Nothing beats experience. I know young strength coaches don’t want to hear this because I felt the same way when I was a young strength coach!!! I always felt that I could do the job above mine because i was well read and had all these certifications that made me feel special. The reality is you are never prepared for the job above you until you have walked a mile in that new role. That’s not to say that all experienced strength coaches are good or better than young strength coaches but experience allows you to have history on your side. Experienced strength coaches have seen fads/trends come and go not to mention numerous opportunities to fail with program design, coaching, and leading athletes. I love the phrase, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” because you really never know what piece of information you are missing until you discover that hidden gem. Even at nine seasons as an NBA strength coach i could read something tomorrow that could change my whole outlook. I may think that i could be an NFL Strength Coach but i have never worked in the NFL…I don’t know the schedule, the unspoken rules/traditions or even what the Head Coach/GM/Player/Agent expects. My 15 years experience as a Strength Coach would shorten the learning curve but there would still be a learning curve during the transition. I would probably learn that what works in the NBA does not work so well in the NFL.
Each job change allows you to reinvent yourself as a strength coach. Every weight room is unique, as is every athletic department, head coach, and weight room. All of those things force you to adapt and grow which is what adds to your experience. Some of you may think that I’m a miserable old strength coach when I shoot down internet gurus or different topics but it is because my experience reading, coaching, failing and refining many times over has given me a pretty good bullshit meter. I find it very frustrating when somebody tells me that I should be following a certain routine or exercise, or telling me how I should be doing my job when in actuality they have no idea what my job even entails or what I do on a daily basis. Stay in your lane people! Unfortunately, I was one of those young dudes that had “all the answers” mocking programs and people but luckily I didn’t have a platform to make an ass out of myself.
You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth so that we can watch and listen more than we speak so before you proclaim yourself as the smartest Strength Coach/Personal Trainer watch and listen to people that have been in the trenches honing their craft for years before you dismiss their program. Our egos get the best of us and we want to proclaim our greatness however I hope we can all hold off.
If you’re at all like me, your lower body workout programs cannot result in any knee pain for your athletes, period. Check out my 3 keys to writing a great lower body workout program that prevents knee pain. Click to read the rest
Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, is a tremendous hit amongst many readers. It’s been useful for business leaders, teachers, coaches and even athletes. Gladwell tells stories and gives examples of how the great become great. The 10,000 hour rule is part of the equation along with purposeful practice, but another key point he discusses is the timing and “hotbed” areas that successful are developed in. (If you haven’t read the book, pick it up NOW!)
I’ve told interns, assistants and colleagues of how I knew I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach since I was a senior in High School. I attended the University of Connecticut and went directly to the Varsity weight room to speak with the coaches and let them know my goals and wanted their advice on how to achieve them. They fortunately took me on as a observer, that progressed to a volunteer , a student-assistant strength and conditioning coach, and ultimately a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach. Through my time at UCONN, I was guided, mentored, and helped some very successful strength and conditioning coaches. Jerry Martin has been a constant at UCONN and I am forever grateful that he allowed me to “cut my teeth” in his weight room. Other coaches that were there during my time, were Andrea Hudy (Assistant AD, Head S/C Coach, University of Kansas) and Teena Murray (Director of S/C, Olympic Sports, University of Louisville). These are 2 of the BEST female coaches in the business. They were outstanding floor coaches, and motivated their student-athletes to be the best they could be. Another coach that was there, ended up becoming a good friend and fellow contributor to this site, Shawn Windle (Indiana Pacers). Other classmates that were there during my time have become very good coaches as well, Moe Butler (UCONN), Pat Dixon (St. Johns) and Matt Herhal (Columbia University). I was also fortunate to intern with Mike Boyle and Walter Norton where I also worked closely with Mike Potenza (San Jose Sharks). All 3 of these coaches are people I consider friends and mentors. I also had another internship stop at Holy Cross with Jeff Oliver, where I become good friend with John Pallof, who is one of the BEST Physical Therapists in the country.
My point in this post isn’t to name drop or let you know who I know. My point is that my experiences have shaped the coach I have become – and namely the people that I had the opportunity to work with and learn from. I would not be in the position that I currently am without them. They allowed me “in” and took their own time to help me. That is something that I am forever grateful for and continue to pay it forward to those that intern and work with me.
As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take give credit to those who have helped me and also thank all of our readers. We have a passion to teach and learn and use this website as an avenue to help others become better. Best of luck to everybody in 2014!