On Seriousness in Strength and Conditioning


WL Chalk

First, let me say that I surely don’t know it all, but I do know how to act accordingly, especially when it comes to my profession. Don’t get me wrong; I love to joke as much as the next coach, but there is a time and a place for messing around just like anything else. I’ve seen too much of this in interns within the profession. It’s unfortunate that they don’t realize it early on and adjust their behaviors. Instead, they usually have to be corrected by the coaches that they are looking to impress and possibly earn that first job under. First impressions are truly everything; make them count!

I highly recommend paying attention to a few of the following if you’re trying to break into the strength and conditioning profession.

1. Pay attention to your surroundings

You may be needed for something, but instead you’re found to be fooling around. Be aware of what is going on around you and where you can help. Always be on your toes and act accordingly. This isn’t gym class; it’s your damn career on the line before it even begins. Oh, did I mention, you’re being watched?! Yeah, our eyes are on you, so do your jobs to the best of your abilities.

2. Self-Awareness

This goes along the lines of #1. Be aware of what you’re doing and how you’re acting in certain situations. It could actually be said that this is a big part of coaching, too, considering that a coach may have to play many roles in the duration they work with individual athletes. You can’t be a Mr. Rogers, loving and kind, one second, and Mr. Asshole the next second. It won’t work and it doesn’t look good on anyone; especially you 😉

3. Coach!

You’ve EARNED a spot with _____ (<–fill in the blank) staff. First, be proud of that fact! Then, show them why they hired you in the first place! It wasn’t so you could talk to the other interns while a team is in to train. It’s because you’re a young, aspiring strength coach that has the skill set to eventually be good (at least you showed it once in their eyes). As soon as you’re at a point in the internship where the coaching staff gives you free reign to coach, do so.

4. Take initiative

I feel so strongly about this that it shouldn’t even have to be mentioned. If you’re standing around, or sitting, and haven’t been asked to do so, you should be actively seeking out things to accomplish. Don’t wait for one of the coaches on staff to ask you to help out; get on it, now! So, then, when they ask for something to be done that you knew needed to be done (and you did it), you can say “no worries, coach X, it’s done.” Boom! Rock star in the making.

5. Use your common sense

If, at first, it doesn’t seem smart to do, don’t do it. Leaving your personal items on the desk you share with someone else; not good. Telling an athlete to wait while you “grab a protein shake;” again, not good. It’s instances like these where you have to ask yourself, “is this a professional way to act?” Or you can always ask “if coach X were in this situation, what would he/she do?” This will help you determine if you should truly be taking part in any actions or activities that may, or may not, be detrimental to your advancement in this field.


Cut and dry, I know, but these things cannot go unsaid. If you want to be a great coach, you’re not going to get there fooling around. Know when it is acceptable to joke around. Take this job (the internship) seriously, or it may be your last in the field.


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