Strength training for student athletes increases ability, safety


Guest Columnist 

                Over the past 25 years, coaches, parents and student athletes 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 of a well-structured strength program for 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 to maximize this time period to lay the groundwork for their journey.

The value of proper strength training in the sport of football is clearly visible. 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. Having more muscle size for athletes is not just about their on-field performance itself, but also plays a critical role in their safety. Proper strength training helps ensure they are prepared to withstand the inevitable contact in competition. Increasing muscle size through proper strength training will allow athletes to improve durability and increase 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 his or her ability to produce high levels of force. This means stronger athletes are able to accomplish this more efficiently than weaker ones. Having a properly structured and supervised strength program allows athletes to develop these areas to the highest levels while minimizing exposure to the risks associated with bad exercise techniques, lack of adequate recovery, poorly balanced programming and the movement pattern issues that can arise

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 each student-athlete is critical. Always make sure the professional is credentialed, experienced and has positive references. Check for valid and accredited certifications, licenses and degrees of higher learning when 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.

Matt Hendrick of Momentum Wellness holds a B.S. Exercise Physiology and a in B.S. Sports Medicine, NSCA-CSCS, USAW-Level 1, as well as being a Certified Post Rehabilitation Specialist, Certified Performance Nutrition Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. Matt has been in the industry for almost 25 years. He was a strength and conditioning coach with the NFL and has worked with countless professional and Olympic athletes over his career. 
Momentum Wellness is located at 5150 Palm Valley Rd., Ste. 103 in Ponte Vedra Beach. For information, call (904) 395-3266 or visit



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