If you know me, it’s no secret that I love college football. It’s much more exciting to me than watching the NFL. As we get near the end of the season, it’s always interesting to hear the fans perceptions of their favorite teams coaching staff. If a program isn’t heading in the right direction, it doesn’t take long for the fans to start calling for coaches to be fired. Of course, if a team seems to fall apart late in games or gets lots of injuries, the fans always blame the strength and conditioning staff. I have to say though, that the best comment that I have heard about this recently was that this is the staff member that fans are least able and qualified to evaluate. I’ve got to agree with this. Here are a few reasons why:
- Fans have no idea what is involved in the day to day running of a strength program. I could never begin to give an accurate assessment of the job that an insurance salesman does, why should he be any better at evaluating what a S & C professional does?
- They also have no idea what level the players were at when they began the program. We have all seen fantastic athletes who excel in high school purely on athletic ability. Once they get to college, they aren’t the only big fish in the pond. If they’ve never had to work hard in the weight room, they may be behind when they get to college. It may take them some time to catch up.
- Many factors go into the success of a team during a season. Yes, conditioning level is important. However, if a team has very few quality backups, it leads to the starters staying on the field even longer. It doesn’t matter how many sprints that you run during practice, football is an intense game, especially for the big bodies on the O-line and D-line. Eventually, everything will catch up with them and they will get tired.
- Injuries happen. I’ve worked with teams that did the same work in the offseason that previous teams had done. Once the season starts, for some unexplained reason, they seem to have a rash of one type of injuries. I’ve seen seasons where teams were hit by a string of shoulder injuries to players, or ankle injuries, or knee injuries. These injuries took a toll and made it more difficult for the team to succeed. Yet those players worked hard in the weight room in the off-season, not only to get stronger but to help prevent such injuries. Sometimes that’s just the way that things happen. I’ve also seen players get injuries that limit what a player can do in practice, yet they are able to heal up enough for the game each week. Many times fans don’t know all of the details off what goes on behind the scenes. Therefore, they don’t realize how this can affect a players play and development.