Becoming the second elitefts coach to appear on the NSCA's Coaching Podcast since its inception in 2017, Ashley Jones joined NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Caulfield for episode 18. In this podcast, Caulfield and Jones talk about the development of young strength coaches, the reasons strength coaches should train themselves, qualities all coaches needs, and a number of other topics related to the field.

LISTEN: NSCA's Coaching Podcast — Episode 9 with Dr. Bryan Mann

Jones begins by discussing how he started in the strength and conditioning industry, beginning with his 1986 rugby coaching position. In his first position, as a volunteer, he helped primarily with conditioning for rugby and then took his first professional position in 1992 with the Sydney Kings. Several years later he moved back to Rugby league, the professional game in Australia, and then in 1996 he moved to New Zealand, continued to work with a number of rugby teams, and now has landed in France.

Using his background as a template, Jones offers advice for aspiring young coaches, outlining on how they should prepare for the job search. In regard to how to develop as a coach, Jones says that aspiring coaches should first and foremost train themselves. They must put in time under the bar, and through doing so will gain more valuable information than they'll find anywhere else. Secondly, Jones highly prefers coaches who have their own personal competitive experience in powerlifting or weightlifting, as preparing for and taking part in competition teaches many lessons about the rigors and complexity of training.

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Jones also explains his relationship with elitefts and the reasons he finds the open sharing of information so important for coaches. His hope is to help other coaches make fewer mistakes than he did and to use his knowledge to develop better athletes. Additionally, Jones says that the process of writing his thoughts about the industry and how to advance it is cathartic for him; he constantly has ideas, and being able to get them out of his head and share with others provides a sense of fulfillment.

For the remainder of the podcast, Jones and Caulfield discuss a number of topics of importance for strength and conditioning coaches, including building and maintaining a professional network, the quadrant management system, trends in rugby training, unique coaching challenges, and more.


By the minute:

  • (1:10) Professional background, first experience with the NSCA, and building a career
  • (3:48) Recommendations for a young coach who wants to work for a high-level rugby team
  • (5:52) Preparation advice for job searching
  • (8:30) The importance of writing and being connected with elitefts
  • (11:04) How Jones builds and maintains his network
  • (13:45) Process-driven, outcome-based
  • (17:20) Allowing athletes to select exercises
  • (20:50) Typical day in the life of a rugby strength coach
  • (23:30) The qualities Jones looks for when hiring assistant coaches
  • (26:03) Unique challenges of being a professional strength and conditioning coach
  • (29:11) Ways to maintain work-life balance
  • (32:20) Caulfield's three questions for every guest