The NCAA recently announced that beginning in August, 2015 all Division 1 colleges and universities will be required to employ strength and conditioning coaches who possess a nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification. This is a significant move that will bring about additional employment opportunities. I have to say that I am all for raising the bar on guidelines and safety, however, I’m not totally confident this will change much.
As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I would like to see some changes in the certification process. While there are requirements as far as education in order to take the exam, there is little emphasis on the hands-on skill component. The exam I took through the National Strength and Conditioning Association that allowed me to become certified includes a portion that involves watching certain skills and movements and then determining if they are being performed properly and safety. That’s good and all, however, it is a far cry from having the test-taker perform the skill themselves and even MORE importantly, teaching someone else how to properly perform them – which is what a strength coach does.
Once certified, there are continuing education requirements, which I also support. But again, I feel there needs to be a greater emphasis on skill development and teaching. Just because someone can take an online seminar, attend a conference, or understand a movement doesn’t mean they can teach someone else how to do it, why it’s important, and how to incorporate it into an overall training plan.
So, I’m glad to know that the NCAA is looking at improving standards, however, I feel this presents a good opportunity for those certifying bodies to take a look at their process and requirements to see what might need some adjustment. I’m going to predict that instead of doing that, they will just come up with another specialized type of certification with a higher standard of examination at an additional cost to the professional.