So You Want to Be A Collegiate Strength Coach: The Pros

TAGS: collegiate strength and conditoning, work, Job, strength and conditioning, coaching, sports, strength training, strength coach, training, Jeremy Frey

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A while back, I wrote a piece about being a collegiate strength coach. Even as I wrote it, I realized it was focused on the untold truths about how shitty the job can be. Well, I believe anyone can find the negatives to any job out there.

The reason I wrote the first piece is there are individuals who romanticize this job and don’t really know what they are getting into. I work with these individuals yearly as interns, GAs, volunteers, etc. They find out real quick if they are up to the task or not. But there are a lot of upsides to being a collegiate strength coach.


RECENT: Stop Compensating Early


1. You get a chance to impact young lives.

Working with the athletes is by far the biggest positive I get out of doing this job. I get to watch them succeed not only with performance training but on the field as well. You get the opportunity to build a solid working relationship and watch them grow over a two- to five-year period.

Depending on how involved you are at practices, you are the coach they see most of the year, and our position can impact them the most. We are the ones tasked with keeping them injury-free and giving them the tools to become better athletes.

You also get to know them on a personal level. Now, I keep a huge black line drawn when it comes to the coach-athlete relationship. They know we are not friends, but the respect level you can cultivate between one another allows for a much stronger connection. With a stronger trust, you can go a lot further with programming and performance.

2. You are not stuck behind a desk all day.

I really don’t know how people do it, but I cannot sit at a desk all day. I mean, I know Facebook and Netflix can fill their days, but being able to move around and coach what I grew up loving is pretty awesome.

Where I am, we have multiple facilities, and I train the majority of teams. I am constantly moving around campus. It can suck at times, but a change of environment is always good. My office doesn’t have a window to the outside, so seeing the sun every so often helps my internal clock and sanity.

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3. There are multiple ways to get from Point A to Point B.

Now, the shortest direction from one point to another is a straight line, but it’s nice to take the scenic route occasionally. There are many ways to approach programming depending upon the population you are working with. If the coaches let you do what you know, then you can get creative and keep not only the athletes happy but yourself as well.

I try to change what we do as often as I can but only to a point. I will never do something that will not result in a positive action, but if there is something that we haven’t done or the athletes give feedback and want to incorporate something new, I’m usually open to it as long as it doesn’t interfere with the overall plan.

4.  There are lots of networking opportunities.

There is a vast network for strength professionals out there, and the majority are usually willing to share what they do, how they do it, and offer round table discussions. Networking is how you get jobs, period.

With all the conferences that happen within our profession, you can constantly meet new individuals from all across the spectrum of occupation and levels of play. Remember: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.


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5.  The gear is great.

No, I’m not talking about squat suits, knee sleeves, or belts. I’m talking about shoes, shirts, shorts, and sweats. Hey, it’s a perk.

Most coaches are really good about getting their strength coaches shirts and gear. As the director, I always make sure my assistants are hooked up with clothing to do their jobs and look good doing them. You also can get access to free samples more often with vendors trying to get their stuff in the door. It’s not the reason for doing the job, but believe me, it’s nice!

6. You get to travel.

This doesn’t happen at every job but I can say that I appreciate being able to travel when I could. I’ve been to Oregon, the Kentucky Derby racetrack for dinner, the Sports Hall of Fame, and big Division I stadiums and facilities.

I’ve traveled to way too many places to talk about, and for some, that’s normal. I hadn’t experienced that before I got where I did, and I still do not experience what other big schools do, but I do appreciate getting to do what I have been able to do.

Truly, getting to work with the athletes is why I do what I do. I enjoy watching their progress over a four-year period and seeing them succeed. There are ups and downs to every job that you do. You just hope that the good things outweigh the bad.

Part 1: Steps to Earning Your First Coaching Job

Part 2:  Untold Truths of the Job

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