There has been an increase in demand for strength and conditioning coaches in the recent past.
Commercial gyms, collegiate, high schools, and personal fitness gyms are continually looking for professional strength and conditioning coaches to help boost their teams’ performance.
The possibilities you can explore in the industry keep getting better. So, if you are enthusiastic about coaching athletes and deliberating on reinventing yourself, here is a comprehensive guide to how you can get started and steadily rise in your career. Be warned though; the industry is quite competitive. It will help if you work hard.
Personal Traits Ideal for a Strength and Conditioning Coach
Before we get into the education, experience, and certification, you must develop traits that will help you relate with others and improve your performance at the job. The critical personal skills include:
- Communication skills: effective communication enables you to motivate your team to achieve their goals. It goes beyond coaching to relating with other professions in the field and speaking in public. You must be excellent in oral and written communication.
- An eye for detail: Being detailed enables you to handle tasks with precision and accuracy. You can design your programs thoroughly, identify gaps, adjust and implement programs effectively. You can identify challenges in your team and take steps to remedy them in good time.
- Self-starter: self-motivation is paramount in strength coaching. If you can initiate training programs, sustain them, and deliver beyond your job description, you stand out as a competent coach. Your hard work will ultimately bear fruits.
Professional Aspect of Becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach
To become a professional strength and conditioning coach, you must commit time and resources to meet the industry standards. However, once you comply, you’ll be set for an exciting career journey. So, here are the details of what it takes to become a strength and conditioning coach.
Your educational background encompasses your academic qualification and additional career development training that prepares you for a career in strength and conditioning coaching.
Level of Education Required
Ideally, if you are hoping to venture into professional or collegiate strength and conditioning coaching, a degree in a sports science-related field is mandatory. An undergraduate program in sports science-related fields gives you background information on training principles and methodologies.
You’ll have an in-depth understanding of training standards, emerging trends, best practices, and evidence-based training methods. If you are interested in coaching high school teams, then any degree and a certification will suffice.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification
You can apply for a strength and conditioning certification from a reputable certification agency. The process entails studying and passing the exams. If you fail, there is a provision to retake the course.
Tyler Read, a fitness expert and owner of ptpioneer.com, believes that the answer to how to become a strength and conditioning coach lies in choosing a credible certification agency, studying diligently, taking the test, and getting your certification.
He further asserts that you stand to earn more with a certification, and you will be perceived as a trustworthy coach.
Additional Learning Opportunities
It is important to commit to continuous learning by attending conferences, seminars, workshops, short courses, and symposiums. You’ll continually improve your skills and expand your knowledge by learning from others. As you interact with other professionals in these platforms, you get the chance to network and make your name known in the industry.
Membership from Professional Organizations
Joining a strength and conditioning-related association will give you a competitive edge over others. An organization’s membership allows you to attend the industry events at discounted prices. You can also access information on the emerging trends, recent research and employment opportunities through networking.
Practical Experience in the Field
Now, you have the academic qualification. You only need to put the theory you’ve learned into practice. You’ll have diverse options for hands-on experience. Below is a summary of the opportunities you can grab.
Volunteer and Internship
Volunteering and internships give you an opportunity to gain practical experience from a veteran coach.
You can apply for an internship within your college. You can also check different sport-related websites for contact information and reach them via email. Another strategy is to visit the gymnasiums in person and inquire if there are volunteer or internship opportunities.
When you get a chance, you must take it seriously because it’s part of your foundation in the industry. You’ll make a name for yourself, get a referee for future application and add experience to your resume.
Personal Real-Life Experience
You might have noticed that many job vacancies quote ‘previous experience’ as a requirement. From that statistic alone, it is evident that if you have a background in sports, you’ll have a head start in your strength and conditioning career.
Also, you must engage in personal training. You can easily convince others of your coaching expertise if you are in shape yourself.
Apply for Strength and Conditioning Coach Jobs
Each step above is meant to build you into a professional strength and conditioning coach. Thus, your credentials must come out on your application when seeking employment.
You must articulate your education, certification and experience on your resume. Also, comply with the application requirements because that’s where the elimination starts. Remember to be honest about your skills.
When you get an interview, dress the part, exude confidence and communicate clearly. Let the potential employer know that you are the right candidate for the job during the interview. If in a few weeks you haven’t received a response, keep pushing.
Contribute to the Industry
As you grow in your career, there are several things you can do to remain relevant. You can mentor upcoming strength and conditioning coaches, participate in industry-related forums, publish in journals, publications and websites, or present in public forums.
When it is all said and done, the journey continues. As a strength and conditioning coach, you must hone your skills continually to stay relevant. Look for opportunities to grow and network with other coaches in the industry.
Endeavour to achieve excellence in strength and conditioning coaching and your reputation will precede you everywhere you go. Success is sweet, but you have to put in the effort.
Tyler Read is the owner of ptpioneer.com which is a website dedicated to helping people get started in the personal training industry. He helps people discover, study, and pass their fitness exams. Check out his free videos for the latest trends.