I had the great opportunity this past weekend to attend the annual Michigan State University Strength & Conditioning Clinic. The MSU Strength & Conditioning Staff put together a heck of a clinic and it was an excellent experience. The clinic featured presenters such as Dr. Ken Leistner, Mike Joseph(West Virginia), Dan Riley(Former NFL Strength Coach), Jason Arapoff(Detroit Lions), the Michigan State Strength & Conditioning Staff and many others.
I loved how Coach Ken Mannie, Head Strength Coach for Michigan State, pointed out at the end of the clinic that many of the of the presentations contradicted and disagreed with other presentations in the clinic, and that’s a good thing! Both Coach Mannie and many of the presenters pointed out that there is not just one way to do things and that we should always be open to learning new things and learning from the ideas of others so as to continually develop into the best strength & conditioning coaches that we can be. For this reason, clinics such as this one are perfect opportunities for us as coaches to be exposed to different ideas and philosophies that can help us to develop. I can honestly say that even though I didn’t agree with every little thing that each presenter shared, I absolutely took at least a couple of things from every single one of the more than a dozen presenters and came back excited to try some new ideas with my athletes. We should absolutely make it a priority to attend similar events to help contribute to our personal development as coaches and to share with others. However, we need to be careful of something as we attend such events. One of the presenters pointed out(I believe it was Dan Riley) that too many coaches will go to clinics and conferences not being open to other philosophies and ideas, but more just to have their ideas and philosophies reinforced. Truthfully, it was nice to have the presenters back up things that we do with our program, and that’s natural I think. However, Riley pointed out that it is equally if not more important for us to attend such events to be exposed to new ideas and that we need to put our guard down and be open those ideas, even ideas that challenge what we think and believe.
Coach Mannie shared something else both at the beginning and the end of the conference that was impactful. He reminded all of us that we are really there to influence young people and to help them to develop into better human beings and to have them more prepared for whatever they decide to do with their lives after their college careers are finished. It’s having that opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression on the lives of young people that makes it all worth it. I put up an article by Coach Mannie in the Resources section of the website that talks about how we can develop our athletes through “tough love” as he put it.
Lastly, I was extremely lucky to spend some extra time with Coach Tim ‘Red’ Wakeham, the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for Olympic Sports at Michigan State. He was gracious enough to share some excellent insight and advice with me which I am very grateful for. I hope that we can all strive to be coaches that are willing to help other coaches as Coach Wakeham was willing to do with me. It’s that type of attitude that makes our industry better. Again, it was an excellent experience and I would recommend this clinic to any coach who could possibly make it in future years. Thanks again to the Michigan State Strength & Conditioning Staff for putting on such a wonderful clinic!