Graduate Certificate in High Performance Coaching


The field of High Performance Coaching is a relatively new profession in the United States that is quickly gaining popularity and creating new employment opportunities.  Collegiate and professional teams are hiring High Performance Coaches to optimize athlete development.  The role of the High Performance Coach is to collaborate with other team specialists to enhance the performance of the athlete.  Traditionally, athletes’ consulted with Nutritionists, Sport Psychologists, Sports Medicine personnel, and Strength and Conditioning Coaches independently.  Contemporarily, it has become the role of the High Performance Coach to collaborate with these professionals, collect additional physiological, wellness, and player load data and integrate this information to enhance performance.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants must have completed a four-year Bachelor’s degree.
  • Applicants must be admitted to the University of Kentucky’s Graduate School.

Application Procedures

  • Completion of the Certificate Application Form
    • A personal statement (500 word maximum), explaining why the applicant wishes to pursue the Graduate Certificate in High Performance Coaching
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Application Deadlines: Fall term: July 15; Spring term: November 15
Certificate Application Form


Certificate Standards
  • In order to remain in good standing, the Graduate School requires that a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the set of courses required for completion of the graduate certificate in order to be awarded the certificate.
  • Students are required to take four core KHP classes as requirements for the Certificate, as well as one elective course.
  • Courses taken within two years prior to admission to the certificate can be used in the certificate.
  • The Certificate Director approves the student’s certificate curriculum and informs the Registrar when the certificate is complete and may be awarded.

Certificate Learning Outcomes

  • The certificate requires that students apply physiological principles related to strength and conditioning methodologies.
  • Students completing the certificate will demonstrate the leadership skills required to be an effective High Performance Coach.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze performance metrics to design individualized programs to facilitate recovery and enhance performance.
  • Students will be able to apply psychological principles to optimize athletic performance.



High Performance Coaching Certificate Course Curriculum

The Certificate curriculum is focused on enhancing the students’ understanding of: physiological and applied concepts related to strength training and conditioning; analytical aspects related to physiological readiness and the stress-response to physiological and psychological stimuli; leadership dynamics within an athletic setting; and psychology of athletic performance. Collectively, students will demonstrate a proficiency in these content areas to provide the foundation for career as a High Performance Coach and the following positions: Sports scientist, High Performance Manager, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Professional Coach, Fitness Coach, Rehabilitation Coach, Performance Analyst, Fitness Advisor, and Sports Science Manager.

Core Faculty Affiliated with the High Performance Certificate

Mark Abel, Ph.D., CSCS*D, TSAC*D
Marc Cormier, Ph.D., CC-AASP
Steve Parker, Ed.D.
Justin Nichols, Ed.D.

Mark Abel, Ph.D.
 Marc Cormier, Ph.D.
 Steve Parker, Ed.D.
Justin Nichols, Ed.D.