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How to Approach a Sport Coach about S&C- Part 1

"Tex,

I am meeting with a high school football coach about training the coaches and possibly the football athletes. Do you have any suggestions on how I should approach this: coaching, programming (specifically for football), key educational points.

Your suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated.

-JC"

I received an email from a CrossFit coach who was seeking some advice following reading the 5 Fallacies series on High School S&C.  Like many with whom we interact, he has an opportunity to introduce strength and conditioning to an inexperienced sport coach.  Taking on a new team, no matter the sport or level, is a big career step with high potential.  This subject appears every weekend at our CFFB seminars, is an active topic of discussion on the Power Athlete forum, and has been discussed at length on Power Athlete Radio Episode 43. Increasingly, strength coaches are presenting themselves to sport coaches and teams.  While Power Athlete wants to ensure you are prepared to run the strength program, you must first seize the opportunity to earn the team.

The sport coach and strength coach relationship is an interesting dynamic, especially the first meeting.  Sport coaches who value the weight room’s carryover to performance go all in with their strength coach.  However, this symbiotic relationship doesn’t happen overnight - it must be earned.   Guiding sport coaches without S&C experience to this revelation is a daunting task, but one worth the fight.

Sport coaches and corresponding situations vary.  This article provides an array of approaches to bridge that gap, convey value as a strength and conditioning coach, and subsequently earn respect in the weight room.

img22388536Step 1. Establish Expectations

First, nail down the sport coach's expectations.  Each situations is unique, so the initial meeting is crucial for learning keys to succeed with the athlete or team.  Identify their expectations of a strength and conditioning program, you as a coach, and roadblocks or doubts from their end.  Whether working with a team or on an individual basis, establish the sport coach’s vision for the athlete’s valuable time.

If approached by an individual or small group, reach out to their sport coach. They know the player(s) better, and can help guide performance improvement where it matters most, the field.  Coaches delineate the limitations for each athlete.  Fixing them will identify you as a valuable coach who helped eliminate hindrances upon returning to practice.  For example, if a coach says his linebacker cannot turn and run with tight ends or backs from the backfield, this illuminates limiting factors a one on one assessment will never reveal.  From here, build around these sport-specific limits to improve the athletes’ performance.  Perspective should not be limited to numbers and times.

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Tex McQuilkin
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Tex McQuilkin

Director of Training at Power Athlete
MS, CSCS, SCCC, CHES
Book a consult with me regarding coaching, training, life, education... anything your heart desires. Click below:
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Tex McQuilkin
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3 Responses to How to Approach a Sport Coach about S&C- Part 1

  1. Hey Tex,

    Which plan do I need to have to be able to see the full article?
    ~jj

  2. Great stuff Tex. I have a local collegiate program that had a lot of injuries with their athletes but was very stubborn in their approach to training because they’ve been successful with it in the past. Despite their success, most of their athletes see the same chronic injuries by their 3rd and 4th years. Following some of your recommendations here, we came to a middle ground and I was able to come in a streamline their S&C to a much more simplified and effective regimen which included lots of regression for deficiency and for the athletes to develop better movement and posture. Nothing but positive feedback from the coaches and athletes both. Just getting in the door was the hardest part.

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