By Joe Eisenmann, PhD
In my role here at Perform-X, I get a chance to ‘coach the coaches’ and also learn from them. These coaches range from volunteer high school coaches with little educational background in strength and conditioning to well-educated and certified strength and conditioning coaches at the high school, collegiate and professional levels to academics teaching and researching in the vast field of kinesiology (the study of human movement). No matter one’s background or level of coaching, there are certain fundamental underpinnings to a well-designed, safe and effective strength and conditioning program, particularly at the middle school and high school level.
In a previous blog, I posited that the 3 F’s (Philosophy, Facility and Flow) were important to establishing an efficient strength & conditioning program. In a nutshell, the facility (equipment and layout) should match the philosophy of training and it should also allow for the safe and efficient flow of the room, including the ability to coach and supervise the room.
In terms of training philosophy, it is our belief that athletes should be trained in all facets of ‘athleticism’ and these athletic traits can be trained in an integrated manner. Athleticism has been defined as a composite set of traits that includes strength, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and the ability to competently perform motor skills like throwing, catching, jumping, etc. In addition, strength and movement should be performed in all planes of movement (and in combinations) along with single limb (unilateral) and both limbs (bilateral). The figures below are either adopted from or taken from Drs. Rhodri Lloyd and Jon Oliver from Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales and James Baker, strength & conditioning coach at Aspire Academy. Both provide and excellent overview of the key athletic attributes and movement competencies desired in most, if not all, athletes.
Based on the above mentioned blog and figures along with the key tenets of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s position paper on Youth Resistance Training, I have put together the following checklist for designing and conducting youth/high school strength & conditioning programs.
Are you checking all the boxes?