Varsity Preps

Training, Conditioning and Nutrition

Training, Conditioning and Nutrition

College football programs are moving in a new direction with off-season training and conditioning. Plus, any football program worth its salt has a nutritionist on staff. Football training and conditioning methods are going through some innovation. Every school has Strength and Conditioning coach, but some are applying a new coaching concept called High Performance Coordinator.

Another effort is using SPARQ ratings to increase performance output. So, what, exactly is SPARQ?

According to Wikipedia, SPARQ is a company that was started in 2004 and the acronym stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. The business focus of the company is focused on their rating system and selling their “advanced functional training equipment.” You can read more about the company here.

Nike and SPARQ became involved together when Nike made this announcement in March, 2008. Nike now has its own SPARQ training facility in Beaverton, Oregon. When Nike gets involved, it is about selling more shoes and Nike developed their own brand of SPARQ shoes. That isn’t to say that Nike isn’t benefiting the athletes, they are. It simply needs to be noted that Nike is in the shoe business. It is what they do.

The new innovation in the U.S. is nothing new to European Olympic and Professional sports teams. The US Olympic teams began using scientific training methods as early as the 1960s. They’ve been scientifically measuring performance for decades since the study of Kinesiology began. Kinesiology is the study of human and animal movement. If you’re interested, you can read about the history of Kinesiology at this website.

Once Nike got involved in SPARQ, the training methods and ratings have really taken off. If you go to Nike SPARQ, you can read about their training methods. They even have a SPARQ competition as part of their annual The Opening. If you go to the link, you can see the rankings for the 2013 competition.

The High Performance Coordinator movement has its roots at Florida State University and is now showing up at the University of Kentucky. The lead proponent and guru is Erik Korem, a name that is becoming well-known in training circles internationally. You can read about what he’s doing at Unlike SPARQ, which operates as an outside-in approach, High Performance takes an inside-out approach. The goal is the same. At the beginning of fall camp, Korem’s efforts since his arrival resulted in 560 pounds of fat lost and 260 pounds of muscle added, according to the UK Athletic Department.

For high school players, if the high school coach doesn’t have an off-season strength and conditioning program in place, here’s a strength training regimen you can do on your own at Muscle and Strength. For off-season conditioning, try this workout from You can use these techniques during the summer months, even if you are going to camps. My advice would be to join your high school wrestling team during the winter months. You’ll gain agility and quickness as well as good footwork techniques. Don’t be concerned about winning and losing. Concentrate on being prepared. Winning will take care of itself. Don’t forget the nutritional side. Here’s the University of Florida’s nutrition program. If you don’t believe that major college football program put an emphasis on proper nutrition, then you need to read this from the Bleacher Report website.

If you want to play football in college, relying solely on your god-given talents may not be enough to get you into a major program. Continuous training, conditioning and good nutrition will show up when you go to that camp that “Good Old Hometown University” invites you to attend.

As Papa John likes to say, “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.”




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