It is hard to believe March is already here. I sincerely hope you all have had a very safe and productive spring semester so far. This semester is always lively. March Madness is here, Spring sports are kicking off, spring football is on the horizon, with lots of transitions among all sports. What an exciting time!
Before we dive into the monthly CEO message, I want to take some time to touch on this year’s CSCCa National Conference. There are lots of exciting “FIRSTS” to cover with regards to this year’s conference. This is the FIRST time the CSCCa has ever held its National Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City is a very vibrant city, and we will be just blocks away from “Bricktown,” a great area for entertainment.
Another FIRST, is this is our first try at our new and improved schedule. As you remember, we always held the conference in the latter part of the week. We got plenty of feedback as to how that created scheduling difficulties with everyone’s Mother’s Day plans, and personal plans for the upcoming weekend. This year we will be scheduling the conference during the early part of the week. With the conference ending on a Wednesday rather than a Friday, we are hopeful this eases your scheduling strain, as well as frees up travel plans which allows you to stay at the conference longer. We are hopeful this new schedule is more acceptable and will give us the opportunity for more offerings at future conferences that did not fit into our previous schedule constraints.
Finally, we will be holding our FIRST truly in-person conference since 2019! We are so excited to see everyone and to have so many amazing coaches under one roof at the same time. Keep in mind that the only reason we provided virtual options for the last two years was due to Covid restrictions. We will not be providing a virtual option this year. We are anticipating a huge turnout. Start making your travel plans now!
Also keep in mind that the three-year CEU cycle will be ending July 31, 2022. You will be required to have all CEU’s for this period registered with the national office by this date. The easiest way to get your 15 CEU’s for this year is to attend the National Conference.
For the message this month, we want to talk about mentorships. The mentorship portion of our certification process is a very valuable part of our three-prong approach. There is no substitute for experience. Being an active participant in the collegiate strength and conditioning arena, as a coach, delivers a wealth of knowledge that can’t be reproduced anywhere else.
During the first week of February, in Charlotte, NC, we conducted a job task analysis (JTA) meeting as part of our reaccreditation process. The purpose of this JTA is to help craft the elements of expertise that represent the minimal knowledge base of someone who holds the SCCC certification. We had a very hearty discussion that shed new light on our profession and how things have grown. As the discussions continued, it occurred to me that there are many new and developing areas that we as strength coaches cover as part of a “normal day.” As these tasks come to light, we need to make sure we address them in our mentoring experience.
During our discussions, we uncovered many areas that we agreed need to be highlighted and enhanced in our mentorship program. We discovered that there are things that have emerged as part of the job that may not have been on the radar 5 years ago. Wearable and measurable technology has a very prominent role in our training landscape. Health and safety as well as mental health and well being has now moved even further to the front of the stage. We have coaches that are now taking on much larger and impactful leadership roles. We need to be able to address these techniques as the mentor experience allows it. As the health and safety component moves further and further down the road, we must become more adept at having constant communication with our sports medicine representatives in order to adjust workouts for injured players or making adjustments for medical scenarios. These are several scenarios that need to be encompassed in our mentorship program that have come to light in the last 5 years.
During the above-mentioned weekend, we discussed other areas of our profession of equal importance. These areas included but were not limited to budget management, scheduling strategies, public speaking prowess, developing a professional presence, grant-writing skills, administrative communication strategies, social media presence and many other subjects that have now gained a strong, consistent presence in our daily activities. There are many areas that now require expertise in our profession that were not a prominent part of job responsibility previously.
For mentors, it has become more important to cover areas that pertain to the everyday job of a strength coach that go above and beyond sets and reps. Every aspect of being in a position of influence should be shared with the young coaches in your mentoring program. Not only are we responsible for educating our young coaches about the history of the association, the profession, pioneers of the profession, training protocols and concepts, facility design, maintenance and cleaning, but also professional conduct and responsibilities that make a positive influence on those around them. The mentor/mentee experience has grown to a more robust and broader spectrum. It is no longer just about exercise technique, programming, etc. It has now become an opportunity to teach and share strategies in many other areas that have emerged as our profession has grown.
As mentors, I want to challenge you to do your own job task analysis. Sit down and write down all the tasks you think a strength coach should be proficient in performing, or the areas in which we should possess a fundamental knowledge. With so many emerging areas of expertise, it is difficult for one coach to be an expert on everything, however, as a teacher and a mentor, we can always expose our mentees to experts in those specific areas. Have them do a phone call, a zoom call or an in-person visit if they are close. Find your mentees the proper exposure to the elements they will need to be successful in this field.
Our field and profession have grown tremendously. As the business of college athletics continues to grow, so will our field. We must equip ourselves to grow and adapt with it. As always, the CSCCa Executive Team is open to suggestions and conversations as to how to improve our mentor experience. Please do not hesitate to contact the CSCCa National Office with any ideas you may have to help enhance and improve our services and membership experience. We look forward to seeing you in Oklahoma City and can’t wait to hear any thoughts or suggestions you may have.