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High School Spotlight: McCook, NE Bison Strength & Conditioning

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About the Author:  Scott Mollring is the Assistant Head Coach and Strength and Conditioning Instructor at McCook High School in McCook, NE.  McCook is a perennial Class B power in Nebraska’s second largest classification. Coach Mollring can be reached at smollring@mccookbison.org and on twitter @CoachMollring.

McCook High School is a Class B size school in Nebraska with approximately 500 students 9-12.  We are in the middle of the pack size wise for our classification.  However, we boast a proud football tradition which includes 2 state titles and 3 runner-up finishes, with 3 more semifinal appearances since 2002.

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For McCook High School football we try and work in 3 phases during the season in the weight room.  Our goal as a program is to have our athletes performing at their peak when we reach the peak part of the season, districts competition and state playoffs.  Each phase lasts for 2-3 weeks depending on school schedule, testing periods, and the length of the postseason.  If we are fortunate to have an extended playoff run we will continue in the max strength phase until the season is over.  At the conclusion of the season we will drastically reduce the load on athletes for one to two weeks and start back with a hypertrophy stage post Thanksgiving Break.

PHASE ONE

Phase one is the introductory for new lifters phase / hypertrophy phase.  While we utilize the weight room in the summer, we really try and teach new students proper technique during this phase.  For experienced lifters we focus on hypertrophy for 2 to 3 weeks.

PHASE TWO

For phase two we work on power.  We focus on medium amounts of sets and reps with higher weights generally in the 65% to 75% max range.

PHASE THREE

Phase three for our program is Max Strength.  We tell our athletes that we want to be working at our strongest in the weight room and on the field when the games count the most.  By then our bodies are adapted to the rigors of football, and lifting high weight with low reps to them is a psychological boost because they are “saving” their bodies from wear and tear from performing lots of reps but they are also working at their strongest in the weight room.

We currently have a 52 minute period in which to lift.  Class starts with Active warmup in the gym.  After warmup we usually do one or two agilities for the day, ie ladder drills, pro agile runs, cone drills etc.  We use a countdown clock in the weight room for our major lifts so that we ensure students stay on task.  Usually if we are in a 3 set period we put 8 to 9 minutes on the clock and students and their lifting partners have that allotted time to lift, change weight, spot their partners.  We have found this to be a great way to speed up the tempo of our lifting.  After major lifts, we have around 25 minutes or so of auxiliary lifts that we focus on that matches the muscle groups we worked in our timed session.  Class ends with either stretching or an ab workout.  Out of the 52 minute period we are in the weight room approximately 35 minutes.

Our motto is to FINISH your lifts!  End each set no matter if you need assistance or not.

We do not have block scheduling and we dress out 5 days a week for class.  On Game Days we focus on core work for varsity athletes and regular workouts for those that won’t see the field on Friday night.  During the years, I picked up a great tip from a couple of other successful programs and they have their athletes lift 5 days a week.  We have adopted this philosophy and I have started to see the benefits in year two.  If a student athlete took every game day off from their freshmen year through their senior year, for 3 different sport seasons, they would lose approximately one year of lifting behind an athlete that lifted every day.  We have noticed that these schools generally have much more mature athletes as seniors than other programs.  This is something we will continue to work on and evaluate.  We do want our football players to participate in sports year round as we want our athletes experiencing competition year round.

We always try and do something fun in the weight room and this year we are had a National Guard helicopter flown in for class and we had our picture taken on it and they created a banner for the weight room.

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