For some reason, there is a large amount of critical dialogue concerning the value of an exercise science degree in the sports performance industry. The question has always weighted the investment vs. benefit ratio of earning a degree to increase employment potential in the field. This scenario begs the question, "Does an exercise science degree increase my chances of pursing a career I love?"
Most of the criticism on a four-year degree in the field comes from multiple sources. Most of the critics either have no experience with higher education in this discipline or happen to be disgruntled that their magic piece of paper hasn't landed them their dream job by themselves. This is not saying that individuals shouldn't be concerned with going into debt to enter a profession that is one of the most difficult to find a job in. Then again, not all exercise science related degrees are the same.
My first exposure to Springfield College was when I took a trip to visit with Springfield grad and head strength and conditioning coach for football at the University of Iowa, Chris Doyle. I spent two days with Chris and his staff and observed the Hawkeyes summer training. Visiting at the same time was Margaret Jones, who headed up the Exercise Science and Strength and Conditioning programs at Springfield College. She was there learning from Chris and observing on of her undergrad interns. It was a glimpse of why Springfield has the reputation it does.
The man who replaced Jones as an Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Studies and Director of Strength and Conditioning has been a friend and mentor to me. Dr. Brian Thompson's leadership is one of the most important factors of Springfield College's ability to have some of the most sought after graduates in the field. Because of the comprehensive curriculum, attention to detail, and the exposure to real-life coaching experiences, Thompson ensures his students and interns are some of the most equipped in the filed. This interview will give you an inside look at how Springfield College has become a strength and conditioning coach factory.
Topics in this Podcast
- How Brian Got Started
- Managing the Duel Role
- The Springfield Curriculum; 3 Major Components
- Key Requirements for Every Student
- Looking in the Mirror
- Advice on Internships
- How Coach Thompson Evaluates Graduate Assistants
- Coach Interactions with Athletes
- The Responsibility of Carrying the Torch
- Coaches Reacting to Criticism
- Scheduling Teams in the Small School Setting
- Traveling to China and Observing Training
- Programing Templates
- What You Should Know by the Time You Earn Your BS
- The Role of Nutrition in Coaches
- Advice for Young Coaches
- How to Reach Dr. Thompson
Brian Thompson, PhD
Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Studies
Director of Strength and Conditioning
Office: ATES 206
Phone: (413) 748-3495
- Advanced Strength and Conditioning
- Strength and Conditioning
- Strength and Conditioning Applications
- Exercise Testing and Prescription for Special Populations
- Stress Management
- Measurement and Evaluation
Brian Thompson is the director of strength and conditioning/head strength and conditioning coach, a professor of exercise science, and the graduate strength and conditioning program director at Springfield College, where he has worked since 1998. In addition to teaching in the applied exercise science program, he is responsible for the strength and conditioning program design and implementation for all 24 teams at Springfield College as well as teaching and advising in the graduate strength and conditioning program. Thompson first started working in the field of strength and conditioning in 1987 and has trained athletes at the elementary school, middle school, high school, collegiate, professional, Paralympic, and Olympic levels. He has presented and/or conducted strength and conditioning related workshops in Australia, China, Mexico, Taiwan and throughout the United States. Thompson received a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Ball State University and a master’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Illinois.
- “Movement Preparation”, BA Thompson, Shandong Sports Bureau, May 30, 2014, Jinan, China.
- “Functional Movement Screening”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 28, 2014, Tianjin, China.
- “Developing Explosive Power”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 28, 2014, Tianjin, China.
- “Breathing Techniques in Strength and Conditioning”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 28, 2014, Tianjin, China
- “Functional Training in Sports”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 27, 2014, Tianjin, China.
- “Individual Differences in Training”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 27, 2014, Tianjin, China.
- “Periodization for Sports”, BA Thompson, Tianjin Sport University, May 26, 2014, Tianjin, China.
- “Strength and Conditioning Roundtable”, BA Thompson, International Performance Training Summit, May 25, 2014, Beijing, China.
- “Developing Strength and Conditioning Professionals – for coaches”, BA Thompson, International Performance Training Summit, May 24, 2014, Beijing, China.
- “Developing Strength and Conditioning Professionals – for athletes”, BA Thompson, International Performance Training Summit, May 24, 2014, Beijing, China.
- “Strength Training for Children” via video, BA Thompson, Institute of Physical Education and Sport in Algeria 1st International Conference, May 11, 2014, University of Khemis Milania, Algeria.
- “Strength and Conditioning”, BA Thompson, STCC Health and Wellness Club, March 7, 2014, Springfield, MA.
- “Upper Body Exercise Physiology”, BA Thompson, USOC Paralympic Summit, February 1, 2014, Champaign, IL.
- “Circuit Training for Wheelchair Athletes”, BA Thompson, USOC Paralympic Summit, February 1, 2014, Champaign, IL.
- “The Paralympic Athlete”, BA Thompson, New England ACSM Annual Fall conference November 15, 2013.
- “Practicum, Internship, & Fieldwork Placement Opportunities in 2014”, BA Thompson, New England ACSM Annual Fall conference November 15, 2013.
- Luk, H.Y., Winter, C., O’Neill, E. & Thompson B.A. The Comparison of Muscle Force Imbalance in Powerlifters and Jumpers. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2013, April 15. [Epub ahead of print]
- Ambekonaker, J.P, Redmond, C.J., Winter, C., Nelson, C., Ambegaonkar, S., Thompson, B. & Guyer, S.G. Ankle Stabilizers Affect Agility but Not Vertical Jump or Dynamic Balance Performance. Foot & Ankle Specialist, December 2011 (4), 354-360.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
- National Athletic Trainers Association
Courtesy Springfield College