I train scores of student-athletes, here at Strive Fitness and Performance who are “products” of their high school Strength & Conditioning programs. Unfortunately, most of what I observe is subpar at best…. poor technique galore
Based on my experience and observation and discussions with my high school athletes, their parents and coaches; here are some of the problems with high school Strength & Conditioning programs:
Lack of Knowledge
Strength & Conditioning is not rocket science, but it is (or should be) exercise science and training should be evidence-based. Many high school programs are based on workouts read in a magazine, body building workouts done by the coach or crossfit workouts that the coach read.
Inadequate Program Design/Management
Designing and managing a high school Strength & Conditioning program requires more than YouTube, Google, and other programs’ training templates. There are several factors – including energy systems, demands and movement patterns of the sport, etc. that must be taken into consideration.
Inefficient Time Management
Too little work and too much rest. Lots of standing around watching, waiting, and socializing. Even more texting on phones
One Size Fits All
I’ve known of programs who use stuff like P90X or Insanity to get everyone doing the same thing at the same time. Basically, the coach is looking to get the team to exercise. This would be a great strategy if the high school football team consisted of adult men and women trying to improve their level of fitness. Instead, athletes should TRAIN to become better athletes, not just WORKOUT because that is better than nothing.
This is even worse, when it comes to FEMALE ATHELTES. So many times female athletes are just thrown in the mix with the footaball team and left to their own devices.
Lack of Proper Warmup
Very little time spent doing programmed, dynamic (movement-based) warmup exercises. Too many programs still warming up by stretching, and even doing very little of that.
No Real Plan for Progression
Most programs don’t have a good plan for making their programs progressive (increasing intensity) because they don’t understand the rules and guidelines that govern this process. Instead they are just working out.
Poor Understanding of Energy System Training
The energy system demands of the sport must be taken in to consideration when designing a Strength & Conditioning program. Power sports require programming that incorporates short bursts of high-intensity activity, while endurance sports programs have different needs. I know of several area basketball and volleyball programs whose cardio-metabolic training and fitness testing consists of a mile run. Think about the demands and movement patterns of those two sports (especially volleyball) and let that sink in for a moment…
Inappropriate Exercise Selection
I’m not sure how some of these programs choose their athletes’ exercises. Most of these programs pay little attention to areas like joint stability, landing mechanics, and overall injury prevention. Focus on opposing muscle groups is often overlooked (for example, many programs love exercises like squats and leg presses, but pay little attention to posterior chain – glute/hamstring – development). Even more focus on small muscles like biceps and triceps.
Unfortunately, you have to know and understand (and be able to instruct, demonstrate, and correct) proper technique to be able to appropriately coach it. I train lots of athletes who come to me with poor exercise technique (arching the back on the bench press, poor squatting mechanics, etc.) – which can be dangerous – who tell me their form is taught and encouraged by their coaches, because most coaches just care that they are adding weight….(That means they are stronger right????)
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