T Nation

Advice For HS Football Player

I’m helping train my younger brother who is trying to land a D1 scholarship in football… I’m novice to this, so I’m seeing if others would do anything different

Currently, he’s 6’1, 184 lb sophomore who played well for a good HS program as a safety and is on the recruiting radar of a lot of schools… He needs to get prepared for a Nike Camp, Underarmour camp, and various college camps this summer prior to having a good junior year.

These are his stats:

squat: 375 (up from 275 last November)
deadlift: 365
bench: 235
clean: 215
forty: electric timed 4.66 - 4.75
vertical: 29
broad: 8’9
shuttle: 4.32
pullups: 18
dips: 24

His current workout stuff is taken from Defranco, EFS, and articles from T-Nation.

Mond: spring football practice, then ME Upper
Tuesd: spring practice, ME Lower
Wed: off
Thurs: spring practice, DE Upper
Friday: plyometics, sled, sprints
Saturday: overspeed, plyometics, DE Lower

Are there any discrepancies that he should focus on (lack of strength, jumping) or just keep plugging away?

thanks…

looks good. the only thing i would say he should focus a little bit on is his vertical jump. D-1 schools will look for him to have atleast a 32+ vert playing safety, they want someone who will be able to play the ball against tall receivers. also, the vert is considered a key sign of general athleticism. if he keeps doing what he’s doing though, it will come in time. i wish him the best.

p.s. Ann Arbor’s REAL nice, btw

Get faster and bigger. D-1 Safeties are usually at least 200. He still has ample time to gain 15 pounds, though. His 40 time is ESSENTIAL. He absolutely MUST run at most a high 4.5, and that is pushing it. Make sure he doesn’t rule out 1-AA and D2 schools also. Money is money.

Oh and the rest of his numbers look good. Sorry I felt like it seemed I was being a bit negative. Just tell him to keep on truckin.

Good numbers and good routine. Hope you start posting the routines. I agree with masonator. Don’t rule out 1AA or DII. I lifted with a lot of good players way back years ago at App State. Look what the “average” kids did this past season!

Keep up the training.

you should post his workouts and let me and others give you some helpful advice about it. its also hard for many to just (hand out a program that will get big results without seeing him in person) so the only thing i can think of is post his workouts in his entirity and ho he felt about them etc…sorry if that didnt help…

You need to ask a question, we cant help you if you dont pose a problem. His coaches are there to help him get better, trust me, there is no secret to getting better except for tons of practice and his coaches should make sure the practices suit what he needs

i know it has nothing to do with training but make surwe he keeps his grades up. i have a freind who could have easly gone d1 but his grades sicked so he couldnt get in. i dont know if he has good grades or not but its just something id keep an eye on if you want him to succeed

I apologize that the original post was nonspecific. I’ll post his workouts this week to see if that helps. Thanks to all of those w/ advice so far. My brother is definitely keeping all options open (just wants to maximize his potential and let the chips fall where they may).

He has 2 brothers (myself included) who played 1-AA, so that is an option, though his goal is to really play at the D1 level. He also gets good grades so that helps as well.

Also, he had ankle surgery last year for calcium deposits (chrondocalcinosis) in his ankle joint. He has some arthritic damage and limited ROM, so that is one reason why his vertical is lower than desired. But he’s working on improving it.

Thanks again for all your help. I’ll post his stats from the Underarmour scout.com combine which is May 24th at the Arizona Cardinals Complex for those interested to see how he stacks up against the better talent in the west.

I do have 3 specific questions, then i’ll stop wasting everyones time:

  1. At what rate do you increase the weight on squats? He was squatting about 275 in November and can do 375 right now (w/ slight help out of the hole)… Do you try and get that up as quickly as possible or do you do it in increments to make sure he has a solid base (let him rep it out in the low 300’s for a couple months)?

Also, is it dangerous to go up on weight if he requires more spotter assistance to get it up?

  1. What would be your goal for a 190 lb athlete as a baseline must have strength level? 2.5x BW squat?

  2. At what point (400+, 500+, 600+) do you feel the risk of injury outweighs the risk of benefit for an athlete? Not too say he could hit those high levels in the next 2 years, but do you feel there is a weight range where injuries become exponentially more prevelant?

Last thing i would want is to be too aggressive and see him get hurt and be set back…

  1. Do a mix of both. As someone who benches 405 for reps and can max out somewhere in the 500+ range raw (been awhile since I gave it a go) I’d definitely do a mix of both.

  2. Don’t ever set baseline goals. Does it matter if you hit 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 BW squat? The fact is recruiters want to see the biggest squat that he can get. If that happens to be 2.5, then great. Always shoot for more.

  3. If done properly and strength gained correctly then the risk of injury shouldn’t be terribly greater the heavier you lift. I.e. if you are lifting heavier and heavier but doing it at a normal rate then chances are your tendons/ligaments are also growing stronger and able to support that.

It’s when the tendons/ligaments do not gain strength at the same rate as your muscular strength that you become more prone to injury. That’s one reason the off-season is geared towards strength training and the in-season is maintenance.

I tried a strength training routine during the season, and yes my strength went up but I also tore two ligaments and a calf muscle due to the added strain of games/practices and my ligaments/tendons just couldn’t keep up. For the record I play lacrosse at a D1 school, not quite the same as football but recruits generally look for the same thing in both sports on the physical side.

I’m sorry, but I disagree vehemently. The recruiters want to see speed. In all its manifestations: quickness, agility, change of direction, top-end, etc. There will come a point of diminishing returns with regards to max squat. Genetically, he may not be very efficient at harnessing his strength so getting him stronger might not make him faster at all.

Who cares if he squats 600 if his feet are stapled to the floor when he runs the 40?

Remember, weightlifting is GPP for the athlete. That’s it.

I think the originally posted plan has far too much volume, as well.

[quote]Affliction wrote:

I’m sorry, but I disagree vehemently. The recruiters want to see speed. In all its manifestations: quickness, agility, change of direction, top-end, etc. There will come a point of diminishing returns with regards to max squat. Genetically, he may not be very efficient at harnessing his strength so getting him stronger might not make him faster at all. Who cares if he squats 600 if his feet are stapled to the floor when he runs the 40?

Remember, weightlifting is GPP for the athlete. That’s it.

I think the originally posted plan has far too much volume, as well.[/quote]

You may disagree all you want, but a lot of recruiters look at weight lifting as a criteria unfortunately. Yes they want the speed, agility, quickness so on so forth, but they also care about strength.

For instance look at the NFL combine, they do a max rep test for 225 lbs yet that doesn’t correlate to how force is used for football at all. A single, triple, or 5RM would be a better indicator in terms of football strength in my opinion.

To recruiters, weight lifting definitely makes a difference, as does everything. If they see a recruit that is exact same skill, position, speed, quickness times yet one recruit has a higher squat or bench or clean they will take him for no other reason that there is nothing else to distinguish the two athletes.

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
You may disagree all you want, but a lot of recruiters look at weight lifting as a criteria unfortunately. Yes they want the speed, agility, quickness so on so forth, but they also care about strength. For instance look at the NFL combine, they do a max rep test for 225 lbs yet that doesn’t correlate to how force is used for football at all.

A single, triple, or 5RM would be a better indicator in terms of football strength in my opinion.

To recruiters, weight lifting definitely makes a difference, as does everything. If they see a recruit that is exact same skill, position, speed, quickness times yet one recruit has a higher squat or bench or clean they will take him for no other reason that there is nothing else to distinguish the two athletes.
[/quote]

Look man, I’m a former DI/DI-AA (transfer) football player. I’ve benched 475 and squatted 600. It wasn’t until near the end of my career that I figured out that weight room numbers do not equate to on-field performance. To my detriment. I’m trying to save him from my mistakes.

At this kid’s bodyweight, he should stop at 405, if not right now, for his max squat as one of his main points of emphasis. Yes, he should do maintenance work to keep his strength, and it will still improve gradually. But he should be sprinting 2x/week and working on sprint technique on the other days.

I know what you’re saying, but let’s not misguide him. No one has ever said “squat kills” with regards to football. I believe the saying is “SPEED kills”. Especially as a safety. And with his 40 time, it is clear that max strength is certainly not the limiting factor here.

To the OP, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that your brother drops his weightlifting endeavors. But encourage him to remember that he is first and foremost a football player. Weightlifting is only ONE of many activities he should engage in to increase his readiness on the football field. Feel free to ask more questions.

[quote]Affliction wrote:

Look man, I’m a former DI/DI-AA (transfer) football player. I’ve benched 475 and squatted 600. It wasn’t until near the end of my career that I figured out that weight room numbers do not equate to on-field performance. To my detriment. I’m trying to save him from my mistakes.

At this kid’s bodyweight, he should stop at 405, if not right now, for his max squat as one of his main points of emphasis. Yes, he should do maintenance work to keep his strength, and it will still improve gradually. But he should be sprinting 2x/week and working on sprint technique on the other days. I know what you’re saying, but let’s not misguide him. No one has ever said “squat kills” with regards to football. I believe the saying is “SPEED kills”. Especially as a safety. And with his 40 time, it is clear that max strength is certainly not the limiting factor here.

To the OP, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that your brother drops his weightlifting endeavors. But encourage him to remember that he is first and foremost a football player. Weightlifting is only ONE of many activities he should engage in to increase his readiness on the football field. Feel free to ask more questions.[/quote]

And I’m a current D1 lacrosse player, not necessarily the same as football but speed in my opinion is even a bigger issue with lacrosse then football, so believe me I’m not disagreeing with you in that sense. I truly do believe in the fact that speed kills.

To me it just seems like he doesn’t have the strength basis to really get the full benefit of plyos, which would be the quickest way to more speed. At his current strength levels I’d argue that he stands to be at higher risk for injury then if he could have a better foundation. Just my personal opinion there.

His speed most definitely is lacking, hence why I suggest plyos at some point or another as well as speed training. This will not only increase his vert (great indicator of GGP) but chances are is going to increase his top-end and start speed as well.

I am not suggesting he forgo other opportunities to increase his skill, speed, agility, etc. for pure weight lifting gains, but I do believe that he still will have good gains from increasing his overall strength/size for the safety position. He isn’t close to diminishing returns in my opinion.

That is why I suggest still focusing on the strength aspect because at his current levels he can start doing basic plyos/speed work without running a risk of injuring himself, doing this at the same time as increasing his strenght.

[quote]sundanceskiteam wrote:

  1. At what rate do you increase the weight on squats? He was squatting about 275 in November and can do 375 right now (w/ slight help out of the hole)… Do you try and get that up as quickly as possible or do you do it in increments to make sure he has a solid base (let him rep it out in the low 300’s for a couple months)? Also, is it dangerous to go up on weight if he requires more spotter assistance to get it up? [/quote]

I’d try to increase the weight he’s using in a given rep range every workout. thats not to say you should try and have him max out every workout, but rather if he’s doing 5x5 with 315 this week, try 5x5@325 next week (or whatever, the number of reps and the amount of weight are obviously just examples)

He’s better off with slower, consistent progression week to week than he is with a 50 lb pr one week, followed by sliding back the next week, and then spending a month stuck at the same weight. Personally, if theres spotter assistance I wouldnt count it. It’s just too hard to quantify whether he’s improving or whether the spotter unconciously gave a little mroe assistance this week.

There really is none. A slower player will have to be stronger, a faster player can get away with being weaker. A player who knows the game better can put himself in the right place and use the proper technique that will allow him to get away with being slower and weaker. As a d-back squatting 375 his squat is not a glaring deficiency, so I wouldnt worry about it.

[quote]3. At what point (400+, 500+, 600+) do you feel the risk of injury outweighs the risk of benefit for an athlete? Not too say he could hit those high levels in the next 2 years, but do you feel there is a weight range where injuries become exponentially more prevelant?

Last thing i would want is to be too aggressive and see him get hurt and be set back…[/quote]

I dont think it’s a question of the likelihood of injury increasing. If his technique is solid (a big ‘if’) and he’s doing everything necessary in terms of warmups, flexibility, recovery, he should be fine.

The real question, in my opinion, is at what point do you see diminishing returns, ie when should you say “all right, his squat could be better, but it’s GOOD ENOUGH, lets focus on speed/conditioning/flexibility, etc” The answer to that, of course, depends on whether his other skills are lagging, or if they are ahead of his squat.

One other piece of unsolicited advice is that if I were you I’d ask everyone who’s offering advice exactly what their credentials are. You’ve already got conflicting advice, and I disagree with several of the opinions posted here, so you’ll want to be able to make an informed judgment on the worth of some of this advice.

Personally, I played football only at the high school level, however I’ve coached hs football and been the strength coach for almost 5 years.

Thanks for all the advice so far.

I agree that speed is going to be the deal breaker with him. I just wanted to know if there was a certain strength level to shoot for to maximize his speed potential.

Nonetheless, speed is priority #1 (not weight numbers) and we will continue to work on all the factors (technique, flexibility, strength) that goes into it.

[quote]sundanceskiteam wrote:
Thanks for all the advice so far.

I agree that speed is going to be the deal breaker with him. I just wanted to know if there was a certain strength level to shoot for to maximize his speed potential.

Nonetheless, speed is priority #1 (not weight numbers) and we will continue to work on all the factors (technique, flexibility, strength) that goes into it.[/quote]

In all honesty it’s hard to say what strength level will allow for maximum speed potential. It’s all based on an individual basis. Is he currently doing any speed work at all?

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
One other piece of unsolicited advice is that if I were you I’d ask everyone who’s offering advice exactly what their credentials are. You’ve already got conflicting advice, and I disagree with several of the opinions posted here, so you’ll want to be able to make an informed judgment on the worth of some of this advice.[/quote]

OP, feel free to ask about this. I consider myself very well qualified to offer advice on this thread.

KBC, was wondering for my own personal benefit and the benefit of the OP/those reading this thread if it were my opinions you disagreed with, and specifically, what, and why?

I think all parties involved would benefit from a discussion and everyone might learn something.

He is doing speed work 2x a week.

Does sled sprints one day a week (w/ 45 lb plate) and hill sprints, then does one day of overspeed combined w/ normal sprints of 10, 20, 40, 60 yard sprints. Then has one day of plyometrics and agility drills.

He also has 3 days of spring practice where they do DB drills and one on ones for about 1 hr.

[quote]Affliction wrote:
KBCThird wrote:
One other piece of unsolicited advice is that if I were you I’d ask everyone who’s offering advice exactly what their credentials are. You’ve already got conflicting advice, and I disagree with several of the opinions posted here, so you’ll want to be able to make an informed judgment on the worth of some of this advice.

OP, feel free to ask about this. I consider myself very well qualified to offer advice on this thread.

KBC, was wondering for my own personal benefit and the benefit of the OP/those reading this thread if it were my opinions you disagreed with, and specifically, what, and why?

I think all parties involved would benefit from a discussion and everyone might learn something.
[/quote]

Actually, yours are the opinions with which I agree the most. Off teh top of my head and without re-reading each of your posts I’d want to discuss what you mean when you say the kid should just do maintenance work for his squat at his current strength level.

I suspect our only disagreements would be semantics, since i dont think the squat has to be the priority, but i would suggest it’s worthwhile to attempt to improve on the squat while at teh same time trying to improve his other qualities/attributes.