November 13, 2019 • Football

Winning the offseason: how to train and develop your players when they’re not playing

{Sponsored} Inevitably each season, it comes for every team: the offseason. And whether you walked away with an early round exit or as champions of your league, each and every coach should already be thinking about how their players can train, develop and improve over the offseason months.

Being the longest uninterrupted period between in-game action, and lasting up to several months, the offseason can be one of the most critical times for coaches and players to improve and stay in game-ready shape.

Early Offseason

Immediately following the end of the football season, coaches should allow their players to step away for a time to recharge through rest. For multi-sport athletes, this may mean starting up a new training regimen — something coaches and strength training staff members need to account for. For coaches, this time can be spent self-scouting the team’s previous season, breaking down film and identifying areas for improvement or strengths to continue to build on. Check out more information about how to effectively self-scout here.

After some time away, it’s time to ease your players back into the strength training processes. Early on in the offseason training programs, coaches should focus on general athletic workouts that address muscle imbalances or mobility issues. By working in these areas first, your athletes are working to improve their general aerobic work capacity, helping their ability to recover between plays during the season.

Middle of the Offseason

As your athletes continue to improve their aerobic and cardiovascular capabilities, starting to slowly incorporate more strength training helps the athletes ease into programs with a heavier workload, slowly increasing the intensity with each session.

Somewhere around the middle of the offseason is also the perfect time to start bulking up and adding weight, increasing the athlete’s muscle mass and ability to produce on the field in functional positions. This can include specific weight-training regimens and nutritional dietary plans.

The “Home Stretch”

Toward the end of the offseason is when it’s time to turn the intensity up. Generally, the last 10 to 12 weeks before your team’s training camp can be the most demanding and draining period for athletes — the “home stretch” before the upcoming season.

At this point, your team’s strength training programs should begin to transition to more football-specific movements and drills — ones that place emphasis on speed, agility and power. Utilizing movements such as box jumps, bench presses and deadlifts can help build an athlete’s compound strength and hone their ability to produce higher levels of force and contact.

Ultimately, the main goal of an offseason training program is to not only keep your players in game-ready shape, but to also be continually improving and focusing on areas of weakness. By incorporating appropriate planning, strength training and recovery regimens, nutritional diets and more, a fully encompassing offseason program can be the difference between a championship team and another early round exit.

For more information on acceleration and change of direction, check out USA Football’s coruses on Speed Training, available at


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