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NHSSCA Executive Council: Celebrating Progress and Setting Our Sights in 2024

ec_2023_year_review

Dear NHSSCA Members,

As we embark on a promising 2024, let’s reflect on the transformative journey of 2023, a year marked by significant milestones and robust growth for our community.

Welcoming the New Executive Council

We began 2023 with a renewed leadership team. We are proud to introduce our newly elected members:

  • Eric Cash – President (Dorman High School, SC)
  • Amanda Berg – Open Member (Dassel – Cokato High School, MN)
  • Garrett Keith – Open Member (Westminster Christian Academy, AL)

Joining us in continuing our mission are:

  • Rich Gray – Executive Director
  • Ryan Johnson – Past President (Wayzata High School, MN)
  • Kevin O’Neill – Regional Advisory Board Chair (Nobles & Greenough School, MA)

Together, we’re committed to steering NHSSCA towards new heights.

NATCON 2023: A Resounding Success

Along with the help of Adam Vogel, Regional Directors, and many boots on the ground in Illinois, the Executive Council was thrilled we had another successful NATCON.  Cal Dietz and Chris Korfist delivered over 7 hours of content during our PreCon.  Over 300 attendees traveled to Homewood-Floosmoor High School and experienced 7 lectures and 16 hands-on sessions. As always, there was food a-plenty, and the Partner Raffle sent many attendees leaving with full hands. 

In addition to all the fine details involved with NATCON, a  major emphasis was placed on the quality of our NATCON presentation videos this year. We are excited that these efforts were very successful and that the videos were of great quality. Those who attended NatCon and/or PreCon can access the videos through your profile on our website.  Along with NatCon preparations, the Executive Council was also preparing for the High School Strength Coach Certification (HSSCC) with the goal of launching at NatCon ‘23.  Dr. Mike Martino and Mike Bewley were instrumental in editing the HSSCC content and preparing the HSSCC for online delivery.  

The uniqueness of the HSSCC for the high school coach is unmatched. High School Coaches wrote each chapter, quiz, and case study for the HSSCC consisting of:

  • 12 Units & 43 Chapter
  • 43 Quizzes and 24 Case Studies
  • Accessibility on mobile and desktop
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Lifetime Access for Professional Members

Each case study discusses scenarios specific to the high school setting: mixed gender classes, new coach situations, PE strength classes, return to play, etc.  The HSSCC is designed for ANY high school coach working with student-athletes in a strength and conditioning setting.  We successfully launched the HSSCC at NatCon ‘23 and currently have over 500 coaches enrolled.  The next steps for the certification are finalizing videos and having those uploaded to the certification early in 2024.  We had initially hoped to have videos added to the HSSCC by December 1st.  We could not meet this deadline and have extended the $150 price for professional members.  In early 2024, upon completing and integrating all additional assets and videos into the HSSCC, the price will be adjusted to $199.

Revitalization of NHSSCA State Clinics

This past year was a great year for NHSSCA State Clinics. In an effort to refine our clinic process, the NHSSCA moved away from regional clinics to focus solely on state clinics.  With 22 NHSSCA State clinics in 2023, we were able to serve our members better and provide valuable content and experiences.  We are striving to improve the NHSSCA State Clinic experience for our members. This year, you will notice a different itinerary for state clinics. After each speaker, there will be a 15-minute #FAMILY session where you can discuss and network with other coaches. This decision was based on feedback from our post-clinic surveys that requested more time to interact with clinic attendees.

Strengthening Our Infrastructure

Our focus shifted to infrastructure after the NHSSCA State Clinic season and the launch of the HSSCC and NatCon ‘23.  The NHSSCA is a member-driven organization whose governing documents must reflect a members-first approach.  After the collaboration, the Executive Council rewrote portions of the bylaws to better reflect the members’ first approach.  While rewriting the NHSSCA Bylaws, it was also imperative to rewrite the NHSSCA Leadership Manual, which had not been updated since 2020.  The NHSSCA Leadership Manual clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Council, Regional Directors and Regional Advisory Board, State Directors, and State Advisory Boards.  Redefining roles and responsibilities was paramount to serve our membership better.

In continuing to serve the NHSSCA Membership better, addressing committees was also a priority. The Executive Council wanted the committees to be active within the NHSSCA and for the committee members to understand their roles and responsibilities. Each committee was redefined and given clearer and more direct responsibilities to serve our membership better. Our current committees are:

  • Membership Committee (Mike Winkler – Chair)
  • Marketing Committee (Kevin O’Neill – Chair)
  • Education Committee (Steve Schween – Chair)
  • Unity Committee (Taylor Smith and Lexus Daniels – Co-Chairs)

Commitment to Continuous Learning

In an effort to provide content specific for high school coaches, the Executive Council decided to launch the NHSSCA Podcast and the NHSSCA Roundtable (NHSSCA Members only).  The NHSSCA Podcast is a monthly podcast hosted by Andrew McGhgy from Rochester High School in Illinois.  Each month, Coach McGhgy brings on guests and discusses topics specific to the high school coach. 

The NHSSCA Roundtable is for NHSSCA members and is a ZOOM roundtable hosted by either Brandon Herring (Hewitt-Trussville High School, AL) or Caroline Palmer (Mary Rutan Sports Enhancement, OH).  Each month, Coach Herring and Coach Palmer have a panel of coaches that discusses topics specific to high school coaches.  The NHSSCA Podcast and NHSSCA Roundtable can be accessed through our website.  

NHSSCA’s National Impact and Presence at the National AD Conference

In 2023, the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA) significantly expanded its reach and influence across the United States, a key part of which involved our proactive participation in the National AD Conference in Orlando.

A Strategic Presence at the National AD Conference: In October, a pivotal opportunity arose for the NHSSCA to showcase our commitment and vision as an exhibitor at this prestigious event. In a concerted effort to bridge the gap with high school coaches through key decision-makers, we sent a dedicated team to Orlando. This team, comprising Eric Cash, Mike Bewley, Taylor Smith, and Ron Jankovich, was tasked with establishing meaningful connections with athletic directors nationwide. Their presence was a resounding success, attracting over 30 athletic directors from various states to our booth, all keen to learn more about NHSSCA and our High School Strength Coach Certification (HSSCC). These interactions have laid the groundwork for continued engagement, with our State Directors set to follow up with each athletic director as we move into January.

Showcasing “Transforming High School Athletics”: Central to our efforts at the conference and beyond was the national distribution of our lead capture video, titled “Transforming High School Athletics: HSSCC’s Impact on Strength and Conditioning.” This video is a comprehensive tool for Athletic Directors to discover the revolutionary approach of the NHSSCA in high school athletics, emphasizing the importance of our HSSCC. Our strategic campaign ensured this video reached athletic directors nationwide, providing them with resource-rich informative content, practical tools, and strategic advantages for their athletic programs.

Key Features of Our Video and National Distribution Effort:

  • Widespread Reach: Ensuring every high school could benefit from this resource through a national distribution campaign.
  • Engaging Content: Insight into the latest trends in coach certification and its benefits.
  • Practical Tools and Strategic Advantages: Equipping ADs with the information and tools to advocate for their program’s needs.
  • Support for Decision-Makers: As a persuasive tool in discussions with superintendents and key stakeholders.

As we reflect on the year, our active participation in the National AD Conference and our national video distribution effort stand as a testament to our dedication to education and excellence in high school strength and conditioning. These initiatives mark our ongoing commitment to enhancing the quality of high school sports programs nationwide.

NatCon 2024 Sneak Peek and Future Enhancements

We hope to springboard from 2023 and continue growth as we move into 2024.  Preparations are underway, and NatCon ‘24 at Rock Hill High School in Texas is beginning to take shape.  We are excited to announce Tony Villani as our PreCon presenter and Donnie Maib as our Keynote speaker for NHSSCA Awards Night.  NHSSCA State Clinics are starting soon; information for finalized clinics can be found on the website.  

The HSSCC is a key component of the NHSSCA’s mission to educate, equip, and empower high school coaches.  However, the HSSCC is only one aspect of professional development.  We want to continue to offer professional development content to our members.  Increasing content for our members is a renewed focus. Each state and regional director will submit an article or voice-over presentation for their roles and responsibilities.  We also have video content from NHSSCA Family Days that will begin to appear on the website. 

Starting in January, professional members will have access to our Monday Coaching Corner, held one Monday monthly through ZOOM.  Our first three presenters are Joe Kenn (January), Tony Holler (February), and Tony Villani (March).  The ZOOMs will also be recorded and housed on our website for professional members. As we move into NHSSCA State Clinic season, each State Clinic will be recorded, similar to NatCon ‘23.  NHSSCA State Clinics aims for coaches to hear great content, interact, and discuss with other coaches. To foster this, clinic videos will be delayed on the website.

In our continued effort to grow the NHSSCA, we are expanding our Partner footprint. We will look to add Partners in areas that reflect the current landscape of high school strength & conditioning, all with the goal of growing the NHSSCA and better serving our members.  Partners are a central element at our National Conference each year – through their attendance and participation in the Partner Raffle.  We are privileged to work alongside Partners who understand the importance of the NHSSCA for high school strength & conditioning. The Executive Council emphatically thanks our Partners as they are vital to our organization’s sustainability.

A Call for Continued Engagement

As we start 2024, please know that we will continue to lead the NHSSCA with our members at the forefront of our thoughts and vision. We know there are areas where we need to improve, and we will continue to address those areas and strive to improve all aspects of the NHSSCA to serve high school coaches better. It’s important for all NHSSCA members to know they have a voice and NHSSCA Leadership values and recognizes when issues or concerns may arise.  We continue to ask for members to be involved in the organization. Whether through volunteerism, contributing content, voicing ideas and opinions to leadership, or holding state clinics/family days, the NHSSCA is member-driven and appreciates all members’ input and volunteer service.  We invite you to review these articles and their forms to jump-start the communication with the Executive Council and share your knowledge with our community of high school coaches.

Closing Remarks

In closing, we want to reiterate that the NHSSCA is a membership-driven organization.  Without our members, the NHSSCA would have floundered and failed in our early years.  Our members are the heartbeat of our organization. Thank you for a great 2023. Thank you for your continued membership and support. Thank you for your belief in the NHSSCA and the impact we can have on high school coaches.  Thank you for your patience as we continue to grow the association. Lastly, thank you for making high school strength and conditioning the greatest profession.  By working together, we will only continue to improve our organization and the field of high school strength & conditioning.  

Wishing you and your #Family a happy, safe, and strong New Year. 

Your NHSSCA Execute Council:

Eric Cash
Rich Gray
Garrett Keith
Amanda Berg
Ryan Johnson
Kevin O’Neill

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