Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2010

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies, Behavioral Studies

Department

Kinesiology

Major Advisor

Lynda Ransdell, Ph.D.

Abstract

The use of strength training, or resistance training to improve athletic performance, is growing among athletes of all ages. Currently, Idaho possesses no rules, regulations, and/or guidance for varsity high school athletics and strength training. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to explore the current practices for varsity level high school athletes and strength training. Specifically, examined were: who designs and implements strength training programs for varsity high school athletes, what kinds of training activities they do for their programs, and whether the responsible party or emphasis of strength training changes depending on the gender of the athletes. METHODS: Coaches of soccer, basketball, and softball/baseball in three Idaho school districts were asked to complete an online survey. RESULTS: Seventy percent (34/48) of the coaches who were eligible to participate responded to the questionnaire. Approximately half (51.6%) of the respondents coached male athletes and 45.2% coached female athletes. The majority of coaches provided strength training opportunities for their athletes (84.3%), although only 37% required, participation. The majority of strength training programs were designed and implemented by either the physical education teachers (40.7%) or head coaches (25.9%). Physical education teachers designed and implemented the majority of the strength training programs for female athletes, whereas, head coaches designed and implemented the majority of strength training programs for male athletes. Coaches of both male and female athletes provided equal opportunities for strength training for their athletes, but coaches of male athletes were more likely to require their athletes to participate. Most programs included dynamic warm-ups and cool-downs, plyometrics, agility training, speed training, and conditioning and most programs were conducted three days a week (76%) for sessions lasting between 30 and 59 minutes (62.5%). Compared to their female counterparts, male athletes were more likely to strength train year round and train using more sessions per week. CONCLUSION: The results of this study provide knowledge, where none exists, about the individuals who are responsible for designing and implementing high school strength training programs for three major sports in three large school districts in Idaho. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: If more is known about strength training practices in high schools with athletic teams in soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball, individuals responsible for designing programs can critically examine their own programs to ensure that programs are fundamentally sound.

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