Five Things to Consider Before Starting Off-Season Football Training

By Collis Spann MS, PES, USAW L2

For most football players, off-season training is well under way. For the rest, it’s time to get back in the weight room and start improving on the successes from last year’s season. With approximately six months until the start of the 2017 summer training camps, NOW is the perfect opportunity to begin a properly programmed training regimen in order to reach optimal performance at the right time.

Beginning to train now will allow enough time for your coach (or trainer) to create a program that will provide you with the workouts you need to reach your goals. When deciding on a training protocol to help you reach peak performance, there are a few things to consider before starting a program:

1) What are your strengths and weaknesses? Will the exercises selected and loads prescribed help me improve upon them?

2) How long is the program? Is it broken into micro, meso, or macrocyles? What exactly is the method behind your progression? (Example: linear progression)

3) Will this program create a conditioned adaptive response? Will it provide the proper training stimulus?

4) Are there opportunities within the program to progress or regress due to inefficient ranges of motion? Are there opportunities to emphasize work on technique?

5) Have other athletes achieved a measure of success with the same coach? Is the coach proficient in the movements that they are trying to implement in a program?

Once you have decided on a coach and training program, you need to commit! The biggest mistake made by athletes and exercisers alike is changing or quitting a program TOO SOON! Rule of thumb varies from trainer-to-trainer, but I believe that you should give a program a MINIMUM of six weeks before looking elsewhere, with 12 weeks giving the most accurate indication of whether or not a program suits you.

Make sure to incorporate “auto-regulation” into your programming. School, family and chores may sometimes get in the way and unfortunately, there are days you are not going to be able to hit your prescribed numbers due to tough days at school or a lack of sleep. Know when it’s time to back off and use the lower percentages prescribed.

Conversely, know when you are feeling on top of your game; on those days, it’s time to push yourself and get after it. Remember there will be indicators throughout your program of your progress. The goal is to head into training camp with improvements in both physical and mental conditioning.

The objective for an efficient program is to enhance overall performance in your specific sport, improve energy levels, confidence, and reduce the risk of injury. If there is any doubt about whether or not the program you have committed to compromises any of the areas previously discussed, then it is YOUR responsibility to talk to your trainer about making a change. If he or she does not accept your feedback as an athlete, perhaps it’s time to consider someone who can adapt and make adjustments to support your specific needs.

Good luck to all athletes, both in the classroom and on the field.

Highlighted HIT Sports Performance athletes from this past football season:

  • Freehold Boro High School Football Team: 6-5, state playoff invitee (lost in semi-finals). Broke record for most points scored in a NJ State playoff game (69 points).
  • Matt Krauss: WR/FS (Class of 2019): 2nd year Varsity starter, Tackles: 94
  • Jonny Helff: RB (Class of 2018): Attempts: 169; Rushing Yards: 1059; TDs: 14
  • Cameron Caorsi: RB (Class of 2017): Attempts: 215; Rushing Yards: 1,382; TDs: 16
  • Justin Marcus: WR/FS (Class of 2018): Receptions: 52; Reception Yards: 726; TDs: 6; Third-Team All Shore Conference
  • Ryan Cassidy: LB (Class of 2017): Tackles: 79
  • Marlboro High School Offensive Line: Anthony Damato (2018), Anthony Mitchell (2017), Chris Manginelli (2018) - Two 1,000+ yard rushers (Caorsi and Helff)