Strength Coach Rant: Is Sports Performance Training Necessary?

 

Short Answer. YES!!!

I could spout off numerous different reasons why a good strength and conditioning program is needed in the middle and high school athlete’s daily routine, but I’ll limit it to 4 to save time. 

 #1:

  • Keep them Healthy!  A better way to state it is to limit the incidence of injury.  Sports are unpredictable and injuries can be as well, so to say reduce or prevent injuries is false.  However, with good strength and conditioning an athlete stands a better chance to prevent stress injuries (such as a non contact ACL tear or a torn UCL which will lead in Tommy John surgery).  S&C programs can also help build a young athlete’s work capacity or in other words the athlete’s ability to resist fatigue.   One thing to always remember, you can’t score more touchdowns or throw more strikes if you’re not in the game!

 #2:

  • Prepare them for the next level.  There are two P’s to success: preparation and perseverance! Whether the next level is high school or college, an athlete that is ready for what is required will stand a better chance to adjust quickly and adapt.  By teaching the athletes the lifts that are utilized in high school/college level and becoming efficient movers, they stand a better chance of not getting lost in the faster pace of high school or college.  Plus the number of athletes far outweighs the number of coaches, kids need to know what to do and how to do it correctly to make sure reason #1 is maintained!

#3:

  • Increase Performance!  Whether it’s parents or coaches, I’ve heard it a million times (“Little Johnny needs to get better at fill in the blank”).  If most people only would realize that the secret to getting better at their chosen sport is so simple, move better and get stronger!!  Look at it this way, in math class you have a text book and a calculator, in athletics a weight room is your textbook.  Now nothing will replace honing your craft (i.e. a better jump shot or a smoother swing) but what most people miss is that strength is the basis for all athletic movements.  If you want “Little Johnny” to be more explosive, quicker or faster he needs foundational strength and learn how to be efficient when he or she moves.  

#4:

  • Get Young People Moving More.  With the lack of physical education in school, young people are moving less and more poorly than previous generations.  The lack of movement (or play) in schools and terrible habits (like poor posture, which I just had to correct myself) is causing a whole generation with movement deficiencies and postural imbalances (upper cross, lower cross and inhibition dominance).  These two factors can lead to decrease performance on the field and even potential injury.  


Hopefully those abbreviated explanations will shine some light into why sports performance/strength and conditioning is necessary in the more competitive world of sports.  If you want to invest in improving sport performance the simplest answer is to invest in the body that does the moving for sports!! Whether it gets them a scholarship or not one thing is guaranteed, they will learn how to work hard and to invest in themselves which is the greatest tool for success.  



{About the Author:  Jordan Williams is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA).  He is also USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach with a Masters in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University.  Contact him with any questions or comments at trifitjordan@yahoo.com}