In the first installment of How to Approach a Sport Coach, we explored the dynamic relationship between the sport coach and the strength coach. As with most careers, social intelligence is key. To be a successful strength coach, you must effectively communicate, listen and have a handful of ways to say the same thing. The initial meeting with a sport coach is the most opportune time to initiate this dynamic, show off your social intelligence, and establish a mutually beneficial connection.
Coaching is a very rewarding profession, for both sport and strength and conditioning. One of my former colleagues summarized, “Very few other jobs you can take someone where they cannot take themselves.” With this high emotional reward comes a high emotional risk, especially on the strength and conditioning side. Often the greatest obstacle in a strength coach’s efforts comes from the emotional drain experienced in dealing with the resistance from the very sport coaches and administrations they are trying to help.
The principal problem in the S&C arena is the tendency to force regimens onto athletes or teams. Misreading a coach's expectations and the state of the team causes confusion, conflict, and worst of, a missed opportunity to build something in the weightroom. Smoothly navigating these conversations with the sport coach provides more time to focus on investment in the S&C program, implementing programs to address limiting factors, and the ability to help a sport coach build a winning culture. This article builds upon the previous 3 steps established in Part 1, while providing steps for building a dynamic relationship with the sport coach and seizing the opportunity to implement a strength and conditioning program after the initial meeting.
Step 4. Vision and Empathy
Vision and Culture
The expectations established with Step 1 lead to a new opportunity: discussing the coach’s vision, philosophy, and culture. Great leaders have great vision. Vision is a combination of experience, expectation, and commitment to creating a specific environment. Diving deeper than the coach’s expectations, vision has belief and emotion. Stirring the coach’s emotions and getting them to share this vision will allow a connection to their cause and the opportunity to present the benefits a strength and conditioning program provide.
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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.
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