Practices of strength and conditioning coaches in professional sports: A systematic review

Anthony Weldon, Michael J. Duncan, Anthony Turner, Robert G. Lockie, Irineu Loturco

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)
    94 Downloads (Pure)


    The practices of strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches have been reported in various professional sports. This study aims to comprehensively assess this available evidence to help establish whether theoretical, practical, and evidence-based guidelines align with the practices employed by these experienced S&C coaches. Three databases were searched (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane) until November 2020. Studies surveying the practices of S&C coaches in professional sports using a survey design with common questions, written in English, and published in peer-reviewed journals were reviewed. Eight studies (n = 318 S&C coaches) were finally included. All studies adapted a similar survey, providing a strong basis for comparison between sports. Periodization strategies were widely used (89%), with training volume consistently reduced during the in-season period. Olympic weightlifting was commonly used across sports, except in baseball (29%). Plyometric exercises were predominantly prescribed for speed development (74%) and lower body power (68%), which were mostly programed as complex training (45%) and conducted all year round (52%). Flexibility exercises were mostly performed before practice (83%) for 6–10 min (40%). Physical tests were mainly conducted during the preseason period (66%), with body composition (86%) being the most used test. S&C coaches generally adhered to current guidelines and research in S&C concerning training prescription and physical testing. Whereas, inter-sport differences were also noted and further discussed. Results of this study can be used by S&C coaches to plan, implement, and review their professional practices. Furthermore, may inform the development of general and sport-specific guidelines, and future research in S&C.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)715-726
    Number of pages12
    JournalBiology of Sport
    Issue number3
    Early online date30 Aug 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright: © Institute of Sport – National Research Instutite. All articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.


    • Coaching
    • Individual Sports
    • Performance Training
    • Physical Training
    • Strength Training
    • Team Sports

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Physiology (medical)


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