Strength is a skill. That skill needs to be taught by a qualified professional, just like sports skills need to be taught by someone who understands the mechanics of the game. It wouldn’t make much sense to take your soccer player to a technique coach that doesn’t understand how to teach soccer skills or does not have the right drills in place to progress that athlete over time. Strength coaches are not skills coaches and skills coaches are not strength coaches.

Strength coaches teach the skill of expressing and improving strength, evaluate joint position and mechanics, and plan programming so that athletes learn how to produce the most force possible with the lowest risk for injury. Strength coaches do not teach athletes how to be better at the techniques required for their sport; that is what a skills coach is for.

Playing more games and practicing more with a good skills coach is the number one way an athlete will get better at their sport. The number two way they will get better is by getting stronger. Conditioning demands come into play as well, but a majority of the time that is taken care of in sports practice by the sports coach and the drills that are being performed. If that is not being taken care of, the strength coach should program conditioning in conjunction with strength training.

Strength movements do not look like sports movements and should not. There are some specialized strength exercises that are necessary but it will be a small portion of the training.  Even so, special strength exercises become more applicable later in the athlete’s career, toward the last few years of high school. Strength movements look like powerlifting, weightlifting, physical therapy exercises, plyometrics (throws, jumps, and bounding)… it looks like general expressions of strength and power. This is intended to make the body a more efficient, more powerful system.

Skills coaching looks like the sport of play and should be that alone. The drills need to be improving technique. If the skills training looks like strength training or the strength training looks like skills training you are probably working with the wrong coach. When these two pieces of the puzzle come together just right and each specialist understands what they need to do, amazing things can happen. Sports mastery is the junction of supreme body control, tactical and technical sports skill and violent force production.

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