A good program involves several factors, but the most important is knowing the end point and the qualities needed for that end point (i.e. what qualities need to be developed by the time the athlete finishes the program.) A great example is how an NFL prospect needs to develop different qualities than an NFL vet during the months of February and March.
NFL Prospects: Numbers don’t lie and neither does supercompensation
The goal for an NFL prospect is to jump high, run fast and be strong. Whether it be at the combine or pro day, all the stars need to align. In other words, performance needs to be “peaked”. Peaked is another way to describe the concept of Supercompensation. Supercompensation is the reduction of training volume and intensity, leading to an increase in recovery. Since the Combine and Pro day are low volume, low stress end points, the training volume and intensity should slowly deteriorate over the course of a prospects training period. A good rule of thumb is to base your progression on the nature of the end point. Is the end point low volume, low stress? If the answer is yes, use supercompensation to achieve the best result. The opposite can be said for an NFL Veteran…
NFL Veterans: The more stress, the better
Organized Team Activity (OTA’s) and Mini Camp are great examples of high volume, high stress end points. As a Vet, you need to be prepared for contact activity on the field, heavy lifting in the weight room and endless hours studying film. Unlike NFL prospects, there are no measurements to determine if a guy is prepared for this type of end point. To ensure he is ready, a good rule of thumb to follow is the exact opposite of a prospects. If the end point is high volume, high stress, then the training progression needs to continuously incorporate more stress. For example, when the range of motion for an NFL prospect goes down in a movement, range of motion goes up for a NFL vet. The same can be said for volume and intensity. This makes the program more difficult as the weeks progress, which in turn helps prepare the athlete for the rigors to come.
All in all, this rule applies to not only to NFL prospects and Vets, but to every type of athlete needing to prepare for a very specific end point. With careful planning and consideration, being able to piece together the right program is easy. Just look to the end point!