10 Things I Learned This Off-Season

After completing most of our off-season phase, I have been making notes for how I would improve this process for the next year, and also for the next phase. I believe it's important to try and look back on your work and be able to break down what was successful, and what was not. By constantly trying to refine the process and getting feedback from athletes, and other coaches I believe it will help make a more efficient program. These are most of the notes I've taken from this point, and with reasoning why I'm making these adjustments moving forward.


  1. Remove incline from program

  2. No longer use high rep sets of dead lift

  3. Build a cardio base early in Phase 1

  4. Add more Range of Motion testing in Phase 1

  5. Change week 1 of Phase 2 for a lower % for new max

  6. Addition of more unilateral exercises in middle of Phase 2 as athletes get to 1.5 to 2 times their weight in squat max

  7. Force absorption exercises in early Phase 1

  8. Remove Push Press from Program

  9. Introduction of Single leg RDL earlier in Program

  10. Addition of a Clean High-Pull

This is an overview of the changes I would start with, although there are plenty more to come, and I will constantly evaluate our program, these are changes that will happen immediately. Some of these require more planning for next year as far as ROM testing, and intro of some more force absorption, while others can happen today. Removal of certain exercises, and certain reps. Hopefully if you have been using the workouts this will help you to understand some of the changes that will be made.


Remove Incline From Program

Incline puts the shoulder into an unnatural position, while not allowing for full Scapular ROM. To me it's not a beneficial lift for our athletes and has been removed from our program. Landmine press, and different variations are replacing it.

More ROM Testing In Phase 1

Although we ended up getting to over 20 tests as far as ROM, strength, and skill of the athletes I will perform these tests in the first couple of weeks rather than later in the year. This will give us a better picture of where we need to have more emphasis in our program.

Cardio Base Early In Phase 1

From reading and listening to other S&C coaches they have stated that your cardio base will stick around as long as you are engaging in mild cardio during your workout, whether that's a movement circuit, a superset of exercises, or a prolonged dynamic warm up and cool down. Building this Base in Phase 1 will give us something we can easily sustain throughout the off-season without having to constantly build.

Addition of more unilateral exercises as athletes get to 1.5 to 2 times their weight in squat max

When athletes are able to squat 1.5 to 2 times their body weight there is less of a need to continue to overload their body with more weight when we can start to develop more unilateral strength. Addition of a couple of unilateral exercises per week with the intent to transition to more unilateral exercises in Phase 3 would be more beneficial than continuing to add weight bilaterally.

Change week 1 of Phase 2 for a lower % for new max

When I retested for Phase 2 I used a high percentage for their new max working all the way up to 80% of their new max for 6 reps, which I would now decrease to either 70% or to a much lower rep set.

Removal of Push Press from Program

Although I do feel this is a good explosive exercise the teaching of this exercise for the sole purpose of an upper body explosive exercise seems like a waste when you can use landmine variations that will serve it's purpose and allow for more scapular movement.

Force Absorption Exercises early in Phase 1

Athletes at this stage are constantly growing and adapting to their new height/weight/skills. In order for us to have them get to better movement patterns they need time to learn how to control their body. By adding in a 5-10 minute window of force absorption and "body control" we will help them develop athleticism faster.

Addition of a Clean High-Pull

The addition of a clean High-Pull will be one of the biggest implements into the program. Cleans are one of the best posterior chain explosive moves we can utilize. Since the catch at the top of the lift will put unwanted stress on wrists and shoulders I plan on not performing the catch with our baseball athletes.

Introduction of Single leg RDL earlier in Program

This was added later in the program, and along with other unilateral exercises I can't recommend this enough. The benefit of this exercise shows it needs to be implemented sooner in the program.

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