Are Your Teams Working Hard or Working Smart?

Are Your Teams Working Hard or Working Smart?

This is a guest post written by Stength Coach Eric Schwager.  Coach Schwager is an accomplished strength & conditioning coach who works at Limestone College and is the Head Strength Director of Football.  This is a very young football team that recently got started at Limestone and Eric was hired to start the program from scratch.  This can be a very exciting opportunity for a strength coach but it comes with many headaches and challenges; all of which Coach Schwager took on and has developed start up success under his guidance.  This is a great coaches article that all should read. 

Whether you are a sport coach or strength coach your job description first and for most is being an educator. We need to educate kids on everything we are doing whether in the weight room, conditioning field, or practice. What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How will this affect our performance tomorrow and future performance in the weeks, months and years to come? As soon as your athletes fall into your hands you are now responsible for them for the next 4 to five years. What is your plan? Do you even have a plan for them? Are you following somebody else’s plan or a plan you had at a different school? Just because what you did or someone else did at another school worked for them, does not mean that program is appropriate for where you are now. As a coach, you have to know the variables that affect a program and the situation you have at your school. Every school has a different situation. Different situation could mean: Facilities, athletic ability, equipment, coaching philosophy, work ethic, time availability, staffing, and amount of athletes being trained daily etc…


Whenever you write a conditioning plan or weight training program for athletes you have to have a plan. I think sometimes as coaches as a whole, we become misguided in the fact that if we are working our athletes hard all the time they are getting better. This is not always the case. Just because you are working your athletes hard does not mean they are getting better. In actuality, you can be more detrimental to your kids by always working them as hard as possible or not having a concrete plan of attack with progressions. Remember 9 times out of 10 we are in the process of developing athletes and trying to keep kids readily available for play. Availability is one of the most important aspects for an athlete and their coaches. If they can’t play, they won’t be able to help the team by sitting on the sidelines.

We have to ask ourselves at the end of the day are we really making our athletes better? Making your athletes run until their legs are about to fall off is not necessarily the route to take, if you want to keep your athletes healthy. When we program for conditioning pay attention to your sport energy systems and perform sets /reps / time that directly effects the energy demands of the sport. Everyone talks about periodization in terms of weight training, but when it comes to conditioning we are quick to forget just like strength training athlete’s need base physical conditioning and progressions to the physiological stresses to the body in which they can adapt. Otherwise we are just asking ourselves for overtraining which leads to a lot of unnecessary injuries that could’ve been avoid.


Erik Schwager

Head Football Strength Coach

Limestone College

One of the biggest things I have seen over the years is young coaches either trying to make an impression or just lack of knowlege/experience; when they beat the snot out of their athletes.  This is not coaching!  Anyone can run an athlete into the ground or have them lift so much volume that they can’t walk for 3 days.  I would like to thank Strength Coach Eric Schwager for this guest post and I wish him the very best with his summer training.  I have no doubt his football team will show great improvements this season under his guidance.  Good Luck Limestone Football!!

Hope that helps!

To your health,


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About Jerry Shreck

Division 1 Head Strength Coach at Bucknell University, Specialize In The Art of Injury Prevention Training Techniques God Loving Family Man (Wife-Trina & 2 daughters-Alexis & Aleyda)

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