High school sports are amazing.
They teach young athletes the power or teamwork, determination, and effort.
Looking back at my high school days (over 10 years ago), I can't help but smile and unlock memories of a time when all I had to do was have fun, play football, and be a great student.
I found myself, like many striving athletes, looking for any and all ways to legally (no drugs) increase my athleticism. I read magazines, watched videos, until ultimately started squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing like it was a full-time job. 5x5 routines, 5/3/1 schemes, you name it, I tried it.
Fast Forward To Now
As a strength coach both at the college, high school, and private area, I have come to fully embrace the power of a formalized strength program, starting with kids in high school!
I get young athletes on day one of college fall semester who have never been formally taught to jump, run, or squat. They have a raw capacity to be better athletes, but it will take time and effort to get them their.
I then have athletes who have clearly been placed into some kind of formalized program during their high school years. Are they amazing specimens? Not always. Are they light years ahead of many athletes who have not been training, yes.
The role of a high school strength and conditioning program is to implement scientific based programs, built to increase athleticism, reduce injury, and prepare kids for more strenuous events such as sports and post-high school athletic careers (and LIFE!), cannot be emphasized enough.
This is just one of many examples of the power of strength and conditioning for high school athletes.
At J2FIT, we had the opportunity to work with a young athlete (the son of a client of ours) who was going into his senior year of baseball. He was being looked at by some small colleges here and there, and was looking to maximize his potential in the off season.
He worked with us twice a week, in addition to doing our online programming for 6-8 months. We helped him grow stronger, increase his active range of motion and mobility in his throwing arm, and even was able to help his rotational power.
When he accepted to play college baseball at a Cal Tech (Division 3 School in California), he couldn't have been more ecstatic. Becoming a college baseball player was his goal, and to help him and his family live that was a very fulfilling moment as a coach.
This got me to thinking, why cant we help MORE athletes, regardless of where they are at, and still make it highly affordable?
Many top programs are hiring sport coaches to run the strength program, however, many of those coaches also use the same dogmatic training philosophies that that coach was subject to from over 20+ years ago. In turn, we train kids the same way that we have always one, producing the same injury ridden children to take the field.
On the other hand, many great programs are hiring accredited STRENGTH coaches are staying current with research and literature (National Strength and Conditioning Association), and are implementing sound movement patterning, plyometrics, strength, and sport-specific drills to elevate athletes and make them more injury resilient.
The responsibility of an athletic program director and sports coach is to find the best possible way to build a successful and safe athletic program. Hiring the best strength coaches, best athletic trainers, and having the best facilities (that their budget can afford) is critical to the overall development of a successful school program.
Unfortunately, many schools do not have the budget to hire the best people for the job and have 10,000 square foot facilities. Until now.
After working in this field for nearly 10 years, as a football coach, clinical researcher, strength and conditioning coach, and trainer, I have finally been able to scale my systems and methods (the same ones I have used to help build a successful and growing strength and conditioning program at New York University, J2FIT Human Performance, and Reebok CrossFit Union Square). I have been able to expand my reach, now working with a high school football team in Long Island, NY, USA, all remotely. We are even taking our systems to California (from New York City)!
My solution is a web/mobile app/iPad based sport specific strength and conditioning programming service for sports teams and entire school systems to implement the best programming for their athletes, developed by accredited coaches with the proper education and experience, who are validated and backed by large reputable institutions and programs.
Elevating The Standard
I challenge all of us; coaches, parents, administrators, and even young athletes, to take a deeper look at what we are doing to prepare your athletes for the intensity of high school sports. By preparing them physically and mentally, we can produce safer, stronger, and more successful athletes.