I’m publishing this week’s post a little early due to some fast approaching deadlines! I promise next week’s article will contain a discussion on practical application of S&C in high performance sport. As we’re already half way through February, this post serves as a reminder of the article I wrote a few weeks ago on the importance of EXPERIENCE and to say that NOW really is the time to get applying for internships and work experience! Most internships in the UK aren’t advertised because they get so many applicants anyway. I know professional football and rugby clubs will already be thinking about next season. Before I give a few more tips to help you with your applications, I want to highlight a few more upcoming opportunities that will really aid your development.
These are the last few days to sign up for Brendan Chaplin’s Online Strength & Conditioning Conference in May at the discounted price. I honestly believe this is one of the best learning opportunities of the year for anyone who works in sport or is interested in health & fitness. The best thing about this conference is that you can access it anywhere in the world and even if you’re busy at the time, you receive a copy of all the presentations to keep and watch whenever you want. Last year I was away in Cape Town, but still managed to participate in online discussions during some presentations and watched the rest when I returned to the UK. The fact that this conference is online also means that you get a huge line up of awesome coaches presenting at extremely great value for money. I’ve put a list of the presenters and their presentations at the bottom of this article and you can click on the picture above for a link to sign up now. I shouldn’t have to say much more, the content sells itself.
Next up is a FREE course for those of you interested in Sport Informatics and Analytics, from the University of Canberra. This course is really designed for every level of coach, starting with introductory concepts and will move on to more advanced applications with input from several experts in the field. It starts on the 23 of February, is split into 4 modules designed to take 1 week each to complete however you can do this at your own pace, taking as long as your other time constraints allow. Now I’m based in Andorra and choose my own development path, I cry out for guided learning opportunities like this (I’ve always been told your school years are the best years of your life, never thought I’d agree though). Anyway, why wouldn’t you take part in this? Did I mention it’s FREE?!
And here’s another FREE resource! This time it’s a great webinar that I watched recently on Demonstrating Core Values and Clear Purpose In Coaching. This webinar touches on some of the principals I eluded to in my last post through listing some essential reading material which among many important principals, contain methods for defining your core values and purpose in life. However all the material in this webinar is applied directly to coaching with some great content and examples from very successful coaches. It’s definitely worth making time to sit down and watch this for an hour!
As I mentioned most internships that I know of aren’t often advertised, but keep your eyes peeled anyway because there will be a few coming up at this time of year. Here’s a couple that I have seen:
Great opportunities with High Performance Sport New Zealand. Act fast, the deadline is 15/2/2015.
Eric Cressey is coach I follow very closely. I believe he consistently puts out some of the best content on the web, especially around training the shoulder. He runs 3 internship periods throughout the year.
Here’s an opportunity with the United States Olympic Committee.
A huge list of jobs and internships in Collegiate Strength and Conditioning.
I know a few coaches who’ve completed internships or courses with EXOS, formerly Athletes’ Performance. I’ve always heard good things about their process of structuring athletic development so definitely worth looking at.
Mike Boyle, who’s also one of the main presenters in the online conference, offers several internships throughout the year.
Keep an eye on the UKSCA website, unfortunately they don’t update it as often as they should (at the time of posting this, all the job/intern adverts are out of date) however there are often some great opportunities up there.
Universities: As far as I’m aware, pretty much every University (UK/USA/Australia etc.) now offer internships OR at least the opportunity to work with their athletes. For sure supervised internships with directed learning are far more worthwhile, however as I’ve previously mentioned, experience is experience and you’ll gain a lot from coaching anyone!
So, now to stress some simple advice that will help you secure some experience for next season. If you wait until the end of this season, for most clubs, it will be too late. Here’s 3 tips to help you with your application:
Seek out a mentor – The biggest benefit will be the coach you’re working for, not the sport you’re working in. To start with, the majority of aspiring coaches in the UK want to work in rugby (I imagine it’s similar for American Football in the States?). Or at least they did when I was starting out, including myself. There’s a good standard of S&C in professional rugby, a good career if you can get a job and if you’ve ever played then chances are you love the sport. However that means there’s huge competition for places and nowadays there’s plenty more opportunities in other sports. I highly recommend it if you can get one but don’t let the sport limit your options. I completed two and half years of internships working in professional rugby, Lee Eldridge taught me an incredible amount whilst I was at London Welsh, and still through regular conversations continues to influence my development.
Anyway, whilst you’ll learn about daily operations within a club, you’ll learn more diversely applicable knowledge from the coaches you’re working with. Coaching style; personal philosophies regarding programming, exercise selection & periodization; coach-athlete interactions; communication as part of an MDT (multi disciplinary team) are all vital skills that can be applied to any role.
Therefore rather than the sport, I believe if you were to make a list of places you would like to intern, it should be based on what you know and what you have heard about the coach who is working there. Reputations are built on the work that you do, not the sport that you work in. Seek out a coach with a solid reputation and seek to understand why people hold him/her in such high regard.
Who do you know? – Prior to securing my internship at London Irish, I made sure I did everything I could to try and get an opportunity there. Very much following the advice from my previous point, I’d heard a fair bit about the programme at Irish, that Alan Ryan was a top coach who everyone loved and I believed he would make a great mentor. So I asked my head S&C at Welsh and a friend on my MSc course who was an assistant coach there to pass on my details, as well as emailing both Alan and Andre Quin (Head Academy S&C at the time) directly. In the end Alan Ryan rang me to say “I’ve had 3 guys put your CV on my desk now, its about time I called you to discuss being involved next season”. As it happened, a week after starting, Alan moved to Bath and Rob Palmer took control of the S&C department. Personally I am grateful for this as I believe Rob has greatly influenced certain aspects of my coaching, he really proved his value through some tough times at Irish by focusing on what’s important and earning the trust of his athletes. Plus, have you seen the guy lift?! He’s an animal and seriously knows how to get his athletes strong, 3 front row players went from squatting 200-210kg to 250kg in 3 months, in season, not bad if you ask me!
Anyway the point I’m making is who do you know that could possibly help you out? Based on the first point, whom do you know that might know the coaches you’d like to work with? Have you met any coaches that you would like to work under and can you contact them directly? If you’re at university, then what internships do people hold in the years above you? Can you ask them to pass on your details? What connections do your lecturers have? This is in essence the topic of a future post and the importance of networking, as they say, life is all about who you know.
Everyone’s a passionate S&C coach ….. “passionate” is Boring! – Be honest right now, whose CV or cover letter reads somewhere “I’m a passionate S&C coach” or “I’m passionate about S&C/athletic preparation” or basically the word passionate anywhere?
This one’s a favour to me, please don’t write “I’m a passionate S&C coach….blah blah blah”. Don’t get me wrong, I have written that exact thing many times before, there’s even a similar sentence on my home page but the purpose of writing this blog is to use the lessons I’ve learnt from my own mistakes to help you. So let’s presume that everyone not reading this post will write that, the important thing is that you need to stand out, be different! I am only ever happy with a cover letter now if it really portrays that I’m passionate about what I do, without mentioning the word itself or any other synonym. I’ve tried to write the word passionate enough times in this paragraph to show that after reading the word passionate repeatedly, it does not make you feel any more passionate. In fact quite conversely, it becomes boring. Therefore please do me a favour and do not write the word passionate anywhere in your application. Instead, portray why you want to work for your selected coach, why you are the right person for the role, why you believe this is such an important process in your development as a coach, how you will benefit from this experience and what you can bring to the role that puts you ahead of other candidates.
I hope you’ve found this beneficial and you can use these resources to further your development as a coach. As I mentioned at the start of this article, the upcoming Online Strength & Conditioning Conference is in my opinion an absolute must and as you can attend it anywhere in the world, you have no excuses. Here’s the list of the presenters, in case you need any convincing:
The guest of honour: one of the world’s foremost experts in Strength and Conditioning
Director of Education for EXOS
One of the world-leading experts in GPS and performance monitoring
World-class strength and conditioning coach to Olympic athletes
Women’s Head Coach at USA Gymnastics World (previous National Director of Education for the
National Strength and Conditioning Association, Colorado Springs)
Lead sports scientist for world champion boxer Kell Brook, elite boxing coach at Ingle Gym in Sheffield
Senior strength and conditioning coach with the English Institute of Sport and coach with the England Hockey Programme at Bishop Abbey
Writer, athlete and coach (played in All-America baseball team)
Head of Athletic Performance at the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League
Former college strength and conditioning coach (former director of the Total Performance Training Centres in Michigan)
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Glasgow Warriors.
Nationally recognised leader in the area of sports development (awarded “Under Armor Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year” by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Society)
Remember sign up before the 15th February for the discounted price of just £247 +VAT. For more information on all the presenters and to book your place, click here.