• Josh Gray

Do You Want a Cheerleader or a Strength and Conditioning Coach?


One day a particular coach from the University I was working at, came to "watch" one of their team's workouts, in which she stayed all of 15 minutes of the first session, and 10 minutes in the middle of the next session. As a side note, this coach is not very knowledgeable about strength and conditioning or physical preparation for their specific sport, but is very opinionated on the matter.


About a week or two after the coach watched part of the workouts, we had a meeting (one of too many) to discuss how the athletes were doing and some of the progress they were making. This meeting went well for the most part, as the coach was pleased with the improved results in certain speed and power assessments, and also the high morale the team had about training, but the coach still wasn't satisfied with my delivery and workout structure (the real reason for this post).


I have a laid back (but blunt as I've been told) personality, which matches my coaching style. The coach (and later on a high school coach) had a problem with this. I almost never yell at athletes, and I'm not a big "rah rah" guy (often mistaken for high energy), so you won't see me leading pre-workout/practice cheers, or in athletes face trying to pump them up, whether in the weight room or on the track/field. The wanted me to be a drill sergeant, motivational speaker, and cheerleader, while also trying to improve sports performance.




The coach also didn't like how I began my weight room workouts (keep in mind the side note from above). My workouts always started with 5-10 minutes of some mobility routine with some trigger point/foam rolling if needed. With the athletes either just waking up, or sitting in class all day, I figured it would be best to loosen their bodies up before they do any strenuous work, and they needed to increase their flexibility anyway.


You may be wondering what is wrong with this approach, or you may be like this coach, someone who wants to control things they don't understand. Either way, the coach thought the workouts began too slow, and wanted them to come into the gym with their adrenaline pumping and false enthusiasm, which is the exact opposite of what the athlete should experience for optimal training/performance.


I am convinced that this coach either had/has a control issue, or didn't like that their athletes were more excited to work with me than they were to go to practice (sounds like a hater), regardless, the results were there so I kept doing what was working. The contract I signed was for a strength and conditioning position, not a cheerleader.




Josh Gray BS, CSCS, NASM CES, USATF 1

Owner of Gray's Academy


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