Coach's Corner: Chad Frigon 4/20
By Chad Frigon Liberty Head Coach
The offseason for most high school football programs is from the time that the pads are checked in until they are checked out the following season. All coaches and players understand how important this time period can be in determining the success of not only your upcoming season but for many seasons to come. At Liberty High School we try to make our off-season training not only challenging but also a competitive and fun environment for our athletes to improve.
Our off-season football schedule is divided into three seasons that follow the same time frame of our sport seasons. While most of our athletes are in a full year weight training program within classes in schools, we offer opportunities before or after school for athletes to improve if they are not out for a sport in each season.
We expect our athletes to be either out for a sport or participating in our program to help advance them athletically. Many times after weeks of work the drills can become boring and mundane. During this article I am going to focus on some principals we have applied to our drills to keep our athletes from simply going through the motions.
A few years ago coach Andy Lierman, who is the new head coach at Lexington, changed up our drills for one day a week during the summer. Coach Lierman incorporated some non-traditional forms of training such as flipping tires, the use of Tugs, sandbags, plate pushes and other activities that many programs within the metro area are also using.
These are now commonly referred to as “Cross Training.” We had the athletes perform these drills in competition with another athlete with something minor on the line, like five push-ups for the person who lost the rep. We found that our training on these days had a lot more energy, effort, and enthusiasm compared to our normal training days. This was apparent in both the athletes and our coaches who were running the drills.
We took this observation and have incorporated it into all of our off season drills. Whether it be bag drills, speed ladders, or running obstacles we now include the following principals.
Competition – We have athletes compete in all drills. We encourage the players to match up against somebody that is similar in ability and push each other through the drills. We had to adjust how we set up our stations so that the drills mirrored each other. In some cases we had to purchase a few more bags or ladders, or we made do with some other equipment we had to take its place.
A Definite Finish and Ending - Regardless of the drill, we have cones set for a beginning point and an ending point. We coach every kid to accelerate into every drill full speed and then finish through the cones to finish the drills. We try to explode from our starts the same as we would from the snap of the ball. We coach a “chest down finish,” meaning the athlete goes through the finish line with their chest down or they are sent back to do the drill again on their own. We have used one coach with an IPAD to film finishes, just to show the athlete how they finished the drill and why they are sent back. Many truly feel they are finishing the drill when they are not.
On–Deck Circle - One of the most frustrating things for a coach is when the next person up is not ready to go when it is their turn. We use a 12 inch poly spot as an on deck circle in all of our lines for drills. When the first athlete leaves the starting cone, the next athlete moves from the poly spot to the start so we waste no time within our drills.
Adequate Rest and Water Breaks – We try to give our athletes enough rest between reps and water breaks so they can go 100 percent for every rep. We understand that fatigue will set in and that it will also during game competition, but allowing adequate recovery times ensures us the athletes can give it all from the starting line to the finish.
Including these training principals into our drill work has allowed us to keep our training sessions challenging and competitive. Like all programs, we hope to see the hard work, dedication, and competitiveness show up in competition in the fall.
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