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Why your high school needs a qualified strength and conditioning professional

Benefits to the students 
  1. Reduce injuries: A qualified strength and conditioning professional can play a pivotal role in preparing young athletes for sport and thereby minimize or offset the incidence and severity of sport-related injuries common to young athletes. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
  2. Improve long-term athletic development: A qualified strength and conditioning professional understands the many variables that go into designing training-age–appropriate programs, and can produce more positive results. (6) (5) (7) (8)
  3. Improve performance: Athletes who participate in a well-designed strength and conditioning program typically will be faster, stronger, more powerful, move more efficiently, and be more athletic than they would be without it.(1) (9) (10) (11) (12)
  4. Improve confidence: Athletes who invest time in strength and conditioning tend to develop confidence through changes in their body composition and increased physical literacy, as well as the knowledge that the development that occurs as a result of their training can give them an advantage in competition. (13) (14) (15)
  5. Improve health: In addition to increasing muscular strength, power, and muscular endurance, regular participation in a youth resistance training program has the potential to influence many other health- and fitness-related measures, and can play an important role in alleviating many health-related conditions. (1) (16) (12) (17)
Benefits to the School
  1. Limit liability: A qualified strength and conditioning professional can help limit your school’s liability and implement procedures that support risk-management. (16) (21) (2) (18) (4)
  2. Increase professionalism and safety: For the same reason schools require a certified athletic trainer to work with their injured athletes or a certified lifeguard on pool decks, the same should be true for the coach who is designing and supervising the strength and conditioning program. (18) (19) (20)
  3. Extra coach on staff for all sports: A strength coach allows the sport coach more time to focus on the day-to-day practice schedule while the strength coach oversees the strength and conditioning of the team. (16)
  4. Due diligence: Demonstrates due diligence in properly equipping athletes for the physical and mental demands of a particular sport and establishes a greater commitment to injury prevention. (22)
  5. Gender equity: Assists an athletic department with implementing strength and conditioning programs that are gender specific. (22)
What is a Qualified Strength and Conditioning Professional at the Secondary School Level?
  1. Certification: A qualified strength and conditioning professional should achieve and maintain a professional certification credentialed by an independent accreditation agency—for example, the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification—as well as standard first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automated external defibrillation (AED). (18) (19) (21)
  2. Education: A qualified strength and conditioning professional should acquire expertise, and have a degree from a regionally accredited college/ university in one or more of the “scientific foundations” for strength and conditioning (i.e. exercise/anatomy, biomechanics, pediatric exercise physiology, nutrition), or in a relevant subject (e.g., exercise/sport pedagogy, psychology, motor learning, training methodology, kinesiology). (16) (7) (22) (23) (24)

For more information, check out NSCA's Guide to High School Strength and Conditioning


NOTE: This article was originally published by the NSCA and excerpts were taken from National Strength and Conditioning Association Secondary School Coaches Working Group. Why your high school needs a qualified strength and conditioning professional. 2016.


  1. Lloyd, Rhodri S. and Faigenbaum, Avery D. Age- and Sex-Related Differences and Their Implications for Resistance Exercise. [book auth.] G. Gregory Haff and N. Travis Triplett. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Fourth Edition. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, 2016, pp. 135-153.
  2. Strength training recommendations for the youth athlete. Vaughn, JM and Micheli, L. 2008, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, Vol. 19, pp. 235–245.
  3. The prevention of sport injuries of children and adolescents. Smith, A, Andrish, J and Micheli, L. 1993, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 25, pp. 1-7.
  4. Sex differences in “weightlifting” injuries presenting to United States emergency rooms. Quatman, CE, Gregory, DM, Khoury, J, Wall, EJ and Hewett, TE. 7, 2009, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 23, pp. 2061-2067.
  5. Strength and Conditioning Practices of United States High School Strength and Conditioning Coaches. Duehring, MJ, Feldmann, CR and Ebben, WP. 8, 2009, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 23, pp. 2188-2203.
  6. How prepared are college freshmen athletes for the rigors of college strength and conditioning? A survey of college strength and conditioning coaches. Wade, S, Pope, Z and Simonson, S. 10, 2014, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 28, pp. 2746-2753.
  7. National Strength and Conditioning Association Position Statement on Long-Term Athletic Development. Lloyd, RS, Cronin, JB, Faigenbaum, AD, Haff, GG, Howard, R, Kraemer, WJ, Micheli, LJ, Myer, GD and Oliver, JL. 6, 2016, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 30, pp. 1491-1509.
  8. Australia Strength and Conditioning Association. Resistance Training for Children and Youth: A Position Stand from the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA). 2007.
  9. Mannie, K and Vorkapich, M. Accent on female strength training. Coach and Athletic Director. 2007, 3, pp. 8-10.
  10. Zatsiorsky, VM and Kraemer, WJ. Strength training for young athletes. [ed.] VM, and Kraemer, WJ Zatsiorsky. Science and Practice of Strength Training (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, 2006, pp. 191–213.
  11. Strength training for children and adolescents. Faigenbaum, A. 2000, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 19, pp. 593-619.
  12. Promoting strength and balance in adolescents during physical education: Effects of a short-term resistance training. Granacher, U, Muehlbauer, T, Doerflinger, B, Strohmeier, R and Gollhodfer, A. 4, 2011, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 25, pp. 940-949.
  13. Relations of strength training to body image among a sample of female university students. Ahmed, C, Hilton, W, and Pituch, K. 2002, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 16, pp. 645-648.
  14. Effects of a circuit weight training program on the body images of college students. Williams, PA and Cash, TF. 2001, International Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol. 30, pp. 75-82.
  15. Psychological strategies included by strength and conditioning coaches in applied strength and conditioning. Radcliffe, JR, Comfort, P and Fawcett, T. 9, 2015, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 29, pp. 2641-2654.
  16. National Strength and Conditioning Association. Strength and Conditioning Professional Standards and Guidelines. Colorado Springs, CO: National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2009.
  17. Aspen Institute Project Play. State of Play 2016: Trends and Developments. s.l. : Aspen Institute, 2016.
  18. The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Secondary School Athletics Programs: Best-Practices Recommendations. Casa, DJ, et al. 4, 2013, Journal of Athletic Training, Vol. 48, pp. 546-553.
  19. Who is responsible for preventable deaths during athletic conditioning sessions? DeMartini, JK and Casa, DJ. 7, 2011, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 25, p. 1781.
  20. Youth Sports Safety Alliance. National Action Plan for Sports Safety. 2013.
  21. Statler, Tracy and Brown, Victor. Facility Policies, Procedures, and Legal Issues. [book auth.] G. Gregory Haff and N. Travis Triplett. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 4th Edition. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, 2016, pp. 623-640.
  22. Reed Wainwright, Attorney at Law. Personal Correspondence. Weatherford, TX : Law Office of Reed Wainwright, 2016.
  23. McGladrey, B. High School Physical Educators’ and Sport Coaches’ Knowledge of Strength Training Principles and Methods. Doctoral Dissertation. s.l. : University of Utah, 2010.
  24. Miller, M. G., & Housner, L. A survey of health-related physical fitness knowledge among preservice and inservice physical educators. Physical Educator. 1998, Vol. 55, 4, pp. 176-186.
  25. Castelli, D., & Williams, L. Health-related fitness and physical education teachers’ content knowledge. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 2007, 26, pp. 3-19.