In West Virginia we have what is called the "three week period" where we can use a football and have actual practices. This starts the second week in June and you can put on shoulder pads for part of it, practice, go to 7 on 7 tournaments, etc. We will start our summer program the week before the three week period so the players can lift and run. We also used three of our flex days during this week to allow the players to become accustomed to how we practice. I found this to be very beneficial because it allowed us to hit the ground running when we started our three week period.
We went to three college 7 on 7 tournaments and we threw 7 on 7 with three different high school programs during the three week period. Four days a week (Monday - Thursday) we would get in a lift and then we would practice for an hour and a half. We were in helmets the first week and then we put on shoulder pads for the second and third weeks. There was no live contact when we put on the shoulder pads. The reason we used shoulder pads was to help our players get in shape and to allow us to practice controlled tackling without the risk of breaking a collar bone. Our players enjoyed being able to put on the shoulder pads and the coaches liked to be able to teach technique without fear of an upper body injury.
We will then give the coaches and players off the week of July 4th so everyone can take a break from football. I believe that it is important to allow your coaches and players to get away from football during the summer because we put in long hours during the season. Our bye week is not until week 11, so we need the time off to help us stay fresh during the season. We will resume workouts after the week off and the players will only lift and run for 2 weeks (Monday - Thursday). Then we will use our remaining three flex days the last week before the season starts. We will give the players off Thursday and Friday that week so they are fresh on the first day of practice on Monday.
I think we get all we can out of the summer, and it is a big reason why we have had more success than the previous years at Riverside. I believe you win games in the off - season and practice. I am not saying we work harder than any program, but no one will outwork us in the state of West Virginia. I hope this blog post starts a meaningful discussion about how we can best use our summer practice time. Thank you for reading!