FOOTBALL HIGH SCHOOL OFF-SEASON SPEED TRAINING: WHAT I’M TRYING AND HOW I HOPE IT'S GOING TO GET US CRAZY 40 TIMES
By: Regan Quaal
I recently took a new job at Shakopee High School as their full-time strength and conditioning coach. This has always been my goal of mine to move on from college to the high school setting where I could train the athletes more regularly and harder. I looked at them as blank slates that have never really been taught anything training wise so I could shape their idea of training.
Now being here this is my first time in my 8 year career being in charge of a whole football team's off-season training, which is a big task and honestly one of the biggest things I was and wasn't looking forward too.
I'll start with why I wasn't, the big one being I can't stand the cocky egos you come across in football. The issue is I have to feed those egos to get their swagger up even more so they keep training harder and harder in preparation for the next football season. So far I have found a pretty good balance of keeping people in check and boosting them up when needed. The other reason is it is a huge responsibility there like 130ish guys total in our high school football program and I have to figure out a way to keep them all excited and stimulated to keep progressing in their training for the next 8 months.
I was really excited though because I knew I could make a huge impact in athletic development if I did things right and progressed them slowly and correctly.
I'll start with my plan for our off-season speed training. We take a Tony Holler “feed the cat” approach to how we train our athletes when it comes to speed work. We time our kids twice a week only giving them between 2-4 reps of max effort each day pending what we are timing.
We started off the off-season with timed 40s and 20s as one typically always does with football. The big reason why we chose the timed 20 alongside the 40 is so we could see ratios of 40 vs 20 time and develop an idea of which of our athletes are good at accelerating vs top end speed abilities. The results were not shocking; most of our athletes were far better at accelerating than maintaining top end speeds. Another thing we noted was our younger guys tended to be better at top end speed than our older guys as well. We also saw this when watching them perform their repeated hurdle hops. Leading us to believe they were more elastically driven then our older guys who are more muscularly driven. This could be due to many factors, the big one we came up with though is the schools previous strength coach was very powerlifting and bodybuilding based, so we think that our older guys performing that style of training for a few years led to them being more muscular driven because the programs he puts together lacked exercises that were designed to develop elasticity.
Now to the program plan we put together our plan was to test 40 yard sprint and 20 yard sprint on
- week 1
- week 6
- week 12
- week 18
Giving us three separate phases of training to develop our athletes speed as seen by drops in our 40 times. Below I will go over each of the three phases we are planning on running.
PHASE 1 (week 2-5): establish and build top end speed & improve acceleration mechanics
During each phase we will perform 4 weeks of training two day per week, the days were as following:
Day 1: fly 10s
PHASE 2 (week 7-11): Maintain top end & accelerating longer
Day 1: fly 20s
Day 2: Resisted 30s
PHASE 3 (week 13-16): Build top end speed & improve transition phase
Day 1: fly 10s
Day 2: resisted fly 10s
The only weeks that were not accounted for above are the weeks following our testing weeks, we label these weeks as our speed application weeks. The goal with these weeks is to see if the speed improvements we are making can be applied to demands that can be seen in football. Obviously it isn't just like football because the drills are premeditated that we are timing so we can compare results across the entire team and so we can repeat it in the future to see if we are consistently improving. In these drills we include change of direction of direction components, lateral movement, and backward movement. The two different drills we selected test both top end speed and acceleration in a more football specific scenario, they are as follows below:
Day 1: 10 yard backpedal into 20 yard sprint (time final 10 yards)
Day 2: 10 yards forward + 5 yards back + 10 yards forward (25 yards of total forward running)
Review of Speed Program
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Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Shakopee High School