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10/20/2014 11:26:06 PM - Logan Plumley
Hello Mark,
I have a question about getting experience for a future job. I would like to be a strength and conditioning coach for a college football program. I was wondering how important playing football in college is for that job? Obviously it can't hurt, but I am a freshman at a large Division 1 school I couldn't play varsity at. I currently play on the club football team, but we don't strength train as a team for it or anything. Would not playing in college hinder my potential to get jobs in the field, and would it put me at a disadvantage compared to those who did play in school? Thanks, and if you could, who are some other coaches or people whom it would help to ask? I am trying to get as many opinions as possible.
Logan Plumley


Great to hear from you, I hope you are doing well, my friend. I actually get this question a lot and I hope my answer doesn't seem routine or smug. I just want to make sure you know what you are getting into. So here are some questions you will have to ask yourself.

Why do I want to be a strength coach at the collegiate level?
Determine exactly why you want to be a college strength coach. The right answer should be that you feel your skill-set is best suited for that age group and you have a passion for mentoring young men at that age.

Why do I want to be a football strength coach?
Football is undoubtedly a diverse and rewarding sport to physically prepare. It is a combat/ collision sport whereas what you do in the weightroom has a direct correlation to performance. Not all sports are like this. Focusing only on football will reduce your chances of getting hired drastically.

Why would a strength coach hire you over someone with coaching or playing experience?
Playing football is not a necessary prerequisite but familiarity of the game, opponents, sport requirements, players, etc, helps. There will be a lot of young men in the same situation looking for the same few jobs that you are.

So what do you need to do is come up with a plan to address your areas to improve.

1. Get a related degree in the field. If you really are serious about the profession, then education is key. Not saying a degree will make you a great coach but without it, you will find some closed doors.

2. Get certified. Again, there are a lot of certified dumbasses than can't coach a lick. But, unless you have better credentials then everyone else applying for the job, a certification can get you in the door.

3. Intern. You are not going to get experience without a job and you can't get a job without experience; so what do you do? Volunteer. You will need to work for free in order to land a position at the college level, even to have a chance. This is a necessary evil for coaches.

4. Network. Go visit people and go to conferences, clinics, etc. People don't generally hire people they don't know or at least know about. Meet as many people as you can while learning as much as you can.

I hope this helps, Logan. Feel free to contact me if you need anything. I would also pose this question to Jeremy Frey, Matt Rhodes or try to contact Todd Hamer or Bryan Mann as well.

Take care and I wish you the best, my friend.

Mark Watts

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