4 Things I learnt in the USA from a nerdy German/Australian strength coach.
**** All opinions are my own ****
I’m a closet geek, admittedly. You might not think it, but believe it.
Since my return back to my country of birth, many people have asked me about the states in a professional sense. I thought I would write a brief round up of 4 things I have taken from my time over in the USA.
1. Everybody pays his or her dues.
· Unless your parents are on the board, you have to work for free at some point in your career. You get paid with experience.
· In Australia it seems a foreign concept, working for free? What no way I would never do that. It might seem in our society everyone expects the right to be paid from the get go, and paid well.
· When you start out, you are at the bottom. There is no lower than where you are, you clean, you watch, you don’t say a word, you’re opinion is invalid. You get respect when you deserve it, when you prove yourself. If you make it past the first phase then things improve for you (many people don’t last a month).
· You get respect when you earn it, from athletes, from coaches and colleagues.
2. They have a system and a great one at that.
· Everyone shows up, everyone trains. If they don’t there’s repercussions. If you’re “not well” the medical team will examine you most of the time they’ll be told to toughen up and get shit done. Simple, none of this "oh I’m a little sore here", "suck is up princess".
· Everything they do in terms of strength & conditioning is systemized.
· The system produces thousands of quality athlete’s year in year out from all the major colleges, and for good reason.
· The programs are planned, structures and have proper periodization., there is no guesswork, there is no ill just do whatever I feel like today. There is no crossfit.
3. The system is cut throat and not for everyone
· If you’re not good enough, you’ll be cut
· If you’re causing trouble, you’ll be cut.
· If you have a bad attitude, you’ll be cut
· There is no entitlement, you represent, you perform, you do everything the right way and you will be rewarded.
4. Strength & Conditioning is a profession, not a hobby.
· Personal trainers are not strength & conditioning coaches, do the study, get the real experience and become one. Don’t market yourself as “helping athletes” when you’ve never trained one and haven’t the slightest clue on how. No a bodybuilding split wont improve your sports performance.
· There is a high bar in the states, one that every single coach needs to pass to be a strength & conditioning coach its called the Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist certification (CSCS). You need a bachelors degree or higher to sit it, you need a 70%+ mark to get it. It covers complex topics including: physiology, biomechanics & nutrition (not taught in 8 weeks). Many great strength coaches take multiple attempts to pass it.
· I’m not having a dig, but the public needs to understand the difference.
· Strength & conditioning is a profession that is taken seriously, there is huge competition for jobs. People devote their entire lives to studying and training.
· What are the current standards in Australia to be a strength & conditioning coach? ASCA Level 2 qualification or Masters in S&C.
The USA was a great experience for me, learning from the best and improving my applied skill set has been the best thing I’ve ever done. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, moving country from a mental and financial standpoint, I learnt, I grew, I became the best coach I can be. I’m back, looking to improve the standard in my hometown Perth, Western Australia. Educating my clients and athletes and how to become the best they can be physically or in their sport. Big things to come, but I can’t give everything away at once now, can I?
Never stop learning, never stop growing, never accept status quo.
Tim Frey MS.c
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