Building Programs for Your Team

Step 2: Build


Building Programs for Your Team

Building programs for a team is a foreign concept for many small university, high school, and middle school coaches. This is where most the mistakes happen. Coaches are smart. They know they need help so they seek help from the experts that they have made friends with during their coaching years. The mistake happens when they use what other coaches are doing without using the evaluations and the testing. First we must make sense of the testing. How do we know what to work on based on our results? We start by making a comparison analysis of the data which can be made with any Excel or Google Spreadsheet. Getting the right results means objectiveness with testing too. So try to keep everything away from judgement and make rules to be applied for the testing. That way the data collected will be valid. 

Performance Analysis

Building programs for teams starts with testing and assessing the athletes. Example- comparison between pro shuttle and 40 yard dash. Generally, a .35 exist between the two test. However there are some exceptions between sports. Example- basketball players should have a .25 or closer relationship because of the demands of the sport and anatomical difference between athletes.

Strength Analysis

Example of a strength assessment is the Deadlift and Squat. Deadlift should be approximately 120% of the squat. Front squat should be between 60-70% of the back squat.

Power Analysis

Example of Clean to Snatch difference. Snatch should be approximately 70% of the clean. There are other %’s that coaches need to be aware of with Olympic Lifts. But there is also the Vertical comparison to the 40 yard dash and med ball throws. After testing these numbers will start to jump out and make coaches aware of certain deficiencies that might be there that they never knew where there. 

Movement Analysis

The Deep Squat from the FMS is a great thing to break down and get lots of great info from.

The Deep Squat can tell coaches if there is a hip mobility or stability problem. Lumbar weakness or overextension, thoracic, or ankle issues. By taking notes during the Deep Squat coaches can add up the number of Notes (H=Hip issue) to create a “big picture” analysis of what should be done to help the team. If more than 50% have the same issues then its time to act and add some things to the program and subtract others. Maybe by adding a PNF Routine this could help eliminate the Hip tightness. 


“Making educated decisions based on the results will help you drive your program in the right direction.”

Building the program becomes easy after testing. Certain numbers jump out at coaches that are there. Sometimes coaches already know they are there but have been ignoring them because they wanted to spend more time doing something else. Now coaches know what is right for THEIR OWN team and NOT someone else’s.

When you start building your program make sure you have the “Big Picture” in mind. Strength and conditioning professionals call this the macrocycle. Macrocycle is the 12 month view. This is great to start with because now you can see where the breaks lie in the school calendar and use this to schedule the next test. There are many types of periodization to choose from when trying to find the best fit for your team.

Periodization is used in strength and conditioning to peak teams at the right time and to get more improvements than a traditional model would normally use. It is also used to help track volume and load easier than the “off the hip” model.

In our experience there are a couple of types of periodization models that teams can use with very little background in the field of strength and conditioning. Here are our top 2 ways we periodize that encompasses most any team sport.


Block Periodization

Football teams work great with a Block Periodized schedule because there is only 1 season. Block Periodization is 6-12 week model focusing on one part of the athletic development model. There are usually 4-6 phases in this type of periodization. And there is a certain order to follow increasing intensity and effort with each phase until competition starts.  Dr. Michael Stone Co-Founder of National Strength and Conditioning and is considered the one of the leaders in the field of Sport Science. Latest Research shows that Block Periodization shows the greatest improvements in comparison to all the models.



Non Linear Periodization

Non Linear periodization is a form of programming for teams that works with teams that have more than one season. Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Baseball, Softball are all teams that can improve without overtraining and increasing chance of injury while decreasing performance.

Non Linear Periodization works by using each microcycle (days to weeks) for each goal. Example would be Day 1 for hypertrophy, Day 2 for Strength, Day 3 for Power. The sets and reps for each goal would change as well with each mesocycle (weeks to months). Obviously there is not as much improvements and testing should be a 12-16 week schedule rather than a 6-8 week schedule.


Where do coaches start?


A macrocycle is part of building programs for team as a yearly view of all phases of performance for the team. By sitting down and looking at a calendar it can help coaches see breaks in schools, where the testing will be, where and how long each phase will be, and where the team needs to be performing at their peak. I have been on teams that would struggle for the entire season and needed to win the first game just as bad as the last. And I have been on teams that needed to peak at region, conference, or playoff time. This is why coaches need to look at the yearly view of where they need to go.

Annual Periodization Example


Each phase of building programs for teams will be segmented and broken down to a start and end date along with a general idea of what the plan would be. No need of going into detail of exact lifts. Coaches will get into that after each phase of training is broken down into the amount of weeks needed for each phase of training. By doing this coaches can spend more time on what is needed for each team. Some coaches want to spend more time with building muscle so they want to spend 12 weeks on the Hypertrophy phase. Of course there has to be a sacrifice there to another phase but the idea is get those goals on paper with a start and end date.




This is the breakdown of lifts, sets, and reps with each phase. My suggestion is to NOT spend much time on the other phases because there will be some changes along the way. The good coaches are always tweaking plans to make them more effective. There is always things we don’t see in the plan until we try them. For example maybe the plan is to go Deadlift, Squat, and Step Ups and there isn’t enough equipment for the whole team to execute it. The objective is to get the daily schedule and the first month. There should be a basic outline and daily plan skeleton to have a idea of what the lifts, sets, and reps would be in advance.

So why do you need to know this? Because it gives insight of what the next phase goals should be. If the %s are off (usually less) there is something preventing the team from performing at the pinnacle of success.

After making these plans and getting the framework for your program there will be a bigger likelihood to be more successful than ever before. Each year brings new challenges and new obstacles with teams which is why coaches need to be able to adjust these plans on a yearly basis. Athletes of today are much different than 10 years ago. Some parts of these athletes are good and some are bad but keeping the same program makes no sense when coaches are trying put the best product out on the field. Competitiveness is at an all time high and if you aren’t confident that you are doing everything you can do in the weight room then find someone who can.