The most important thing I want to express here is that this is the greatest opportunity of my career. There are few available spots to do this: which makes me 1 out of 125 Division Football Head Strength Coaches. You ask any assistant coach what their goal is and it is more than likely to be a head strength coach. Every oneof them has the dedication, intelligence and talent of being able to do my job as well, if not better than I can. This is what I think about every day I come to work and this is why what I am about to say means so much to me.
I essentially want to review what I think were the most important variables I had to focus on in this past year to be successful. I have found that making a transition from assistant to head changes much not only in regards to programming and coaching, but everything else that goes along with being in charge.
Coach Everyday Like this IS NOT Guaranteed:
I remember when my now current boss called and interviewed me. He asked difficult questions and gave no indication that I was a serious candidate. So leaving the interview, I had very little idea of being a head football strength coach was even a possibility. As an assistant coach for over seven years, which may not seem like a lot to most felt like dog years to me. There are not many 50 year olds coaching as assistant strength coaches, so there is a feeling that you are working in a shorter window of opportunity.
He actually called the next day and offered me the job. He asked when I could be there and I said tomorrow! Which meant I had to drive from Atlanta to New York in less than 24 hours and start; my thought being if he had 24 hours + he would change his mind and this dream of mine would be gone. So I got there the very next day at 6am waited around till 7am and showed upat his office to not act over eager.
I remember that feeling of heat, nausea and over-caffeinationvividly! The thought of what I would say to the team the first day is something I envisioned for years; and it was finally here. I was shaking uncontrollably (remember extreme amounts of caffeine mixed with very little sleep from driving the whole night before). I played out what I was going to say the ride up to New York and went over it again and again in my mind. I thought about every rule in “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln” or “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”. I was set on changing the trajectory of this program with the greatest speech ever performed by a strength and conditioning coach!
When the time came and the guys were filing in ready for our first workout, I was silent and patient. I remember my posture and demeanor: friendly and welcoming but reserved and composed. As I watched everyone file in, it dawned on me: I wasn’t brought here to speak; I was brought here to coach. I realized that the greatest impact I could make right now was not with words but with actions. So I threw my speech out the window with 30seconds left to spare and said:
“My name is Coach Caron, I expect you in the attire you are in (which was a team issued workout gear) with your shoes tied, on time, standing behind the line and ready to go. I want 15 Lines of 8-10 guys per line, lets go!”
That was it! The rest was just doing what I have been doing for the previous 7 years as an assistant: Coaching! What was the point of this story: the feeling I felt when I was driving the whole night from Atlanta to New York overnight with no sleep. That is the feeling I summon every day I come to work; that this is not guaranteed and at any moment my boss could change his mind and get one of the thousands of other people he could get at any moment. That’s why I coach like my job is on the line every day.
Be a Lightning Bolt of Change:
Listening to head coaches speak at clinics and conferences, you hear very little about sets, reps, etc; you hear things like culture and motivation. In my heart I will always be that guy that prefers to read nutrition, and strength and conditioning related books. I cannot stand leadership books, I find the subject boring and redundant. However, the truth is, the program I write will always come second to the culture you set for your program.
I have told my staff from day one that we will be a lightning bolt of change. I want unrelenting effort to the development of our team. Our guys will have the best coaching we can possibly give every day in every aspect of strength and conditioning. We will go way above and beyond in terms of preparation, programming/coaching and mentoring/providing extra for our athletes.
Passion and energy is contagious! People gravitate to it and embrace it. Our athletes walk into our weight room and are greeted by a staff that is going to coach every rep with intent to have the best technique and trying to squeeze every bit of potential we can get. In my opinion you can’t coach enough. Every single set, every single drill, every opportunity is going to get a cue or correction. That will be the way as long as I am here.
I’m the lucky one: I had great mentors, which I in turn, am trying to be every day. I don’t think there is a better way to show respect to the people you have worked for and the people that now work for you, than to strive to take on the best characteristics of your mentors.
To this day, I consider Tim Mullen the most selfless and dedicated coach I have met. I was so impressed by his commitment to his athletes and serving others. I have always wanted to be considered that to my athletes and my coaches.
Eric Ciano was the most prepared coach I have ever met. He was never caught off guard and was always in complete control of every situation. I was fortunate to come to the office with him at 430am every morning and observe him prepare for the day by organizing racks by lifting cards, creating coach’s cards for each assistant to understand where they need to be. He is relentless and meticulous in his preparation for his strength program and I am now fortunate to know no other way.
Aaron Ausmus is the best “coach” I have worked under. He gets in front of a group and he can get them to do things they thought were never attainable. He makes drastic changes in technique for the better in seconds. His vision on how to incorporate a program in a way that always had accountability and competition was amazing. I still think of how AA would organize this when I program anything.
The bottom line is although leading a football program is something that I had a hard time envisioning ever happening has come true. I don’t want to forget what it took to get here and plan on coaching on that way. Every day I want to give a ton of effort and when there is doubt, just do what those before me have done. That’s the best way I can describe what this year has been like.
Email Coach Caron: email@example.com
Tim Caron serves as Army’s head football strength and conditioning and came to West Point following three years at the University of Southern California. At USC, Caron was the associate strength and conditioning coach and worked with the football team on nutrition, injury and rehabilitation protocol, preparing players for the NFL Combine and oversaw the intern staff.
Prior to USC, Caron spent three years at Georgia Tech as an assistant strength coach working with the football program, specifically in regards to weight management and shoulder rehabilitation. He also worked with women’s basketball.
Caron served a bevy of internships, first with Velocity Sports Performance and later with Harvard University, Georgia Tech and the University of Mississippi before securing a role at Springfield College with the football, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball and women’s sprinting and jumping programs.
Caron earned his bachelor’s degree in Movement Science and Mathematics from Westfield State College. He secured a master’s of science in Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention from California University of Pennsylvania and master’s of exercise science in Strength and Conditioning from Springfield College.
In my last post, I told you about Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn’s Elite Athletic Development Seminar Series DVD Set. I’ve been diving into it and it’s been AWESOME! These 2 did a great job organizing their philosophies and sharing what they do with their athletes to help get results. I wanted to share some great articles that Mike has put out to really give you some insight into what you will get from these DVD’s.
And be sure to pick up the DVD set
Joe Kenn (NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Mike Robertson are 2 of my colleagues and very well respected coaches in the world!
A few months ago, they put on an exclusive seminar called the Elite Athletic Development Seminar. Over the course of 2 days (15 hours) they pulled back the curtain to show exactly how they write programs and coach their athletes.
The seminar already happened so you can’t sign up for it now, but I wanted to let you know that they recorded that seminar and are making it available
I just started diving into the program but here’s a small sampling in what’s in the course:
- Critical approach to make sure all of your programming bases are covered
- How to develop programs that address multiple physical qualities (i.e. speed, power, strength, conditioning, etc)
- Where most programs fail miserably – and what you can do to avoid it
- A “behind-the-scenes” look at real programs, designed by real coaches, No theory and conjecture here, just the good bad and the ugly behind real world programs
- A step-by-step process on how to build complex programs. Chasing one physical capacity is easy, but how do you address multiple factors without killing your athletes?
- How to organize daily and weekly training sessions for maximum success
- The evolution of Joe Kenn’s Tier System, and how he’s using it today to build elite athletes
- 6 factors for coaching success
If you’re serious about becoming the best coach possible, the Elite Athletic Development seminar is a must-have resource in your collection