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YEAR-ROUND UNIFICATION PROGRAM
All athletes regardless of their sport should do the same basic strength and conditioning program, and all coaches should teach the same philosophy. Teaching time would be reduced, many hassles elim
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1999

The worst thing that can happen is where every sport and every coach is off doing his/her own strength and conditioning program, while concepts and philosophies are totally opposite. Sometimes, where egos are so strong between head coaches, the athletes get confused and their loyalties are tested. Because of this, the entire athletic program is adversely affected in terms of winning. If all sports would adopt the BFS System, all the athletes would do basically the same program as they changed sport seasons. I've been to many high schools where the football coach did one program primarily with free weights and the basketball coach would do a little strength training and use machines. The girls coach would say, “My girls are intimidated,” and work on a Universal machine. Then, the baseball coach would tell his players, “Hey, weights will screw you up,” and do no stretching, running or plyometrics. The multi-sport athlete is now in a real fix. His loyalties are torn. The baseball coach has unwittingly given the athlete a very real excuse not to work hard or prepare to reach for his potential. It's the same tragic story told over and over again. So it's no big surprise when the school does an immediate turnaround after we've set up a unified program at a BFS clinic.
The average high school has seven different flexibility programs or philosophies floating around. The same goes for each broad area of training: agility, warm-ups, strength, stamina, speed and plyometrics. Even if a coach does not include any of the above areas in his/her program, that is a philosophy. If the baseball coach does not make strength training an integral part of his in-season program and never works with his athletes on how to run faster, what is the message being given?
At BFS clinics, we unify the athletic program including all sports both male and female from grades 7 through 12. We give the school the option of calling it the BFS Total Program or naming it after their school mascot. Let's say you're the “Wildcats.” Everyone does the Wildcat Stretching Program. The Wildcats would also have a unified agility, strength, stamina, speed and plyometric program.
The three-sport Wildcat athlete would move smoothly from sport season to sport season without interruption. After football, for example, this athlete would not wait 4-6 weeks to get started on some other weight program but would merely continue his in-season program from day one. If this athlete's winter sport was basketball, his coach wouldn't have to waste time teaching some new and different stretching exercises, but just merely continue the Unified Wildcat Stretching Program.
The junior high would follow the same guidelines. There is no reason a 7th grader cannot do the same stretching, agility, speed program, etc., as the high school athletes. Just think of the advantages, when those young kids, who are maturing and developing on the Wildcat Total Program, get to the high school.
The fact is that less than two percent of all high schools in America are on a true unified program. This means that over 14,000 high schools do not implement their strength and conditioning program correctly. Our unification principle gives a clear advantage. In fact, because it makes so much sense, our presentations at BFS clinics are always enthusiastically accepted by all coaches from all sports.
In order to have a quality unified program BFS recommends the following products to help facilitate all athletes both male and female of all sports. First is the BFS Training Plates (5 and/or 10-pound) they are so nice to have. It is much easier teaching lifts like the Power Clean or Power Snatch with the Training Plates. Athletes can concentrate on technique. They won't worry about the weight. To properly implement a totally unified school system with all boys and girls sports, the BFS Training Plates are absolutely essential.
The Ultra-Lite or Aluma-Lite Bar is also important for the same reasons. An Aluma-Lite bar with a pair of ten-pound BFS Training Plates weighs only 35 pounds. Junior high boys and girls cannot really Power Clean very well without this equipment. This makes it so nice and its first class. It's hard to believe but there are still people who cut out plywood discs for the same effect.
I have seen Division I schools struggle with their women athletes and take over a month teaching the Power Clean. They struggle with the weight. They struggle with technique. The strength coaches get frustrated. The solution is so simple: BFS Training Plates and the 30-pound or 15-pound bars. Problems solved!
Our Athletic Achievement Computer System is a marvelous way to keep track of literally hundreds of athletes. Besides keeping all their records by class or position and even rankings, the Computer System will act as a coach. Our “computer coach” will give each athlete individual recommendations based on the athlete's personal scores. It will also recommend what phase of future training needs to be emphasized. Finally, you can make individual printouts for each athlete, parents and/or grading purposes.



THINK ABOUT IT.
UNIFICATION MAKES SENSE!

All sports, in both boys and girls teams, will do the same program. Therefore, the two and three sport athletes have continuity and just don't miss a beat in the transition from one sport to the next. Everyone does the BFS Dot Drill for quick feet. Everyone does the BFS 1-2-3-4 Flexibility program for speed and jumping power. Everyone includes some speed and plyometric drills. Everyone breaks 8 or more personal strength and conditioning records per week even during the season.

Martinsville high School in Indiana implemented the Unified BFS program and are winning in everything from women’s basketball to men’s powerlifting. It works!
Franklin High School in North Carolina implemented the program in ‘92. Within four years they won nine state championships & eight conference titles.

Return to Winter 1999 Articles


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