Strength and conditioning coach
A Strength and conditioning coach is a fitness professional who uses exercise prescription specifically to improve performance in athletic competition. Strength coaches also help athletes with injury prevention and proper mechanics within their sports performances.
Strength and conditioning coaches typically work with sports teams, but may also work with individuals.
Strength and conditioning coaches tend to be employed by higher education institutions and professional athletic teams.
While some strength and conditioning coaches may specialize in a certain sports team, type of performance, training type, or training philosophy, many at the collegiate level must work with any team to which they are assigned. In general, most strength and conditioning coaches develop exercise prescription plans that specifically modulate aerobic, resistance, and/or flexibility training to suit the metabolic and physical demands of the sport in question. With aerobic exercise prescription, strength and conditioning coaches determine the type of exercise, duration of exercise, frequency, and duration. For resistance exercise prescription, the type of exercise, total session volume, rest period, frequency, and intensity are determined. They may also be involved in prescription of stretching routines or other approaches. Nutrition and medical consultation are not within their scope of practice and training qualifications.
Effectiveness of Strength and Conditioning Coaches
In the past, coaches may have led the strength and conditioning efforts of a team or left the team to their own training. Research has demonstrated that not only does training improve performance but that incorrect training (distance running, a slow-twitch muscle fiber activity, in football athletes with fast-twitch characteristics) can cause decrements to performance. Using techniques such as plyometrics in some high-power athletes and sports-specific movements in others, strength coaches may improve physical function and athletic performance.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association and The UK Strength and Conditioning Association offer a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach qualification that is usually required for positions in the field. In addition to the C.S.C.S. certification needed to become a strength and conditioning coach, a Bachelor's degree is also required, like that offered by Setanta College and St. Mary's University College, Twickenham. Most strength coaches go on to get their Master's degree as well as additional certifications, such as the Health and Fitness Specialist (H.F.S.) certification through the American College of Sports Medicine.
- Kraemer, WJ. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Chapter 12. Ahead of print, March 2011.
- Kraemer, WJ. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Ahead of print, March 2011.