Building a Program by Design: The Four-Quarter Plan Part 1

By Robert Pomazak | Posted 6/10/2019

Action Plan

Up until now we have talked about creating the vision and mission, how to market, brand and promote your program, and how to evaluate what the program needs in order to grow. The time has come to put this business plan into action by taking the feedback, reflection and collaborative efforts and put them into building your program with design and intent. The framework and foundation have been built. Now, we focus on taking the theoretical and utilizing it to create a program experience that will build investment, accountability and results.

Establishing the Fiscal Year

At St. Charles North we break our year program into quarters much like a Fortune 500 company. In the business world a quarter is a three-month period on a company’s financial calendar that acts as a basis for periodic financial reports and the paying of dividends.  In other words, the quarters act as an opportunity for investors to receive a return on their investment while the executive team can take stock in the business’ growth and financial direction. In terms of program building, there are many similarities to the business model. At St. Charles North our quarters consist of three-month periods that utilize four specific and targeted areas of personal growth for each player. At the end of each quarter a state of the program evaluation is taken and communicated to all the key stakeholders within the program. Benchmarks are reviewed and growth is evaluated on both a macro and micro level. Our philosophy is that personal growth in each individual will lead to a compound growth of the overall program culture.  A brief description of the St. Charles North quarterly program is below.

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4th Quarter

Each quarter of the framework is broken into three-month intervals. The football fiscal year is very similar to the business model in that it does not start with the first of the year. Within the quarterly breakdown, our program utilizes four subcategories that we call our four quadrant development model. I briefly discussed this in an earlier article but would like to take a moment to dive more in depth. 

  • Physical - Development in this quadrant is built around the athlete’s performance needs. Assessments and quantifiable data are utilized to determine the best course of action to elicit the greatest response during the offseason performance enhancement program.
  • Mental- A program built on behaviors must have a clear, coherent and effective curriculum for developing the behavioral outcomes you want to support. In our program, everything we do is built around the simple idea of supporting behaviors that win. However, we are going to teach these behaviors very specifically and directly throughout the year.
  • Tactical - In our program, we believe that in moments of stress our players and staff will rise to the occasion. Most fall back to their highest level of training. It is our goal to train our athletes to be at their best when stress is at its highest. A progressive tactical training program is implemented to help build the decision-making skill set that we need out of our players.
  • Emotional- At St. Charles North we believe that winning starts in the mind.  After researching our own players, we found that many had the same fear of failure. With that in mind we have built a mindset training model into our program that begins in January and carries through the entire fiscal year. Creating positive thought processes and coping skills have strengthened our program from top to bottom. Our players have an unwavering sense of belief that the best is yet to come.


Quarter 1 Dec- Feb

4th Quarter

Quarter 1 is designed to reintroduce our players, parents and staff to the newest version of the program. After all evaluations and feedback have been taken into account and the plan has been constructed, it is imperative to bring your stakeholders into the fold.  We explain the additions and subtractions as it’s important to be transparent with what we learned and how we intend to grow the program.  In terms of our four quadrant development plan, we focus on the following.

  • Physical: Postseason rehabilitation is essential, particularly after a long playoff run. Once recovery has taken place we focus on strength, nutrition and sleep assessment to develop an individualized plan for each player. December is the start of our 10-week winter performance program. The ultimate goal for most of our players is to build lean body mass and increase force-to-ground output
  • Mental: Early into quarter 1 we make sure to allow our players to have the mental break that they need. Months of intense focus and pressure have left emotions frayed and mental processes can be slowed. Quarter 1 affords our players to have the mental brain break that they need. We focus mostly on the reinforcement of our core values through the direct implementation of strategies tied into our performance training.
  • Tactical: After this particular season where we were fortunate to play in the state championship game our tactical training had to be modified. We focused our intentions on areas of simple principles. The goal was to continue to reinforce our call and response but also interject fun, low stress competitive opportunities. During our first quarter we will never have a football out. The goal is to develop the competitive mindset through all other means.
  • Emotional: A foundational element of our emotional development model is trust. We believe that trust is the product of competence, character and connection. While competence can be exhibited by commitment to the offseason, we place a high importance on building the connection between all key stakeholders. Without the pressure of playing time for the players and wins/ losses for the staff, every person can find different access points to develop the connections in their own experience. We focus on non-football conversations and truly learning about each other at a deeper level.

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Quarter 1 Initiatives   

4th Quarter

4th Quarter

4th Quarter

4th Quarter

Quarter 2

4th Quarter

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Quarter 2 begins in March and its main objective is to build off the previous quarter but also create sound infrastructure to build upon during Q3 and Q4. If quarter 1 is the basement then quarter 2 is the first floor and walls of our building. Expectations have been set, new initiatives

are underway and there is a 10-week body of work to reflect upon. We take the reflection process very seriously. As I say, it is my job to detect red flags and immediately address them. However, sometimes the red flags are part of the growth process, so we allow our kids to be the problem solvers in those instances. Quarter 2 will see over 75 percent of our program in a spring sport, and because of that, staying connected can be challenging. It is our job as the head coach to be the hub of our program. We must keep everyone connected and not the other way around. Don’t blame a 17-year-old who has baseball as their No. 1 sport for not staying connected. It is on us to keep them connected by making the effort.

Quarter 2, 4 Quadrant Development Model

● Physical- Development starts to shift to technique development and skill acquisition. A 10-week performance program is in place with the focus being on power development. We additionally add our energy systems training once per week along with our football skill development twice per week. The objective is to prepare our athletes for the summer programming which allows us 25 days of football contact spread over six dweeks. It is imperative that our players are conditioned and ready to handle the increased volume of workload.

● Mental - The second quarter of our mental development model is my favorite. During these 10 weeks we create a 10-week leadership curriculum for our athletes to participate in. Our players will meet bimonthly with an outside leadership coach for one hour and follow a leadership development curriculum that is designed to elicit discussion, self-discovery and increased investment within the program. Our players must apply to be in the course and there is a zero-tolerance rule for missing. If you are participating in this course, you have identified yourself as a leader in our program and must live at a higher standard than the common man. Our leadership development begins with a player/parent meeting. We want our parents to understand this privilege and see the investment that we are willing to make to build their son into a better person.

● Tactical - During this time we begin to shift our competition model away from team competition to more individualized competition. We introduce the position study to all our players and encourage them to compete with the man in the mirror and become the best version of themselves. Google classroom, Screencastify and open skill sessions serve as the platform for this development.

● Emotional- The quarter 2 emotional development shifts into a more introspective endeavor. We begin to discuss our response and how that can play into the outcome of an event. Every opportunity is used to discuss how the individual can affect the group. Each day of the week has a theme in our program and those themes help to guide discussion after a lifting, skills or leadership session. As head coaches, if we are not taking every opportunity to teach our players, then we are missing out.

RELATED CONTENT: Strategic Planning Aligning Your Program Through a Systematic Approach

4th Quarter

4th Quarter

4th Quarter