“The training environment goes beyond athletic performance. It teaches students to overcome fears and achieve goals. Unlike traditional classes and sports, a properly designed strength and conditioning program tracks personal progress and teaches students to embrace the process of getting better every day”. Micah Kurtz
If you work in high school athletics, you probably know there are a few different circumstances surrounding the athletic development portion of an athletic program. If you are part of a school that has a full time strength and conditioning coach, consider yourself the lucky minority.
In many other cases, there may be a coach on staff who holds a certification and doubles as the strength coach or an outside company that is contracted in.
Considering how a well run and efficient strength and conditioning program can contribute to the success and culture of an athletic program its disappointing to not see more full time strength coaches. But, there has been a call to action to change the status quo and it's being led by an organization that's just getting started.
Over the last couple of years, you may have heard of an organization called NHSSCA. I'd like to share how the National High School Strength Coaches Association is helping to enhance the high school athletics community and why you should be part of it.
The organization is here to prove successful programs are more than just a great strength regimen. Establishing a culture and making a positive impact on these young men and women's lives is just as significant. Their mission? Educate, Equip, and Empower coaches to make a positive impact in the lives of student athletes.
Here are 5 highlights you can expect from your NHSSCA experience:
1. Tremendous People
Since I've been part of the organization, I've had the opportunity to connect with many influential coaches. Influential not only for what they do for their athletes on the performance side of things, but more importantly, how they help build character.
The wide range of experience levels is inspiring and allows for the next generation to learn from legendary coaches like Kevin Vanderbush.
2. Professional Development
The NHSSCA provides professional development opportunities for coaches in numerous ways. To name a few:
- State, regional and national conferences across the nation. (The list of coaches you have the opportunity to learn from is incredible. You can't beat hands on presentations from coaches like Adam Lane and Rich Lansky!)
- Articles, podcasts, videos, programs and presentations
- Newsletters, and technology-based educational resources
The organization is a platform for the posting of job openings, resume building, high school specific coaching resources, and a tiered certification that will meet the need and ability of the high school strength coach where they are at professionally.
There are over 35,000 high schools in the US serving approximately 17.5 million students. Instead of a collection of individuals or disconnected state coaching associations, the NHSSCA strives to be a point of connection. The value of any association is not in a certification, clinic or conference. The value rests in the ability to create connections and build relationships!
Working with the high school age athlete presents some variables that are different than when working with any other age group. Besides the developmental age considerations, those working with high school age athletes must adjust for school class schedules, multi-sport participation, limited time and space or equipment considerations.
NHSSCA provides the opportunity to network with others around the country who are dealing with the some of the same issues.
4. Help Build The Profession
A few months ago, Brett Kuehn wrote an article titled "Full-Time Strength and Conditioning Coaches are Essential for Every High School" (If you haven't read the article, I highly recommend it!) -- I couldn't agree with him more. NHSSCA does their role in making that a reality.
There is a need for a full-time strength and conditioning professional in every high school.
Coaches continue to be tasked with not only developing the technical and tactical abilities of their teams, but also the physical and athletic development of the student athlete. The NHSSCA will provide the bridge between athletics and athletic development for every coach.
5. Beneficial To All
The NHSSCA’s goal is to meet the needs of all that work in the area of strength and conditioning at the high school level.
That includes PE teachers who teach a strength class, sport coaches who are the only ones available to work with their athletes, and full time high school strength coaches.
Are you part of NHSSCA? Have you attended an event? What do you think is special about being part of a group that is working together for the greater good of the profession? Would love your views.