Strength and conditioning in a field of its own

Written by Josh Hoodless

Strength and Conditioning (S&C) is a term being (mis) used by many in the fitness industry. Does it belong in the Sport or the Fitness realm? Can anyone with a certificate in fitness, like a personal trainer, offer S&C?

Strength and Conditioning is a vital component of the Sport Industry. Usually exercise science graduates go on to become S&C coaches, however qualified personal trainers with experience training regional athletes and/or teams can apply to enter into the qualification.

We are talking about training athletes involved in a sport and not just training the general public to get stronger and fitter.

Local talent:

Sport is extremely popular in our region and we have many athletes that have been working hard for years to compete at higher levels.

Our facility has been involved in the continual development of junior, youth and age group athletes ranging from 11 to 65 years old. Young athletes showing potential no longer need to drive to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane to do their gym work.

Toby Powers (pictured) recently took silver at the World Sprint Triathlon championships in Montreal, Canada. Another client, Dan Symonds, represented Australia at the Asia/Oceania 24 hour Running Championships in India this July. Both athletes worked hard at the gym to focus on their weak areas in order to improve performance and prevent injuries. It takes a team of professionals to create an elite athlete.

Rhett Sweetnam has trained with us since he was 15! We have seen him develop, graduate and play for the Sunshine Coast Basketball Team. Rhett is currently in Arkansas displaying his talent with the goal to play in the USA full time.

Recently, Tim Evans represented Queensland in Hockey In the 45-49 age category and was diligent around ongoing knee issues.

The James Family (pictured) consists of Tom (11), Asta (14) and Rob (16) who are constantly participating in running, swimming and triathlon events in Queensland. Their commitment and attitude to training has seen them achieve some great results and are turning into amazing athletes.

Seth Logan (pictured) and Cohen Guard (both 16) have been involved in the Lions Academy for AFL and now have opportunities to further their career. They are both lifting well over 100kgs and have increased their power and strength on the field.

Kastor Andreasen is an aspiring 14-year-old that plays basketball locally in U/16 and U/18s. When his team won the competition last season he was the youngest on the court and took out the MVP for the final. His core stability and strength has improved tremendously and has transferred across to the court.

One of our newest athletes, Harry Schoff (pictured) is showing great promise as a top Queensland cyclist. We are looking forward to seeing him improve and go even further in the sport.

Husband and wife Greg and Renea Burchell have been training with us for several years. They are both competing in this year’s Pan-Pacific Games masters games at the Gold Coast. Greg is competing in multiple events in outrigging and indoor rowing. Renee was selected for netball with others from around Australia.

The Role of a Strength and Conditioning Coach

The S&C Coach differs to a personal trainer because they practically apply theoretical sports science towards an athlete who they will work with throughout an on-going period (multiple seasons). Using progression in the training and planning around events the coach strives to increase elite performance and skill attributes towards their sport.

S & C coaches have two main areas:

The first area:

  • Improve athletic performance, which usually means improving athletes’ speed, strength, and power.
  • Develop year-long training programmes often working in close association with the sports coach.
  • Technical, effective and safe teaching of lifting techniques
  • Supervising and motivating athletes as they train
  • Assessing their performance before and after the programme.

The second area:

  • Reduce injury by incorporating: mobility, functional and mechanical screening into their programming. This is paramount for repetitive endurance sports.
  • Monitor the athletes’ general health and wellbeing. An example may include providing nutritional advice or referring them to a dietician or sports psychologist if needed.
  • Qualified to give supplement advice in line with ASADA guidelines.

S&C coaches are governed by the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA).

The ASCA is recognised internationally as an industry leader via global affiliates such as NSCA (USA) and UKSCA (UK) and currently has thousands of accredited coaches involved in coaching athletes/teams at all levels of participation from the club through to Olympic and professional sporting levels.

There are six classes of athlete and mostly our coaches train juniors to nail the basics. It doesn’t get too technical and only sometimes does it get specific. In the gym, we don’t try to copy the actions of the sport but simply make each individual a better athlete, which will then transfer across into their performance in their chosen sport.