My name is Hunter Waldman, a professor and sports nutrition researcher, as well as a Power Athlete Certified Coach. As a professor of exercise science, I’ve overseen the applied exercise physiology concentration for our students wanting to go into the strength and conditioning realm, which led me to the Power Athlete Methodology. For those living under a rock, the Power Athlete Methodology is a curriculum based program for anyone seriously interested in learning about athlete performance. The curriculum includes the training principles and practical approach necessary to developing strength, speed and power in your athletes and was developed by 10 year former NFL veteran, Mr. John Welbourn.
Almost two years ago, I decided to pursue the Power Athlete Methodology course and Certified Coach test. As a professor in academia, I had gathered most certifications deemed “necessary” to be successful, including the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s CSCS with distinction (CSCS*D). While I still appreciate these certificates and what they offered or taught, I always felt that they were missing the application component. I remember thinking it is great I have this information, but what do I do with it or how do I apply it to the real-world setting?
I was being tasked by the university to create a series of strength and conditioning courses which prepared students to become better coaches once they left the college setting with a degree in Exercise Science. We had identified that our students had the book knowledge, but the actual application piece was missing. Much like myself, my own students were missing how to apply the information we were teaching on the white board or in PowerPoints. There was only one certification that I knew existed which required the student to complete an online exam (the book-work), prior to then traveling to Power Athlete Headquarters and testing in front of the actual staff (the application side).
The Power Athlete Certified Coach Test
Building upon the information I learned from the methodology, I traveled to Austin, TX in mid-summer and tested in front of John and the rest of the Power Athlete crew where I received feedback both on my strengths and my weaknesses as a coach. While I did succeed and earn my certification, the information below presents some highlights from that testing weekend that any coach can implement to enhance their own professional skills. In a nutshell, the lens by which I view coaching was widened, drastically, and like my buddy Ben Skutnik stated, “The methodology course is more about teaching coaches to fish, instead of fishing for them.”
Understand Movement → Coach Movement Quality → Movement Application
Reflecting back on that summer weekend of testing, a major piece of the puzzle I was missing as a coach was a framework from which to work from. In the realm of sports, coaching extends far beyond the technical aspects of the game. It requires a profound understanding of athletic movement, which lays the foundation for successful training and performance enhancement. The Power Athlete methodology provides a robust framework for comprehending and implementing primal movement patterns, which serve as a critical tool for enabling coaches to dissect and analyze the intricacies of each player’s physical capabilities.
As a student of the Power Athlete methodology, you’ll develop a framework which will allow you to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and ultimately provide you (ie., the coach), valuable insight that can be utilized to tailor training regimens to each athlete’s unique needs. By understanding the mechanics of movement, coaches can enhance an athlete’s performance, minimize injury, and foster overall athletic development.
Secondly, by completing the Power Athlete methodology, your newly developed framework will allow for effective communication between yourself and your athletes. It establishes a common language (eg., primal movements, x-axis or bilateral hip hinge, etc), and ensures a unified approach towards your athlete’s development and recovery.
Movement quality stands as the cornerstone for effective coaching and remains a foundation for any coach going through the Power Athlete methodology. By prioritizing movement quality, the coach fosters a culture of injury prevention and cultivates a mindset of discipline, dedication, and self-awareness among their athletes.
At Power Athlete, maintaining posture and position is most important. In the methodology course, a coach will learn that we lift weights to, “challenge posture and position through progressive overload of primal movement patterns, and achieve skill transfer from the gym to the field.” Weights should challenge posture and position, not change it. But what exactly is the ideal posture and position for each movement and how should these be coached? These were questions I struggled with prior to enrolling and passing the methodology course. Again, it goes beyond simply knowledge, but also hammers the application side of coaching which is often missed in certifications.
Fast-forward to present day and I am constantly being challenged to keep my blade sharp. Being surrounded by the network of Power Athlete coaches reminds me daily of the commitment I owe to this organization and team of coaches to keep the standard high. As iron sharpens iron, right? If you do successfully pass the methodology course, your lens will be widened as John Durrett would say.
Your graduation from the methodology should come with a sharper understanding of what makes a good program and how to view movement in a way that grants a deeper understanding of its carryover from the gym to the competition field. And if you decide to take on the gauntlet which is the Power Athlete Certified Coach Test in Austin, TX and if you pass, you’ll be surrounded by a network of other coaches who have walked the same path as you previously, and who are all on the same mission of battling the BS observed daily by IG influencers. The coaching test will reveal your biggest weakness in live-time, but you’ll walk away a better coach and the manner in which you once viewed coaching and movement will be improved.
Become a Certified Power Athlete Coach and learn coaching mastery: Enroll Today
- EDU: Power Athlete Methodology
- EDU: Certified Power Athlete Coach
- Podcast: PA Radio Episode 664 – A Coach Needs A Coach
- Blog: The Sacrifices It Takes To Be A Great Coach
Hunter Waldman is a former DII collegiate linebacker who found his passion in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology during his undergraduate years. After working as a Strength and Conditioning coach/personal trainer for several years, Hunter pursued his doctorate in Exercise Physiology while also serving as a Sweat Scientist for the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI) in Florida. Hunter is now a Professor of Exercise Science at the University of North Alabama, Researcher, Director of the Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory, and Power Athlete Block-1 Coach. Hunter's research area is in Nutrition and Metabolic Health/Performance, where his lab is attempting to understand how to increase cell stress resiliency via nutrition, supplements, and exercise.
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