One thing about the weight room, it will show who has heart.
And behind every great program is an elite strength and conditioning coach who pushes athletes to the test.
But, when most think of strength and conditioning (S & C) coaches, they solely refer to the physical aspect of an athlete. However, like most, their role also comes with unwritten responsibilities. Through training, S & C coaches are simultaneously helping athletes buy into the team culture, develop positive team habits, and illuminate life principles.
As we think of the student-athlete ecosystem, S & C coaches play a vital role -beyond the weight room.
While strength and conditioning coaches train their athletes, they also notice team dynamics and cultures. For example, they can identify the encouragers/leaders, the selfish players, and the players who give up quickly.
You know the videos that float around with athletes lifting weights and an army of their teammates surrounding them cheering them on? Well, whether they realize it or not, athletes are learning a life lesson in these moments -it's OK to cheer for others.
During these times, athletes also encourage each other not to give up, giving them a competitive edge and a feeling of an "I've got your back" spirit.
And what happens when everyone buys into the culture?
Check out this viral clip that caught the attention of millions, 5 seconds displaying the ultimate act of leadership and encouragement from a teammate.
Team culture is established by the coach, but it's built in the weight room.
S & C coaches often connect how personal actions and decisions can positively or negatively impact desired results in and out of sport.
On the field or in the weight room, huddle talks are a fan favorite because they have a unique way of motivating, educating, and transforming athletes through words.
Here are some common principles learned through huddle talks.
Team Unity: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". The mindset of every player switches from I to We.
Facing Adversity: Control what you can control. Sometimes things just don't go your way. How will you react to unexpected L's?
Self-Awareness: Character is everything. Who are you when no one is looking?
We can only hope athletes take a mental note and apply the lessons between team huddles, one-on-ones, and game-day speeches.
There are many moving parts in the student-athlete ecosystem. Still, there's no doubt strength and conditioning coaches are also at the core.