Before you can understand the role of a strength and conditioning coach you must first understand what ‘strength and conditioning is’.
What is ‘strength and conditioning?
Strength and conditioning is the physical development of an athlete to improve performance in their sport.
What is the role of the strength and conditioning coach?
The role of the strength and conditioning coach is to find out where an athlete is in relation to where they want to be, then design and implement a plan that will help the athlete meet their performance goals. Therefore, their duties will include but are not limited to the following:
- Researching and conducting a needs analysis of their athlete’s sport.
- Interviewing and conducting a needs analysis of their athlete.
- Designing and conducting a battery of physical performance tests on their athlete.
- Goal setting with their athlete.
- Exercise prescription with the aim to help their athlete meet their performance goals and prevent them from injury.
- Exercise coaching to improve their athlete’s movement mechanics.
- Performance monitoring.
- Programme evaluation and modification.
Scope of practice
Without further training and qualifications, a strength and conditioning coach is qualified to work with any athlete that does not have any underlying medical conditions. This means if their athlete develops an injury, experiences undiagnosed pain or symptoms of a medical condition, they should be referred to their doctor or physical therapist.
However, a strength and conditioning coach can work with all different types of athletes as long as they have been screened and show no signs of any medical conditions that are out of their scope of practice. For example:
Strength and power athletes
Sprinters, weightlifters, powerlifters, throwers, jumpers.
These athletes are usually endomorphs or mesomorphs and have a large portion of fast-twitch muscle fibres. They must develop high levels of muscular strength, muscle to bodyweight ratio, flexibility, power, speed and coordination.
Runners, swimmers, cyclists, triathletes.
These athletes are usually ectomorphs and have a large portion of slow-twitch muscle fibres. They must develop high levels of muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
Football, rugby, hockey, basketball
These athletes come in different shapes and sizes and their muscle fibre ratio will vary depending on their sport and position. However, most team sports require a good level in all components of health-related and skill-related fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, power, speed, agility, reaction time, balance and coordination.
Tennis, MMA, boxing, football, golf.
Again these athletes come in different shapes and sizes and their muscle fibre ratio will vary depending on their sport and position. This is where a good S&C coach will conduct a needs analysis of the sport to determine what are the most important components of fitness and performance.
S&C coaches may also work with youth athletes, special populations, and athletes recovering from injury if they have received further training.
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