I got a great question the other day from a student about what to study in college if he wants to be a strength and conditioning coach ? Is it better to be an ATC or simply get a phys ed degree? What is the best education for an aspiring young strength and conditioning coach.
My answer was to get a basic PE degree but, combine it with quality field experiences and lots of self education. Although I was technically in an athletic training program as an undergrad every paper and every project I did related to making me a better coach. I tried to make every class relevant. When I had to do my biomechanics paper I studied the clean. I watched hours of video of the Olympic lifts and read every article I could find. I remember having to convince my professor that lifting a weight off the floor was a complex skill. They wanted us to study things like a baseball swing or a football pass. I made it clear I had no interest. In nutrition I researched steroids. In Exercise Physiology I learned about energy systems for team sports. I didn’t waste any time studying things that didn’t interest me unless I had to to get a grade. Every time I had a choice to make I chose something related to strength and conditioning. If I was smarter, I would have studied self-improvement in psychology class.
The key to education is to make it work for you. You have choices to make. Make the right ones. I lifted weights with the track throwers in my spare time. I competed in powerlifting. Everything I did was moving along the right path. Just remember, what to major in is only step one. There will be many more choices along the way. Ask yourself every time if that choice moves you closer to your goal.
Also, pay attention in anatomy and physics. Everything you do as a strength and conditioning coach will eventually come back to anatomy and physics.