Can you define Strength & Conditioning? Do you know what a Strength & Conditioning coach does?
Strength & Conditioning (S&C) is essential and very much a necessity in sport. However, do you know what it is or involves for either the coach or an athlete?
In this blog, I shall outline why S&C proves to be such a pivotal role and an important part in developing athletic performances of athletes.
What is S&C?
The term S&C has been misused frequently as I have been progressing through the performance world this past 8years.
S&C is the practical application of sports science on athletes working towards developing;
Whereas the title of being an ‘S&C coach’ has also been misused over this same period, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has encountered this. Through self-discovery, and the way I understand the role means an S&C coach still works with individuals who are focused on achieving their goals and improving on their performance. However, (and that’s a big however) that definition is all well and good, for Personal Trainers, Fitness Instructors and other health coaches.
What does an S&C Coach Do?
An S&C Coach differs as they practically apply theoretical sports science towards an athlete who they will work with throughout an on-going period (season) enabling the time to work towards improving their elite sports performance and skill attributes towards their sport.
Strength and conditioning coaches have two primary goals. The first is to:
The second primary goal is to:
Common Misconceptions about S&C
One of the biggest misuses for the term; S&C is if someone or a well known lifting club are conducting certain drills that incorporate: various slams, tyre hammering, partial pull-up movements and rope slams (to name just a few) all with copious amounts of chalk, who then surmise that they are following an S&C programme. Incorporating such drills, as good as they are (bar the partial pull-ups of course) do not justify an S&C programme - the drills are drills, and they are meant to serve a bigger purpose than just an hour’s ‘thrashing’.
A well-designed S&C programme will incorporate such drills into Microcycles (which are the weekly sessions), which in turn form a periodized Mesocycle (approx. 3-6 Mesocycles focusing on a specific training target), which in turn form part of the overall periodized Macrocycle for the year(s).
A lot of S&C misuse comes from the generalised belief that it is all about lifting weights. This belief could not be anything further from the truth and as a result this may give reasoning as to why I have had so many athletes and clients over the years come to me, already injured seeking guidance, as they have either been prescribed too higher training loads or worse, are without the correct guidance and knowledge in Olympic Lifting.
How to clearly define S&C?
S&C encompasses the entire development of the athlete and what is needed to improve physical performance. This includes plyometrics, speed and agility, endurance and core stability with strength training being just one piece of the jigsaw.
The English Institute of Sport (EIS) describes S&C as having a performance impact as:
Research has demonstrated that not only does training improve performance; it also shows that that incorrect training 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.
Strength & Conditioning is sadly a term used loosely. As popular as it is, it is made up of several complex factors with strength training being just one of these. An athlete will benefit greatly if an experienced S&C coach has put together a well-balanced individualistic periodized programme.
I get no greater thrill and challenge than from working with athletes, either in a team environment or on an individual basis. I hope you now know what S&C is and what is involved being an S&C coach.
You're probably already going through some ideas in your head, right? Tell me how you plan to create your own S&C programme or session plans in the comments. I'd love to help out!.