Strength Coach & The Way of the Dinosaur

This piece is a must read for all those interested in coaching athletes. Recently CBS wrote an article on the unregulated world of collegiate strength and conditioning. Let me preface this post by stating that this is not an impulsive post in reaction to this article. (More extensive discussion of this will be on tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go to The issues raised have been a concern of mine for close to thirty years. The article brought to the fore some huge issues facing us today at the high school and collegiate level regarding the lack of professional training and control over what has been traditionally called strength and conditioning. This article underscores and exposes glaring deficiencies in the system. Let me state my bias and point of view up front – I abhor the name/label of strength coach. It is a very limiting title and is a term and a concept from a bygone area when it was just about getting football players big and strong in the weight room but the name goes to the heart of the issue.

The article makes a big issue of certification, once again I will state my point of view upfront. Certification is not the answer. Certification does not equal qualification. Each of the certifications that are considered gold standard are seriously flawed. The two spokespersons for the CSCS Boyd Epley and Jay Hoffman have huge biases, vested interests as well as conflict of interest. The collegiate Strength Coaches is an organization founded by strength coaches (primarily football) who felt their voice was not being heard by NSCA. The name of the organization tells all “Collegiate Strength Coaches.” To earn the label “master strength coach” means nothing more than you have been coaching 12 years. After 12 years of coaching I had no idea yet what I didn’t know.

We need an organization whose mission is to define a profession with certification only one aspect of that. It is 2017 and we have “strength coaches” hurting players in football and imposing a football program on other sports. Where are we going and what are we doing? These organizations have not served us well. I am concerned as a professional who works in this field having come from a sport coaching background in track & field where I did everything necessary to prepare the athlete for competition with strength training a small part of much bigger picture.

Here is an email I received this week from a college swim coach that is typical of what is going on. I receive at least one of these a week in the form of emails or phone calls from swim coaches, tennis coaches, track & field coaches.

“We have a strength and conditioning coach that does one program for all sports. I believe it is mainly designed for football as that is the team that he mainly works with. In my opinion, Swimmers and Divers are a different breed of athlete and although there might be similarities to what we are doing now, I think that we might be missing out on a more sport specific quality workout. The other issue is that my athletes are not buying into the workout currently ‘designed’ for them.”

The so-called professional organizations in my opinion have chosen to ignore this problem. What can we do? I propose that we have a meeting of the minds to put all the issues on the table and seek viable solutions. I would be willing to organize and host this. I have no vested interested as I am not certified by anyone or anybody in strength and conditioning area nor do I intent to found a rival organization or certification program. I also propose we eliminate the term “strength coach “and come up with a title/name that clearly defines what should be done. Lest we forget that words create images and images create action. We must take positive constructive action now for the welfare of the athletes. For more in-depth discussion on this listen to tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go to

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