How many sets and reps do you do when your designing a S&C program? That's the money question all strength coaches ask themselves at one time or another. The problem is, like many other things, it depends. Unfortunately, many would prefer a cookie cutter answer.
Never the less, the fact remains that the more important questions should be: What factors are influencing how I design my athlete's S&C program?
Eric Cressey sought to answer this question in two of his blog posts (Part 1 & 2). I know from my own personal experience, I have experimented with everything from using energy systems to guide my prescriptions to determining reps/sets based on type of exercise (compound vs isolation). So many factors effect how you dose exercises reps/sets. Eric does a nice job of explaining why each of his points are important to consider. However, consider these questions as well next time you are designing a strength program for your athlete:
1.) How much mobility work do I need to do? Does my athlete even have the range of motion and/or flexibility to perform the exercise I want to prescribe? (ex: full squat)
2.) What are the demands of my athletes' sport?
** For example, a defensive back may need to focus less on endurance and more on power and/or speed because of the rest:work ratio he has in a game situation.
3.) What is the training age of my athlete? What is the biological age of my athlete?
** Must know both!
4.) What season is my athlete in? Off season, preseason, etc.
While this list nor Eric's points are exhaustive, these hopefully will guide you in the right direction to begin planning a program. Remember though, the best learning is through experience. So experiment. See what works and what doesn't. And always reflect so you can get better.