What is the Role of a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

Strength and Conditioning Coach Sean Light Works with Timofey Mozgov of the Lakers Prior to a Game in Dallas

A Strength and Conditioning Coach's job is to improve the performance of an individual. 

I like this definition because it doesn't say anything specific about the activities that you are supposed to do. One of my missions is to expand the lens that Strength Coaches are looking through. I find myself getting irritated when I go on twitter and see the same old deadlift videos and motivational quotes. I want you to be better. I want you to be great. Don't you want to be great? 

Your job is to improve physical performance. How many categories can you list that can contribute to your performance?

Here's a list that I came up with in thirty seconds:

  1. Muscular Strength
  2. Muscular Endurance
  3. Recovery
  4. Gait Mechanics
  5. Exercise Physiology
  6. Nutrition
  7. Neurology
  8. Empathy
  9. Mobility
  10. Psychology
  11. Stress Management
  12. Neurophysiology
  13. Massage Therapy
  14. Injury Prevention
  15. Explosive Strength
  16. Energy Systems
  17. Programming
  18. Weight Room Design
  19. Cueing
  20. Coaching
  21. Building Relationships
  22. Team Building
  23. Rehabilitation
  24. Anatomy
  25. Motivation

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These are just a few and I'm sure someone is out there, reading this list with a skeptic's eye wondering why I didn't include something like foot structure or orthodontics. The point is that there are a lot of things we can do to affect performance. And how many of these things are you at least serviceable in?

Your role as a Strength and Conditioning Coach is not to increase deadlift numbers. You should only increase your athletes' deadlift numbers when it improves their performance. Your role is to improve their performance. This may mean getting into the details of the neocortex. It may mean knowing how to release fascial adhesions or it may mean doing absolutely nothing at all. 

The role of a Strength and Conditioning Coach is to identify the most appropriate goal and improve the parameters that contribute to that goal. I prefer the term "Performance Coach" because it does a better job encompassing what we should be striving for. You are not limited to iron. You are not bounded to mental toughness exercises and you are not imprisoned by the social media rules of acceptable strength and conditioning. 

Make your own list of categories that affect performance and carve out some time every day to start learning and implementing these new concepts. It is your job and responsibility to do so. 

If you are reading this article, you care. Maybe only a little but you care. If you've read this far, you care a little bit more. So if you've come this far, please digest the following message. It is unlikely that the entire strength and conditioning industry will all of a sudden to begin to relentlessly pursue excellence in all of these categories. This brings me to you. Think about the see-saw that you are teetering on at this moment. I actually have a chill going up my spine as I type this. You can lean to your left and join the masses. You can program the same-old, same-old and hope for small to medium career improvements. Or you can do your best squat jump to the right and slam down on the right side of the see-saw and join the few. 

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