Sunday, June 5, 2016

Strength Coaching 101: A Guide for Young Strength Coaches (What to Expect from a Strength & Conditioning internship Pt I.)

My name is intern.png
So you are getting ready to start your internship as a strength and conditioning coach?  No matter where you are in your coaching career any new internship can and will have many challenges. After several years as a student coach of football and as an intern in strength and conditioning I have learned a few things.  Over the next few blogs I will highlight some things to look forward to, and be prepared for, as you begin your Strength and Conditioning internship.
Keep calm superintern.png1. Accept that you do not know everything. As a matter of fact, if you are just starting out, you know relatively little compared to what you will know in a year’s time. With that in mind, embrace this great opportunity as exactly what it is. As with any internship, this is a learning opportunity to further your knowledge in strength and conditioning. Everywhere you go, there will be different coaching styles, cues used, and athletes to be dealt with. Use these differences to learn and develop your coaching style.1 Take every opportunity to pick another coach’s brain to see what they can teach you. Other interns are often your best allies to improve yourself. They are in the same boat as you in trying to better themselves with this internship. They will have things that you can learn from, and you will have things that you can teach them.
2.      Step outside of what you know. Every coach has their niche, and it is in your best interest to find yours early on in your career and refine it. With that being said, it is also in your best interest to soak up every bit of information you can while you are doing your internship. You may be a football-minded strength coach, and eventually be the best football strength coach ever known and develop programs everyone wants to implement, but at this time you are just an intern. You must refine other skills to become even better at what you are best at. Learn what the basketball teams are doing, ask why certain methods are being used with baseball and not with softball. Go into every day with the purpose of learning something new.2 It is amazing how much you can learn just by observing and asking.
Coach.jpeg3.      It’s time to let go of your playing career. No one cares that you were an all-conference athlete your junior and senior year. Those years are behind you. Yes, they may have molded you and turned you into the coach you are now, but if you feel the need to bring it up every day, or week, the athletes will get tired of hearing about how “great” you were.3 All that matters now is your ability to coach and improve the athletes you work with. All your years of playing and being a great athlete don’t mean anything if you can not take the abilities you developed as an athlete and use them in your coaching. Once athletes see you as a coach, and not just another athlete past their playing career, the amount respect you will gain from them will be astonishing. They understand that you went through the same things they are going through right now, and will trust you if you tell them push just a little harder, complete one more rep, or add five more pounds. Athletes understand athletes, but they understand coaches first.

Next blog will continue with three more points about how to get the most out of your internship. I hope this has helped you prepare for your next step to being the best strength coach possible.

1Bruno, B. (2012, August 6). Tips For Your Strength and Conditioning Internship. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from
2Martin, T. (2015, May 16). What to Expect as a Strength and Conditioning Intern. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from
3Schumacher, E. (2011). Internships From An Intern’s Perspective. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from


  1. You touched on some key points. Going from athlete to coach is a more rigorous process than some may expect. As an athlete you think you know everything, but the moment you start coaching with some of the smartest individuals you've been around, you realize that you know nothing. Looking forward to reading the other blogs. Great post!

  2. It really is important to embrace the opportunity that you have been given. The information that is directed to you on a daily basis as an intern can help enormously. Athletes do get tired of hearing that kind of stuff.