Strength & Conditioning is a topic of discussion around schools, athletic associations, and sports. It has been thrown through the wringer many times to validate its place in the market and come through every time. This post is to outline the different Strength & Conditioning applications in Fitness. Knowing the difference between being an amateur and a professional can mean the difference between college ball or quitting in high school.
Strength & Conditioning starts as a child when you first learn how to walk and move. Walking, jogging, running, squatting, lunging, & push ups are all natural movements that any child can master at a relatively young age. When kids become involved in association and elementary school sports strength & conditioning takes another form. It’s called sports. Much of athletic development comes from playing sports. Notice sport(s) not sport. Parents do their children wrong many times by forcing them or allowing them to only do one sport. If a child continually only plays one sport, their athletic, motor, and psychological development is limited. It is best for a child, athlete, or person to engage in multiple activities, sports, or hobbies that give them well rounded development.
Children go through so much development and growth from elementary school to high school. Strength & Conditioning should be left to a qualified Strength Coach. One who has put in the resources, time, and hustle to build their name. Many times parents, specifically dads think they should be the one to teach them how to train. This is VERY wrong, unless dad is a Strength Coach or gone through extensive training. Many dads do more harm that good when it comes to sports. Most of the time parents end up passing down bad habits they learned from their coach long ago without any methodology. It was just what they did. This is not the best way to help your kids progress in life or sports. There has to be a method to everything.
Middle school is the best time to introduce Speed, Agility, & Conditioning. As kids develop they learn specifically how to move, act, and react against sports stimulus. Honing those specific skills by teaching them how to properly run, jump, squat, push, pull, etc lays the foundation for more advanced strength and conditioning in high school and beyond. This can be done by basic calisthenics, running, sprinting, agility ladder drills, cone drills, etc. The over arching purpose of this training is to help the kids learn proper movement before they have incorrect or harmful movement patterns in athletics and life. These training drills can be performed well into professional athletics. Strength & Conditioning evolves in high school.
High School athletics is where the rubber meets the road and decisions are made. It’s no longer is only about having fun, but now it is about advancing athletically and choosing a sport that can define your child’s future. This is NO place for a parent to have any say in that choice. They should offer guidance, but not try to live vicariously through their child. Weight training should start as early as 15 years old.
Contrary to popular belief weight lifting for younger athletes is GOOD and HELPFUL to their growth and development. Bad coaching is not. When it comes to weight lifting there is a time and a place for doing things correctly. High School is the optimal time to introduce basic weightlifting to all athletes, unless there are preventative circumstances. Our athletes start basic weight training at 14. We go over the basic movements required for strength, pushes, pulls, and presses for both lower and upper body. Depending on an athletes level of training they may move faster or slower in their progressions. However, as time passes they should easily be proficient in strength training and Olympic training before leaving high school. College Strength & Conditioning should not be different from high school as long as the high school program was well structured by the correct coach. The only variable that may need to be taken into consideration for change with college is time. Lifting is a BIG part of college athletics and will be made a priority or youth athlete will not perform or even be allowed on the team. Finding the right coach is simple, but the marketplace makes it hard.
There are coaches, gyms, trainers, specialists, psychologist, sport coaches, etc. The hard part is finding the correct one for you to work with. No, it does not matter who your friends use. Yes, it does matter who you use. Your sports and or abilities are going to be far different than your friends. I would take as much times as you need when finding the correct strength coach for you. It could be the difference between being awarded a college scholarship and just barely going to college. Below are some simple questions you should ask any potential coach:
Why do you work with athletes?
What is your training education & experience?
Can you connect me with others who have had success with your program?
If they are not willing to answer all these questions, walk away and repeat the process until you find the right coach for you. In the end it is all about your experience and ability to become great through sports.
P.S. Thanks so much for reading! Let me know how I can help you.