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  1. #1
    Registered User alexxandree84's Avatar
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    Any Linebacker advice for a high schooler?

    I'm a 15-year-old sophomore Defensive end on Varsity that just got moved to Outside linebacker bc of size (I'm around 5'10-'11 and 190 pounds)

    I'm putting a big emphasis this offseason on speed and explosiveness (since over the years linebackers have transitioned from bulky run stoppers to lighter and faster players that can also pass cover). I'm also trying to get up to 200-210 pounds so I can be relatively strong and not be a lineman's bi*ch - Especially the fact that our high school rival's team has the number one lineman in the class of 2021 and like 3 other D1 linemen with hella offers in our division.

    I was injured for a month, but I'm back to working out now even though my routine is very unorganised bc I never really plan it out. As a freshman, Id just go to the gym and workout bench/squat only until I was physically too sore to keep going lol. The issue is that I want to get faster but also gain 10-20 pounds of muscle in the span of 6-7 months, so gaining too much fat through bulking will just be detrimental to my athleticism and speed.

    If any of you ex-high school/college linebackers could give workout plans, diets, or any overall advice regarding getting better at the position it would be appreciated. Also, agility/footwork/coordination drills and exercises would be helpful since all I do is footwork ladders. The last question is how many times should I workout core a week to be more explosive? Thx.
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    Good advice in the stickies here. You can also try WS4SB.
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    Cybergenics...it's bomb! lucia316's Avatar
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    As an outside backer, you're more likely to be keeping the edge than worrying about a lineman manhandling you. Skills work is the best stuff you can do. It doesn't matter how strong, quick or fast you are, if you suck at the position, you aren't getting in the game.

    You're also creating false dichotomies. Just because you gain weight doesn't = slower. You're going to gain some fat, that's just part of it considering you're looking to gain 20-30 lbs this off-season. That, in and of itself, is unrealistic. Especially so considering you're not wanting to gain fat.

    Work the position and learn to read quickly. Learn to tackle properly. Learn to read and react without thinking. Learn to read while moving forward. Learn how to hold the edge. Watch film of good OLBs. Drills wise, focus there. Ladder work is a waste of time and completely pointless. If the goal was to put your foot in a certain place as quickly as possible, then sure. Since that doesn't matter, don't waste your time.

    Pick a basic strength program like DC suggested or Starting STrength or a simple 5x5. Head to the nutrition forums and read the stickies. Gaining weight without a lot of fat will be helpful there. Caloric surplus to TDEE + weight training with progressive volume + rest = hypertrophy. It's really that simple. Also set a more realistic weight gain goal. Sure, there's always the one outlier that coaches love to talk about, but we shouldn't base decisions and take action based on the outlier. If you happen to be one of those, you'll find out pretty quick. If not, at least you're not setting yourself up to fail.

    Speed wise, work on speed. Start sprinting. Join the track team. As an LB it's helpful, but not the be all end all.

    Working out your core isn't going to make you more "explosive" whatever that may end up meaning (totally subjective). Your core will get plenty of work with a good strength program.

    Last note. You're not going to be tussling with linemen if you do your job correctly. You don't want that. Clubbing and ripping, icepicking, even swimming at the high school level, are better skills to focus on. A lot of these skills require work in pads and opponents to improve, but if you're getting your reads down and reacting quickly, you're far more ahead of the game.
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    Registered User rtpmarine's Avatar
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    Pay attention to the tailback’s eyes. They’ll give away more pre-snap info than the QB or linemen ever will.
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    Work on your lateral quickness. I was a tailback in college. I can't tell you how many times a LB had me dead to rights, when running through a hole, only for me to juke to the left or right of him.

    Your explosion is key. Jump squats, dead lift, and similar lower body exercises cant improve your lunge force. This comes into play when you are driving into a tackle, or shedding a block with power moves

    Develop moves to combat linemen. Finesse moves like a rip, swim or spin. Power moves such as a bullrush. They come in handy when a linemen is coming at you.
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    Registered User sowilson's Avatar
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    OP, your strength training isn't going to be appreciably different than any other football position. What will be different is skill work. You're in HS, you're young, you are a novice lifter. With your haphazard program you really haven't done any training at all. If your team is facing opponents with D1/D2/D3 caliber personnel then I'm going to assume you're in one of the larger school classes in your state (i.e. you're not playing 9man ball in the sticks). Every reasonable size, competitive, HS football team I know has an organized strength and conditioning program - I suggest you join it. It may not be the best but you should join - be apart of the TEAM. Typically the winter offseason (Nov-Feb/March) consists of building strength, improving your maximums. You should be in the middle of it. The summer strength and conditioning program your school probably offers will be more power, speed, and general physical preparedness (GPP) focused, which is what you need to get ready for August practices and the season. At most HS these programs are required for all varsity athletes in all sports. If for some strange reason your school has no S&C program then you should look to find a decent local training resource. Read up on WS4SBv3 with the speed template. It's pretty good.

    To succeed at any position in football at the HS level and beyond you need to be strong. As a sophomore you are a novice, you are weak, you need to be on a good S&C program. Beyond strength you need to develop speed, mobility, balance, flexibility, and skills; football skills in general as well as position specific skills. The strength component of your training will take 3-4 days a week. Plyometric work will eventually be included 1-2 days per week, often before you lift on non-max effort days as it doesn't take very long and isn't working you to fatigue. Skill work, GPP, some speed work (form development) is often done after you lift. Max speed development work is often done on off days. Yoga and pool work is often incorporated in good S&C programs.

    Mention was made of joining the track team - great advice. Sprints, throws, jumps are all good events to be involved in and have great carryover to football. My college senior has finished his football career and is looking forward to his upcoming winter and spring T&F seasons. As a linebacker you have a wide variety of events you could compete in. They will all develop power and explosiveness. To improve your footwork play soccer. You don't need to play competitively, just going one on one with a soccer ball against an opponent is all you need. This will improve your footwork and teach you how to keep your body balanced over your legs, something OL, DL, LB, RB have to do. If you want to improve your hand work learn to box. 2 ended bag and focus mitt work are applicable. Finally do grip work (plate pinchers, etc) and neck work (good for concussions) at least once a week.
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