T Nation

How to Become the Best Strength Coach?


#1

Hi, my goal is to be a strength coach one day and I would just like to know what you did to become a top coach such as to what to study in college, certifications, what books you read, how you first started, seminars you went to, research study websites you view or anything else that helped you become one of the best. Thanks CT!


#2

[quote]seank22 wrote:
Hi, my goal is to be a strength coach one day and I would just like to know what you did to become a top coach such as to what to study in college, certifications, what books you read, how you first started, seminars you went to, research study websites you view or anything else that helped you become one of the best. Thanks CT![/quote]

Honestly the thing that helped me the most was a combination of having very poor athletic abilities to start with and really wanting to be a good athlete.

I started training when I was 11 years old; doing push ups and sit-ups every day and doing ski squats/wall squats during the commercials of the TV show I watched.

At 12 I started lifting weights because I wanted to play football but was slow and weak. For 2 years all I did was train legs (seriously) every evening I would do hack squats, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, lunges and sometimes squats. Eventually when I was 14 it became a whole body training … I would do my upper body at home before going to school and lower body at the school’s gym in the evening (or at noon if I had football practices). At 15 I read Bill Pearl and Arnold’s book (which is no small feat since I didn’t speak much English at the time and these books were over 500 pages each).

At 18 I started to research advanced training method to still get an edge since college players were much bigger than I was. I stopped playing at 20 and immediately switched to training for Olympic lifting, which I did for 6 years. During that time I read everything I could about the Russian system, Bulgarian system, etc.

I also began to work with my first mentor who was training a lot of football and hockey players. He was a research freak but was very old school and the internet was just beginning and he didn’t know anything about it. My job was to find every possibly interesting article on the internet… scientific paper, training programs, articles, etc. I must have printed out over 3000 pages and read them all. The funny thing is that the authors I learned the most from where Charles Staley, Charles Poliquin and Fred Hatfield… and I got a chance to work with all three later on.

I bought pretty much every book written about training. My only regret is that when I moved back from St-Louis to Canada to get married I was such in a hurry to leave that I left all my books behind.

But honestly I learned the most from having to train hard to get even the smallest gains… always looking for ways to improve my training.

While I did learn from my college studies in kinesiology and the seminars I went to, I learned a heckuva lot more from training with super strong people. I had the chance to train alongside some amazing powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongman competitors and weightlifters. I learned much more from them than from any seminar, university class or book. And not many of these guys were schooled in training. They just were passionate about it and did everything possible to get better.

Personally I believe that if you want to learn to please a woman sexually you should ask someone who had sex with 300 women, not someone who is a virgin but watched hundreds of porn movies.

A college degree is fine because it will help you get a job, get your foot in the door. Seminar as nice to make contacts and to learn a few tips but those who go to seminars tend to be “seduced” by the orator and accept everything they ear without question.

To be a good strength coach you need experience both as a coach and in the trenches… NOBODY is a great (or even good) strength coach without experience… NOBODY. Some think they are because they can quote any training book written, but I’m yet to see someone impress me actually training people if they don’t already have a lot of experience.


#3

This helps a lot, thanks CT! Another question I have is how did you get familiar with prescribing percentages with a certain amount of reps and then know how to slowly increase percentages through a training cycle?