Windermere Speed Coach Explains - Speed Training - What I've Seen in 25 Years - Part II

In my last speed training blog post, I laid out some of the foundation upon which the modern-day sports performance speed coach in Winter Garden can attribute the origins of their profession.  In summary, the growth of big-time college athletics was a major needle-mover in that process.  If you'd like to read that post, click on the link below:


While the monetization of college athletics and the growth of the college strength coaching profession was a huge driver in the growth of the speed training industry, other factors went hand-in-hand in the burgeoning sport and physical fitness culture.  As college and professional strength coaches were producing bigger, faster, and stronger athletes, researchers at the university levels were engaged in studying the factors that made the programs work; from sets and reps, to training schedules and exercises, to implementation of speed, power, plyometric, and other training modes in combination with strength training for athletes.  Never before had professors and sport scientists had such a perfect research situation: 60-100 men between the ages of 18-22 that were extremely athletic, highly motivated to work hard, and were unlikely to drop out of the study!  This research added to the knowledge base of speed and strength training that had already been accumulating in other countries that were already using research to produce highly competitive Olympic and international sport level athletes.  This rapidly expanding knowledge base fueled the physical fitness industry and affected every aspect of it from exercise equipment manufacturing to the commercial gym industry to new career opportunities like the certified personal trainer - another starting point for many speed and agility coaches.  Alongside the growth in the speed and strength training research and the expansion in the gym, physical fitness, and personal training arenas came the growth in the academic disciplines.  Physical education departments that had historically granted degrees to future PE teachers now were able to offer academic tracks to an expanding career base.  Specialized tracks in exercise science, kinesiology, and human performance educated young professionals to become exercise physiologists, biomechanists, personal trainers, health club managers, and sport performance coaches.  As I expounded on in Part I of this blog series, the rise of big-money college athletics spurred an arms race, so-to-speak, in college strength and conditioning.  Not only were more strength coaching positions created, but the bar was continually raised higher on credentialing and education.  The college strength coach of 1980 may not have had any certifications and probably had at best a bachelor's degree that was maybe not even in a related field.  Compare that with entry-level assistant strength coaches of today who may hold several national certifications, probably have master's degrees, and are much more likely to have gone through an academic program specifically designed for strength and conditioning coaches.

My hope in giving you this information is that you will be a better educated consumer.  When it comes to speed and agility training in Windermere and Winter Garden and Clermont, the speed coach "bar of professionalism' is as high as anywhere in the country.  It's not my early 1990's high school experience where the only speed coach was the track coach.  Sports performance coaches in Winter Garden should have a bachelor's degree in a related field and likely have an advanced degree.  On the other hand, I'll always give kudos to speed trainers with decades of experience delivering solid training as opposed to someone trying to coach athletes with the ink still drying on their diploma!  Speed and agility coaches in the trenches like me for 25 or more years may have cut their teeth in the profession before specialized academic programs.  However, that doesn't preclude ongoing education and obtaining a nationally-recognized and professionally accredited certification.   Long gone are the days of "this is what my coach had us do", or "I got this off YouTube last night".      

We'll unwrap more of this history in subsequent posts.  I hope you find it interesting!

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So in the evolution of the modern day speed coach or speed trainer, many of them came from the college strength and conditioning ranks or were educated in the academic programs that the monetization of college athletics partially spurred the growth. 


Now if you're still with me...thinking we were going to talk about speed training...why am I giving all this history?  

As I see it, you really can't understand the current state of an industry until you have some understanding of its past.  Secondly, it's to give perspective so you are a better educated consumer.

I have one overarching goal for the parents and coaches who have their athletes with us - even if its just for a free trial session - and that goal to to EDUCATE.  More knowledgeable consumers that begin understanding WHY we do WHAT we do will see the importance - and even necessity - of our program for their athlete's long term development. 

So toward that goal of education, I'm going to delve deeper into the origins of speed training that was birthed out of college strength and conditioning.  If you are a college football fan, I think you'll find it very interesting!

The University of Nebraska was the epicenter from which the college strength and conditioning profession rapidly expanded - the precursor to today's sports performance speed and agility coach.  Think of the Nebraska football dynasty under coach Tom Osbourne in the 80's and 90's; that was in part fueled by the hiring of the first strength and conditioning coach in college football, Boyd Epley.  Surprisingly to most sports followers, track coaches were big proponents of strength training before it became the norm in college football.  Boyd Epley, whom many consider to be the father of modern college strength and conditioning, came from a track background.  His Husker Power program at the University of Nebraska spearheaded the evolution described above. But in the beginning there was not a lot of information out there about speed training or strength training, let alone qualified individuals to implement it, or administrators who understood its value.  Case in point, when Boyd Epley was hired as the first dedicated strength coach in college football in 1969 at the urging of legendary coach Tom Osbourne, then athletic director Tom Devaney told him, "If anyone gets slower, you're fired."  Well needless to say no one got slower, and the success of the Nebraska football program changed the landscape of speed training and strength training in college football.  As programs began to follow Nebraska's precedent (or get left behind), the burgeoning ranks of college strength and conditioning coaches greatly expanded the pool of coaches knowledgeable in both strength training and speed training.  And as I've expounded upon in previous posts, the concurrent growth in the exercise industry and university academic disciplines was multiplying the opportunities to be educated and have a career in the overlapping sports, fitness, and health sectors.

In summary, these inter-related sports, fitness, and health sectors have given rise to a wider variety of birthing grounds for speed trainers.  I see this as both good and bad.  First on the bad side, 40 years ago an athlete probably never had any exposure to a speed coach unless they were a high level college athlete.  Ironically, that was probably a very good coach but working with very rudimentary knowledge compared to today.  On the good side, there are many more choices for speed trainers today, but they run the gamut from very professional to extremely questionable.  For example, an athlete can be coached by a sports performance coach or business that specializes in speed training for youth and high school athletes, or they could be coached by a personal trainer that primarily leads adult fitness classes but passed an academic test that certifies them as a speed and agility specialist.  Let me reiterate that my intention is to educate parents and sport coaches.  In the preceding example, the personal trainer may be awesome and knocking it out of the park and the specialized sports performance coach may be just running athletes through drills without digging in and really making a difference.    

Bottom line, it's muddy waters out there for parents looking for speed training to help their athlete reach their potential.  

I'd love to answer any questions you may have about your athlete, our program, and how we can help your athlete achieve more success in sports.  And there is no better way than to attend a $25 Trial Session.

So while 40 years ago, most of the qualified speed trainers were either track coaches or college or professional strength and conditioning coaches,        


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