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So… What Do You Do? – Part 2

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So one aspect of moving to a new state, and working at a new job, is making new friends.

Fortunately for me, Massachusetts is a hot bed of strength and conditioning, as there are several handfuls of colleges, private schools, and travel teams of baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and many other sports as well. So, if I say I’m a strength coach, people usually don’t look at me like I have five heads.

Similar to my last post on this topic (So… What Do You Do?), I feel like discussing this subject is important, as this can serve to be a reference for why I do the things that I do, as it is still a very relevant topic, and I feel it is necessary to give an updated topic on what I do as a professional in this industry.

Being a strength coach brings about a sense of mystery to the general public. The profession is still in its infancy, and there are plenty of things to define as far as responsibilities go within the industry.

If I could succinctly define my immediate roles at Cressey Sports Performance, it is to be a presence both on and off the floor for athletes and clients in the form of providing guidance for their fitness and sporting endeavors.

I can’t make a final decision for you, and I can’t put food into your mouth to help you gain weight. I can however, provide guidance on how I believe to best achieve these goals.

For the fitness enthusiasts out there, I like to think of myself as a 90/10 : general/specific preparatory coach for baseball and other sports.

Let’s begin with who I coach.

Who Do You Coach?

Different members of several organizations come in to train at Cressey Sports Performance (Hudson, MA location).

CSP

On a day to day basis, I can work with a member of a professional baseball team, to a high school hockey player, to a multi-sport athlete who is in the beginnings of her softball pre-season, to an executive who is on her lunch break in the middle of the day. So to say I work with only baseball players is a bit of a misunderstanding.

And no, I don’t just train people from the Red Sox organization.

What Do You Do?

Similar to last time, I function within several titles:

  • Performance Coach
  • Assess People
  • Writing Programs

Performance Coach

I like to think of myself as a human performance coach, as the name athlete brings with it several different connotations, whether good or bad. All I know is that I’m not training dogs, or other animals (that is down the hall).

So when it comes to performance – whether you are aiming to simply improve how you function on a day to day basis, or you are aiming to hurdle a fastball from the mound to the plate at 95mph – I’m all about helping you get to your destination. And there are tons of ways to improve performance.

Starting At The End

So upon coming through to our facility, I automatically begin thinking about the end goal of why you are here.

I want to get you where you want to go.

If you are talking to me about beach body stuff, and you are a baseball player, we might need to reevaluate our expectations, as the actions for both will be different than anticipated.

Some smarter people will use the phrase, “Let’s begin at the end.”

This allows us to evaluate a few things:

  1. Timeline
  2. Logistics (travel time, food allocations, other coaches/PTs/etc guidelines)

What an 11 year old should expect out of training might (and should) be different than what a 21 year old who is now a free agent should expect from lifting with us at CSP.

Biomechanical (and neurological) movement patterns need to be developed and reinforced for the 11 year old, while the 21 year old might need to break some new habits, or work around a few non-contact injuries prior to starting his exercise program.

Fitness qualities of strength, speed, and power need to be developed based on the individual’s specific task, not to mention their physical age, training age, and where they want to end up.

Nutrition will lean more on the 21 year old’s independence and ability to cook, while the 11 year old might need more assistance from his elders and guardians/parents in order to facilitate a healthier lifestyle. This is not to mention that the 21 year old will probably encouraged to consume massive amounts of food in the off-season in order to put on weight (before potentially losing it while traveling in his in-season).

Psychologically the 21 year old might have tons of different logistics going on, and will need some guidance on how to overcome these obstacles going into his off-season into his pre-season. The 11 year old will hopefully have not as many obstacles to stress out about.

Assess People

If you’re in the fitness or strength & conditioning industry, this is one of the more “sexy” aspects of being a strength coach. Whether or not you believe in assessments, or whether or not you have the appropriate skill set to approach assessments in an intelligent manner, at some point you will have to admit that you can’t program your clients’ movements blind.

With respect to the integrity of the exercise program, everything comes from the assessment, and after determining where they want to go (ie starting at the end), the exercises will fall in to place for that individual.

Appreciating different ranges of motion, whether actively or passively, is something that can be immediately implemented and accounted for when developing an exercise program.

If you cannot get into certain positions due to joint mobility restrictions, I have to question how and what you are doing from an exercise programming point of view.

So, this is where assessments come into place. Now, I’m not saying you should go get the latest weekend certification, and away you go programming the latest fad of exercises to appease your client base.

I’m of the opinion that there should be an educational tool based off of anatomy and physiology, and a skill set of requisite movements should be adhered to for programming.

You can use the right tool, at the wrong time, and it will certainly be the wrong solution.

However, use the right tool, at the right time, and people will think you’re a magician.

This “magician” like quality often (but not always) involves having years of experience of assessing, and improving and refining your thought process.

Not every new piece of information should or has to be a mind-blowing piece of information.

Investigate claims, learn new ways to view a topic, and aim to refine your toolbox.

Writing Programs

Another way to put this is I take all of the above information (logistics, amount of days you have available to working with us/me, training age, assessment information, etc.) and put it into a working list of exercises aimed at improving various fitness and sporting qualities.

There is a reason for everything.

So whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of hip impingement in your lead leg as you pitch, or you have a lack of shoulder range of motion, there is, fortunately, a method to the madness.

And depending on your specific logistics and what kind of timeline we are dealing with, it’s my goal to pick away at what we need to work on to help improve your performance or desired goals.

Hint: There is more to personal success than the exercise selection on a piece of paper.

Hint: There is more to personal success than the exercise selection on a piece of paper.

If I had a philosophy of throwing things on a wall and seeing what sticks, I wouldn’t feel the need to track down specific items.

However, I’d like to think I’m holding myself to a higher standard, so I’d like to track down different fitness markers alongside all of your other numbers in the gym!

Monitoring Information

One item I’ve been incorporating more and more is monitoring various pieces of information. It is no longer imperative to only view the biomechanical model from an assessment point of view – there are multiple ways physiology can influence how we move on a biomechanical level.

While this endeavor is in its infancy, I’d like to think it will be worthwhile, as it is providing me with some immediate feedback on what is working for my athletes, along with what is not working for my athletes.

“Everyone enjoys talking about their success. No one wants to discuss what didn’t work.”

Some of the information just makes sense.

If you can’t pass an adequate looking overhead squat, then I’m thinking something will happen when you attempt to deadlift.

If you lack ankle mobility, I’m thinking there might be something holding you back when you attempt a stride out when you pitch.

However, some of the other information might require a bigger “lens” for me to view appropriately.

If someone has had braces for 5 years, has a heart rate of 65 bpm after sitting still for 5 minutes, and has sweatier hands than a 14 year old at his first school dance (aka me), then something might be up from a physiological, biomechanical, or neurological level. I’m not sure what, but something tells me this guy won’t be able to deadlift from the floor right out of the gates. I could be wrong though.

I had braces from the 4th grade to 9th grade. I was also very uncoordinated growing up.

I had braces from the 4th grade to 9th grade. I was also very uncoordinated growing up. I turned out alright.

Miscellaneous Stuff

So as you can see, there are lots of tangibles and intangibles when it comes to the title of a “strength coach.” Managing personalities and lifestyles is a great way to put it, and it is something that I do on top of attempting to maintain a lifestyle of my own.

Writing & Social Media

I’m also a blogger (you’re obviously reading this right now on my blog!), online writer and contributor for various publications (check out my Press page), along with hosting various videos on several different social media platforms.

YouTube

  Twitter @MiggsyBogues

 

Further, I’m also focused on developing my dance training company Enhance2Dance, training to compete in powerlifting, keep up with bboying moves every once in a while, alongside reading multiple books to stay on top of that competitive edge.  
 

So all in all, I’m busy to say the least! 🙂

As always,

Keep it funky.

MAsymbollogo