The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is the hub of strength and conditioning in the United States. Founded in 1978, the NSCA is home to more than 60,000 members and certified coaches.
Their mission: “The NSCA exists to empower a community of professionals to maximize their impact through disseminating evidence-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, networking opportunities, and continuing education.”
The field of strength training continues to expand, as the value of strength and conditioning becomes increasingly clear. The tactical arena (training for police, fire, and armed forces) has grown significantly, necessitating its own national conference.
The next fastest growing faction of Strength and Conditioning: High Schools.
There are nearly 27,000 high schools in the United States. Strength programs, and strength coaches, are being added daily. The need is clear.
First, when all things are equal, the stronger, more conditioned team comes out on top. Coaches in all sports are seeing this. Performance psychology enhancement and injury reduction are additional and *nearly* unavoidable benefits. From a performance standpoint, the value is obvious.
Second, we’re seeing the trickle down effect from the college level. When college football programs started watching more film, the high schools followed suit and film-study software programs like Hudl exploded on to the scene. The same is happening with strength and speed development. No High School wants to be left behind. The demand is increasing.
Third (and perhaps most convincingly), strength training has offered high schools the opportunity to enhance the student experience in countless ways. Schools are using S&C to extend SEL curricula and prevent mental health concerns, among a variety of creative educational experiences. The opportunity is ripe.
“There are nearly 27,000 high schools in the United States. Strength programs, and strength coaches, are being added daily. The need is clear.” from “@NSCA adds High School Track to National Conference” via @coach4kindnessTweet
The NSCA sees this opportunity. Friday of the national Coaches Conference featured a high school track for the first time in the organization’s history. Hundreds turned out to learn from
- Jim Davis – S&C During the School Day – A look at S&C Curriculum within HS PE
- Elton Crochran – Career Connections: Making the Difference as a High School Strength Coach
- Justin Loudon – Strength and Conditioning During the School Day – A look at S&C Hands on Curriculum within HS PE
- Elton Cochran – 5 steps to Becoming a High School S&C Coach
On top of this, the High School Professional Interest Group met and discussed all things strength. The importance of that time together cannot be overstated. The needs of the high school space are unique and differentiated from other realms.
High School coaches cannot require participation (like college athletes) and there are no contracts on the line (like professional athletes) – to excel in the High School space, the coach must align with the aims of the institution (has to be an educational environment) and the goals of the young people.
The opportunity to enhance Strength & Conditioning in the high school setting is massive. The NSCA sees that. Big things to come.