The Table Supplemental Workbook
“Back in the day when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore but sometimes I still wish I was a kid again.”
As I’m preparing to speak at several upcoming conferences, I’ve been thinking a lot about strength and conditioning as a profession – what we can improve, how we go forward after Covid, and more. But it also got me thinking about how far we’ve come and how we don’t usually give ourselves enough credit.
Many times we talk about how things used to be without really giving any specific examples. I can tell you when I first started as a strength conditioning graduate assistant in 1998 there were only a few things you needed. An alarm clock, stopwatch, whistle, some space outside to run and a weight room.
We didn’t care about what clothes we wore or what the athletes wore and there was a chance we took attendance but it wasn’t a priority. There were no liability forms to fill out before being allowed in the weight room. The athletes showed up when they could based on their schedule and we didn’t have to make sure an athletic trainer was at every single session. Nutrition was whatever food the student athletes could find and the training room had an ice machine (where you made your own ice bags) and maybe hot and cold whirlpool.
I don’t remember any department staff meetings, full staff meetings, or meetings just for the sake of meeting. Strength staff meetings probably happened in a bar or at the head strength coach’s house. We didn’t have 55 different warm-ups to lift weights, in fact, I don’t remember if we even had a warm up for lifting at all. The warm-up used to just start at 135 and work up to your first working set.
As we’ve attempted to improve our processes and procedures to protect ourselves and the entities at which we work, it’s gotten progressively more complicated. There are more rules and regulations, and science and technology has come more into the forefront. Everything we do has to be justified and scientifically based.
As we’ve attempted to make services more equitable (which is a good thing!) it’s created a larger strain on our Human Resources and department resources. Social media has become our primary resource to share and gain information. Today the conferences are a chance to meet IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ to us oldies) the people you’ve already connected with on your phone or computer.
Overall, I’m grateful to have seen the profession grow over the past 20 to 30 years. My advice to all young strength coaches is to enjoy each day being a young strength coach. Because when you’re asked to speak at a conference you’ll have your own stories to tell about back in the day how simple things were. You may even be able to over exaggerate a few of your stories (which I actually didn’t do for this post). Anyways, I love this profession and everyone out there making a difference with our young athletes, so as I’m preparing to speak on the future of the profession, we can’t forget how far we’ve come.