New strength and condition coach, David Ballou, and his partner, Dr. Matt Rhea, have brought a new scientific spice to Alabama Football’s summer workouts
Alabama Football players seem to be excelling under new strength and conditioning coach, David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea’s training program. The two have completely transformed the strength and conditioning aspect of the Tide’s team away from the hard-nosed, Fourth Quarter Program under former coach Scott Cochran. The pair look to be the latest example of Nick Saban identifying and developing talent.
In fact, Dr. Matt Rhea even revealed his true perception of the weight room to be a complete 180 from former Coach Scott Cochran. Rhea stated, “When you stop viewing the weight room as a place to break athletes down and start viewing it as a place to build them, your perspective on stress shifts from excess to optimal.” This approach should be a huge benefit in the Tide’s recent battle with the injury bug without sacrificing performance.
Ballou and Rhea rely on a scientific, data driven approach. They spend hours after player training sessions each day to analyze and evaluate data from players’ training sessions to make adjustments when necessary. The process is very much individualized to each player’s specific needs, strengths, and deficiencies.
Within the first few days of arriving in Tuscaloosa, Ballou and Rhea were already bringing in tools for success. They installed devices for Alabama Football players to sign in electronically when arriving to work out to monitor data collected during the session.
The two have taken special interest in speed and power development among players. They use individualized programming to help increase speed and work out asymmetry issues among players. They use a power profile diagram as a player evaluation tool. According to Ballou, it allows for coaches to analyze individual needs to monitor progress. The diagram highlights a variety of important power weight lift movements that provides a clear visual on where the player excels and needs to improve.
The focus on speed has been crucially important. They analyze the factors that impact speed the most and have had success in improving speed even at the collegiate level. Alabama Football wide receivers, Jaylen Waddle and freshman Javon Baker, have reportedly both seen improvements in their speed… something that should be down right terrifying for opposing defenses who already couldn’t catch Waddle.
In addition to everything Coach Ballou and Dr. Rhea have brought to the program from their own data-driven training style, they are now enjoying state of the art facilities to carry out those programs. The University of Alabama just revamped the entire Sports Science Facility complete with expanded treatment and rehabilitation areas, cryotherapy facilities, and mental and behavioral health services.
While their program is already innovative and excellent, the two are constantly working to improve. They are always learning and researching to discover the best way to meet the needs of players. As a result, their training will always be cutting-edge based on the newest research available.
Ballou and Rhea should never have to fight to maintain an old, antiquated method of training. They change with the times.