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The Five Minds of the

Modern Strength and

Conditioning Coach:
The Challenges for
Professional Development
Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT enhancement program (5). This has led However, what is less clear is how
to the acceptance and growth of strength effectively these opportunities are pre-
and conditioning as a profession that cur- paring coaches for the challenges they
rently provides a range of employment face in the field and whether the
LATION OF ACTS DRAWING ON opportunities for coaches hoping to pur- breadth and depth of knowledge and
MULTIPLE FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE. sue a career in the field. Concurrently, skills required for effective coaching
COACHES NEED TO DEMON- this has led to an increase in the demand are adequately addressed. Given this,
STRATE A WIDE RANGE OF APPLIED coaches need to consider carefully
for appropriately qualified and skilled
SKILLS TO BE EFFECTIVE. WHILE whether the learning opportunities
coaches from potential employers (24).
EFFECTIVE COACHES APPRECIATE they undertake meet their individual
Potential coaches therefore need an
THE NEED TO LEARN THROUGH- needs. This can be quite a daunting
appropriate career pathway of profes-
OUT THEIR CAREERS IN ORDER TO task because strength and conditioning
sional development to provide them with
IMPROVE, PROPER SELECTION OF coaching encompasses a number of
the knowledge and skills to deliver effec-
WORTHWHILE LEARNING OPPOR- complex roles and responsibilities.
tive coaching. As a result, there has been
TUNITIES CAN BE A DAUNTING This article will examine and expand
a proliferation of educational opportuni- our understanding of effective strength
ties for potential and existing strength and conditioning coaching through
and conditioning coaches (22). For the lens of Gardners 5 minds (12)
example, coaches are now able to earn framework, allowing coaches to select
bachelors and masters degrees specifi- appropriate learning opportunities that
5 MINDS FRAMEWORK. A SEC- cally in the field, although many more best meet their individual needs.
ONDARY PURPOSE IS TO CON- sports-related bachelors degrees include
NECT THIS FRAMEWORK TO THE strength and conditioning modules as TYPES OF PROFESSIONAL
LITERATURE IN COACH EDUCATION part of their program of study. Similarly, DEVELOPMENT
FOR COACHES TO SELECT there has been a growth in the number of Despite the wide range of develop-
courses, conferences, and educational ment opportunities, learning sources
events aimed at strength and condition- for coaches can be classified under 3
ing coaches. Additionally, coaches are broad categories: formal, nonformal,
INTRODUCTION able to undertake formal internships
ffective strength and conditioning and mentoring opportunities. All these

E coaching is generally acknowl-

edged as an integral aspect of an
effective athletic performance
opportunities provide coaches with an
extensive menu of potential professional
development activities (22).
professional development; coach; dis-
ciplined; synthesizing; creative;
respectful; ethical; expert performance

2 VOLUME 36 | NUMBER 1 | FEBRUARY 2014 Copyright National Strength and Conditioning Association
or informal education (26). Formal THE STRENGTH AND THE 5 MINDS OF THE
coach education typically involves fol- CONDITIONING COACH MODERN STRENGTH AND
lowing a core curriculum and the deliv- Despite the fact that the term strength CONDITIONING COACH
ery of a defined quantity of information coach lies at the heart of the original Gardner (12) has outlined 5 key areas
that often culminates with standard- formation of the National Strength of intelligence that he claimed would
ized assessments to evaluate compe- and Conditioning Association (NSCA) affect the capacity of individuals to
tency (32). These are usually (24,28), there is currently a paucity of achieve consistent success in a range
mediated activities, where the coach literature as to what constitutes effective of professions and that are at a pre-
is directed to information by another strength and conditioning coaching (13). mium in todays world. (12). Although
individual or group (30). Typical activ- Even in the broader realm of coaching, Gardner (12) did not directly relate
ities include university-based courses, where a far greater research base exists, these minds to coaching, applying
effectiveness or expertise is still ill defined. this framework to a coaching context
coach education courses, etc. Nonfor-
This provides a challenge to making uni- may offer new insights into effective
mal educational opportunities involve
versal recommendations for coach edu- strength and conditioning coaching
a more eclectic mix of educational
cation and development programs (3). and coach education. It is reasonable
activities, which while formally orga-
to apply this framework because
nized, by definition, lie outside formal A starting point in understanding
coaches need to demonstrate highly
education. Activities such as conferen- effective strength and conditioning
developed capacities across a range of
ces and clinics fall into this category. coaching begins with an analysis of
competency areas to improve athletic
Informal educational activities include the roles coaches take up and the
performance in a dynamic social con-
mentoring, observation, reading, and essential skills required for effective text (21).
peer group discussion. These experien- practice (11). Strength and condition-
ces will largely be self-directed and ing coaches are primarily concerned The 5 minds presented by Gardner
based on a coachs perception of their with improving athletes physical, (12) are as follows:
needs at any given time. mental, and emotional performances 1. The disciplined mind, which has
mastered at least one way of
Learning experiences have been fur- (5). This normally entails a diverse
thinkinga distinctive mode of cog-
ther classified using 2 metaphors (27). range of skills, including the effective
nition that characterizes a specific
The first classification is labeled planning, delivery, observation, evalua-
scholarly craft or profession.
acquisition, which involves the trans- tion, adaptation, and recording of train-
2. The synthesizing mind, which rep-
fer of knowledge from a teacher to a ing (21). Effective performance requires
resents the ability to take informa-
student and is the principal type of the ability to work effectively in each
tion from a range of disparate
activity associated with formal and non- of these areas. Additionally, as athletic
sources and through objective
formal learning. The second classifica- performance depends on the interplay
understanding and evaluation, put
tion is labeled participation, where of a wide range of factors, a strength
this together in a way that can be
learning occurs through active engage- and conditioning coach requires an
understood by a range of groups.
ment (i.e., experiential learning) in the immense and versatile knowledge base 3. The creative mind, which builds
coaching context (6). These types of across various subject areas to be opti- upon synthesis and discipline to
activities facilitate internal learning and mally effective (4). Coaches who per- break new ground, put forth new
thinking. These may not involve new form at a high level in one aspect of ideas, pronounce new ways of think-
information but may involve a reconsid- performance may be less proficient in ing and pose unfamiliar questions.
eration of existing ideas and can be facil- another (13). Professional development 4. The respectful mind, which in-
itated by informal learning activities for an individual coach is likely to be volves the ability to understand
(30). Although each experience has ad- diverse and able to address a wide range and work well with others.
vantages and disadvantages, it is likely of competency areas. In this article, 5. The ethical mind, which ensures
that coaches will benefit from a mixed effective strength and conditioning that work serves purposes beyond
approach that takes into consideration coaching is viewed through the lens of self-interest and works to the fur-
individual needs (6). Therefore, it is Gardners 5 minds (12) framework to therance of the greater good.
important that coaches base their pro- attempt to gain a deeper understanding Strength and conditioning coaches
fessional development on a critical anal- of the many complexities of strength could draw on this framework when
ysis of their capabilities, with a focus on and conditioning coaching. This allows planning their education and profes-
opportunities that provide the greatest a coach to identify a range of areas that sional development to ensure they
impact on effective practice. To do so, could potentially influence their level of improve their effectiveness. Within the
coaches need to understand the nature performance. The following section will limits of this article, a complete analysis
of effective strength and conditioning detail this approach, along with impli- of the application of each mind or
coaching. cations for coach education. a comprehensive analysis of professional

Strength and Conditioning Journal | 3

The 5 Minds of the Modern Strength and Conditioning Coach

development opportunities cannot be physiology, and biomechanics (5), has coach; indeed, many leading coaches
fully developed. Instead, the article aims had an enormous impact on the field of attest to the importance of teaching
to highlight potential areas that can strength and conditioning. This knowl- in their work (31). Given the impor-
influence coaching practice and encour- edge forms the basis of many educa- tance of pedagogical features for
age coaches to take a wider view of tional programs, and it is generally effective strength and conditioning
their practice. assumed to be of importance in the coaching, it can be argued that peda-
education of a strength and condition- gogy should be an integral part of all
ing coach (24). Undoubtedly, our professional development programs.
current understanding of human per- What is clear is that strength and con-
According to Gardner, the disciplined
formance has significantly influenced ditioning coaching cannot be mastered
mind involves the development of
the methods used by strength and from a single disciplinary standpoint
effective practice via the application
conditioning coaches, and the disci- and that a multidisciplinary approach
of the skills associated with a scholarly
plined mind of science allows a coach is required to enable a coach to fulfill
profession (12). Given the diverse
to make rational decisions when faced their potential. The development of
nature of strength and conditioning
with training challenges (21). Scientific such interdisciplinary skills allows for
coaching, it is unlikely that coaching
knowledge is also associated with the conceptual blending of knowledge
can be completely mastered from the
evidence-based practice, a key tenet from a range of disciplines and subject
viewpoint of a single discipline (21). A
of the strength and conditioning areas (23). A coach with interdisciplin-
challenge for the coach is to identify
profession supported by the NSCA. ary skills will have an enhanced ability
the disciplines required to master the
Indeed, it could be argued that for critical thinking when looking at
profession and ensure that they
become skilled in each of these. Here, coaches without this knowledge will a given problem and greater options
it is illuminating to look at the realm of be unable to differentiate the quality for problem solving. However, this
coaching in an attempt to understand of information (12). can only happen when the coach is
further the requirements for disciplin- Whether science alone is sufficient to able to integrate this range of knowl-
ary mastery. Werthner and Trudel (30) enable a coach to master their craft edge effectively, which requires the
classify the knowledge required for fully is unlikely, although open to development of the skills associated
effective coaching into 2 types: sport- debate (21). Athletic performance with the synthesizing mind.
specific (content) knowledge and depends on the interaction of a large
coaching pedagogical knowledge. If this number of interconnected factors. It THE SYNTHESIZING MIND
is applied to strength and conditioning, cannot be explained by a simple sys- The synthesizing mind takes informa-
content knowledge can be thought of as tems approach, where a given input tion from a range of sources, evaluates
the principles underpinning the various will result in a given output (20). In this that information objectively, and puts
training methods used; in other words, way, it must always be remembered it together in a way that is understood
what scientific evidence recommends. that effective strength and conditioning and applied by others (12). This ability
Coaching pedagogical knowledge on coaching is not simply about program- reflects a key role of a strength and
the other hand looks at the quality of ming. What is also crucial is the quality conditioning coach, who draws on
teaching and instruction used in deliv- of teaching and instruction that under- multiple sources of information to con-
ering the training input. Undoubtedly, pins the program. It is commonplace struct and deliver training programs in
both elements need to be addressed if for coaches to become obsessed with a dynamic social setting with diverse
a coach is to be effective. sets, reps, loads, and other program people. Success in this role requires
Much of the current formal education design variables and ignore the day- the development of the skills associ-
in strength and conditioning is based to-day delivery of the program. Know- ated with the synthesizing mind.
around exercise science (14) and which ing what to do, coaches need to Individuals desire coherence, integra-
is seen by coaches as essential for effec- become highly skilled at how to do tion, and the ability to synthesize
tive strength and conditioning coach- it. In recognizing these strengths and information (12). The ability to draw
ing (24). The discipline of science limitations, it should be evident that connections between seemingly dis-
includes the skill sets facilitating the a need exists for coaches to develop parate disciplines results in the devel-
systematic analysis of experimentally pedagogical knowledge to supplement opment and application of training
derived data to draw conclusions. This scientific knowledge. Indeed, compe- systems that can consistently deliver
enables the coach to analyze information tency in these skills was seen as critical results (12). Indeed, the ability to synthe-
and data effectively to make informed by experienced strength and condition- size is crucial to coaching effectiveness,
training decisions (21). Science as a dis- ing coaches in establishing competence allowing for an integrated and systematic
cipline, together with the subject areas within the profession (24). It can be approach. Although the synthesizing
traditionally associated with strength argued that mastery in this area is cru- mind has always been important, it is
and conditioning such as anatomy, cial to the strength and conditioning likely that the synthesizing mind will


have ever-increasing importance as the constantly evaluate their positive and Creativity still plays an important role
amount of accumulated knowledge in negative effects in practice. Developing in the everyday work of the strength
the field of strength and conditioning this awareness is enhanced by the skills and conditioning coach. One of the
continues to grow. of the synthesizing mind, and the devel- challenges in the training environment
Although some of the skills of the opment of these skills must be a key is the monotony of the training situa-
synthesizing mind are addressed in for- part of any professional development tion and the law of accommodation,
mal development opportunities, limita- program. This puts an onus on educa- where the productiveness of any train-
tions continue. The topic of program tors to ensure that acquisition forms of ing input will decrease over time (33).
design, for example, highlights a poten- education are supplemented by partici- Coaches are required to provide train-
tial disconnect between the academic pation formats, where the coach is able ing inputs over extended periods and
study of strength and conditioning and to apply their work directly into the face not only the physiological accom-
the practical delivery of strength and real-world environment. modation but also the psychological
conditioning in complex training envi- challenge of maintaining the motiva-
THE CREATIVE MIND tion and development of athletes. Sim-
ronments. Academic study of strength
Whereas the role of the synthesizing ilarly, coaches are faced with the
and conditioning will often encourage
mind is to use current knowledge to challenge of developing athletes who
students to integrate the latest findings
set up effective working practices, the present with a host of unique chal-
of empirical research, with less empha-
goal of the creative mind is to extend lenges, such as acute and chronic
sis on the logistics of delivery. Coach-
knowledge, to ruffle the contours of the injury, training aversions, postural chal-
ing, unlike laboratory research, does
genre, to guide a new set of practices lenges, technical deficiencies, and lack
not occur in isolation and cannot be
along new and hitherto unanticipated of motivation. In these situations, the
reduced to a few discrete variables.
directions (12). Strength and condi- ability to be creative within the training
Mere synthesizing of empirical research,
tioning coaches have claimed that the environment is essential. The impor-
it could be argued, does not prepare
creative process lies at the heart of tance of creativity has been empha-
a coach to negotiate daily challenges,
coaching, and it can be argued that sized by the New England Patriots
such as time, resources, and different
the creative mind has been evident head coach Bill Belichick, as cited in
personalities. It has been argued that
throughout the development of the Halberstam (18, p. 249), who stated,
context, where practices are put into
strength and conditioning profession [Youve] got to keep doing what
execution, is necessary to bring to light
(10, p. 11). It is likely that much of the youre doing, but youve got to find
the limitations of research, ideas, and
practice currently used within the different ways of doing it and finding
systems (16). Furthermore, a coachs
strength and conditioning programs ways of making it fun.
understanding of effective practice will
originated from athletes and coaches
only truly be understood through the However, creativity should not be seen
experimenting with training methods,
practical delivery and evaluation of the as a random attempt at something new.
constantly refining them in response
program. In this way, each program be- Creativity requires a base of disciplinary
to their perceived impact. These crea-
comes a unique challenge and learning knowledge, which allows creative solu-
tive practices were not initially guided
experience. Here, experiential learning tions to be grounded in logic. Yet, inno-
by published empirical studies but
and reflective practice are crucial in vation often lies at the boundaries of
instead by the coachs own intuition
developing the synthesizing mind, disciplines (23), and coaches grounded
and observation, which in turn devel-
which allows a coach to respond to in a single disciplinary approach may
oped through practice and continued
the constant flux of the training environ- creative experimentation. This was car- not be able to adapt to a more creative
ment. In practice, the plans and pro- ried out despite the fact that there once mind-set when needed (12). This again
grams used by coaches often differ existed a consensus that athletes should stresses the advantage of the multidisci-
from formal educations controlled avoid heavy resistance training because plined mind outlined previously. Creativ-
and unproblematic scenarios where it would lead to loss of flexibility and ity in the training environment requires
complexity often needs to be reduced running speed (28). These coaches a coach to evaluate their methods con-
to ensure a deliverable result (21). actively pushed the boundaries of stantly, and this will often mean ques-
Undoubtedly, current knowledge and training knowledge into previously tioning long-held philosophies and
modern advancements in training uncharted territory. They also demon- beliefs, in the constant search for a better
should be integrated into training strated that creative coaching minds use way. In this way, the search for more
programs where appropriate, but a sim- both formal means of measurement, productive methods of training will often
plistic transfer from research to practice such as performance testing and record lie at odds with the evidence-based
should be done, for the reasons already keeping, and informal means, such as principles of the scientific discipline,
provided, with caution and scepticism. qualitative observation of the impact which is founded on published empirical
Coaches need to develop a critical these practices had on athletes perfor- evidence. Yet, this ability needs to be inte-
awareness of their practices and mance in training and matches (28). grated into educational opportunities.

Strength and Conditioning Journal | 5

The 5 Minds of the Modern Strength and Conditioning Coach

This can be a major challenge, as in many acceptance of the plan by the athletes and conditioning coach progresses in his
instances where new approaches are at- and the athletes motivation in carrying or her career and assumes higher posi-
tempted; direct evidence to support an out the plan (21). As Vince Lombardi tions within an organization. Increasingly,
approach may be unavailable. This can lucidly pointed out, coaches who can the coach will be providing leadership to
be discomforting for many coaches who outline plays on a blackboard are a program and will be required to com-
fear the consequences of challenging con- a dime a dozen; the ones who win municate with a far wider number of
ventions and being seen to do something get inside their players and motivate people, spanning a number of levels and
new and something that may be criticized (29, p. 100). In this way, the skills across a range of departments. Critical to
and challenged by their peers. However, associated with the respectful mind the success of an organization, effective
provided that coaches are careful to are critical to effective strength and leaders draw on and develop the skills
ensure that their work is appropriately conditioning coaching. of the respectful mind to outline a clear
tested and validated (12), creative sol- vision and build effective working rela-
A key skill of a strength and conditioning
utions to training problems should be tionships and structures enabling staff to
coach is the ability to develop an envi-
encouraged, allowing for far more flex- work together toward the realization of
ronment that encourages athletes to
ibility when faced with the constantly that vision (25).
achieve. Inspiring athletes to reach high-
changing challenges of the training
er levels, while relating to them at their
current level, is a challenging task, which THE ETHICAL MIND
Despite the need for creativity, the abil- requires the skills of the respectful mind. The ethical mind is associated with
ity to generate creative solutions and the Interestingly, and quite contrary to the making decisions that are in the best
ability to push boundaries can be difficult scientific mind, many decisions athletes interest of society as a whole rather
for many coaches. It can be argued that make will be based on emotional rather than self-interest (12). The success of
the creative mind works, effectively with than rational reasons, and coaches who a strength and conditioning coach and
uncertainty, surprise, continual challenge are able to work on these emotional and a sports organization will depend on its
and disequilibrium, which often lies at rational levels can have a major advan- ethical standards and values as well as its
odds with the synthesizing mind, where tage. Walsh et al. (29, p. 195), for example, athletic success. Many promising coach-
the motivation comes from order, clo- suggest that players tend to respond best ing careers and reputations have been
sure and equilibrium (12). Despite the to a coach who demonstrates a definite brought down with issues relating to
divergent nature of the creative and ability and willingness to help them the ethical mind. This requires that
synthesizing minds, it is argued here that achieve their particular goals and aspira- coaches, and coach educators, set the
effective coaching should be developed tions. Similarly, in other spheres of highest standards of ethical behavior. It
through a multiple mind approach. coaching and in business, knowledge is often said that the character of an
alone cannot predict success, which sug- organization will closely reflect the char-
THE RESPECTFUL MIND gests that the greatest problems facing acter of the leader (25), and similarly, the
professionals do not relate to their tech- strength and conditioning program will
The respectful mind is associated with
the ability to understand and work nical competencies but to relationships ultimately reflect the character, beliefs,
effectively with others (12). It must (19). In this way, failure to address the and philosophies of the coach (21).
always be remembered that strength skills of the respectful mind could ulti- Strength and conditioning coaches are
and conditioning practitioners coach mately restrict a coachs success. Despite in leadership positions (1), and as leaders
people, not programs. It is likely that the importance of the respectful mind to of athletes (often young people and stu-
the quality of the strength and condi- strength and conditioning coaches, these dents), the strength and conditioning
tioning coach-athlete relationship will are seldom well covered in strength and coach needs to model ethical behavior.
affect athlete performance and subse- conditioning coach education and certi- Although this may seem self-evident, it
quently the overall success of the pro- fication programs. can be a challenge in cultures that
gram (15). Indeed, there may be little to An implication of this gap for coach edu- value winning, fame, and fortune and
modest differences between the train- cation and policymakers is to explore the that can tempt or coerce coaches into
ing plans and methods across coaches; efficacy of professional development in unethical behavior. It is important that
yet, the results could vary considerably. relational skills, such as communication, coaches reflect on the ethical princi-
An often overlooked, but critical, fea- motivation, management, and leader- ples guiding their actions and truly
ture is the execution of the training ship. Future research could explore align with an athlete-centered philoso-
plan, which involves elements that how best to improve the respectful mind phy. Unethical actions will always neg-
depend on the coachs pedagogical in coaches across learning sites, such as atively affect athletes and other
skills. These skills include the presen- through formal, nonformal, or informal clients, the long-term credibility of
tation and explanation of the plan, the education. Indeed, it could be argued the coach, the reputation of the pro-
quality of instruction and feedback, that the skills of the respectful mind gram, and subsequently the profession
the quality of error detection, the become even more critical as a strength (21). As Coach Wooden (31, p. 20)


aptly pointed out, There is no more Using the 5 minds approach, the vast multidisciplinary knowledge across all
powerful leadership tool than your majority of current formal develop- the 5 minds (16) and who have extensive
own example. ment opportunities in strength and experience in the delivery of strength
conditioning are currently focused on and conditioning practices. In this way,
the disciplined mind, emphasizing the they will be able to evaluate and advise
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT development of knowledge. Addition- coaches in their capacities across all
ally, the majority of these are focused 5 minds, resulting in a well-rounded
Expert coaches are those who exhibit coach. As the mentorship develops,
on subject areas within the discipline
consistently superior performance on the coach should have the opportunity
of physical science, such as physiology,
tasks in the critical areas of a domain
biomechanics, etc. However, it would to practice under the guidance of the
(i.e., coaching) (9). As the acquisition
seem that there is less emphasis on the mentor, who can provide timely and
of skilled performance requires deliber-
pedagogical aspects of strength and informative feedback (16). Finally, the
ate practice on improving a specific
conditioning coaching; yet, this is seen mentorship needs to culminate to the
aspect of performance (8), a critical
as a critical component of effective experimental mode where the coach is
starting point for any professional
practice by coaches (24). It clearly provided with numerous opportunities
development plan is an awareness of
makes sense to include pedagogy as to test out elements of their coaching.
ones current performance across all
a cornerstone of all formal education It is important that the coach does not
critical areas. Effective reflection allows
routes, but with additional and exten- feel that learning is complete after the
the coach to identify potential areas for
sive time spent on experiential learning mentorship. The creative-active phase
enhanced practice, facilitating the iden-
(5). Research supports this conclusion stipulates that coaches remain open to
tification of professional development
activities that foster his or her growth with a recent case study on one expert new multidisciplinary knowledge and
to a higher level of performance (2). strength and conditioning coach who skills. To manage the challenge of stay-
Whereas the typical strength and con- reported that he only partly acquired ing up to date with the breadth and
ditioning coach development would his disciplinary knowledge from formal depth of information, coaches could
focus around the development of education and that a far greater knowl- engage their peers to discuss trials, in-
content knowledge revolving around edge base was developed over many sights, and approaches to problems (6).
science and/or the development of years of practice (5). This is substanti- Self-reflection on current performance
capacities related to the delivery of spe- ated in research in general coach edu- has been identified as being central to
cific types of training (e.g., weightlifting, cation, which reports that coaches experience-based learning theories by
plyometric technique), the 5 minds perceive that formal coach education facilitating the transfer of experiences to
approach allows for the utilization of courses are of relatively little impor- coaching knowledge (30) and should be
a far wider framework to improve tance to their development (7). an essential part of a coachs work during
coaching knowledge and skills. In the As practical coaching knowledge is pre- this phase of development.
remaining section, the author outlines dominantly gained through experience During the creative-active phase, the
how this 5-mind framework can be used (5,17), mastery of the coaching craft re- emphasis of learning should shift from
to enhance coach learning. quires repeated exposure to the strength the accumulation of knowledge to a pro-
According to Greene (16), the pathway and conditioning environment and will cess of challenging conceptions and con-
toward mastery of a craft should take an take considerable time to achieve (12). tinually evaluating and refining practice.
ordered route through 2 distinct phases, Therefore, the apprenticeship phase of Here, the skills of the creative mind
the apprenticeship phase and the learning must include numerous hours will be crucial. Although disciplinary
creative-active phase. Under these 2 of experiential learning. This will help knowledge is the base on which the
phases, clear goals and corresponding coaches develop a better understanding creative mind can act, an issue at this
activities can be identified for profes- of the skills required for continued suc- stage of development can be that existing
sional development. During the appren- cess in the profession (16). During the ways of thinking may become a barrier.
ticeship phase, the aim is to develop the apprenticeship phase, mentoring is often Rather than seeking out new or discon-
knowledge and skills that will lay the cited as one of the most important meth- firming knowledge and practices,
foundation for a coachs future develop- ods of enhancing a coachs development coaches may become content with, or
ment. Coaches entering the profession (6). This mentorship should initially offer over-rely on, the evidence that reinforces
initially need to develop the key disci- the mentee opportunities for deep obser- their current practices (16). During the
plinary knowledge and skills required vation, as many of the key skills of the creative-active phase, coaches should
for effective strength and conditioning coach are subtle and difficult to verbal- be searching for unfamiliar or unset-
coaching (both content knowledge ize. Deep observation provides the tling knowledge. Indeed, the ability to
and coaching pedagogical knowledge), opportunity to learn through close prox- learn from unfamiliar environments and
and this can be facilitated by formal imity to the mentor. It is likely that the philosophies is a critical lifelong skill on
means of education. best mentors will be those who possess the pathway to mastery (16).

Strength and Conditioning Journal | 7

The 5 Minds of the Modern Strength and Conditioning Coach

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