The 4 Hour Football Coach

In addition to running Advanced Training, I also coach high school football for St.Joseph by-the-Sea in Staten Island, New York.

Me in Action

As with everything I do in life, I take a great deal of pride in being able to run a defensive practice more efficiently and effectively than anyone else in the world.

For those of you that are not smart, that means we get the most done in the shortest amount of time possible.

Is efficient the same as effective?

That is why I titled this article "The 4 Hour Football Coach", out of respect for my favorite book, "The 4 Hour Workweek" - the Holy Grail for people who want to be both efficient and effective.

Along with our school's head coach (Coach Clark) and offensive coordinator (Coach Hensch) we have proven that you don't need to be on a football field 6 hours a day in order to get results on game day.

If fact, if you did things perfectly, you would only need to be on the field 4 hours per week.

AAA Playoff Win for the Vikings

I am dedicating this article to the four newest members of our football staff, all of which were legends at Advanced Training - Rob MulliganBilly Blanco, Steve Roman, and Pete Amerosi.

They have only been with the staff a few weeks, but it is clear they are following our 3 simple rules to being a 4 Hour Football Coach.

1. Live and Die by the Pareto Principle:

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist in the 1800's who introduced the concept of the 80 / 20 principle.

To keep it simple, his work helped demonstrate that 20% of your efforts account for 80% of your results.

So how does this pertain to football?

  • 20% of the plays you practice account for 80% of your yards gained.
  • 20% of your players make 80% of the plays
  • 20% of the drills you practice make 80% of the impact on game day.
With that, why spend so much time on the other 80%?

As a defensive coach, should I really spend two hours focusing on a trick play a team ran one time in 1987 that gained 5 yards?

Or .... should I focus on the 5 plays in their playbook that totaled 300 yards last week?

Should I try to game plan against the TE who caught one pass in his junior year?

Or ... should I try to stop their slot receiver who scored 16 touchdowns this season?

Stop putting so much time into your practice on the non-value added 80%. It only distracts you from getting better at the 20% that really matters.

2. Leverage Parkinson's Law

Parkinson's Law states that the less time you have to do something, the better you will be able to limit yourself to the tasks that provide real results.

In the football world, this means creating a schedule that is so short, that you don't have time to add in non-value added drills.

If your individual period is only 10 minutes, are you really going to waste 5 of those minutes having your d-line work on man coverage?

In reality, having less time almost always leads to equal or better results.

Because it stops you from focusing on the non-value added 80%. (See point #1)

Think I am crazy?

How many times have you started and finished a term paper months before it was due?

How many times have you woke up 20 minutes late for school / work and still got there on time?

How did the NFL teams play so well after their strike in 2011 cut their preseason practice time?

How can your team take the field on a Friday night after playing its last game on a Sunday?

3. Leave Creativity for What's Important

People that are ripped generally eat the same food for breakfast and lunch everyday.

The only meal they add variety to is dinner, as that is the meal where they can spend the best quality time with family and friends.

No self respecting person catches up with a college roommate over a box of Lucky Charms.

What does this mean in the football world?

It means don't approach every practice with a new set of drills.

Teaching a drill takes time.

Having a high school kid learn and execute that drill takes even longer.

Thanks to Rule #2 (Parkinson's Law), this is time you don't have.

Go into your season with a standard set of drills.

Use the remainder of your season to dominate those drills via coaching and repetition.

What if your kids get bored?

Have a shorter practice.

What if your drills stink?

You should have followed Rule #1 (The Pareto Principle) in the off-season and focused on drills that add the most value.

Where should you spend your time with creativity?

Game Plans ...

Blocking, tackling, pursuit, and footwork do not change from week to week, but opposing teams do.

A high school kid can only remember so many things.

Why take up that space in their brain with a new tackling drill, when you have to prepare for the Single Wing or the Veer Option?


With each of these 3 points, you must remember there are two things that are not infinite.

  • Time
  • An athlete's attention span
The more time you spend on a field, the less an athlete will actually pay attention to you.

If you follow my 3 rules, you are guaranteed to have the undivided attention of fresh football players.

Even if a coach does not know the recipe for success, he should know the one for failure...

Having players that are tired and confused.

Organic Protein Bars

After 15 years of putting garbage into my body, I finally found it ...

An organic protein bar ...
  • 20 grams of protein ...
  • 14 grams of fiber ...
  • Tastes like a chocolate chip cookie ...
  • Did I mention it's organic?

Who's better than me?

A company called BioTrust ...

That's who...

They made an organic protein bar that doesn't taste like sand.

I liked the bar so much, I decided to become an affiliate.

What does that mean?

It means I am actively promoting the sale of these protein bars on my site.

If you got this far and still have not clicked on the link, I have to assume that you are happy eating glorified candy bars and feeling like death 20 minutes in your workout.

Grown Men Don't Eat Candy Bars

If you got this far and still have not clicked on the link, you probably do steroids and don't want to dilute your cycle with something super healthy going into your body.

(On a serious note, I highly recommend you read the information provided by BioTrust and consult with your physician prior to using this product. You should never consume any supplement without having good background information on it. With that, you should do the same for every other non-organic, lecithin containing, soy having, corn starch loaded, protein supplement you are currently taking now.)

An "Advanced" Training Session

Over the past 9 years, I have never really let the outside world see what a complete Advanced Training session is like.

Because I am such a great guy, I decided I could no longer deprive the masses from seeing such awesome things.

I reached out to Steve Armato, an "Advanced Training" guy and author of "Now You Can't Leave".

Steve is an expert at making highlight films and promotional videos. He is also one of those guys who truly
"gets" what is means to be part of our program.

I knew all I had to do was tell him I wanted to film one of our sessions and he would make it look sick.

And that he did ...

Below is the video Steve created.

It is the video I will show to random pretenders who want me to "write them a program" - after I tell them no.

It is the video I will show to the parents of a 12 year kid, to show them why their son is not ready.

It is the video I will watch to remind myself that I only train the special 1% who are willing to train like freaks.

I have to admit, I was pretty impressed by the workout session when I saw it on film - and I wrote it. I guess when you are "in the trenches" you take for granted how many different angles our programs hit.

  • Foot Speed - (Jump Rope)
  • Mobility - (Band Warm-Up)
  • Explosion - (Dynamic Lunge)
  • Core - (DB Overhead Squat)
  • Power - (Back Squat)
  • Prehab - (X-Band Walk)
  • Stability - (Lunge Pallof Press)
  • Chaos - (Chaos Pull-Ups)

  • Enjoy ....

    *Side Note: I want to thank Steve for the excellent job he did putting this film together and capturing the true essence of an "Advanced" Training session.

    If you would like him to make a highlight film for you, he can be reached at

    Advanced Training Staff Doubles

    "The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him"
    - Niccolo Machiavelli

    For the past 9 years, Advanced Training has been a one man show.

    I am so particular about my training methodologies, that I had a hard time trusting anyone to be part of the Advanced Training "Coaching Staff."

    Until now ...

    Enter Rob Mulligan ...

    What makes him the first person that I trust?

    1. He is a master of technique and leverage
    2. He was an Advanced Training guy since 2005 - so you know darn well he believes in single leg work and overhead squats.
    3. He deadlifts a "Small House".

    Rob has been an excellent addition to the coaching staff.

    Not only is he a great coach to the athletes on the floor, he has become a great coach to me as well.
    Because he is so dedicated to the details, he has really forced me to step up my game.

    With that, I think it is only fitting that I promote Rob and his future endeavors at Mulligan Fitness.

    Being a simple man, I decided to do it Q&A style.


    GM: What made you want to become involved in the fitness industry?

    Mulligan: I always loved sports as a kid, but I didn't seriously consider a path in the fitness industry until after college, around 2008-2009. I suffered a few early set backs in my college football career, and I was searching for a way to come back better than ever before. That's when I really dove into the fitness industry. I was determined to arm myself with the knowledge necessary to rebound, and I was instantly hooked. I now take pride in helping others in the same way I was able to help myself. There is no better feeling than achieving a goal, and it is my mission to help as many people reach their goals as possible. 

    GM:  What made you decide to "intern" at Advanced Training?

    Mulligan: I decided to intern at Advanced Training for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I thought Advanced Training as a program focuses on many things that I think are essential to a successful strength and conditioning program - proper exercise selection with a focus on the traditional compound lifts, a logical, thought out progression of volume and intensity, and an emphasis on functional movements such as single leg work and movement training.

    I also know first hand what kind of program Advanced Training is, since I was a member since 2005. Coach Mahoney really cares about getting results for every member, and that is definitely a quality I try to emulate myself.

    3. What would you brand yourself as - a bootcamp guy, a pre-hab guy, powerlifter guy? Why?

    Mulligan: I find it really hard to really put a label on what type of "guy" I am. Above all, I am a "results guy". I have a passion for many different fitness activities, and I have a background in multiple situations- I have lost 60 lbs and I have helped others lose fat. I have put on muscular weight for sports, and I have helped others do the same. I have lifted for strength, hypertrophy, injury prevention and recently have tried to perfect my Olympic lifting. The common thread between all of these things is that goals were set, and then reached. 

    4. If I had to describe my target audience, I would say "the overachieving, blue-collar athlete". How would you describe your target audience?

    Mulligan: I would say that my target audience is any person that refuses to settle for mediocrity. My target person is someone that wants to be better than they were yesterday, and is not afraid to take action. I want to reach the person that doesn't want to do the same boring routine as everyone else. Basically I want to speak directly to competitive, goal minded people that want to improve an aspect of their fitness. 

    4. You are #5 on the top 20 all time list in Power Points for Advanced Training. What advice do you have for a young lifter who wants to break into your league?

    Mulligan: Know your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Assess what aspects of your training are "good enough" and then relentlessly attack weaknesses. I know that I have a body built for deadlifting, and I knew no matter what, I would excel at that lift. I then focused on being better at benching and pull ups. Once those numbers began to rise, I become a more complete lifter. The power points then follow.

    5. What was the biggest set-back in your athletic career, and how has it helped you become the coach you are today?

    Mulligan: My biggest set back happened in 2005 when I tore my right shoulder labrum (piece of cartilage that provides stability to your shoulder). I didn't handle this injury very well at first - I pretty much gave up on training for a few months, and I allowed myself to balloon up to 250 lbs. However, this event forced me to learn how to deal with adversity, as well as quickly bring myself up to speed on proven and effective methods to lose weight, gain lost strength back, and rehabilitate injury. Besides the knowledge I gained from this, I acquired the ability to relate to any person that has gained weight, gotten injured or has given up on the gym for a period of time (probably 99% of the population). This has a huge carryover to coaching. An effective coach is a person that had undergone the same trials and hardships as their client. This allows a more complete relationship between coach and client to develop, thus leading to more positive outcomes. 

    6. How can people find out more about Rob Mulligan? Do you have a website? A blog? A Twitter Handle?

    Mulligan: There are several places to follow me: 

    My blog is located at This is where I post training articles and tips regularly. 
    My twitter account is @MulliganFitness. Feel free to give me a follow and start up a training conversation.
    My Facebook page is That's where you can find all the latest training pics and updates. 

    Mulligan Fitness Bootcamp is another great way to get to know me. Bootcamp classes are designed to challenge your strength, stamina and ability though circuit training. We use all types of tools, including but not limited to sleds, chains, med balls, ropes and kettlebells. We will hold hour long sessions at Carlton park (located on the corner of Drumgoole Rd and Foster Rd) all throughout the Summer. Go check for more information.

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