Last year I designed the program entirely. I used many resources including CFF and CF. I did fall into the trap of 1RM testing but we tested the whole spectrum of atheltic testing. 40, shuttle, broad jump, shuffle shuttle, med ball toss, plus lifts of clean, full squat, press, deadliest, and bench. I used those numbers so the kids could work off percentages in the microcycles and let me say the results were amazing. Kids continually got stronger, more stable and more powerful.

    My staff and I feel that the big keys were our attention to kids form, and the periodization of the program which allowed for no plateau’s. We also saw an increase in flexibility and a decrease injury. We also incorporated yoga into the program at least once per week.

    I must admit I am not an expert at the CFF program, so this question may seem silly, but if we were to adopt CFF wholesale into our program should we just start right into the Daily WOD’s?

    DD

    • Dustin,
      Not an expert, get to a cert! See how that rhymes?
      Congrats on your success, that is an amazing turn around! You did the right thing by testing those football speed drills, but don’t fall into the trap of percentages. Those don’t work for young athletes for the same reason 1RM testing doesn’t. Get them on a Linear Progression as soon as you can!

      Going all in, wholesale off the website is as easy as putting your teams through what is posted daily on cffb. IF this is the route you want to take, I suggest following a week or so behind to make any adjustments necessary for your time with the athletes or equipment needs so you can run a smooth program.

      BUT you need to understand that the program on the website is a shell written for 20,000 people Welbourn has never met. To get the most out of your time training your athletes you will need to fill in that shell and program towards your athletes and the adaptations necessary for success in the football style the program runs. Put in time addressing limiting factors of athletes or the team, and help them achieve marks set by the boys or coaches for their positions. Example: add 25 pounds during the spring so the sophomore can move from SS to LB and make varsity as a junior. Are you going to CrossFit an athlete that needs to GAIN 25 lbs?! Probably not. Individual details like this makes this profession challenging, but at the same time fun. Putting a whole team on the cffb program as written will have a lot of benefit and make men out of boys, but you know you’re team better than we do. Tailor towards your athletes and stick to the principles of the program. And get to cert.

  5. Tex, Great article! We found including the FMS really helped our team. It led to some aha moments with me as our big boys needed work with balance more than strength. I also think there is value in what Dan John calls “shrinking the gap”-Its great to have a 405 squatter but Id rather have the team average a 315 squat instead. CFFB has been a mainstay of our program since 2010.

    As far as challenges getting athletes in weightroom, we have a small school(420 total). Most athletes are playing 3 sports(football, basketball, baseball). WE were able to change the culture to get EVERY sport(boys & girls) in the weightroom. One sports in season is another sports off seasons. It has payed great dividends
    Dan Leary, Power Athlete since 2010.

  6. Luke

    Tex,

    For the football athletes that you train, do you use crossfit principles for them? I ask because of the sources you used in writing this article.

    I am currently a collegiate football player and, when it was the off-season, programmed a majority of my workouts using the crossfit principles. However, after reading Supertraining, Science and Practice of Strength Training, and countless other books from the late USSR, I found that almost all workouts for a football based in crossfit principles was completely inappropriate. Primarily the constant build up of lactate in the muscles and the lack of specialized exercises in the training program.

    This is in no way a negative comment toward your writings. Just simply curious as to how you still think of crossfit fondly in the preparation of football players after reading such wonderful texts that you listed.

    Luke

    • Luke #2,
      Its not a matter of “IF”, its about “HOW” you could apply the “CrossFit principles” to acheive a desired training response that falls within the training goals.

      Part 2 of Tex’s post should shed some light on that, keep your eyes peeled amigo!

    • Luke #2,
      I will cover conditioning in Part 2. Building a great training program is like writing a great article. If you only rely on one source, the article may be good. But, if you pull from different resources and structure it according to what you are trying to accomplish with your target group, then you have the potential of building something great. Off-Season is the time to focus on Strength, Power and Speed, not necessarily conditioning. Time and a place for that, and a big HOW when it is applied.

      I chose the above resources because of their comprehensive attention to Strength and Power development, as well as their attention to detail with the central nervous system as a major factor determining what to apply and when for an athlete.

      I’m curious, how did the off-season training you put together work for your performance this season? I would love to review it and we can talk through some things. Email me Tex @ powerathletehq .com

  7. Cort

    Tex,

    I wish I could emphasize for you guys how important a cert is. After all the CU’s for CSCS that I have been to, coaching clinics, etc, the CFFB cert that I went to in Houston 2 years ago with Raph and Ben was the single most important/significant thing I have done for my personal development (as a coach) in my career.

    This off-season I have much more control on how our kids are going to train. I’m very excited to see how they all compare at the end of the spring.

    Many of our athletes are moving proof that if you can challenge the position in an appropriate fashion, you are making it easier to reach your genetic potential. It’s crazy to see the growth.

    That was bit of a ramble to say “Great article. Keep up the good work.”

    • Coach Davis

      When adopting or starting your team out on this program do you do any pre testing? If not how do you track progress? Since you are against 1RM testing what about max rep testing?

      • Coach,
        Whether you pretest with 1RM or 3RM or Max Rep @ X lbs, it doesn’t matter. The number will not be accurate because the athlete’s untrained central nervous system. The great thing about working with High School athletes is that you know you have 3-4 years to work with and develop them. It is not about where you start with your athletes, it’s where you finish. We put all of our novice athletes on a Linear Progression as explained in our Beginner’s Guide, and track each individual athlete’s improvement. I encourage you to read through our Beginner’s Guide-“click here“, and see how we begin.

    • Cort,
      Thank you for the feedback. We want to hear from as many coaches as we can that have opportunities to work with teams like you yours. Keep us posted on their progress and take some photos we can put up on the blog. I like your use of ‘moving proof’, don’t be surprised if you seen it used in a future post. We are coming to Katy in July, please spread the good the word and encourage some folks to attend.

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  11. mike craven

    Fallacies are an idea or opinion founded on mistaken logic or perception. Strength and Condition programs at the high school level are often run by Football Coaches that can agree a strength program is needed to be competitive but have very little unity on how to practically apply it in program design. The difference in how the technique is taught can vary as much as the Intensity of load, and volume with frequency of work for training goal .It is hard to believe a very good football Coach who is so attentive to detail on the field and such a good teacher of the game can be complacent in the weight room or unwilling to CHANGE how he Strength and conditions his players if it can be shown it improves performance playing the game. The beauty of Exercise Science is it can explain Why it is Dead wrong, good, Better, or Best. Evidence based information or learning has no value unless put into Action. This means we are at the mercy of Leaders Attitude that can be affected by tradition and not open to suggestion. Increase Performance by how we train can turn into a pissing contest because of attitude. I have seen this at the college level as well as high school where the head football coach would over ride Strength Coach. If he wants to be less competitive that is his choice but when it comes to Liability, or safety, of his players he must be willing to Buy in. Example – what puts the most load on shoulder( Gleno Humeral Joint )when Bench Pressing? Bringing down 300lbs from lockout or 200lbs. The NFL combine does not let athletes test for 1 rep max Strength. The Athletes lift 225lbs for as many reps as can to failure. Some of these athletes can bench well over 500lbs one time. Two hundred twenty five pounds is 45% of 500lb and because of it being so much lighter than Maximum Strength the perception is that it being display is safer than a 1 rep max. The truth or (Exercise Science) is the Loading on the shoulder joint has more to do with speed of bar on negative combined with weight of bar. Bringing a bar down with a touch and go that is common at the combine and your local high school weight room may use more of the elastic quality’s of muscle in stretch shorting cycle but magnifies the load once it touches sternum on all soft tissue and other muscles that stabilize the Humerus from Glenoid Fossa. Imagine a 10lb weight resting on toes of right foot and 5lbs resting on left foot. Without looking down you can tell which one feels the heaviest by pull of gravity. Now pick up 5lb weight and hold it at shoulder height and drop it from that height on to left foot. The loading of that 5lb weight when striking foot was increase to be over hundreds of pounds. Don’t try this. I said IMAGINE. You can see however without the bar brought down with a slow control negative using muscles eccentric strength in a yielding fashion to sternum with pause you are causing injuries that have nothing to do with the weight of bar. Inflammation, Labrum tears, rotator cuff tendentious or tears, and torn Pecs are all common with ballistic movements. ACL tears are more common in sports with acceleration and deceleration movement patterns. You cannot prevent them without respect taught to strength development of eccentric contraction. If we teach football players to use hands in a violent repetitive manner playing the game when delivering a hand shiver what type of contraction occurs first at contact. The muscle lengthens which is a eccentric contraction first and if this has not been train in weight room first with every rep of set you are not strength training to be functional for your sport or better prepared to prevent injury. The bar brought down with a loose decent is from more motor units turn off during negative than when you stay tight with more turn on. Even the ability to increase maximum strength preventing sticking points in concentric range improves from time spent on developing the ability to yield. This is just one example of a fallacy that you see at every level of competition in the way the bench is performed outside the world of competitive lifting. Ask a Sports Medicine Physician or Athletic Trainer if lifting a weight with fast descent can increase orthopedic harm to eventually need their services. There will be an agreement Yes it can. Changing attitudes of Leaders in the weight room remains a challenge. If you are a Leader and you don’t agree explain why. If you are a leader and you agree you will not wait to Act. Stop living in-between

  12. Mike,

    I am having a hard time figuring out what you are trying to contribute. Are you entering into the conversation or are you stating your own belief as it relates to fallacies? I am sensing you want to hear himself speak rather than enter into a constructive discussion on what Tex has outlined.

    Any why do you believe the NFL thinks the 225 lbs test is a safer alternative to 1 RM bench press? I have never heard this and from my own experience it is not the case. The NFL does not care about reducing injury and if a 1 RM bench press was a more proficient test for upper body strength they would use it. The 225 lbs test is done more for logistical purposes than anything. You have a short time at the combine and the 225 lbs test is just a single station in a packed 2 days. You sit in a long line in a small room with hundreds of coaches and scouts. They call your name and you are on the bench to warm up, they call it again and you take your test. A second after your last rep, you walk out the door to the next station. When I took my test, the 3 guys in front of me bowed out and I went from sitting around to doing my test. They didn’t count my first 3 reps and I ended up with a score of 27 reps. At the time I benched around 500 lbs and asked a scout why we didn’t do a 1 RM…not enough time and to quote the NFL, “What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.”

    Tex’s assignment was shed light on many of the misconceptions that are hung onto by high school football coaches like Sly in Cliffhanger.

    John

  13. mike craven

    John, I am contributing to Tex article as he is doing that we sometimes do things in training football players that can be done better to make them more productive and injury free. The title fallacies of high school football off season strength and conditioning is great because it gives everyone a chance to hear different viewpoints that can make someone more competitive. A quote from Tex article, ”the goal of a high school strength program is to develop young athletes with the goal to put them into position to succeed on the field.” Tex went on to state that, “Every movement in a strength training program should have a purpose. Why should the emphasis on position and proper execution only be reserved for the field.” These are statements you have to live by though proper execution in the weight room. In my Profession as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for last 30years . I have seen many things change that is for the better of athlete. The changes were never what is new in Exercise Science that could be prove .It was whether coaches would buy in( change their opinion) . The question I ask which load puts the most load on shoulder when brought down from lockout 300lb or 200lb was to make someone stop and think. I have never had anyone answer the bar speed contributing to impact from lack of yielding on the negative. The data I have collected has been in the thousands. Most people athletes, parents, and coaches have the perception the heavier weight causes more impact (Fallacy). I don’t know if the NFL thinks it is safer or not but even if they do not. They are demonstrating a test that can be proven that in the manner of test perform it makes the player more vulnerable to injury. I know you say the NFL does not care but with concern to Vicarious liability if the injury occurs it does not have to be foreseeable to satisfy the causation of the element of negligence. Lawsuits implicating negligent conduct by coaches, Medical personnel, and League, in civil suits means once injury happens they are going after everybody who was associated with event. When you bench 500lbs you did 27 reps with 225lbs which is 45% of your max. If you took bar to failure on the 27 rep that time period was long enough that your ATP-PC stores fuel for power contractions would deplete along with lactic acid accumulation. Both of these causes of fatigue make you more prone to injury UNLESS you focus on a strong eccentric contraction though entire set that does not allow bar to pick up speed. Nobody is doing this at NFL combine or most high school weight rooms. They are using their chest for spring boards. A player that can bench 300lbs for 1 rep is lifting 75% when lifting 225lbs. He has more load than you when lifting 75% of 300(225) but drops the bar in the same Hail Mary Fashion. When addressing performance If a NFL Scout is looking for endurance it should be Power Endurance that is describe as repeat power over time period. The number 27 reps with 225lb in one set with the bar losing velocity as you grind out final rep cannot be as productive for on field play as 350lb(70% of 500) lifted for 9×3 with ability to measure power watts throughout movement to ensure all 3 reps of set maintain optimal power. If power cannot be display stop the set because of wasted effort. The ave play in football last 2 to 6sec in manner that requires the ability to LEARN to increase Synchronization at highest Rate Coding. You can see for a lineman your absolute strength what you can lift one time affects power(strength+ speed) but also power endurance. This nervous system learning has players using their max force with an focus on shorting the time in concentric range. The NFL 225lb test tells us how much we are behind in performance enhancement and safety. Even plyometric training for high reactive ability cannot exceed individuals maximum eccentric strength or the athlete collapse rather than reacts. You would not see a coach even encouraging 27 contacts of low level jumps because reaction time would decline. No matter how much time you spend in weight room means nothing if the way you train does not address the correct form of Strength done in the safest manner. Here is another great quote from Tex article that the correct way to bench correlates with what is fact and not opinion.” The sport coaches may have a eye for detail on the field but could be missing improper positions during training in weight room and field drills. The number one cause of injury to this age group during strength training is due to improper technique. These missed issues could lead to greater problems when the stress on limiting factor is greater during the football game or during an ill advised 1 rep max or field drill.” The limiting factor for all sports that have ballistic actions is- are we training for Eccentric Strength in every movement

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  16. Rob

    I and the head strength and conditioning coach in the Chicago suburbs in my third year in this role. My major challenge is with the football coach because he constantly pushes kids to add weight to the bar even though they struggle with body weight movements. I have actually setup a tier system based an athletes level of competency but it is not followed because the coach pushes numbers over execution of movements and recently told me that kids need to just do 5 sets of 5 reps on cleans, fail and figure it out. His reasoning was that if kids feel like they aren’t allowed to do certain lifts they may leave and go to another school and my response was, as a strength coach I cannot in good conscious allow a kid to fail at a lift where he could get seriously injured. I have no issues with other sport coaches but the football coach is determined to have kids lift more, run more and sweat more because he believes this is an indication of work.

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