Are you working at a Performance Facility and having trouble getting a position as a College or Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach? I get asked weekly by former interns and young professionals why they are having trouble getting those jobs. As someone who employees College Strength and Conditioning Coaches I would like to offer my opinion. Here are 5 reasons why you are having trouble:
1. Easy Street – For some employers they may view you as having taken the “easy street” by not going through the fire of interning or becoming a GA. Even though no one can fault you for having to find a paying job to support your family there are plenty of coaches that traveled the country taking non paid internship after non paid internship to get to their current position. If you did intern and GA, then it begs the question why did you not get hired by someone? Were you hungry enough to do enough networking, etc.
2. Credibility – It must be believable for you to be working there. The head coach on down has to be able to sell why you were the best individual for the job versus everyone else that applies. There is no shortage of coaches looking for these positions. Most have coaches on other staffs vouching for them. When stacked up against those recommendations and a similar work experience it makes it tough to sell that hire. Even though the hire is left up to the Head Strength Coach they have an obligation to make it a easy sell for the administration and other coaches.
3. Clientele – Here is where it gets tough. You are probably reading this and can name some professional athlete that you are currently training making the argument that you are working with a higher caliber athlete. For some of you working in high traffic performance facilities you will work with phenomenal athletes, however for most a bulk of the clientele is youth sports. Additionally, the athletes you are dealing with are paying for your service and want to make sure they get their moneys worth. A majority of college/pro athletes were the best at their sport without having touched a weight or ran a cone drill. They don’t always understand the need or benefit of training. You must be able to motivate that clientele and do so in a team setting. Without knowing for sure if you can operate in that environment it makes it tough to hire you.
4. Role – The role of a collegiate or professional strength coach is much more than the one or two hours we spend with the athletes each day. I often tell our staff that the athletes have 22 hours to mess up everything we accomplished in that two hours, so we must be involved. As a strength coach you spend more time with the athletes than any other member of the staff. You become a mentor, friend, confidant, counselor, etc. You must have demonstrated that you have done this. It is the most important part of our job.
5. Hours – As much as I would like to say this is a 40 hour week job, the reality is that it is not even close. Being a strength and conditioning coach is a lifestyle not a job. You must enjoy everything about it. It takes a lot of investment into these athletes to have them trust you. There are limited holidays, sick days, and vacations. If you have not made this type of commitment before it is the hardest thing to get use to and understand.
Understanding what the obstacles are arms you with the information you need to be able to address those concerns. Are there any other obstacles you have faced?