International Certification in Sports Strength and Conditioning

It’s no surprise the best strength coaches are key components of the coaching team these days – not just in Olympic, college and professional sports but also personal coaches – from cradle to grave. Strength and conditioning is the future of maximizing sport performance.

Students working outThe Sports Strength and Conditioning Certification (SSCC) program includes 10 courses designed to teach the fundamental principles of strength training, conditioning and nutrition for sports and exercise. The courses are intended to give strength coaches a solid knowledge of the physiological systems challenged by sports conditioning, strength and power training which can be used to enhance individual and team performance in sports competition. The program is designed to empower the coach to reach their ultimate goal – to enable athletes to achieve their maximum performance and competitive potential while mitigating the risk of injury.

This program explores both the basic and advanced tenets for developing strength and power for a given sport. We start with the traditional training principles of progressive stress overload-recovery (bigger, faster, stronger while avoiding overuse injuries and overtraining), individuality by creating the athletic profile – physiologic, metabolic, biomechanical – as there is strength in numbers and monitoring changes over time; specificity of training for a given sport, and the application of sport specific training principles such as: kinetic link-summation of forces, plyometrics, stretch-shortening cycle, complex training and post-activation potentiation.

Specialized Program of Study

This course addresses the scientific foundations of strength and conditioning essential for coaches to provide the best training programs for their athletes and to maximize their performance including the modern principles of adaptation, functional anatomy/kinesiology, physiology, biomechanics, motor learning, and bioenergetics. We will also explain the Testing and Training Model we have created based on each athlete’s physiologic individuality as measured serially over time in the Human Performance Lab pre- and post-training to determine individual responses and dictate training and nutrition modifications needed.
In this course, we provide guidelines for how to use nutrition to maximize body composition – increasing LBM and decreasing body fat – discuss pre-, post- and during competition nutrition recommendations for various sports; discuss the pros and cons of nutritional supplements and performance enhancing substance both legal and illegal.
This course discusses the general principles of program design as they apply to aerobic endurance training and a stepwise approach to designing a safe and effective training program. Improvements in aerobic endurance performance can be derived only when sound training principles are applied. In the first unit we will discuss the science behind training for aerobic endurance fitness including the interaction of the cardiovascular, pulmonary and muscle metabolic system in supplying and using oxygen. We will also look at the training variables and how to manipulate them to achieve desired results for a specific sport and athlete as well as advanced training techniques and risks of overtraining for competitive aerobic endurance athletes. Finally, we explore the acute responses of these systems to aerobic exercise as well as the chronic adaptations over time.
The warmup and flexibility training are critical components of athletic performance and training for peak performance. In this course we will address: the physiological effect of a warmup and its importance for injury prevention and performance improvement, discuss factors that affect flexibility and different types of stretching techniques including static, dynamic and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) training and when and how to use them for peak performance.
In this course we will discuss alternative training methods such as bodyweight training, core stability and balance training, balance boards, strength ball training and sport specific modalities. All these techniques are becoming increasing popular in the strength and conditioning arena and so require some specific guidelines to maximize safety and effectiveness. We describe the myofascia and its relationship with movement control, mobility and musculoskeletal health and the use of foam rollers for enhanced myofascial recovery.
This course will focus on the physiological adaptations from resistance/strength exercise, designing strength training programs, acute program training variable (for each session), and training and testing for local muscular endurance. We will then explore the chronic training program variables or periodization involving the manipulation of the volume and intensity of training with skill technique over time to peak for competitive performance in sport.
This course addresses the development of speed, change of direction and agility abilities critical to performance in many sports. We will discuss the physiologic basis and mechanics of proper sprint technique, the importance of over-speed and resisted sprint training on speed development, identify drills which can improve an athlete’s technique, speed, quickness, agility and reactive ability, and speed endurance.
In this course we discuss the gender related differences in muscle function, anatomy and physiology and their implications for females; evaluate the safety and effectiveness of strength training for young adults and children; describe the effects of aging on musculoskeletal health and trainability of the senior athlete and explain program design and adaptation differences between these three populations.
In the first part of this course, we address the preliminary testing and assessment needs of the athlete. First a preliminary health- fitness assessment is performed to ensure the safety of exercise and sport participation. Following that a needs analysis is completed to address the specific needs of the athlete for their sport – using both an analysis of their sport and the athlete biomechanically and physiologically. It is imperative that the strength and conditioning coach become adept at all aspects of testing and assessment to ensure the safety of sport participation, identify individual differences, strengths and weaknesses in order to maximize performance of each athlete. The needs analysis will evaluate the needs of each athletes’ sport as well as the athlete themselves including a movement analysis, injury analysis and a physiologic analysis. We will also discuss the principles of test selection and administration as well as how to evaluate, interpret and perform selected tests.
In this final course, we bring all of this together, summarize the most important points of each section, practice testing and training techniques, create an athletic profile, review periodization and nutrition strategies, and demonstrate how to use the results of pre- and post-testing to individualize programs for each athlete to maximize their performance.

Goals of the Program

Upon successful completion of this SSCC series, you should be able to:

  • Apply kinesiological and physiological principles of the cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular, and neuroendocrine systems and explain their responses, and adaptations to acute and chronic exercise
  • Apply biomechanical principles involved in various sports and resistance training programs
  • Understand metabolic specificity and the processes of bioenergetics responsible for producing the energy necessary for sports conditioning
  • Employ nutritional principles that are important in sports conditioning
  • Employ principles and techniques used in weight loss and weight gain programs
  • List various ergogenic aids that are commonly used in sports conditioning
  • Explain the role of strength, endurance, balance, agility, speed, power and flexibility in sports conditioning and performance
  • Use principles of designing sports conditioning programs based on testing and evaluation, acute programming variables, needs analysis, and the principles of periodization
  • Apply the principles for the organization and administration of the strength and conditioning facility, including facility layout, operations, and emergency procedures