Steve Jobs had a saying something to the effect that before you develop the technology, you need to understand the customer experience and work backward from there.
Strength and conditioning coaches could learn from this. Instead of just developing pathways to develop strength and/or physiques, we should try and understand the needs of the athlete to be able to prepare for competition and to compete, FIRST. Yet, it is all to easy to assume that what's in the popular text of the month clearly describes the needs of athletes and training pathways to improve. I've found that quite often these texts are not accurate in understanding the needs of athletes. In fact, I think understanding the needs of athletes, regardless of their sport, is really an experiential process. No two athletes are the same, so to think that a blanket, sterile understanding fits the bill is a big mistake. Without this platform of understanding, getting the strength and conditioning aspect right is highly unlikely. Right meaning that the training evoked change that is pertinent to the actual needs of the athlete, not something implied or ambiguous such as a power-clean PR.
Lastly, to be effective in this regard means that some level of on-going research needs to be performed. Research question: What are the needs of the athlete to train, practice, develop, and compete? What variables do I need to identify? What methods of training? What are the outcomes? How can I ask better questions to foster improvement in athletic function via strength and conditioning modalities rather than JUST improving weight-room function?