In This Issue:
CSCCa 2021 Conference
The Event We've Waiting 2 Years For!
Dynamic Fitness & Strength to Sponsor and Attend CSCCa Conference
That’s right, the CSCCa Conference is on, and Dynamic Fitness and Strength will be there! Our team is super excited to return to this event after having such an amazing time at the 2019 Conference. We’re thrilled to see this event return and can’t wait to see you there.
We’ll have some of our best equipment on display and ready for you to try out. Talk with our team about your strength and conditioning program, give us feedback on Dynamic equipment and let us know how we can back you up and support you and your athletes on a championship run.
Make sure to say “hey” to Coach Kenn, Carlo Alvarez, Craig Sowers and other members of our team. You also won’t want to miss Joe’s presentation on Thursday, May 6th at 9:50am. His topic is: 10 Career Lessons of a Veteran Strength Coach.
We’d love to know if you’re attending and if there’s anything in particular you would like to talk with us about. We’ll have a great gift waiting for you, so click here to let us know!
Dynamic Fitness & Strength Sponsors Barbell Life Podcast
Dynamic Fitness & Strength is thrilled to be a sponsor of Travis Mash’s Barbell Life podcast, which as of this article has over 350 episodes that dive deep into all levels of strength training. Travis has welcomed some of the biggest names in strength training, athletics, coaching and more to help guide listeners on a path to overall fitness—body mind and spirit.
Travis Mash has dedicated over 20 years to strength training, with the bulk of those years also working with athletes on their strength and conditioning—from youth to Olympic hopefuls and professional athletes. A world-champion powerlifter, he runs Mash Elite Performance, providing and overseeing strength and nutrition training along with his coaching staff, and writing regular articles about all aspects and levels of fitness and training.
In the fall of 2020, he also became head coach of the Lenoir-Rhyne University Weightlifting Team. Dynamic Fitness & Strength was honored to be chosen to help design and manufacture the strength training equipment for their program. It is also one of the reasons why Travis feels strongly about partnering with Dynamic.
“I am so excited to team up with Dynamic Fitness and Strength,” Travis posted recently on his MashElitePerformance Instagram account. “One—we already use their equipment and love it. Two—they are investing heavily in the education of their customers and everyone in the strength world. Obviously this is where my heart belongs.”
Travis also started a nonprofit called Mash Elite Strength that helps to fund his Mash Elite weightlifting team and the at-risk youth program he began.
Dynamic Fitness & Strength is excited to sponsor Travis Mash’s exceptional content, and to be associated with Travis’s passion and dedication for bringing out the best in all of us.
Check out Mash Elite Performance website here: https://www.mashelite.com/
April Dynamic Discussions
Join us on April 7 for the next live Dynamic Discussions event with Dynamic Fitness & Strength VP of Performance Education Joe Kenn. Joe welcomes Mark Asanovich to discuss head and neck strength conditioning and other topics. Mark will also be demonstrating the Head and Neck Isolator that he partnered with Dynamic Fitness & Strength to design and manufacture.
Mark Asanovich is one of the nation’s leading concussion and spinal injury experts. Over the last 20 years he has worked alongside NFL head coach Tony Dungy and trained Hall of Fame athletes such as Derrick Brooks, Chris Carter, and Warren Sapp. Mark has seen concussion and spinal injuries firsthand and has witnessed their excruciating effects. He has traveled across the country presenting on both awareness and prevention at the Nike Coach of the Year and Elite Football Coaches Clinics.
Click the link to register and take part in this event, which begins at 7:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM Central. Submit a question for Joe or Mark and they’ll do their best to cover it during the event.
Dynamic Discussions are part of our Coaching Academy. View past Dynamic Discussions as well as other presentations here: https://www.mydynamicfitness.com/coaching-academy
Strength Coach as an Administrator
By Carlo Alvarez, MEd, CSCS*D
Vice President of Strategy & Innovation
The field of strength and conditioning continues to change and now more than ever the opportunities at the high school level have never been more abundant. Because of the commitment from district leadership on the public-school sector and head of schools that lead private schools, the strength coach positions has blossomed in the high school area.
Recently, I have had multiple requests to assist institutions in shaping the position of strength coach. Conversely, the continual dialog with established strength coaches on how to write and re-write their job description(s) is ongoing. I have advocated for both sides of the table and quite frankly, both sides may be missing the mark.
I look at this solely as an administrative position, which needs an administrative response, an approach that encompasses wide ranging coverage. Not all look at the position, or the work, in that manner.
In most high schools, athletics is the largest nonacademic program available for student involvement. Being an athletic administrator in the 21st century is an immense job with competing priorities; the health and safety of students and staff, reduced funding, finding qualified coaches, facility sanitation and maintenance, finding staff for events, athletic participation decline and culture building.
So where does the strength coach fit into the competing priorities of an athletic administrator? The strength and conditioning position can play critical role in the overall success of an athletic department. Strength and conditioning coaches at the high school level contribute to the performance of most athletic teams. They may also teach strength and conditioning classes that are open to students who are not athletes. They have the three major goals of improving athletic performance, reducing athletic injuries, and teaching lifelong fitness and movement skills. This role allows them to have a significant, lifelong impact on a large number of young people. 
From experience, I can say this with confidence: Every athletic director and principal or head of school should want a school-wide, centralized strength and conditioning program in their school. The opportunity to combine educational athletics and strength and conditioning provides immense benefits for the well-being of students, athletes faculty and staff.
Understanding the framework of the position within the high school setting is critically important when trying to figure out where you fit within the hierarchy of the organizational chart. The reality is that most administrators see the position as someone who manages the weight room after school with no responsibilities outside the weight room. This has to change. And can only happen, if we as a profession show our intrinsic value outside the weight room.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUCCESS
If you want to stand out from the competition your communication skills make a solid first impression. These skills have to be developed throughout your career and good verbal communications means saying just enough. You must have confidence in your interactions with others, but you must convey respect for them and their ideas.
Coaches often ask, how do I make these skills standout? My answer is normally, try to match your skills to your job, familiarize yourself with other in-demand skills, use job interviews to your advantage and don’t stop when you get the job.
Once you are in the job, I tend to ask these questions from coaches that are having a hard time getting buy-in or fail to get support from administrators: How often do you communicate with your athletic director? When was the last time you spoke to your head coaches? When was the last time you shared your experiences or needs with parents? When was the last time you went to a booster meeting? Do you spend time with the Director of Admissions?
If you don’t spend time selling your program, how are you going to get the support you need when it’s most necessary? You have to take on greater responsibilities and come through for the school.
We talk about it often--to be successful in today’s market you need to be able to communicate your vision, write professionally, and interact with colleagues with a high degree of emotional intelligence. As you start to represent your position, it’s critically important that you become a good active listener, have empathy, open-mindedness, you’re clear and concise with your plan, be confident in what you bring to the table, be personable in how it’s presented, and you are willing to receive positive or negative feedback.
Establishing a “power base” is critical in setting your program in the right direction. All efforts should be coordinated and organized intelligently for a definite purpose. The “Flywheel Concept” has been used with success as the basis for an all-encompassing implementation model. Imagine a huge flywheel as you apply great force to rotate it. At first it doesn’t move, but through great perseverance you get it to move, if only for an inch. You continue to apply force until it reaches a satisfactory speed. As you continue to apply force, the wheel builds momentum and can sustain itself with little push.
We like to think of strength and conditioning as the hub of a wheel with the administration, head coaches, athletic training, staff, athletes, boosters, and parents as the spokes on the wheel. To make the wheel move, all spokes have to be moving in the same direction. Getting everyone on the same page takes patience and perseverance but is well worth the process. You need to focus on making sure everyone on the wheel is on the same page, pushing in the same direction, with the same goals and objectives.
Focus on education, motivation and constant updating of your accomplishments. People involved in the process want to know how your athletes are doing and what’s it going to take to get to the next level. It becomes a support system, which works together to support mutual goals. The interaction and educational process allows you to build a strong community and fosters a sense of ownership from everyone at the school.
From a strength coach’s perspective, they want to get paid for the impact they provide but aren’t clear on the administrative response based on other factors, such as personnel needs, budgets, hierarchy, and position importance within the school’s strategic plan and human resources compensation packages. You want administrative pay; you are going to have to do administrative work.
According to the 2018 NSCA Coaches Salary Survey, the average high school strength and conditioning coach salary was $49,000. The same 2018 study found that salaries ranged from an average of $41,000 per year with a Bachelor's Degree to $84,000 per year with a Doctoral Degree. Coaches on a teacher's contract made almost 70% more than coaches not on a teacher's contract. This emphasizes the importance of having a teaching certificate.
In recent conversations with athletic administrators, what you tend to hear is the critical need for a position that engages the student-athletes and improves health and well-being, while establishing staff unity and building culture. Athletic administrators understand the value a strength and conditioning coach brings to the school. It’s recognized as one of the most important hires in the athletic department.
This leads to a crossroads when budgeting for a position within the high school framework. How does this position get compensated for the impact it will make across a school? How do you budget for a position that is not really understood from an administrative perspective? How do you allocate funds within the pay scale hierarchy of the HR department? These are all valid questions, and it takes thinking outside the box to come up with a fair solution.
My suggestion here is to pivot from the rigid position of “How much” to nonmonetary terms. You can’t deal with numbers in isolation. This normally leads to bargaining, a series of rigid positions defined by emotional views of fairness and pride. You want to stimulate outside the box thinking and brainstorming to see what valuable nonmonetary ideas you can come up with that are cheap for them and valuable to you.
A few other ways you can look at contracts or budgeting for a position can be non-salary terms, such as title, professional development, and educational opportunities. Make sure salary terms come with success terms. Once your salary is negotiated, make sure to define success for your position – as well as metrics for your next raise. This is meaningful for both sides.
The field of strength and conditioning continues to change and now more than ever the opportunities at the high school level have never been more abundant. To give yourself the best options moving forward, look at your role through the eyes of an Athletic Director, District Superintendent, Principal or Head of School.
Athletic administrators see the importance of the strength and conditioning position. It’s up the profession to understand how to best prepare when it comes to communicating your program and values to the school or district, as well as finding ways to become more cohesive within the structure of the school to make the greatest impact with students, faculty and staff. and learn about compensation models at the high school level.
The salary conversation will always be a back and forth based on budgets and available funds within the strategic budget proposal. Should this position work outside the athletic department? Does the strength coach support physical education and wellness as part of his/her responsibilities? Does this position become and assistant athletic director role with added administrative responsibilities? There are a lot of options that can be discussed in later articles, but one thing is for sure; you can’t limit yourself with what has been done in the past. Think big, aim high.
As you head into a contract conversation, ask yourself the questions you think they would ask you to justify and fully understand your role. This exercise may give you a different perspective in how others see the positions and how you want them to understand your role. Be a forward thinker and be prepared when these discussions finally occur and you are given an opportunity to present your position and role you play in supporting the school, its athletes, faculty and staff.
Thank you to Randy Berning, Principal at Brickwise and Joe Kenn, VP of Performance Education at Dynamic Fitness and Strength for their comments and suggestions during the writing process.