6 Things Absolutely Everyone Can Learn From Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Header Photo Credit:  The Columbus Dispatch, Adam Cairns/AP Photo

I've only got a few minutes to sit down and write, so let's have a little fun.

Here are 6 things everyone can and should learn from strength and conditioning coaches.  They are in no particular order, and can be applied to practically everything:

The Importance of Models

Unfortunately, when I say models I’m not referring to Marissa Miller (aka my unicorn).

Rather, I’m referring to a model that allows us to create a criteria by which we judge other people.

Without these models in place, we have no idea where a person stands or what he or she needs to work on.

For example, if you look back at some older Russian manuals they kept outrageous amounts of data and had models for just about everything.  They knew exactly what a person needed to be able to do in a, b and c in order to accomplish f.

Also, models help us work towards mastery.  Once you have a model of mastery, you merely must determine the individual pieces that have attributed to its state of mastery, and once you have the pieces, you can begin focusing on developing those traits in other people.

Takeaway:  Pick someone that truly excels at what you want to do, figure out why they have been successful, and then model yourself after that within reason (you'll obviously still need to bring your own flare to the table).


Any good strength and conditioning coach knows each person walking through his or her door is different.  Thus, we have to thoroughly assess each person if we hope to provide them with a good program.  If not, we will blindly be throwing exercises at him or her and hoping they work.

Takeaway:  Don’t ever go into something without doing your forward scouting.



Timing is everything in our business.  It’s all about providing the right stimulus at the right time.  Once we have properly assessed someone, we must make decisions on exercise selection.  If I give someone something they aren’t prepared for, I’m merely setting them up for failure.

If I give someone the appropriate challenge, on the other hand, I set them up for success and positive adaptation.  Once they have mastered that, I then provide them with the next progression in order to encourage continued positive adaptation.

Takeaway:  Don’t throw people under the bus by giving them things they aren’t prepared to handle.  Have a system of progressions and regressions in place, so you can adequately develop people.


Work On Weak Links

Performance enhancement is all about bringing up weak points.  If every piece of my body can deadlift 600 lbs, but my hamstrings can only deadlift 315lbs, what do you think I’ll deadlift?

My money is on 315.

If I want my deadlift to improve, I need to focus on my weakest link and bring that up to par.

Takeaway:  Give yourself an honest evaluation, and if you can’t, ask someone you trust to do it for you.  Find something you suck at or something holding you back, and work on it till it’s no longer a weak point.  Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.


Strength and conditioning coaches are hardly ever given the time they want and/or need to properly develop an athlete.  Rather, we usually have someone come to us and say, “Hey I have 8 weeks before my next season starts.  Make me a stud and fix all my problems.”  This is always fun and proves to be a mighty challenge.

If I don’t come through, I can guarantee I’ve lost his or her business and they will not refer other people to come train with me.  This means I need to be incredibly efficient.  I have to know what works when, and how fast it works.  If not, I’ll be unemployed.

Takeaway:  Constantly be prepared for new and demanding challenges.  Don’t ever put yourself in a position to fail because you lack the adequate knowledge to deliver results quickly.

How to Take a Man Down

This speaks for itself, and is fantastic:

What good stuff did I leave off the list?  Drop some comments below and let me know.