Take a look at a typical NCAA weight room and you’ll see first hand the coaching carousal. The phenomenon isn’t unique to universities; you often see young coaches across the world changing job every few years in an attempt to fast track career development. Zack Nielsen might be young, but he’s learned the value of a different path: the value of staying put. As head strength coach for Olympic sports at Eastern Washington University, he joins to the podcast to talk about the value of staying put in career (and life) development.
Notes and quotes
Zack Nielsen has been the director of athletic performance for Olympic sports at Eastern Washington University since 2017. He is responsible for the design and implementation of comprehensive strength and conditioning plans for Eastern’s women’s basketball, soccer and jumpers in track and field. He also assists with the football program. A former standout thrower on the EWU track team, he also holds a master’s degree in health and human performance from Northwestern State.
- 3:00 – Learning the value of staying put: “It takes time to build that trust and those relationships and if I jump ship every couple of years those relationships are never built and I am simply just chasing a logo or bigger salary. “
- 10:00 – How to get better as a coach: “Find a situation that allows you to grow without moving to a new job. There is no bette way to learn than being the captain of your own ship. “
- 12:30 – Learning whether you are a good coach and watching athletes grow.
- 16:15 – Being a big fish in a small pond.
- 18:30 – Brining a throws background to strength coaching.
- 21:45 – Learning about and coaching sprint mechanics as a strength coach. “Learning about sprinting helps me understand how it feels for an athlete and how it affects their lifting. “
- 27:30 – Coaching details in large groups.
- 30:30 – Learning from speed schools vs. sprint coaches.
- 33:15 – Working with coaches who don’t communicate. “If the sport coach doesn’t communicate, I’d rather under train them and let the sport pick up the volume. You don’t want to be flying into a corner without knowing what’s around the bend. “
- 38:30 – Balancing on field and off-field training.
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The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- You can get in touch with Nielsen and follow him on Twitter (@strengthzack) and Instagram (@strengthzack). You can also find out more about his background on the EWU homepage.
- Nielsen regularly writes for TeamBuildr. We discussed his article “Fighting the Career Ladder: The Value of Staying Put.” You can see a list of all of his articles here.