A lot of things have changed since I got into this field.

  • Some not so good.
  • Some good.
  • Some very good.

So where are we as an industry in what I’ll call “Coaching” as an umbrella?
The Coaching industry, for purposes of this article will include:

  • Personal Trainers
  • Professional Strength Coaches (private)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coaches (high school, university, pro)
  • Online Fitness Professionals
  • Therapists (PT/AT)

The idea for this article has been in my head for a while, but I decided to write it after attending the N.S.C.A. Massachusetts State Clinic this weekend at Springfield College that was put together by Kristen Ouellette.

The State of the Industry Address
Kevin Cann, my Director of Strength and Conditioning was asked to speak and he gave an OUTSTANDING presentation on the Sheiko Method. Kevin has been training under Boris for about 18 months and has an excellent understanding of the intricacies of the system.
Funny note on the side: I don’t spend a lot of time on college campuses as you may have been able to guess.
We had lunch in the student dining hall and all I saw was what appeared to be children!
I felt like Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School!
Nothing like eating with 600 19-year-olds to make you feel ancient.
Anyway, Kristen put together a wide variety of speakers covering a lot of the industry.
I listened intently to them all, but was really drawn in to the Roundtable panel that consisted of Rebecca Kimball of Wellesley College, Michael Kamal of Merrimack College and Amanda Kimball of UConn.
The speakers did an excellent job of showing the difference in the concerns of coaches at the D-3 level through D-1 level and the associated challenges and issues they need to overcome.
The thing that surprised me was that I didn’t hear anything about actual training of athletes.
It was all about the challenges and issues the coaches face on a day to day basis for the most part.
From athletes to managing field/gym time to dealing with other faculty, their job is hard and they are not as appreciated as they should be.

No, they weren’t negative about any of this, they were very positive, but it showcased what I already knew: that is a job I would not want.
As a matter of fact, I was telling Kevin about this after on the way home; many years ago, a good friend of mine told me he was leaving his position as the S&C coach at a major D-1 Ivy league school.
I asked him if they had a new coach yet and whether or not he thought it was a good step for me to pursue.
I can’t tell you how emphatically he said to stay away.
He told me basically the same things the panel said, but he was much less positive than they were.
I’m glad I took his advice.

All you S&C coaches, I applaud you for the great work you do and the challenges you face that we, in the private sector do not face.
(If you are an athlete at a school with a strength coach, learn to appreciate them. The strength coach is probably the most underappreciated member of your athletic staff.)
Anyway, I digress as I do, it’s the Irish…..

Let’s go over my opinion on the State of the Industry.


State of the Industry Address: The Not So Good

The Internet.
Maybe the worst thing to happen to our field ever.

Look on Instagram or any social media and you will see some awful advice on all aspects of fitness given by totally unqualified people with 1.9 million followers.
Plus, the amount of information on websites is literally inconceivable.

There is information overload.
We need to have the ability to discern the wheat from the chaff, or the shit from the suck, and many people do not know the difference.
There are tons of people who are brilliant marketers but shitty coaches.

Don’t believe me?
Watch a few videos of some BIG NAME celebrity trainers or other fitness personalities.

The State of the Industry Address
I remember seeing a video on Instagram put on by a famous coach where a client was posting to Instagram while “killing it” pushing a PROWLER.
If you were fucking killing it you wouldn’t be able to hold the phone and post on social media.
You’d be straining and you’d have the Prowler Flu after.

State of the Industry Address: The Not So Good Continued:

The lack of strength in programs.
Our job is to get people stronger, leaner and in better shape right?
Sure, that’s a gross oversimplification but simple is good.

You have to grasp simple before you go further.
In the recent past it seems that a lot of people believe that you have to do 40 minutes of mobility, prehab and PT based stuff because you’ll get hurt catastrophically if you don’t.
Don’t load dysfunction, you have to have all of your muscles perfectly aligned to lift, don’t train heavy, and it goes on.
This can be a whole new article alone.
Listen, we are not doctors, we are not PT’s or AT’s.
We are coaches.

We make people strong.
Now, if you read my stuff, you know I am a huge believer in treatment and mobility and proper movement, but it is getting ridiculous.
We don’t practice medicine. We refer to an appropriate professional when needed and let them practice medicine.
Don’t load dysfunction?

Have you ever seen a veteran lifter in the heavier classes squat an empty bar or 135?
It usually is loaded with dysfunction.

The State of the Industry Address


But if you get them to a weight over 70% or so, I ‘ll bet the dysfunction goes away.

We need a certain amount of tension in our muscles and skeletal system or we’ll blow ourselves apart.
If we subscribed to the current theory of many “experts” no one would lift weight.

They’d be doing correctives for an hour to “fix” their dysfunction that isn’t dysfunction at all, rather, a correct protective mechanism so your limbs don’t rip off when your squat is loaded at 700 pounds.
We need some tension and some restriction in our skeletal system to protect us.

We do not need the flexibility of Jean Claud Van Damme.
Let the butthurt comments begin.
Sorry kids, if you subscribe to this philosophy, you and your clients will never get strong.
Specific sports need specific levels of mobility and flexibility. They don’t need more.
Sometimes that flexibility/mobility will not be present unless it is under working conditions.
Now, if you have dysfunction all the time with any weight or movement, that is a different story.
If you are injured, that too is a different story.
Fix it.


Don't get your underpants in a bunch if you are a PT or AT.

What I am saying is that social media is overloaded with posts about correctives and addressing everything.

While this has a place, most do not know how, where or when and the Major in the Minors.


Don't Major in the Minors.


State of the Industry Address: The Not So Good Continued Again:

The lack of teaching by qualified coaches at the University level in S&C programs.
Now I don’t mean that the professors are not qualified to teach the science. I mean the actual hands on teaching of the major lifts.

Is your professor scrawny and has a 100 pound squat?
Maybe you need to take another look at what you are learning.
There are some excellent professors that actually lift!

Ellyn Robinson at Bridgewater comes to mind.
She’s strong as balls and really smart too.

Her students are getting an education in the Science and Practice of teaching people to get strong. Sadly, she is one of the exceptions.
I can’t tell you how many interns I’ve had over the years from University programs that just don’t know how to lift or coach, but do know all the science and administrative work, as well as testing.
You have to know how to lift.
You have to walk the walk.
I wish the professors would bring in more guest presenters to the programs and get the kids in the gym with an actual coach that knows how to teach the intricacies of the lifts, whether they be squat, press and deadlift, or the Olympic lifts.
I have been asked several times over the years to present at some of these programs and I was happy to do it, I also think the students liked it……
Professors, get on the interwebs and find someone near you who knows the details on strength.
Don’t take this as bashing. Rather, a suggestion.
I’d be willing to bet that anyone from this site within an hour’s drive would be honored (myself included) to come to your weight roomand coach your students for a day.

That’s it for Part 1.
In Part 2, I’ll go over the good.

See you next week.
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSMalden



Vincere vel mori