Mastering The Craft Of Athletic Performance

Clemson University director of strength and conditioning Joey Batson is one of only 129 coaches who have earned the certification of Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) from the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). He started his work at Clemson back in 1986 under then-head strength coach Gary Wade, who hired Batson as a graduate assistant. Throughout his career as an athletic performance coach, Batson has sought to educate himself about his craft and continuously improve within his profession.

“As coaches, we want to be recognized as professionals,” says Batson. “There is no better way to be recognized as a professional than to have the credential of being a professional in your specific area of expertise.”

Under Wade, Batson learned about professionalism, how to organize a facility, how to maintain a facility, how to organize teams and workouts. The weight room wasn’t a place for guys to come and hang out. It was very structured, there was proper attire athletes must wear and there was work to be done.

“It was no different from any other department,” he says. “To this day, I still implement the things I learned from Coach Wade.”

Clemson’s Joey Batson Takes Us Inside “Power Hour”

Batson says learning from mentors and learning through certification is critical to the profession. Certification is also now required at the NCAA Division I and II levels.

In January 2016, members of NCAA Division II schools voted in favor of a proposal that looks very similar to the rule adopted by Division I a year earlier. Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, any person designated as a school’s strength and conditioning coach will be required to be certified by a nationally recognized strength and conditioning program, according to the NCAA. For schools that don’t designate a strength and conditioning coach, any person who conducts strength and conditioning workouts outside of practice would need to be certified.

NCAA Division II has been exploring the issue of strength and conditioning certification since 2012 at the advisement of the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS). A Division II working group was charged with crafting the proposal, which 88 percent of delegates supported during the vote.

“The proposal represents an important step in continuing to provide a safe environment for our most important constituents, our student-athletes,” said Linda Bleicken, president of Armstrong State University and a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.

Batson – who previously earned the MSCC title of distinction through CSCCa – couldn’t agree more.

“I just think that achieving accreditation is vital,” he says. “It’s critical from the standpoint of liability and the challenges we are faced with every day. I walk into that weight room and I am responsible for someone’s child. It’s 90 degrees outside, and we are doing conditioning. At the end of the day, I am going to be held accountable. So you need to have some tools and resources to do your job, manage people and manage situations. Having the backing of an organization like the CSCCa is critical.”

Though a variety of accreditation choices exist, Batson chose the CSCCa program because it is what he calls “the gold standard.” Strength coaches should note that in order to earn the MSCC title of distinction, a coach must earn the SCCC certification from the CSCCa. The SCCC certification does meet the certification requirement set forth by the NCAA.

“With Dr. Chuck Stiggins (CSCCa executive director) and the work that he does, with the people within the organization, the leadership of the CSCCa, I just have tremendous respect for those people,” says Batson. “This is their heart, their passion. It’s kind of like what our head coach, Dabo Swinney, does in setting the tone for Clemson Football. Dr. Stiggins, his wife Becky, their staff, they have a passion and a love for coaches. It’s like family. You go to the CSCCa National Conference and you can tell that they poured their heart and soul into that event, making it the best-possible event for every coach: old, new and young. They are always working to make it better for next year. It’s a very personal environment and, obviously, the accreditation speaks for itself.”

Clemson University head strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson, MSCC, will make his presentation at the 2016 CSCCa National Conference from 8:00-9:00 am in Ballroom A&B.


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