What is a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

What is a Strength and Conditioning Coach?


One of the basic ways we relate to other adults is through our work.  I know for men, it’s not too far into an initial meeting at church, kid’s birthday party, or wherever that the, “what do you do?” question is posed.

While I know exactly what I do and who I am professionally, I have to admit that I often stumble with what to tell people!

“I’m a strength and conditioning coach” doesn’t land on a concrete understanding for most people.  Unless you have been a college or professional athlete, most people have never been exposed to a legitimate strength and conditioning coach.  And while I can also go with, “I own and operate a sports performance training facility”, most people still have no personal experience with that either!

It’s interesting as well to list all the titles I hear clients use to describe what I am to their athlete:

“speed trainer”

“strength coach”

“athletic trainer”

“speed agility coach”

“sports agility trainer”

“strength trainer”

“speed and strength coach”

But back to the kid's birthday party, “I’m a strength and conditioning coach”, I answer.

“So you’re like a personal trainer, right?”…

That's a common response when people are trying to pull from their own understanding in these introductory conversations.  And that is fine; while personal training is very different than what occurs at our facility, at least we’re in the same zip code and I can lead the conversation and educate a potential client…beats sitting there bored at a kid’s birthday party!

To be clear, I’m really not griping, this is all fine with me!  But sometimes for simplicity I just wish I could be a plumber, or dentist, or even dog-sitter.  Simple, straightforward, and understood!

Taking a half-step back to hash this out a bit more, it’s important for you to get some understanding of my professional vantage point.  From my undergraduate years until 33 years old, I was preparing for, working up the ladder toward, and ultimately employed as a college strength and conditioning coach.  So that’s my foundation set in the formative years of my working life, the essence of who I am professionally, and the lens through which I see my work. Right now, men I coached under and alongside at the college level are in leadership roles in the strength and conditioning departments at the University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Arkansas to name a short list.  These are colleagues I learned from while developing as a professional at the college level.  These are men commanding 6-figure salaries in a pressure filled and results-demanding environment.  There aren’t any pretenders at this level.  This level of competency is my professional vantage point and the lens through which I look through as the owner and head coach of TAT.  

So in the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter what people call me or TAT…the most important thing is that the athlete realizes the desired outcomes!  Those outcomes being running faster, moving quicker, playing stronger, or lasting longer to name a few.  So whether we are referenced as the speed and agility trainers that enhance overall athleticism or the strength and conditioning coaches improving speed and power, it all results in athletes who are better at their sports!

To the betterment of your athlete,

Dan Bessetti, Owner and Head Coach, Total Athlete Training

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