Over the past 25 years we have seen a rise in the understanding and prominence of the role proper strength and conditioning plays for all sports. Research has proven again and again the importance a well-structured strength program has on the athletes themselves, and the results on the field. While this is true at all levels of competition, it is perhaps most important for the student-athlete in High School and College. The reason for this is these are formative years for males and females alike. During this time they will develop movement and coordination patterns, set the foundation for muscular development, and learn the overall habits that will carry them through their sporting careers. Therefore, it is imperative that we maximize this time period to lay the ground work for their journey.
With that being said we can clearly observe the value of proper strength training in the sport of football. Football relies heavily on speed, strength, and power in order to perform at the highest levels. Yet it is also a collision sport, so the contact dynamic must be accounted for within the strength program in order to minimize injury risks as much as possible. The athlete having more muscle size is not just about their on-field performance itself, but also plays a critical role in their safety. Proper strength training makes sure they are prepared to withstand the inevitable contact in competition. Increasing muscle size through proper strength training will allow athletes to improve their durability, and increase their safety. Remember injury prevention is paramount, and the most important role of the strength program!
Strength training is also imperative to increasing power, explosiveness, and speed. Changing direction more efficiently, running faster, and having more power in contact; are all part of excelling on the football field. A player’s ability to be explosive is directly related to their ability to produce high levels of force. This means stronger athletes are able to do this more efficiently than weaker ones. Having a properly structured and supervised strength program allows athletes to develop these areas to their highest levels while minimizing their exposure to the risks associated with bad exercise techniques, lack of adequate recovery, poorly balanced programming, and the movement pattern issues that can arise from repetitive motions.
In the end, the value of proper strength training for the student-athletes cannot be overstated. While there are many different programs out there, identifying the safest and correct one for your student-athlete is critical. Always make sure the professional is credentialed, experienced, and has positive references. You’ll want to check for valid and accredited certifications, licenses, and degrees of higher learning; as this is of utmost importance in selecting a coach. Lastly, sit down and interview the coach to ensure their goals for the athlete, match the goals of the sport of the student-athlete. Following these steps can give you confidence your student-athlete is in good hands.