11 Reasons Every High School Needs A Strength and Conditioning Program
Ask a group of 14-18 year old student-athletes to, “Get into a good squat position,” and see what happens. Based on my past experiences as a coach, athletic trainer, and athletic director, you will likely see a few different things.
You will have a few individuals that keep their chests up, have a nice flat back, thighs parallel to the ground – good, safe form. Another handful will likely be looking around to their peers for guidance and mimicking what the first group is doing but may need minor corrections or cues to help them establish the proper position. Meanwhile, several others are likely in some sort of awkward position, but probably not one that resembles a true and safe squat technique. The reason for this is many athletes are never taught the fundamentals of strength training and conditioning by their youth or secondary school coaches.
Through the proper implementation of strength and conditioning programs, we can better educate student-athletes on the fundamental components of body awareness and proprioception, which are crucial to athletic performance as well as injury prevention.
This scenario I just played out got me thinking…what are all the different benefits of strength and conditioning for high school students that I have seen throughout the years?
Listed below is a small sample of benefits that I have noticed during my experiences training athletes, educating coaches, and treating athletic injuries. And because I have worn so many hats, I couldn’t keep it to the catchy Top 10 Benefits of S+C, I just had to go with 11. So here they are. Let’s go!
My 11 Benefits of S+C for the HS Level:
1. Increases athletes’ strength, speed, flexibility, agility, balance, endurance, reaction speed, and proprioception.
I thought I would start with an easy one that we can all agree on!
2. Identifies weaknesses as well as potential risk factors that could lead to injury.
This aligns with ATC Domain # 1 – Prevention of Athletic Injury. This, in turn, allows ATC to provide more quality care spread across fewer injuries.
3. Prepares athletes for sport-specific training that will both improve their athletic performance while at the same time identifying and combating inherent risks associated with their sport.
Combine Athletic Performance and Injury Prevention – Music to my ears. And with injury prevention, you get the results right. Which leads me to number 4.
4. Keeps more players on the field, allowing for more individual and team success throughout a season.
And for teams and individuals to have success, lets not forget how important it is for everyone to be on the same page…
5. Builds communication between Strength Coach, Head Coach, Athletic Training Staff, and student-athletes.
With this communication, we can help provide education and guidance to head coaches that they can use during times when the strength coach or ATC is unavailable.
As you can see from 1-5, I cover a lot of ground. But let’s tap into a few more specifics. First and foremost, we want to be on the same page as our kids, and what better place to start than in the weight room?