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7/14/2014 11:45:03 PM - Ty
Coach thanks again for your insight into the American Muscle show. My next question is on the conditioning aspect for iron man football. I am volunteering in the weight room of a small private school which as of now the most players I have had come to weights as been 14. So obviously most kids are going to be playing the whole game and barely getting breaks. My issue is how, if possible, would you be able to implement any speed work so that you are able to get the most out of the players and not have them lose muscle mass from old school aerobic conditioning. I know it would be easy to just run the kids into the ground so they will finish the game, but obviously from a speed standpoint that it not optimal.

Thanks Coach


This is a great question and one that is no easily answered. One reason is there are so many variables that effect the physical readiness of football players. Secondly, the differences in biological and training ages of your athletes is varied and all respond differently to training stimulus. Thirdly, there is no best way to train high school football players. There is only the best way you know how for your situation.

Ok, based on your question and your situation, here are a few things to consider.

1. Being a small private school, hopefully you are scheduled against schools of similar size. That being the case (unless there is a huge discrepancy in community support) you are on a somewhat even playing field. Teams you play will be in the same boat. Every once in a while you will have an all-boys school that will blow this theory up, but the teams you play are in the same situation.

2. You are on the right track and speed and conditioning are two very different qualities to train. They in fact, are opposite ends of the spectrum. There are those coaches that try to blend these two border ridiculous. Statements like "you need to be fast when your tired" that subsequently lead to sessions like "run 20 40s."

if you aren't running full speed, you aren't training speed.

If the athlete is not able to sprint at full speed due to fatigue (either from lack of rest or total volume), then it is arguable if speed is really being developed. It turns into conditioning.

As Charlie Francis has warned to avoid running that is too slow to develop speed and too fast to develop aerobic conditioning levels. Thus the above 95% and below (I believe) 70%.

A possible approach to the problem
Ok, I am sure there will be coaches who have a different idea, but these are just my observations.

When in doubt train strength, then speed, then condition. Adaptations in aerobic capacity happen much quicker then strength and speed. Understand the degree of multiple factors effect spped and strength. Not trying to put them is the same category but there are several reasons both take time.
1.) Neural and muscular development
2.) Inter-muscular coordination
3.) Specific skill mastery of each lift and drill
4.) The ever-changing biomechanics of training during growth spurts, hormonal changes, and weight gain.

Conditioning has a relatively fast adaptation and a small learning curve. I realize there is no excuses for a team not being in shape. It takes no talent to be in shape. It also doesn't take much coaching or time.

Basically you have several different components that make up the physical development quadrant. Let's just look at the main categories

Agility = Speed + Strength in my opinion

So there are a few thoughts on training these components when organizing the week. Keep in mind that you must factor in the total accumulative volume from any practice sessions conducted this summer. But, overall. Here are 3 options.

Training One Component Per Day
This is one idea that Cal Dietz has talked a lot about. Basically having 1-2 days for speed, 2-3 days for strength, and 1-2 days for conditioning. This can shift throughout the summer. The idea is you will have more time to address one component and not addressing multiple stressors wont take the CNS in different directions. I have not implemented this system, but I know coaches who have.

Early June
Strength Training x3
Speed Training x2

Strength Training x3
Speed Training x1
Conditioning x1

Late July
Strength Training x2
Speed Training x1
Conditioning x2

Energy System Hierarchy
This is a general rule of thumb that helped me set up a 3 day a week training program that addresses each of the 3 components twice a week. This also works with a 4 day split and probably the most common.

Train Speed before Strength
Train Speed before Conditioning
Train Strength before Conditioning

4 Day Program
Monday - Agility & Lower Body Strength
Tuesday - Upper Body Strength & Intensive Conditioning
Thursday - Linear Speed & Lower Body Strength
Friday - Upper Body Strength & Extensive Conditioning

The Method Method
This is kind of a hybrid between Cal Dietz' 3 day set up and Joe Kenn's 3 day set up.

Monday: Speed, Agility, Olympic Lifts
Wednesday: Squat, Bench, Pulls
Friday: Chins, Circuits, Conditioning

Volume Guidelines for Training
Plyometrics - 20-40 foot contacts
Throws - 20-40
Olympic Lifts: 80% = 12-15, 85% = 10-12, 90% = 8-10
Strength Lifts: 80% = 10-12, 85% = 8-10, 90% = 6-8

Speed Training: 200yds (EX: 2-10s, 2-20s, 2-30s, 2-40s)

Conditioning: 600-900yds

Those are just basic guidelines, again. Make sure your guys are fully recovered in between sprints for speed. I like cutting Charlie Francis rest ratio in half for not track athletes

30 sec RI for every second sprint
EX: 20s take about 3 seconds, rest 90 sec.

Conditioning, start at 4:1, 3:1 and then 2:1 while the volume decreases. Ours usually started over 1000 and then funneled down to 500-600 closer to season.

I hope this helps, Ty. There are so many factor involved in physical training and you don;t need to get them ready for the season, you need to get them ready for camp.

Let me know if you ever need anything.

Strength, then speed, then conditioning,
Mark Watts

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