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High School Athlete, College, or Professional? What type of weightlifting program is right for you?
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1999
Best For Pros: I believe many types of professional programs are great. Most pro-athletes could not do the full BFS program. The objectives are different. For example, should I tell Mark McGwire, Steve Young or Karl Malone that they need to Squat, Bench, and Power Clean heavy while doing extensive plyometric drills? I would say absolutely not. The main objective for these athletes is to play injury free and see if they can match the previous season's performance. That is what you do in your mid-30's. That is what you do when you play 160 plus baseball games, 100 plus basketball games or 20 plus football games. The BFS program includes objectives like having mass voluntary participation, building self confidence and winning attitudes. These are areas that a strength and conditioning coach at the pro-level won't normally consider as important. Therefore, the pros can do primarily machines. They can do one set of so many reps. They can get away without doing plyometrics that many colleges and high schools must do to reach their potential. The BFS program would only be advantageous to younger pro-athletes who still needed to develop. Take a look at Rob Riti and Darwin Walker who are featured in this journal. Next year when they are with an NFL team, would you demand that Rob try to get a 1,100-pound Squat or Darwin get a 600-pound Bench. No! These men are strong enough. A different focus should come into play.
Bottom Line: High schools or colleges should never copy exactly a pro team's strength and conditioning program. The difference between these levels is staggering.
Best For Colleges: The vast majority of Division I colleges do something very similar to the BFS program. All the programs featured in this journal are quite similar. However, there are some major differences between Division I colleges and high schools. One organizational difference is the many two and three-sport athletes at the high school level. Many athletes are always in an in-season training cycle. This throws college periodization programs into an unmanageable situation. The primary in-season goal for a college program is to maintain. Should a 16-year old three-sport athlete always be in a maintenance cycle? Of course not! This would be absurd. What if a Division I athlete misses a workout? He might lose his scholarship. How about the high school athlete? The BFS Program is designed to create massive voluntary participation with daily increases of self confidence. It also flows easily from one sport to the next and unifies all sports into an easily managed total strength and conditioning program. Division II, III, NAIA and junior college programs are also different than Division I programs. Much more development usually needs to take place. Voluntary participation is more important. The BFS Program is easy to implement for coaches who are not full time strength coaches. Bottom Line: There are many great programs at the Division I level. To say the BFS Program is better than Nebraska, Tennessee or any other Division I school would be a bit presumptuous. However, I would say that most Division II, III, NAIA and junior college programs would be most successful with the total BFS program simply because it more fully addresses that particular situation and athlete. Best For High School: The BFS Program combines the best of strength and conditioning from all over the world. It recognizes the great differences between elite, pro and college athletes compared to the high school level. It is perfect for large numbers of athletes, block schedules, women, junior high, in-season and off-season transitions and the multi-sport athlete while creating greater self confidence and massive voluntary participation. Bottom Line: Coach Shepard and his staff of 13 of the top high school coaches in America have spent a lifetime perfecting the BFS program for high school. Every phase, every nuance has been well thought out, debated, tried and tested. The BFS Total Program is best for high school in regards to winning and we pledge to always continue to look to make it even better. The BFS Program articles found throughout this issue will define more clearly the BFS difference: BFS Year-Round Unification Program (20 & 21) Coaching Made Easy (50 & 51) The BFS Set-Rep System (page 74 & 75) and Three Unique BFS Lifts (76 & 77).