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Building Culture

The Importance of Strength and Conditioning to the High School CoachBy Zach Wilson, CrossFit Barboursville

Don’t take my word for it. Follow the dollars. Look at nearly every major college football coaching staff and see where they spend their money. The highest-paid strength coach in FBS makes more than 37 FBS head coaches. It’s that important.

“It’s not about the X’s and O’s. It’s about the Jimmys and Joes.” There’s one more quote for you that I have heard, and said, more times that I would care to admit. It’s so easy, as a coach, to lose yourself in the intricacies and nuances of schemes. The truth, however, is that every scheme has its weaknesses and the more time and energy you invest in creating your schemes, the less you have to invest in your players. The S&C program is how you upgrade your Jimmys and Joes, since, in my experience, you cannot recruit better players from outside of your district- at least not ethically.

So you get it. It’s important, but why? There’s the obvious reason- a S&C program is going to make your players stronger and better conditioned. A good S&C program is also going to emphasize injury prevention- non-contact ACL tears for example, and improving mobility and range of motion. This is my biggest regret. How much better would my players have been, if I really worked on their squat mechanics? If I trained them to squat deep, with proper midline stability, feet flat, and toes forward, how much better would they have been at blocking and tackling? Learn from my mistakes. My weight room did not have a single medicine ball or kettlebell in it, and I foolishly spent our budget on a Jammer and fancy urethane plates that couldn’t be dropped. Back to the subject. Good S&C programming is also going to increase athleticism. The exercises and drills that you utilize in the S&C program will carry-over to your athlete’s sport-specific movement patterns- like blocking and tackling, but also like running, jumping, and changing direction. A good S&C program is going to create adaptations in an athlete’s kinesthetic awareness that will translate to nearly every part of his/her game.

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