How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach
Not so many years ago, when the general public heard the word “coach,” they thought of a leader of a sports team, or in the cases where the coach was coaching an individual, it was almost always a person who was competing in an individual sport like golf or wrestling.
Nowadays, many individuals utilize coaches to better their fitness levels and metal strength, as well. “Life coach” is a common term in 2020, as is a strength and conditioning coach, especially for those individuals who live active lifestyles and like to compete in adult athletic leagues, or things like marathons.
Of course, strength and conditioning coaches are still very important in the competitive sports world, as well, and almost every high school, and certainly every college with sports teams employs a staff of strength and conditioning coaches, as do professional sports organizations across a wide breadth of sports. This is still where you will find most job opportunities, but the individual coaching trend is expected to continue.
With that, aspiring strength and conditioning coaches have many different destinations to choose from, but most paths to those destinations are pretty similar. Here are some tips on how to become a strength and conditioning (S & C) coach.
Tips to become a strength and conditioning (S & C) coach
There are a few different degree options for those individuals entering the education sector in the near future with an interest in strength and conditioning coaching.
In addition to degrees, it’s pretty much a requirement to get a certification, as well, if you want to land a job in the field. On the other side of that, if you are someone who already has a degree and wants to make a change, certification and some summer classes here and there can you get qualified as well.
When deciding which degree path to take, it’s important to weigh a few things. Do you want to help individuals? Do you want to help teams? Do you want to get involved with the mental health side of strength and conditioning?
All of these paths will have a lot of overlap, but each has some idiosyncrasies that make them more or less appealing to individuals. Here are a few options (non-exhaustive), and a brief description of each.
• Exercise Science
Exercise science majors will have a few extra classes that tie in the mental and nutritional aspects of strength training. Individuals with a focus in this can also serve as team nutritionists and things of the like.
• Physical Education
People who choose this path in school will receive a lot of education regarding the education system… teaching how to teach, if you will. In addition to being a great choice for those looking to work in strength and conditioning with high school teams, a PE degree also opens doors for one-on-one conditioning programs as mentioned in the introduction.
Even though “exercise science” has science in the name, physiology would be the deepest cut on this list, as it relates to science.
A bonus of pursuing this degree is that it is often a popular choice for pre-med majors as well, and if you decide later in life you’d like to change from strength and conditioning to corrective medicine, you’re already in the driver’s seat.
The last step before strapping on your boots (or sneakers) and looking for work is to attain a certification in S & C. The two most common (and broadly accepted) are the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), given by the National Strength and Conditioning Association; and the Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC), given by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
Either will check the boxes you need to start applying for a job in this rewarding and ever-changing career field.