Stephanie Sharpe, MSCC

Stephanie Sharpe: Onward and Upward

The Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) title of distinction has been a goal of mine for many years. It became extremely special upon learning that the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association’s (CSCCa) differentiated among strength coaches using credentialed certification and promoted professionals who strive toward achieving a high standard of excellence within collegiate and professional strength and conditioning/athletic performance.

The amount of perseverance required to obtain this goal serves as a testament to its value in a profession where our service is often performed behind the scenes, year round, and rarely in the spotlight.

I have always enjoyed attending the annual MSCC Induction Banquet on the second night of the CSCCa National Conference. It’s an opportunity to assemble, create fellowship, and recognize those who continue to make the commitment to service and labor this profession demands. But it also recognizes how coaches impact the lives of others and continue their own development to maintain the high standards we all seek to achieve.

I recognized long ago, as I would sit and listen to the bios and journeys of coaches — some of whom I would learn of only just that evening — that I must make an intentional effort to meet an MSCC each year.

I am often in awe of the many accomplishments these MSCC’s have achieved. My appreciation has only grown for people who embody a work ethic worthy of recognition, and I’m thankful for the space the MSCC induction provides to celebrate this.

My colleagues and I would engage in discussions about how many more years until the next conference, when one of us would be up on the stage to earn a jacket. We discussed how we planned to represent and support each other by attending.

My colleague, now-fellow MSCC, and my director of strength and conditioning at Tarleton State University would assemble an army of young coaches at the CSCCa banquet. Coach Rod Cole, MSCC, also gave me my MSCC jacket on stage when I earned it.

We coaches often sat together or near each other for the purpose of fellowship during each annual banquet. We were among many other CSCCa coaches and MSCCs who had come from near and far, but our common bond was that of having worked with Coach Cole.

We had opportunities to share memories of coaching under his leadership and I’m sure many around us were eager to learn about the special experiences we all shared and discussed. For us, it was no mystery; we shared the experience that can only take place between a mentor and student while working alongside a MSCC.

Each year, in preparation for Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) testing, in-house coaches seeking certification gained opportunities for hands-on preparation for the practical exam, as professional development sessions prepared them for the written exam.

After the banquet, we’d pose for our annual picture to commemorate the goals achieved by others that we all sought to attain through our own professional pursuits.

I am blessed to be associated with some of the very best coaches in a profession that strives to serve young people and make a positive impact on their lives. Certainly, improvements can always be made in every area of every profession — and the goal is to be mindful of this every day as the opportunity to mentor other SCCCs is now mine — but to now have the ability to impart those values to like-minded individuals will surely push the profession forward.

The value of this organization increases as we MSCCs continue to focus on paying things forward, carrying the torch for our organization, and remember that we’ve never really arrived at the pinnacle of our profession. There is always work to be done, so onward we go!

This article was written by Stephanie Sharpe, MSCC.