The University of Iowa Strength & Conditioning

Training & Preparation for the High School to College Athlete

Transition and preparation for the High school to College Athlete

For the few student athletes that receive the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level, the transition can be challenging. Class load, team requirements, practice and competition schedule are a few of the many things that one will have to balance.  The rigors of being involved in collegiate athletics can be overwhelming however; preparation in certain facets can alleviate the transition. Strength and conditioning has become more prevalent in importance both collegiately and in high school. As students are beginning to specify their sport earlier the training as a result has started to specify. Preparing for the demands that relate to strength and conditioning before arriving on campus will make your first semester much more bearable.

An anonymous survey was sent to 195 Division I strength and conditioning coaches to discern incoming college freshman athletes' physical and psychological preparedness for the rigors of collegiate training and sport competition. This survey was published in the NSCA journal of strength and conditioning in 2014. Fifty-seven (29%) responses were received. Strength and conditioning coaches stated that incoming college freshman athletes lack lower extremity strength, overall flexibility, and core strength as well as proper Olympic lifting technique. Strength and conditioning coaches also stated that athletes lacked the mental toughness to endure collegiate sport training in addition to claiming incoming athletes lacked knowledge of correct nutrition and recovery principles. These results suggest a lack of collegiate training/sport preparedness of high school athletes.

So where to start? First and foremost the high school athlete must require the strength and conditioning coach/trainer to have knowledge of how to train high school athletes. One way to assure adequate knowledge of strength and conditioning training principles is for high school coaches/trainers to be certified in the field. These certifications should be through the NSCA or CSCCa. Strength and conditioning certifications among high school strength and conditioning coaches/trainers would encourage developmentally appropriate training and would provide universities with athletes who are prepared for the demands of collegiate sport training/competition. The attempt to balance will endure throughout ones career but early preparation and being proactive will benefit in the long run.