If I Were Back in Football S+C

Jun 22, 2022

I started thinking about what I'd do if suddenly I found myself back in the American Football World.

Here are four things that I would focus on. 

First thing I would do is meet with the staff. The best way to succeed in any position, in any sport, is to develop the head coaches trust and, secondarily the assistant coaches trust. In most cases, you probably wouldn't have the job if that wasn't the case but, lets deal with the theoretical idea that the AD hired you or, that you were a holdover. To develop the head coaches trust you need face time and conversations, not arguments and confrontations. You might even need to placate a coach a bit in year 1 as you build your relationship.


Second, in those meetings my biggest sales pitch would be that we only want to change one thing.

I'd tell the coach I want to switch from 2 leg squats to 1 leg squats. We would still bench press, hang clean and deadlift. 

To accomplish my goal of switching from two leg to one leg squat variations I would discuss position specificity and injury prevention. It's usually an offensive or defensive line coach who will push back the hardest because he'll feels that his guys need to be big and strong and he perceives that no double leg squats means no strength. I would really emphasize that this was not the case and that we would still be pushing for big hang clean and Trap Bar Deadlift numbers. I'd also emphasize the deadlift over the squat, citing the better ( more specific) body position with the hips slightly higher, as well as the grip strength and upper back benefits of deadlifts vs. squats..

When trying to get through to line coaches I often discuss specific football techniques (how linemen are taught to step) and, emphasize the unilateral nature of these skills. No one "fires out" off two feet anymore. Strangely, line will coaches will generally agree during the technical discussion but, still push back against a unilateral approach.

I would also discuss back injuries ( particularly if the team has had athletes who have had weight room related issues). I love to pull out the quote here about the best ability in sport is “availability”. NFL teams get this but, high school and college coaches don't seem too.

I would find every video clip I could of NFL guys doing heavy unilateral stuff. Football coaches love the idea of doing what everyone else is doing. Copying success is a way of life in football.

The third area I'd address would be speed training. I've outlined my thoughts on this in a three part series here:

If You Arent Timing You Arent Doing Speed Training- Part 1

If You Aren't Timing You Aren't Doing Speed Training- Part 2 ( The Mistakes)

If You Aren't Timing You Aren't Doing Speed Training- Part 3 ( Solutions)


The bottom line is that we don't sprint enough or, time sprints and, that is no way to get fast.

I'd be timing sprints in season!

Combine training around 2010
Combine training around 2010

Lastly I would push things like the "Christian McCaffery trains like a track athlete" stuff even though I might not 100% buy it. (here is an article that talked about it from STACK) Note: McCaffery's recent injury history doesnt help this narrative.

Remember, winning over reluctant coaches is like building a case in court, you need evidence and, you need to be persuasive. The key is to talk about what you wont change and make the “no back squat thing” into an intelligent change that will improve performance and, prevent injury.