I hope everybody got to take a few days to get outside the gym, and away from the computer and email, and enjoy their holiday weekend. Its Tuesday now and if you are anything like me, you are still trying to digest all that BBQ you ate the last 3-4 days, while we catch up on the content over the last week.
I don’t want to delay you from getting your read on any longer, so please enjoy my third installment!
Last week Coach Ron Mckeefery was kind enough to give me a second of his time to answer a few questions, and this week I asked roughly the same questions to Kevin Vanderbush. Coach Vanderbush has extensive time in the field and the experiences and knowledge to show for it, he has spent over 30 years as the strength and conditioning coach for all sports at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. I had the opportunity to get to see Coach Vanderbush speak at this years Michigan Strength Clinic in Ann Arbor, and it was most definitely a highlight of my clinic experience. I touched on how valuable I feel knowledge you can use the next day at work is last week, and most of what is presented in his answers is practical knowledge of what he knows WORKS.
I feel pretty privileged to have had one of the top strength coaches working at the collegiate and professional level last week, and then get the opportunity to hear from one of the top at the high school level. Working with mostly high school athletes myself, I could relate to a lot of the things the Coach Vanderbush was talking about. His methods come from years of taking the science and putting his own practical touch on it. I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about the high school strength and conditioning position to reach out to Coach Vanderbush. Below is a short Q and A:
1) What is one thing a strength coach must know or learn how to do well, but is not necessarily something taught in an exercise science program curriculum? (Social media, technology, psychology, certain style of lifting, etc.)
I think that the most important thing that a strength coach needs to learn – that is often not addressed in Exercise Science programs – is how to acquire the skills necessary to teach and motivate athletes. The greatest program design in the world means nothing if the coach can’t teach well and get the athletes to buy into the program. It is like having the perfect recipe, but not knowing how to cook. A good strength coach could use many different programs, or work in a variety of facilities with limited or great equipment – and still get their athletes to excel. Once a strength coach has learned the basics of program design and studied the research, a majority of their time should be spent learning sport psychology, coaching methods, motivational skills, and relationship building.
2) Looking at the strength and conditioning programs at the high school level across the country, what needs to be done better?
1. There needs to be more certified strength coaches working with high school athletes. Schools need to realize that having a certified specialist running the strength program is just as important as having a certified individual dealing with athletic injuries.
2. I think that high school athletes work best in a program that is structured and disciplined. High school athletes thrive best when they are given direction vs. sent in a room and told to get a workout done.
3. I think that at the high school level general strength, athleticism and movement skills should be implemented as a part of a school wide strength and conditioning program. A unified approach helps with structure, supervision, credibility of the coaching staffs, and benefits the multi-sport athlete. Sport specificity occurs during practice, and on field/court skill work.
3) Lastly, what is one thing that makes your day as a strength coach easier?
The thing that makes the strength coaching job easiest is knowing that every day you have an opportunity to influence lives. Strength and conditioning programs teach athletes the value of hard work (and how to make hard work fun), how to set and achieve goals, and how to overcome adverse situations and become stronger as a result of having faced adversity. The high school strength coach can become a mentor, adviser, and counselor to young athletes at a very important time in their lives. The strength and conditioning program atmosphere is the ideal setting to reach kids.
Thanks again for Coach Vanderbush taking some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions. Below I have rounded up the best of the best from the previous week. I hope you all enjoy:
US Navy Admiral William McRaven’s Commencement Speech to UT: http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-mcraven-commencement-speech-at-ut-2014-5
Bret Contreras: http://bretcontreras.com/the-glute-ham-tie-in/
Ted Talk: Leaders- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmyZMtPVodo&feature=youtube_gdata
Michael Boyle: http://strengthcoachblog.com/2014/05/19/learning-to-squat/
Last, but certainly not least I want to quickly mention an AMAZING new book that came out called All About Powerlifting, written by Tim Henriques. I know that the sport of powerlifting to most seems like a jumbled mess, but I really think this could be a great resource for a novice lifter looking for a program to begin strength training, all the way up to someone who has been lifting for a long time and is looking to finally compete. I think its awesome that everything is laid out in an easy to read, and there is a little something for everyone. I have got to glance over it a bit, but hope to dive in a little deep this on coming week!
Hope everyone has a STRONG week!