Sports Reality
PERFORMANCE TRAINING AT ITS BEST Free Sports Performance Consultation

by Jeff Appel

In the sports world, true strength performance training is too often left out of an athletes’ training program. Strength is the underlying factor in all athletic performance including an athlete’s speed and agility. With the functional improvement of an athletes’ strength, they can consequently improve their vertical jump, explosiveness, overall speed and ability to change direction. In order to improve and harness this essential strength, athletes’ are turning to getting individual training. The big question emerges: Are athletes’ picking the right type of trainer and program for improving their athletic performance?  

 Commonly there are two types of performance trainers: a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCSs) and Certified Personal Trainers (CPTs) or similar designations. The differences are notable.

What’s the difference between a CSCS and a CPT?

  Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) Certified Personal Trainers (CPTs) or similar designations

What do they do?

Analyze an athlete’s strength, power, agility and speed using a set diagnostic routine in order to develop a tailored program to improve athletic performance

Work with people of all ages to improve general fitness. May or may not do a disciplined baseline diagnosis.

Where are they qualified to work?

Professional sports teams, colleges, high schools, professional sports performance facilities and commercial gyms

Commercial gyms

CPR and AED Certified



High School Degree


Required (or the equivalent)

Bachelor’s Degree


Not Required

Master’s Degree



Testing to Achieve Certification

Test of scientific knowledge as well as practical applications specific to athletic performance and workout programming

140 Multiple Choice Exam


What exactly does a CSCS do in terms of improving your athletes’ performance? They begin by doing a physical assessment of players including testing vertical jumps for power, 20- and 40-yard dash for speed, pro agility test, 1-repitition max lifts for bench, squat, and cleans to measure strength and explosiveness. After the evaluation process, a CSCS designs a personalized strength and speed program for the athlete. During this program the trainer will observe the athlete’s techniques, correcting form and addressing weaknesses as needed, and ensure proper eating habits to enhance recovery and maximize performance. This system allows athletes to improve their strength which is translated onto the field or court. CPTs, though, mainly work with athletes to ensure their general health are where they should be, not necessarily working with them to improve their performance.

Five Things Every Athlete Should Know

Training for athletic performance is MUCH different than training for general fitness

After a year or two of serious training gains in muscle without gauging true sports performance functionality, athletic progress can get progressively harder. Strength and conditioning specialists are much more likely to be able to improve your functional strength capabilities and your athletic performance all in one.

How strength training can aide injury prevention

Strength training improves the strength of the muscles tendons, and even the ligaments and bones. The stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joins when moving and changing direction or under impact. The bones become stronger due to the overload placed on them during training and the ligaments become more flexible and better at absorbing the shock applied to them during dynamic movements on the field or court.

Muscle mass is powerful stuff

Many athletes worry that strength training will cause them to gain bulk or weight, and in turn they believe they will be unable to perform in their given sport. They are looking at it the wrong way. Athletes’ should view it as gaining power, not weight. If you train for functional compatibility and powerful strength the muscle gained actually causes you to become much more athletic. Remember great Olympic swimmers do strength training and do not look like football lineman.

Many coaches are far, far behind the times

Many coaches, even at the professional level, are still wanting their athletes to train the same way they did when they were playing a sport. This causes us to find endurance athletes who are still refusing to do any strength training or baseball players running long distances. This old-school training that one may get from their high school or independent league coaches may actually be hurting their athletic performance.

Some athletes are lazy

It’s the honest truth. Some mind-boggling athletes barely do any strength training or do the bare minimum required by their team or coach. Some athletes have a natural athletic ability that long surpasses the average athlete, but this superiority will be short-lived. Knowing how to take care of ones’ body, including functional strength training, can result in a longer and more successful career in their chosen sport.

Not having the proper strength training can be detrimental to an athlete’s performance. With this information, we hope that you are able to make a well informed choice on who is the right trainer for your athlete. At Sports Reality our goal is to do just that. We understand what it takes to excel in your chosen sport and we are committed to building better athletes through our personalized performance training programs. We encourage you to come and experience the Sports Reality difference!

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