What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

STACK Expert Lee Boyce advises sport coaches and strength & conditioning pros to understand their roles and stick to them.

A fitness professional really is a strange animal.

An entry-level certification—which in some cases can be attained in a weekend or even online—all of a sudden gives you authority to put people's health, bodies and fitness in your hands, risks and all.

That means you get to wear several different hats as you go along your journey, whether it's helping someone cope with an extremely busy work schedule as a business executive, or preparing a model or actor for a photo shoot or movie role.

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But I think the most intricate area of this industry comes in training athletes. And that's where many coaches drop the ball, giving the rest of us a bad name.

Many strength coaches try to do too much. Consider an example. A client says he needs to improve his strength and conditioning for martial arts. Common sense tells us that client's training program should involve multiple planes of movement, exercises to challenge grip strength, and the use of irregular shaped objects on top of the traditional primary movement patterns. These are all things a strength coach can and should be responsible for. But things come unraveled when the coach includes different kicking and striking drills in his training sessions.

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The problem is, the strength coach didn't know where to draw the line. Within the industry, there needs to be more clarity around what your credentials should and should not allow you to do with your athletes, and what your athletes' sport coaches should be expected to handle. Currently, a strength coach with no hands-on knowledge of the sport his athlete competes in can become a crippling factor compared to when he simply had his client hitting the weights the proper way.

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Unfortunately, this phenomenon happens in reverse as well. Check out the video below:

Overzealous sport coaches whose job is to handle their athletes' on-field conditioning and skill development try to cross over into the weight room with the best of intentions, only to shepherd unwitting athletes along the road to injury. It's often a case of the blind leading the blind.

It's good to know the importance of strengthening young athletes in the weight room, but ignoring the extensive studies and experiences of reputable trained strength and conditioning professionals can be detrimental to the athletes—and to the industry.

If you're a sport coach who also has credentials to serve as a personal trainer to clients, I tip my hat to you. You're a rare guy who's taken the time to be educated in both disciplines. If you're not, then please put things in perspective. You know how it frustrates you when you see a trainer giving out nutrition and supplement advice and planning—it's not their job to do so. Don't make the same mistake. Stick to your craft and master it. Everyone will be better off.

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