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Performance Principles

South Carolina Football Performance Principles

1. Character

Establishing an environment where student-athletes are able to develop character traits that are second to none is a necessity. Through the use of a structured competition system during

the off-season, the positive character traits essential for success in a game environment are fostered. This includes competitiveness, confidence, belief, leadership, consistency, attitude and mental toughness. By cultivating an energetic and positive environment, student-athletes are able to improve so that they may reach their full potential.

2. Injury Reduction

The primary goal for University of South Carolina strength and conditioning is to reduce the occurrence of preventable injuries. Prevention of injury ensures that the best players stay on the field at the most important times, while the development of younger players continues.

3. Individualization

Programs are designed and implemented according to the requirements of the sport, individual needs, and or training age. This maximizes the development of each student-athlete. To be successful, a training program must reproduce the movements and metabolic demands of the sport. Individualized training challenges athletes to perform specific movements and patterns, develops the appropriate energy system, and promotes muscular adaptations that lead to enhanced sports performance.

4. Nutrition and Recovery

In order to take advantage of training and physical development, student-athletes are instructed on proper nutrition. They are given nutritional advice based on their basal metabolic rate, activity level, height, weight, and body composition. It is necessary that athletes understand that food intake is one of the most important determinants of physical development and recovery. By equipping athletes with sound nutritional advice, a common food nutrient reference sheet, and establishing fluid/supplement routines for pre-, during, and post-workout, they are able to capitalize on their training gains and performance. Other integral methods utilized in the recovery process are myo-fascial release techniques, hot-cold contrast baths and Under Armour technology such as compression suits and the “BUG” seen at the NFL Combine.

5. Periodization

Performance gains eventually plateau and even diminish if the same training regimen is continually followed. Periodization is a proven technique using various schemes of volume and intensity. The goal is to progressively overload the body and bring about specific adaptations. Our program generally begins with a work capacity phase, progresses to a developmental strength phase, max effort/power phase, and ends in preseason with a deload speed phase. Each athlete’s individualized program progresses every 14-30 days.

6. Rate of Force Development

The ability to generate force rapidly separates a good athlete from a great athlete. Power production is the result of motor unit recruitment in specific patterns. The most important movement pattern found in most sports is triple extension (ankle, knee, and hips). There are two types of motor units (fast twitch and slow twitch) that vary greatly in their ability to generate force. Training explosively and using ground-based, multi joint movements facilitates increased power generation and production. This is accomplished with Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and free weight variations.

7. Multiple Joint Movements

No single body part works in isolation during sport. The body works synergistically to produce complex movements and mitigate force. Running, jumping, cutting, tackling and throwing all require multiple joint actions timed in the proper neuromuscular patterns. Therefore, integrated movements must be trained and conditioned, and not individual muscles, if the goal is to maximize function and performance.

8. Three Dimensional

Movement in sport occurs in three planes: sagittal (forward-backward), transverse (rotational) and frontal (side-to-side). In football, an athlete might find themselves in one or several of these planes simultaneously. Training should incorporate exercises and movement patterns that develop efficiency in each plane. Free weights are one of the best tools to achieve this realistic three-dimensional training.

9. Ground Based Movements

Most sport skills are initiated by applying force with the foot against the ground. The more force an athlete can produce against the ground, the faster they will run, the higher they will jump, and the more successful they will be in sport. Thus, lifting exercises and conditioning drills should be chosen to enhance this ability. The squat (and squat variations) and the Olympic lift movements are the cornerstone of our ground-based movements. Plyometrics and simulated training/agility drills are also important ground based training methods.

10. Core Training

The core is an all-encompassing term that includes the musculature of the mid-section. The ability to control the outer and inner core is needed to successfully perform movements. The focus of our core training revolves around stability and rotational power. This is achieved with the integration of multi-joint movements, medicine ball throws, anti-rotational exercises, and

various plank/bridge variations that challenge the core in all three planes. We believe that once an athlete can control his core, it allows for further gains in the efficiency of force application which is essential during competition.

11. Energy System Development

The development of energy systems is a comprehensive process and must be catered to the specific physiological demands of each sport. We assess our football program and its use of the ATP-PC, glycolic, and oxidative systems. Properly timed conditioning allows South Carolina football players to perform at their best on game day. Each program is periodized to develop multiple energy systems at specific times during the season and is done by manipulating volume, intensity, and rest periods to challenge aspects of conditioning in the specific sport.

12. Simulated Training

Focus on year round specific skill development. This is where we bridge the gap from strength and conditioning to the game/practice field. We coordinate with coaches to bring position specific football drills into the weight room. Our goal is to develop the best football player we can; simulated training keeps our players focused on football year round.


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