At St Johnsbury Academy, we are in the final days of school. Senior capstones are behind us and finals are only a week away. On June 4, we will graduate 14 seniors from our undefeated state championship team. On June 11, we will begin our summer Organized Team Activities (OTAs). In Vermont, we have the good fortune of not having too many restrictions on our summer schedule. We train 3 nights a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) for six weeks. I know it is a lot to ask but we believe that giving players and families weekends and Fridays off, makes it more palatable. We do not make OTAs mandatory, although our players and their parents understand that the work we do in the summer is what allows us to win in the fall. As we have said for the 5 years I have been at the Academy, “games are not won on weekends in the fall”.
We also structure every session of the week to be different to keep our players interested. Mondays are Power days in the weight room followed by OLine practice. Tuesdays are Speed days on the field followed by 7v7 practice. Thursdays are Strength days in the weight room followed by 7v7 practice.
We will work our Stance, Steps, Visual Targets and Strike Points at every one of our 6 OLine practices, then do a specific scheme (Zone, Dart, Pin & Pull, Slide, Boot, Sprint) each week. During the 7v7 practices, we will install a different passing play each night and work our Match Zone coverage concepts vs that play.
At the end of the 6 weeks, we host our weeklong minicamp culminating with our 7v7 tournament and OLine challenge. Last year we welcomed 10 teams from Vermont and New Hampshire to our campus for the event. When the event is over, we give our players and their families 2 weeks off before we report to training camp. Every one of our families knows the first 2 weeks in August are their time for vacation. By providing families with the weekends off and scheduled vacation time, we get great parental support throughout the summer months and strong attendance at OTAs and camp.
This has allowed us to change our motto from “games are not won on weekends in the fall” to “championships are not won on weekends in the fall.”
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!