Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Become A Great Strength Coach

     Athletic performance coaches are a hot commodity in the sports industry today mainly because this particular type of coach specializes in the development of sport training that will turn a team from good to great.  As high schools and universities buy into and understand the importance of proper training for sport, it becomes more crucial for Strength & Conditioning coaches to enhance their knowledge through certifications, experience, and research. 
     One path that can be taken in order to advance in the athletic performance profession, as mentioned before, is to become certified. According to Schultz (2005), 86.3% of the employers surveyed agreed that earning the National Strength & Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential or the Strength & Conditioning Collegiate Coaches Association (SCCC) certificate greatly increases the individual’s chances of being hired.  These certifications demonstrate professionalism, commitment, and integrity that will separate you from competition.
     As an aspiring strength and conditioning coach, you should strive to become an intern and work toward a graduate assistant position at the university of your choice.  As an intern, this is where you show your head coach how dedicated and committed you are to wanting to be in a higher position.  You will be laboring at an intensive pace, work long hours and learn at the same time throughout your internship; however, in the end it will pay off  if you go above and beyond to impress your head coach.  The graduate assistant job should be your next goal.  At this point you should have a developed resume, program designs, coaching and training philosophies plus whatever you feel will highlight your skills and talents as compared to other potential competitors.  Having internships and Graduate Assistantships are all a part of your professional experience that will help you become a great strength coach.
     Another way to refine your athletic performance skills is to research other athletic performance programs and learn about other coach’s philosophies regarding their athletes. Kim Pinske, assistant strength and conditioning coach at the United States Air Force Academy stated, I believe that the most effective way to advance your knowledge and ability as a coach and educator is to visit and observe other programs and to communicate with other practitioners.  Today, when I find myself busy with the daily routine and grind, I remember the time and patience that other coaches gave to me when I am put in the position to reciprocate with younger professionals (Greener, Peterson & Pinske, 2012).  In addition to this statement, it is essential to keep in good contact with the coaches that you meet and learn from, because in the future they could potentially need someone to hire.   In the athletic performance profession, it is all about who you know --- networking is key.
     Athletic performance is a growing profession that requires potential practitioners to always to study and stay up-to-date with the most current trends to in order to produce better athletes.  For those wanting to become a Strength & Conditioning coach it is imperative that you take advantage of certifications and networking opportunities to enhance your awareness of the athletic performance industry.  Stay informed to continue developing as a coach and to create better athletes.

1 comment:

  1. As an athletic trainer and someone who is becoming more educated of other professions in the world of athletics, I know exactly what you are talking about. This profession is a very time demanding and stressful one where having other people in the business to turn to is very helpful.

    In the professional world today it is all about whom you know and not really what you know. Having worked under athletic trainers who have been in the business for many years helps because they have led me to my current position. I was always told to not burn your bridges because you never know when you may need to turn to that person later on in your career. I have been a witness to this fact for a few years now. Not only will they assist you in obtaining a new position in the field, but they can also be very helpful when you are in a situation that your knowledge gets speed bumped. They can make you learn things you never thought you could.

    Another very good concept you brought up was the importance of certifications. In athletic training as well as strength and conditioning it is vitally important to continue receiving some type of education after graduating from a program (undergraduate or graduate). Obtaining a certification (i.e. Licensed Athletic Trainer, CSCS, SCCC, etc.) is important in landing a position in the career. However, once your career has begun, it should be the athletic trainer or coach’s job to continue to learn about the profession because it is constantly changing. There are many opportunities to receive other specialized certifications that set you apart from all the rest.

    I think that this blog goes deeper into what the profession really entails. It is not only about the game day. It is so much more!