By Gregory S. Martin, CSCS, SCCC, USAW
The role of the Strength and Conditioning Coach is more than just deciding whether to place pull-ups before bench press or do crunches with or without a med ball. More elements are involved than just counting repetitions. The responsibility carries more weight. Here is a list of fundamentals that can aid us in being a better coach to our athletes.
1. Motivate – You have to consistently motivate your athletes. Whether it is instilling in them intrinsic methods of motivation or extrinsic methods by positive reinforcement or team competition
2. Anticipate – Changes in a Strength Coaches day is in the fine print of the job description. Class schedules change. Players may not be able to participate in workouts due to injury. Knowing that these changes are possible is to our advantage.
3. Accommodate – When the day doesn’t go as planned, our reaction must be quick. When a greater number of players expected show up to lift, they must be worked in. Hosting camps may throw a curve ball to the daily schedule. How you plan the day will not always be how it turns out.
4. Acclimate – When the day’s plans change, we have to roll with it. There has never been a day when we write a program for a day’s lift where we don’t change something when we look at it a second time. We must adjust to every situation.
5. Communicate – Communication is key; everyone one must be on the same page. The coaching staff, the sports medicine team and the strength staff must be in tune to what is going on with the athletes and have the same goals in mind. Better communication will cultivate better organization.
6. Congratulate – Consistently bring to light positive things that your athletes do to the rest of the team. Make aware the player’s successes in and out of the classroom.
7. Educate – Not only are we there to supervise and teach proper exercise technique, but it is our responsibility to give life instruction. Once athletics are over, these young adults become members of society. We have the opportunity to instill valuable life lessons.
8. Eliminate – Set the tone early. Let the athletes know that the weight room or the practice field is no place for negativity or distraction. When they come to lift or practice, they are on the job and it is time to work.
The duties of the strength coach are much more than what the general population believes it to be. It has been said that a strength coach must be an entrepreneur, a technician and a manager. If we can make better just one of these, our athletes will be the better for it.
Photo Credit: Phil Johnson