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8/23/2014 9:32:18 PM - Joe

I just started a masters program in exercise science and will be looking into internships very soon for next year. I would like to obtain an internship in the NFL for strength and conditioning and have a couple of questions. How should I choose a team? (Iím willing to go anywhere in the country.) Are there teams that are better for interns than others? So far, I have thought about the Arizona Cardinals under Buddy Morris and the Carolina Panthers under Joe Kenn. Are there other teams that you would recommend? Also, whatís the best way to distinguish myself from others? I greatly appreciate your help.



Thanks for the question and best of luck with your graduate program. Obtaining a strength & conditioning internship in the NFL wold would be an honor and a difficult endeavor. There are a lot of coaches that are in your shoes and would also love the opportunity.

Now, I am still humbled every time I get a question on the Q&A directed at me. I have a ton of respect for anyone willing to seek knowledge. Because of that, I will be totally honest and blunt with you. I respect you enough to tell you the truth. Please don't get offended as I play devil's advocate. Here goes.

1. Change your mindset.
You have to get rid of the notion that you will choose a team. Choosing a few teams to apply for severely limits your chances to actually earn an internship. So the answer is all of them. If you REALLY want to intern in the NFL, you should first answer why. If it is to learn from the best, then there is a difference between who you intern for. But, if your ultimate goal is really to be an NFL strength coach, then you need to apply everywhere. Not everyone is cut out for the NFL and getting it is extremely difficult.

2. Treat the internship application process like it's the job of your life.
Some of the coaches I know will require video submissions of you teaching a lift or coaches athletes. It's big time and none of these guys can afford to bring in a dud. These coaches are coaching for their professional lives every week. It's not like college and a few bad seasons may give the head guy the axe. Lose a few in a row in the NFL and you wont last past Black Monday.

3. I cannot say for sure that one team is better for interns. This will depend on the structure of their staff an usually the willingness of one of the assistants to take on an internship program. I will say that one thing you must think about is that NFL teams do not need interns. You are not doing them a favor by volunteering your time. You must figure out how you can be an asset to their organization. Furthermore, you must answer the question, "Why you?" What is it about you that separates you from every other applicant?

In summary, I would apply to every NFL team. It is probably too late at this point for the 2014 season. But, it doesn't hurt to send your info out as soon as the season is winding down. Just remember, probably a third of the S&C coaches wont be with a same team next year.

I don't know every coach in the league but I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guys I do know. Of course you mentioned Buddy Morris, Joe Kenn, Mark Uyeama, Tom Myslinski, Chip Morton, Justis Galac, Juney Barnett, Paul Ricci, Rock Gullickson, Brent Salazar, Dan Dalryple and so on. I know a few assistants and at least three assistant that started as interns.

Let me know if you ever need anything, Joe and I hope this gives you some insight on the process. Best of luck, my friend.

Apply everywhere,
Mark Watts

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