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4/18/2012 9:41:37 AM -
High School Football Head Coach Mistake #1

I'm not sure if this is really #1 or not, because I've been just writing these randomly as they come to mind, but this is another pretty major one I've seen.

Falling victim to the latest scam.

Since most of these things pertain to the mistakes I think coaches make with regard to the strength and conditioning programs at their schools, I probably should have titled this "series" differently. I've worked with some fantastic coaches at some really good programs, so I've agreed with most of what they've done from a football standpoint -- with the exception of how they've integrated physical preparation into the practice routine (I think it should be a seamless transition, and not a separate entity, but that's the main problem you run into in the first place).

If you're a strength coach with positional duties, chances are you've been to a coaching clinic. I'm talking about straight-up football coaching, and not the kinds of seminars we talk about all the time on this site. I go to multiple clinics each year, which is something I don't talk about on this site because I don't really go into X's and O's here. For the record, however, I'm an absolute football junkie. I watch shitloads of film, I write shit up on napkins, I dream about plays, and when I meet other coaches, I'm just like everyone else with the stereotypical, "So what do you guys run?" question that begins every conversation between football guys. I love this f-ing sport, and although I'm on here giving "advice" about physical preparation for football, my first love is the sport itself.

It might be blasphemy to say this here, but if I had to choose between the weight room and being on the sideline, my choice might not be the one you'd expect. I love the game too much to give it up.

Anyway, every year we go to these clinics, and along with all the presentations from high school and college coaches, you'll also see a whole merchandise area where companies set up tables and try to sell shit -- everything from new equipment to scoreboards to uniforms, etc, etc. And invariably there's a strength and conditioning element to it. All the popular "chain store" outlets will be represented (the cookie cutter places), and they'll be dudes selling gimmicky shit at every other table. I can't tell you how many Prowler imitations I see at these things.

Here's the thing about it. Everywhere I've been, we've managed to build a high quality physical preparation program. We lift, we sprint, we jump, we throw, and we get stronger, faster, and win games. It's not f-ing rocket science. And every year, with every head coach I've ever gone to these things with, there's something that jumps out from one of these tables that this coach thinks he has to have to put us over the top. Whether it's parachutes, or Jammer variations, or whatever, I'll have to sit through some presentation by some little spiky-haired dude who's never had pads on in his life, then listen to my head coach talk about how we have to get one of these things. And then I'll have to sit and explain to him why it's not necessary, followed by a period of contemplation where he'll either place an order, or rationalize not doing so by saying we can't afford it, as though it's his idea.

This happens EVERY YEAR. If you coach, you've been through this shit repeatedly, and it pisses you off, because if you've been in this game for any period of time, you understand that the only way to build a successful program is through consistency and work -- and not by hooking your kids up to the latest piece of shit gimmick you found at a clinic.

To me, it doesn't even matter what your program is. You could be the traditional Hang Clean Army for all I care. But if you are, DO F-ING HANG CLEANS and stay with them. You can't do them for a couple of months, then decide to scrap everything you've been doing in order to let the guys who wear Vibrams and do WODs take over just because you've been brainwashed by some anus who's sold you a bill of goods. That, to me, is the mark of an absolute shit program. The programs that work, in my experience (and I've seen tons), are always evolving, but they have core principles they've stuck to over time. When I walk into a clinic, I KNOW there's a very small chance that something some little dude at a table is going to say that's going to change my mind. Obviously there's always a chance, because I'm always looking to learn, but the odds of someone completely changing my paradigms when it comes to training (especially when they're coming at me with gel in their hair and some slick brochures) is slim to none -- and slim is usually on the way out of town by that point.

My advice? If you've hired a strength coach, listen to what the guy says and let him run shit. If he thinks you need something, listen to him and see if it's in your budget. And relax on listening to little spiky-haired dudes wearing polo shirts at football clinics.


Also, don't forget to sign up for the Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar at the University of Richmond. See my post from Monday for information. It's being held the weekend of Friday 4/27, and it'll easily be the best seminar you've ever attended.

Angry Coach

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