Matt Rhodes Elite FTS
As I’ve evolved as a coach, I’ve really gotten away from some of the old ideas I used to subscribe to. I’ve always been a big believer in being in great condition. When you’re in great shape, a lot of issues disappear, and guys and girls have more mental toughness.
But I never really agreed with just running the shit out of kids, or as our basketball staff loves to say, “You can kill ’em today.”
To which I answer, “Why would I want to run them into the ground? It defeats the purpose of building them up.”
In the past, I just ran them. I never really ran a lot, but it was something we did in some form or another five days a week all summer. I would often catch myself in the “let’s do more for the sake of doing more” mentality. Such a stupid thought process.
Last summer (2018) and this summer, I dropped to three days of training in June. We lift and run on the same days:
- Monday and Wednesday: Agility
- Friday: “The Hill” for conditioning
This summer I inserted what I’m calling a strength circuit. I think it would be better classified as a hypertrophy circuit. We (they) end up doing 15 sets in 14 minutes.
One of the circuits looks like this:
- Trap Bar: 5×5 (FSL or simply 20% lighter than the percentage we use for our heavy squat work)
- Pull-ups: 5×10/5 (linemen)
- Press (no leg drive): 5×8
Set 1 starts when I start the clock. At one minute, we start the second exercise. At two minutes, we start the third, and so on… This is a buttload of work done in a fairly short amount of time.
On Monday and Wednesday, we run agility drills pre-lift. In total, we take 30 minutes to warm-up (about 10 minutes) and then do four reps of four different drills (about 20 minutes). After the run, we come inside and get into the lifting. Each day, there is one main lift, one supplemental lift, and then the strength circuit.
The kids are getting in very good shape. How do I know, you ask? Handsome question. Every Friday we run The Hill. For Week 1, no one got 10. During Week 2, a little over half got 10. By Week 3, everyone finished 10 in under 20 minutes (including the 300-pounders).
I have zero soft tissue injuries. No pulls, no strains, no sprains — NOTHING! Things are going so well I really don’t want to move to the five-day plan I have, but I’m going to for a few reasons:
- About 20 kids are here right now. I have no worry about them adapting and being ready for camp.
- I should have about 30 to 40 more kids starting next week. They’re not in shape because they will not work very hard at home. I need to get them ready in four weeks, so doing some kind of conditioning or agility five days a week is an easy way to get them as up to speed as I can get them.
- Some of the older kids have been asking if we can do two extra running days in June. I’m guessing they probably feel like they need to do something five days a week. I don’t think they need to, but I’m just going to keep everything very short and sweet and throw them the proverbial bone.
Time will tell, but I think I’m going to be able to keep the running to a minimum, save their legs, and have them well-conditioned for camp.
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