Viewers Choice!!!

I have decided that for my next in depth post I want it be something people are interested in and want to read about.  I am even willing to learn something completely knew just for the sake of writing an article about it.

So I am offering the choice up to YOU! the readers of my Blog.

Please leave comments on this Post saying what exactly you would like me to post on.  I will do any subject of O, D, ST, off season, S&C, position skills, love making techniques… I don’t care.

I will pick 1 idea from the comments posted and dedicate some time this weekend to researching and writing an article on the subject.  If others see a comment posted that they really want, then write it again so I can see how many people want to see it.

So Please, help me make this a better blog, leave your comments of what you want me to write about.

Thanks

*NEW
I will stop taking comments after Saturday, New years Day.  So you guys have until Saturday to pitch me your ideas.

Future Book Review

I  read about the following book on another Blog and it was highly recommended.  I decided to pick it up on Amazon and i just got it in today.  I hate reading (even though I read exceptionally fast and advanced level), its boring.  However I wanna give this a read.

Ron Vanderlinden
Football’s Eagle & Stack Defenses

It is supposed to have a wealth of info for any scheme not just one specific scheme.

I am more of an offensive minded guy but I did do a lot of defensive gameplanning 2 years ago, and I was offered 2 Varsity DC jobs a year ago that I turned down.  I could potentially take a trip down to the dark side one day, so I am always looking for more to learn.  Plus I buy into the whole knowledge is Power.

I am gonna give this a read, hopefully get it done in a week or two and I will post a full book review with references (Jk) when I am done.  I hope it is as good as I have heard.

Screens Part 3: Offensive Line Play

Now to the sexy Stuff!!!
I think our OL play on screens is what really makes these screens so great.  Sure we have some good athletes that do special things with the rock in hand but the 5 up front set it all up.

Now to the BEAUTY of what I teach my OL on our screens.

  • Every screen is essentially blocked the same way
  • works vs any front/coverage/blitz/anything
  • Since its the only thing we have to work for screen we get really good at it
  • All 5 OL have the exact same steps, path, rules, everything so if guys get moved around up front due to injury, grade problems, anything, it doesn’t matter. No new teaching if a kid moves from Lg to RT or any other switch

So the first thing one needs to understand is that our path and cue words are the same on all screens.  The only thing that changes is what they do at the snap of the ball, ex. how they set up the defense before releasing .

I will first cover how we block screens, then I will cover the actual releases in each screen (since that’s all that varies)

First off we release all 5 linemen on all of our WR screens, on Slow Screen we have both tackles high wall DEs and only release the GCG.

On all screens we open up and run flat down the LOS for a MINIMUM of 10 yards.
We do not pass up color if someone crosses your path you pick them up

  • This is what allows us to release all 5, and not have to worry about penetration or DE getting hands up to stop the screen.  If anyone comes up the field then they will run right into one of our OL who is running flat down the LOS and we will rip and run right through him.  I teach them to work through him like a reach block and continue down field, this has effectively stopped or at least slowed his penetration and gotten hands down so we can get the ball off.

I cant stress enough how important it is for them to run flat down the LOS, I scream run flat all day long.  it is so much easier to adjust their path by working flat as compared to coming up field then trying to get back flat.

So you might be wondering, how can you release all 5? yet have some guys possibly getting caught up on DL? while blocking it as sexy as you say? and doing same thing for all the different screens?

The Answer my friends is a Mantra i have created…

OUT, UP, IN

That’s it, that’s the key, Out, Up, In.

OUT: As we release down the LOS we look Out ( to the sideline we are running towards) we are looking for any unoccupied color.  If we see any defenders from the outside/flat area that are unblocked by WRs then this is where we are going

UP: Now if we see all of the “out” defenders accounted for either by WRs or by another OL who has released ahead of me, we now transition into UP.  We turn our head and shoulder up the field (facing the goal line) We are looking here for OLB or safeties who are coming up the field unaccounted for.

IN: So we work flat down LOS looking out, transition into looking up, then if everyone is accounted for UP, we turn our eyes to the IN (Opposite sideline of play direction) basically for everyone pursuing from the backside, scraping ILBs.

That’s it that’s the key.

I hate man style screen blocking systems because you cant predict the Defense before the play.

Sometimes our WRs wont even know who they are blocking until the ball is snapped, so by teaching my entire OL Out, Up, In they are able to account for any possible unblocked defenders on that side of the field.

I don’t know which of my OL will get a clean easy release on a given snap, that’s why they are all taught to run flat.  Sometimes tackle gets caught up with DE, keeping him occupied.  And we will get G blocking out, C blocking up, and backside G and T blocking in.

Or a couple guys get locked up and the backside guys hustle and make a key block.

The key is that they sprint flat down LOS!

Best way for them to “feel” what out, up, in means is live reps in practice.  They will begin to see WRs in position to block certain guys, and see who they have to pick up.
If you dedicate 10 minutes a day to screens (10 for drills, 10 for live screen) you will get pretty darn good at an amazing offensive weapon.

Since this is all we do on all screens we can work it over and over and over again until they fall asleep mumbling out, up, in.

Now to what makes the screens different.

Quick/Bubble

We go right now! As soon as it is snapped we bucket, rip through and try to run flat down LOS, executing screen technique discussed above. Simple.

On bubble (since we stalk with outside WR(s)) once they get out they will instantly see all the “out” defenders accounted for by WRs, and begin to turn up, (to in) and effectively lead blocking for the bubble.  This year my LT was so quick getting out there, that at times my #3 WR would bubble, catch the ball, and just get right on my LTs back, literally like a human shield, and follow him down the field.

On Quick they really have to work their EYES, and keep flat until they see for sure all “out” defenders are going to be blocked.

Solid

We take 2-3 Zone steps to the opposite direction.  ex. if we have solid Left the entire OL takes 2-3 zone steps to the right, then turns and uses above screen technique to the Left… That’s it, see how just the first couple steps change

Jail Break

We 90s Pass Set. We use 4 step vertical set, swing and whiff, clubbing/punching the defender past us and we execute above screen technique.

Slow Screen

Tackles 90s Set and high wall DEs
G C G does exact same thing as Jail Break

I really don’t think it can get any simpler than that… We have a base set of rules used for all screens, and the only that that changes is the first couple steps.

I have to admit this post was very difficult for me to type out.  I came up with this system in my head, and I taught it in person to our kids and coaches.  This was the first time I really put it down in written word.  I hope it didn’t turn into an ugly incoherent rant 🙂

I truly feel this is the easiest way to do screens.  We didn’t have any stud OL in fact it was a below average group overall, however like I said in another post there were times when all we could run was screens.  Screens were our best play because that’s what our OL did best.

Screens Part 2: Skills

Now the break down of what the Skills do

Quick Screen:
The #1 WR (widest WR) to the called side foot fires, a lot of exaggeration from arms and feet, really want the CB thinking he has to get deep.  He should go about a yard up field, then come back to catch the ball where just behind the LOS.  My biggest piece of advice here, is repping the screens live in practice, so he gets used to cutting off his blocks and finding lanes.  We allow them to come inside a few steps to let their blockers get in front of them, but it hits best when they get back outside after this. On these WR screens are best long gainers, were when the WR dipped in (behind an OL or WRs block, then got up field or back outside)

Slot WR(s) : The #2 WR has the rule of #1MDM, or most dangerous man to making the play.  If he sees a very tight corner then that corner is the most dangerous man and our #2 WR must block him.  If the corner is soft and the OLB over him is playing tight then that is the most dangerous man.  If both guys are playing soft he will slow play it, going half speed off the LOS looking for who is coming downhill to attack the screen first.

If we are in trips and have a #3 WR he then blocks the second most dangerous defender.  We work everyday drills in practice with the WRs recognizing who is picking up who based on their depth.

RB:  Original TFS stuff has the RB also getting out on the second defender play side, but ours never really did anything, my Ol were better blockers so I eventually stopped releasing them to block from the backfield.  I would either move them out to empty so their path is shorter, or if they are in the backfield they just step up in case somehow someone comes through completely untouched and can possibly fluster the QB.

QB: Grip it and rip it… that’s really it.  It is called quick for a reason, he throws it as soon as he gets it.  With a kid who has bigger hands I think he can get away with not even getting the laces and just getting it out.  I tell my QB to throw the ball to where the WR starts out pre snap.  If they throw the ball right there, the WR (after going up and back) should be in the perfect spot to catch the ball.

Bubbles:
Bubbles are fairly simple for the skill guys. We run these to our #2 and #3 WRs, as well as to the Rb out of the backfield.

Called WR runs the bubble route which I teach as follows:

  • Align a little deeper than normal for easier window for QB
  • Cross over step toward sideline on the snap
  • Lose 1 yard on first step
  • Run flat down the line after that
  • Shoulder North/South
  • Head Turned back to Qb

I dont like big looping bubbles, QB has to be extremely accurate and lead the WR just right. We align deeper and lose 1 yard off the snap so we have more depth, makes QBs throw easier.  Then we run (kind of a cross over type run) toward sideline, since ou shoulder are square Qb can just throw the ball aiming to throw it in front of the front shoulder, once ball is in the air it is easy for the WR to adjust.  Very effective and I don’t recall my team having a single incompletion on bubble all year.

QB: Similar Grip it and rip it idea, key is aiming for bubble man’s front shoulder.

Other WRs: Stalk your man

RB: I will either have him do the same as in Quick screen, or I will signal a play fake and the RB fakes a run the opposite way QB just shows the ball and throws the bubble.  RB fake was always good for making the Lb take at least 1 step the opposite way we were throwing.

Solid Screen:

This one will be short because it is essentially the same as Quick Screen.
Solid always goes to the #1 WR.
Same WR blocking rules apply

#1 WR will push it up the field maybe one more step than on quick, for timing, then come back to other side of LOS.

RB fakes run to the opposite side.

QB rides the fake and throws the screen.

RB has to sell the fake because QB is mostly concerned with getting the laces and focusing on the throw itself.

Jailbreak:

Jailbreak is always to the #1 WR.

#1 WR: He pushes an outside release up the field for 3-4 steps, then turns around retraces his steps, gets back on his side of the LOS and runs flat down the LOS to give QB an easy target.

Slot WR(s): On jail we usually identify the corner as the most dangerous because we sell pass by everyone else, so the defender over our slot WRs usually follow him in coverage because they have him in man or they have flats.  The only time he won’t block the corner on jail is if that OLB is attacking the screen right at the snap.

#3 WR (if we have one) will block the next most dangerous guy

RB runs a swing to the opposite side.

QB catches the ball, pumps the bubble to the RB.. then he has to retreat, quickly ( we don’t block any DL up front so its on him to get depth) then he throws the screen aiming in front of the WR, allows WR to run flat down LOS right into the pass.

We can also fake to the Rb if we tag or hand signal it

Key on this is the Qb getting plenty of depth, makes his throw much easier.

Slow Screen:
All WRs run whatever route we put on their wristband, usually verts to clear things out.

RB: Step up like normal pass pro, don’t really touch anyone, then reverse pivot to face Qb and settle in an open area to receive screen.

QB: Take 3 step drop… hitch up, then maybe retreat just a bit before dumping the screen to the back.

We didn’t run this a ton, I didn’t like it, I felt we were running it too wide.  I have seen some stuff with running it always as a middle screen to the Rb that I like a lot more.  a lot of defenses overloaded guys deep and outside on us and the middle was wide open.  I would like to run a RB middle screen, similar set up, but RB just works in between tackles to get open instead of outside like we did this year.

Well I think I touched on just about everything regarding skill guys and screens.  I highly advocate running them live in practice 10 minutes a day so your kids get used to reading the lanes on them.
OL post coming within the next 24 hours I hope.

Screens Part 1: What’s in a name?

The first part of my screen series will be describing what each of the screens is.  We all have different terminology so I will briefly explain what we use at my school.  I didn’t invent this, it is TFS terminology, we might have some slight tweaks but this is how we call our screen game.

We call our screens both by number and by name.
In terms of numbers, screens at 40s/50s.

  • 40 to the Right
  • 50 to the left

The second digit describes which skill player is getting the ball.

  • 41/51 = #1 WR
  • 42/52 = #2 WR
  • 43/53 = #3 WR
  • 44/54 = #4 WR

The number by itself indicates who is getting the ball, what direction, and if no tag is used it is the first screen in our screen series which we call QUICK SCREEN.

Quick Screen and Bubbles

A Quick screen is also known as fast screen or hitch screen.  #1 WR foot fires 2 steps up field, comes back catching ball behind LOS and reads his blocks.

Now we have adapted from traditional TFS for the other WRs on quick screens.  I didn’t like #2 and #3 WRs on the quick screens, so we modified it to make them automatic bubbles.  So a 42,52,43,53,44,54 are all bubble screens.  The called WR runs the bubble, the other WRs stalk their man.
We only run bubble when we have a numbers advantage (some teams only have 2 players out there to cover trips) or if we see OLBs who are cheating to stop run and they aren’t honoring our inside WRs.

Solid Screen

Solid is almost the same thing as quick, except with a run fake opposite the direction of the screen first.
We can call this play as Solid Rt/Lt. Or by saying 41/51 Solid.  Number explains the player and the direction, the “Solid” tag explains that its our solid version of the screen.

Jailbreak

You can probably guess, Jail Rt/Jail Lt.  or we can say 41/51 Jail.

Jailbreak is a screen to the outside WR, he will push it up the field further than quick, OL pass sets and releases, QB will pump one way retreat and throw the jail.  I have seen some guys refer to this as a tunnel screen.  This is my favorite of our screen plays because most teams buy the pass look we show from all 11 guys, blitzers are rushing hard, coverage guys are dropping off getting deep, and then we hit this and get our whole Ol in front leading the way.  It was a great play for us this year, our varsity team’s best play this season.

Slow Screen

Slow screen is your typical RB screen, he sets up to block, kinda rolls off and catches the screen. We didn’t run this screen a ton, but more on that later.

So now that I have introduced the basic terminology we use and what each screen is, I will go more in depth into the individual techniques of each screen.

My next post will be Screens Part 2: Skill Players

Which will be followed by Screens Part 3: Offensive Line (I feel this is the jewel of the screen system I used, Our screen game for my OL is so ridiculously simple, yet complete.  This is the secret to why we popped on screens so often this year, because our OL did a heck of a job blocking them).

I hope you guys enjoy

Strength & Conditioning Part 3: New Ideas on S&C

So since writing my posts on S&C I have come up with some thoughts I want to share regarding how I can incorporate adding OLY lifts in to my program at my current HS.
First I want to state that technically Push press is viewed as an OLY/explosive movement and we do it, that is because I feel it is the easiest to learn and we can do it in our squat racks that we have in our weight room.

Secondly, I want to note that I will not use the other Oly lifts right away in my program, we need to improve our strength first.  Asking a weak kid to lift weight explosively is pointless.  Explosive lifts are built to train power, Power is defined by the amount of time needed to do work.  Oly lifts are Power lifts in which bar speed and the speed of the lift is the most important.  I need a couple months to build a foundation of strength in the kids I have.  Once they have built some strength, then we can begin to work on them learning how to transfer strength into power by getting faster at the muscular contractions used to execute a clean, snatch, or jerk.  if a kid has no strength, they have nothing from which to explode.

Now, in my earlier post I said Olys were impossible at this school because of resources, but after some thought (not sure how it slipped my mind originally) I have realized how my kids can do explosive Oly movements…

DUMBBELLS!!!

I have done some training with only dumbbells myself in the past.  I have a ton of them at my school, and we have a lot of room outside of our weight room on the blacktop we can use.  With dumbbells we wont need Rubber flooring because we wont be bouncing anything or dropping anything.  Everything will be done 1 Arm at a time, which ties into the unilateral training (1 arm at a time) I discussed in a previous post.  The 1 arm clean and snatch movements, I feel, are easier to perform and teach and can only be done by moving explosively.

So when we get to Spring I will incorporate 1 Oly lift per day to my menu using  dumbbells.  There are some videos on youtube you can watch people doing cleans, snatch, jerk, and push press using kettlebells…
Well Dumbbells are the poor man’s kettlebell

1 Arm DB Snatch

1 Arm DB Clean

I need to start incorporating these lifts into my personal workouts very soon.
Maybe the explosive movements will attract some lovely ladies at the gym 😉

Especially if i wear my usual workout gear…

Screen Game coming soon

I have decided my next Posts will cover our entire screen game.  I want to try to have it up by the new year.  I will break down every detail of how we run, what I feel is the best part of the Spread Offense, and what was statistically our (varsity) best play.

I will cover our

  • Quick Screen
  • Solid Screen
  • Jail Break Screen
  • Bubble
  • Slow Screen

Strength & Conditioning Part 2: The Lifts and My Formula

Now final to the MEAT of any Strength and Conditioning program… The actual lifts

I want to start off by saying that all the research I have read shows how Olympic lifts (Cleans, Push press, Jerk, snatch) are the most important for football players.  Now I agree that they are great I have come to realize that in my current situation it just is not feasible. 

OLY lifts are the most difficult to teach and learn.  They require a ton of time put in to teaching it, and although I feel confident in my ability to teach the lifts (I have taken classes in how to teach OLY lifts, and watched DVDs) it is just very difficult to all the kids I have when i have kids coming in and out due to different schedules, playing other sports, flat out missing days.  Ive built my program around them in the past and ended up spending all my time teaching and reteaching and the kids never got the opportunity to really work on getting stronger. 
The other reason is they require a lot of space and resources.  We have a tiny weight room, literally its the smallest one I have ever been on before.  We have no bumper plates, and no floor space.  We don’t have any rubber matting to lay down outside and do them on the blacktop.  So banging and bouncing barbells around just isn’t an option. 

I had to develop my plan around what I do have.  I have 3 squat racks, a few benches, a good amount of dumbbell’s of various weights, free weights, and a Jammer machine.  That’s it, and honestly its not ideal but I can make it work.  Really all i want is a weight room full of Squat Racks with benches i can slide in and out but unless I improve my grant writing drastically that will not happen yet.

The KING of LIFTS

My #1 Lift is the Squat.  I call it the King of lifts.  It is the foundation my entire program rests on, I feel that squats improve football players more than any other single lift.  The best players I have ever coached have been fantastic squatters. 
To be able to squat deeply, and with heavy loads, you have to first have great strength, hip flexibility, core strength, and coordination… everything that is needed to be a great football player.
Research has shown a DIRECT correlation with Squat 1RM and sprinting speed as well as VJ.

My Formula for each day in the Weight Room

I have to admit I stole some of this from a great S&C coach I met and spoke with a year ago.  He is the S&C coach for a school here in NorCal who played in the state championship game a year ago.  I liked his concepts, and he was a realist like me.  He loved Olys but didn’t have the time, or resources to teach them.  He believed in total body workouts because he noticed kids would skip days they had to squat and never miss days they were set to bench.  He wanted to make sure his kids got to do a major lower body lift every day they showed up.

So since we do total body every MWF, each lifting day will include the following:

  • 1 Major Leg Lift
  • 1 other Leg lift
  • 1 Push
  • 1 Pull (same axis)
  • 1+ other Auxiliary lift

That’s it, that’s how I plan out my workouts each day.  It seems simple, and I have had people say that you need to be doing a ton of workouts.  I disagree, the only people I see who do 1,000 workouts per day are body builders.  They ridiculously overload 1 or 2 muscle groups for 1 day out of the week then do something else.  They are not building well balanced, functional athletes.

This formula here leads to an overall athlete with total body strength and balance.

Now I will break down each of the components that make up the daily formula

Major Leg Lift

These are your standard leg strength lifts.  Multi joint lifts that you can build strength on.  The ones i use are:

  • Back Squats
  • Front Squats
  • 1 Legged Squats (Bulgarian Split Squats)*
  • Dead Lift (using hex bar, it puts the load more in the rear taking stress off of the low back)

 I am not going to go into too much form on these lifts but I must add that I preach full squats on Front, Back, and 1 legged Squats.  The deeper you go the more Glute and Hammy activation you get.

The newest thing I am in love with is the 1 Legged Squat.  It is great because although the balance can be tough at first, it is easier for most athletes to get to that full deep squat position, it puts less stress on the lower back, and it actually increases the amount of Glute activation as compared to a standard Back Squat.

I truly believe that the Glutes are the most important part of speed… Flat out big Glutes = fast… don’t believe me? Look at every good female sprinter… I guarantee… Baby got back.

Other Leg Lifts

I consider these leg lifts to be a helper to the BIG LIFTS.  Usually use them to work different muscles, or at least in a different way, and these are with less of a load.

Lunges
Calf Raises
1 Legged RDLs
1 Legged Squats *

Glute development.

PUSH

  • Push Press
  • Jammer
  • Bench
  • Incline

Everyone thinks Bench is great but it has almost nothing to do with some one’s ability to play football.  You will never be on your back on a bench on the field.  Statistically, you only carry over 40% of your bench strength, into how much power you can exert by pushing out while standing.  So a 300 lb Bench presser (pretty good for your average HS kid) can only push out 120 lbs of force while standing upright.
I prefer doing Push Press and Jammer instead, they are more realistic to football and are more functional.  They require total body coordination and explosion.

The problem is… KIDS LOVE BENCH… for some reason apparently equals masculinity.  So since they want to do bench anyway, I only include it in my routine on Fridays (the hardest day to get kids there, I use it to lure them in)
Now on M and W, I tell them they can bench press, AFTER they have finished their other lifts.  This way they will work quickly, finish up their prescribed lifts, and then I do not mind if they finish with Bench Press, as long as they have done “my” workout first

Another note,
I will include some DB stuff for Bench and Incline.  Unilateral training (training one side of the body ) has its benefits.  I don’t mind them doing DB bench and incline as much when they do just 1 arm at a time.

PULLS

I separate these into Horizontal and Vertical Pulls. 

Horizontal

  • Bent Over Rows
  • Seated Rows
  • Reverse Pull Ups

Vertical

  • Pull Ups
  • Lat Pull Downs

It is important to include a pull for every push exercise you do to keep your body balanced.  We have all seen that muscle bound guy at the gym who benches all day everyday, he looks strong but he cant move and is at risk for pulling something because his body is out of balance.  A Strong back will only improve their lifting in the other categories.

AUXILIARY

These are the smaller lifts, that I mix up everyday.  These lifts have their merits for building an overall athlete and hitting more muscle areas but they are not by themselves gonna build you football players.

  • Shrugs
  • Bi’s and Tri’s
  • Hammy dips
  • Hip Extensions
  • Any other workout you want

Putting It All Together

You can see that this program is very flexible yet simple.  As a coach, you have a menu of lifts to choose from in each category and you can pick the ones that you feel your kids need that day, or for that week.  You can hit the body in different ways, and more importantly the ability to mix things up on the kids does a great deal to keep them interested and engaged.

You can see that for many categories I have more exercises than days per week to choose from, so no, we might not do every one of the lifts at least once on a given week, but I try to make sure we always do at least one of every single lift in my menu every 2 weeks.

For example I value Back Squats and 1 Legged Squats more than I do Front Squats.  We wont do Front Squats every single week, but we will do them at least once every 2 weeks.

I Focus on certain lifts more than others while planning.

This system is also very easy to teach the kids.  At my old school, I left after running S&C program for a few months, the new coaches that came in didn’t know a thing about S&C, and the kids I had taught took what i had taught them and began coaching themselves in the weight room.  They had memorized my basic formula, hitting a major leg and other leg per day.  Doing a pull for every push they did, and those kids got stronger and much better even without any knowledgeable coaches around them.

Well if anyone stuck around to read all this, thank you, I appreciate it. 
This is not by any means the end all or be all of S&C, but it is the formula I use, and it is something I have seen work first hand. 
I plan on having one final posting regarding S&C, probably tomorrow.  In that post I will discuss how I can potentially incorporate Power movements into my plan this off season.

Strength & Conditioning Part 1B: Organizing day to day

I realized now that I left out my weekly organization.  Now there are generally 2 trains of thought here, either a 4 day program either split up by upper/lower or push/pull, or explosive/strength.

Or a 3 day per week total body lifting program.

In the  4 years I have previously served as the S&C coach I used both ways, mostly because of my school schedule different years having to adjust and what not. 

But I personally like the 3 day total body workout the best.  Plus this quarter for me in school I have to stay at school later on Tuesdays so the MWF lifting fit best.

I also like the fact that we get 3 days per week to hit certain lifts as opposed to just 2 (i see many coaches do 4 day workout Upper-Lower-Upper-Lower)

so they are getting 2 days of squats or dead lift and I can get in 3 days of it by going MWF

The kids still get a full 48 hours of recovery time in between lifting sessions.
One drawback is Friday attendance does drop sometimes (its Friday, gets wanna go out) but I think I will be able to get all of our core kids there.

In a perfect world I would like to see weights only on MWF
with core work and SAQ work on Tues/Thurs.

Strength & Conditioning Part 1: Organization

I will break this Strength and Conditioning down into smaller parts.  This first part will be solely about the organization of a Strength and Conditioning program.  No lifts or technique, merely how to plan the calendar for the entire year of lifting.
Periodization
  • Linear
  • Conjugate
Linear is pretty simple, you pretty much linearly progress through your program, gradually increasing the weight and intensity by reducing the repetitions.
Conjugate periodization is adjusting your workout cycles but in a non linear way.  Each has its merits but I feel linear periodization is easier to manipulate as a coach and the kids buy into it because your going bigger and harder at the most important times.
I learned much of what I know about S&C from 2 teachers of mine who were the former S&C coaches for the US Olympic Hockey Team… I go back to them each off season for more knowledge and they still prefer Linear because of its simplicity.
THE PERIODS THEMSELVES
I break up the entire year into 3 phases or seasons.
  • Off Season: January to June (When we go to a week long camp 1st week of Summer)
  • Pre Season: June (when we return from camp) to very end of August (when school starts)
  • In Season: First day of School (very end of August for us) through the end of our season
So when we begin in January we will start off with our strength lifts, doing a higher number of reps, usually 10-12 on most lifts, and a high volume on each lift.  As we progress through the winter and into spring we begin reducing the volume, increasing the weight used and therefore increasing strength.  I usually break up the off season into 4-6 week cycles.  I adjust how long we remain in each cycle depending on how well I feel the kids are doing and if they are starting to get stale.
We go heaviest the cycle right before we go to our beginning of summer camp, we are trying to peak out here for camp.
We might have a week off after camp for rest and then we hit it hard for our Pre Season phase.
Because the Pre Season phase is much shorter in length than the off season we use micro cycles, usually only 2-3 weeks per cycle instead of 4-6.
In season are very short, intense workouts.  We were very blessed this year to get an athletic period the final period of the day; we had about 75% of the JV and Varsity teams in it.  We didn’t utilize it very well this year but I will be sure to improve our efficiency with it next year.  For in season I want just a handful of lifts to be done at very high intensity.  My in season philosophy is get in and get out.  I want the relative volume to be low because we are doing so much out at football each day their bodies take enough of a pounding. 
My basic formula for an In season lifting day is 1 Push, 1 Pull, 1 Lower body movement. Occasionally I will add on a little more auxiliary stuff than that but that is the core of what we do in season.  Work multi joint movements to hit the bigger muscles, hit them heavy, hard, and quick.
The benefit of the athletic period is we get extra time with the kids, but the drawback is that I have 50 kids in a tiny weight room, so if I asked them to do 8 exercises in the 40 minutes I have them for this 7th period class… we wouldn’t get it done.
Part 2 is coming very shortly, in which I will discuss the actual lifts that make up the core of my program, why I choose these lifts, and how I plan out each workout.