Not every high school's strength and conditioning program is the same. The differences between facilities, staffing, and especially the culture can be night and day across the country. These differences can be attributed to geography, funding, community support, and hiring the right people in the right positions. Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee figured that last part out by hiring Fred Eaves three years ago.

Coach Eaves will be the first to admit he is fortunate to be in the situation he is in at Battle Ground. Nonetheless, Eaves has developed a system and a culture that not only develops young people physically, but as young men and women as well. Eaves admits and relishes in the fact that the most important part of his job is the growth of his students and athletes off the field or court.

After following and interacting with Fred over the last few years, I finally got to meet him in person at the NSCA National Conference where he was a presenter and received the NSCA High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award. After talking with him in Orlando and conducting this interview, it was easy to see why he is one of the most respected coaches in our industry. Eaves has developed a very creative system of training athletes at the high school level my adapting the Tier System and adjusting to the school curriculum and schedule. Fred Eaves has dedicated his life to getting others better. This interview will relate to anyone wanting to do the same.

Topics Covered in this Podcast

How Coach Eaves Got Started in the Profession

Taking Over a New Program

  1. Assessing the Situation 
  2. Identifying Roadblocks
  3. Exceed Expectations
  4. Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

The Multi-Sport Athlete

  1. Over-Specialized and Under-Generalized
  2. The Correlation Between the Number of Sports Played and Injury Rates 
  3. The Throwback Kid: Physicality, Mentality, and Resiliency
  4. The Benefits of Competing in Other Sports Year Round


  1. Block Zero (Wildcat) Assessments
  2. The Dynamic Movement Screen
  3. Relative Strength
  4. Movement Quality


  1. Eight-period Rotating Schedule
  2. Tier System for Everyone
  3. Regressing Non-Athletes in Class
  4. Wildcat, White, Grey, Gold, Blue Programs
  5. Technique, Velocity, Load
  6. Counter-Culture What the World Tells Us 
  7. Do More of What They Are Not Getting 

In-Season Adjustments with the Tier System

  1. Manipulating Sessions, Volume, and Intensity
  2. In-Season: Keep High Intensity and Control the Volume
  3. Empowering Older Athletes
  4. RPE Scales and HS Athletes


  1. Rotating Schedules for Athletes
  2. 30-Minute Sessions During School Hours
  3. MWF = Strength training, TH = Movement and Restoration
  4. Complex for the Strength Coach = Simple for the Kids and Coaches
  5. Mixed Gender Versus Boys and Girls Only

Go-To Exercises/ Drills

  1. Trap Bar DL
  2. OlympicLifts
  3. Overhead Squat
  4. Swiss Bar Presses
  5. Exercise Selection for Stress Management
  6. Baseline with 3 Regressions and 3 Progressions


  1. Why Monitor If We Can't Do the Basics
  2.  Be the Best You Can Be 
  3. APRE Numbers for Tracking 
  4. Can't Be Numbers-Driven 
  5. If You Only Look at the End Number, You Miss the Big Picture 
  6. Fighting against the Culture

Mentoring/Character Development

  1. The Most Important Aspect of the Job 
  2. Model the Behavior
  3. Be Accessible
  4. Transactional Versus Transformational
  5. All You Leave Behind is How You Effect, Trickle Down, Cyclical 
  6. Set the Legacy
  7. Perception is Reality
  8. Put Accountability Back on the Player

Advice for Young Coaches

  1. Differentiate Yourself
  2. Humility
  3. It Is A Unique Field: Sacrifice
  4. Bringing Others Down to Build You Up 
  5. Stay in the Eye of the Storm

How to Contact Coach Eaves

Elitefts™ Sports Performance Podcast on iTunes

The Fred Eaves File

Fred Eaves is currently the Director of Wellness and Athletic Performance at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, TN. He has 16 years of experience in the field that includes stops at UT-Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee, and Louisiana State University as well as multiple high schools in the state of Tennessee. Eaves was voted the 2013 Samson Equipment and American Football Monthly Central Region High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Battle Ground Academy’s Athletic Program has had tremendous success in the last year with state championships in men’s basketball, men’s soccer, Final Four appearances from baseball, women’s soccer, and a State Quarterfinal appearance from the football team. Eaves holds degrees from UT-Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech University, Lincoln Memorial University, and the University of Missouri. He currently serves as the Tennessee State Director for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Coach Fred Eaves is entering his second season as the Defensive Line Coach for the Wildcats.  This is also Coach Eaves 16th year coaching overall. Coach Eaves coached three State Championship football teams and 1 state championship weightlifting team before coming to BGA. In addition to coaching, Coach Eaves is the Wellness and Athletic Performance Coordinator for all BGA students and athletic teams. Coach Eaves has trained 32 NFL Draft picks as well as 10 NCAA All-Americans. Among these players are Jerod Mayo, Arian Foster, and Randall Cobb. Coach Eaves has also been a featured author for American Football Monthly and Gridiron Strategies. He is also a featured speaker at the Hammer Strength clinic series. Coach Eaves has been a strength coach collegiately at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, The University of Tennessee, and Louisiana State University. He is married to Kristy Eaves and has two step children: Savanna and Grant Allen.

- Battle Ground Academy