Start Early—The Key to Preparing Athletes for the Rigors of High School Strength and Conditioning

by Rick Howard, MEd, CSCS,*D
NSCA Coach October 2013
Vol 2, Issue 4


This article suggests how high school strength and conditioning coaches can not only prepare high school athletes for sports and fitness, but also help with the process of improving fitness and athleticism of all youth.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »



1. Faigenbaum, A, Kraemer, W, Blimkie, C, Jeffreys, I, Micheli, L, Nitka, M, et al. Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(Suppl 5): S60-S79, 2009.
2. Howard, R, and Faigenbaum, A. Issues in training youth that impact high school athlete preparation. Strength and Conditioning Journal 31(3): 55-57, 2009.
3. Lloyd, R, Oliver, J, Faigenbaum, A, Howard, R, De Ste Croix, M, Williams, C, et al. Long-term athletic development – Part 1: A pathway for all youth. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(5): 1439-1450, 2015.
4. Lloyd, R, Oliver, J, Faigenbaum, A, Howard, R, De Ste Croix, M, Williams, C, et al. Long-term athletic development – Part 2: Barriers to success and potential solutions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(5): 1451-1464, 2015.
5. Myer, GD, Faigenbaum, AD, Ford, KR, Best, TM, Bergeron, MF, and Hewitt, TE. When to initiate integrative neuromuscular training to reduce sports-related injuries in youth? Current Sports Medicine Reports 10(3): 155-166, 2011.
6. SHAPE America. National standards and grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education. Reston, VA: Author, 2013.
7. Stodden, D, Gao, Z, Goodway, J, and Langendorfer, S. Dynamic relationships between motor skill competence and health related fitness in youth. Pediatric Exercise Science 26(3): 231-241, 2014.
8. Whitehead, M. The concept of physical literacy. European Journal of Physical Education 6(2): 127-138, 2001.

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Rick Howard, MEd, CSCS,*D

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Rick Howard is a doctoral candidate at Rocky Mountain University in Health Promotion and Wellness. He is an Assistant Professor in Applied Sports Scie...

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