How To Get The Most Out of Your Summer Speed and Strength Training

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Photo By: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch

The important differences between summer training and the rest of the year are critical. From a coaching standpoint, it is the time to teach or install every facet of an athletic development program. That seems like “duh”, but there are two very critical reasons to say that out loud. First, it is the athlete’s prime growing season and they can handle more physical stress, recover and take on more. That allows the coach to apply more advanced training techniques, schemes or gadgets. Secondly, by doing all of the elements in the summer, the coach and athlete will be able use selected pieces of the program throughout the preseason and regular season so as to minimize loss of the summer gains.

To be clear about how this is applied, the summer schedule is meticulously thought out and prepared. The following is an explanation of the summer schedule, which is built around an eight week program, It is easy to adjust for shorter or longer time frames according to specific association mandates.

1.   June weeks 1-2 have a speed and strength emphasis with conditioning coming through our high-speed training protocol and change of direction workouts.

2.  June weeks 3-4 have a periodized increase in training loads. Weight reps schemes get lower, running gets longer and faster and so forth. Explosive, Olympic and plyometric sets are introduced through the end of the summer.

3.  July weeks 5-6 depending on the intensity of training and the 4th of July holiday the 5th week can be an unloading period.  If your summer only allows 5-6 weeks of training, don’t unload.  Week 5 sees a continuing increase in total load and volume. One important point is that as conditioning increases speed and change of direction are slightly reduced.  Since change of direction is the most stressful training on the legs, we use it as a conditioning tool. Week 6 has a leveling off of the weight work (less volume) while conditioning becomes more intense.

4.  July weeks 7-8 start the final push.  Week 7 is the time to do the mile sprint.  That is our universal conditioning test. Week 8 is a tapering, unloading week.  The players need to get their legs back and allow for a residual training effect to begin to be felt. You never want to go to fall camp with dead legs from killing them all summer. That makes this methodology so critical.

“Everyday to Prepare”


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