Posts Tagged ‘Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist’

Hong Kong is a great place to live in, whether you agree or not. Cost of living here is high, that is just how it is. Rent increases a lot faster than the increase of a lifter’s load. The way around it is to look for cheaper rents. With a lot of patience and luck, you can find one. As of the writing of this post, I have been here in Hong Kong for 6 years and already moved to four different locations. Moving from one flat to another every few years is quite common in Hong Kong and an industry is built to support this necessity. Many companies specialize in moving an entire household to a new location. Being a Strength and Conditioning coach and moving to another house are not in the same type of business but there are similarities between them.

      1. Specialize, it is worth it.

The moving companies provide a much needed special service.  They encounter different conditions in their line of work that they developed and refined methods to solve problems. They keep improving and it shows in their speed and efficiency. A Strength and Conditioning coach is a specialized coach. Specialization allows more exposure to your selected area which encourages development of knowledge, and skills essential for efficient task completion. Going further, subspecialization makes task execution almost perfect. A Strength and Conditioning Coach is a specialist whose target population is the athletic population. They focus on the strength & conditioning aspect of training and they do it very well because it is their main focus. Some Strength coaches work with specific sports and it makes them more efficient for that sport.

  1.  You can’t do it alone.

In the Philippines, we have a word- “Bayanihan”. It describes the community helping a family to move house- literally move house. The traditional house is made out of light materials. The men of the community would lift the entire house & move it to the desired location since the land is owned by the whole community. Bayanihan entails teamwork. At present, house designs are permanent and it is not possible to lift an entire house. The word then evolved to mean helping each other. 

Bayanihan. Image from google.

Bayanihan. Image from google.

At present, it would be time consuming to move all the stuff alone. Some items require two men to safely carry down the stairs. It can be done by one man but the end result would be a broken furniture, a landlord complaining of walls full of scratches, and the lifter with a sore back. A moving company makes use of a team to make the task faster, easier and safer.

Working in a team requires members with their own specialization who work to achieve a common goal in mind. A wise Sports Coach would use the services of a Strength and Conditioning Coach for his/her athletes. This frees him/her from the stress of designing and implementing a Strength training program and gives her/him time and energy to focus on Sports coaching. The end result would be better Sports coaching and better Strength and Conditioning.

  1.  Learn to let go.

Moving to another place may be seen as bothersome but behind the hassle is a new chance to make it right. You get to unload unnecessary baggages. We have the habit of buying and keeping things that we like even if we don’t use them. Now is the time to let them go. Give them away or just leave them in the garbage bins for recycling. Same with other aspects of life, we need to let go of our frustrations. We should also be open to other ideas which seem “small” but are actually more efficient than previous ideas. Sports coaches should also learn to listen to the point of view of experienced support staff and let them do their job instead of trying to compete with them. Strength and Conditioning coaches should also accept the fact that athletes move on in different aspects of life. One of the best feeling that I have which makes me enjoy work is the thought that I am given the chance to make positive contributions in the life of athletes be it young kids to master athletes nearing sixties. They move on and if they look back to say a simple “Thanks!”, it makes you feel great. If they don’t, you should not expect it anyway. Let it go…

  1.  Look forward to the positive.

There will always be “bad” and “good” aspects of everything. It would be hard to find a suitable place if we always look at the “bad” aspects. We moved to a place even farther than where we used to stay. It may seem inconvenient. But it is a very good way to learn discipline and time management. We are learning to sleep on time, wake up early as well as getting things done quick. In the same manner, inserting a Strength and Conditioning training program in the sports training takes up valuable time. But if used very well, it is time very well invested. Return of investment is seen in performance improvement as well as reduced injury risks. Look forward to the positive results. In the same way, it seems that the Strength Coach’s schedule is already full, but he or she is asked to coach another team with a senior and junior squad plus the Elite guys. Just thinking about it makes one tired. But sometimes, thinking of the excited faces of new athletes eager to learn makes you look forward to training.

  1. Physical strength is always an asset.

Our society relies a lot on laborers who earn an honest living by working under the hot sun, carrying heavy stuff, and doing physically demanding work. We complain a lot yet all the dirty work is being done by other people who may not have a lot of option. The guys who carried the heavy stuff are 1 to 2 decades older than me. And they rely on their strength to make a living. I respect them since they make an honest living and have real functional strength as compared to a lot of vain young men who may have 6 pack abs and big arms but who cannot even lift a bag full of groceries.
Life is full of parallels and fantasies. We can learn from them only if we see them and see through the illusions. Training is like a mini- life story. We undergo some challenges. These challenges make us stronger. Learn training lessons from life and vice versa. That way, we Train Better, Live Better!

When I was asked what I do, I had to explain what a Strength and Conditioning Coach is and is not, complete with comparisons. It usually takes me more than ten sentences. That was more than ten years ago in my country. Fast forward to the present (eve of 2015) here in Hong Kong and when I am asked what I do, people would understand it in around four sentences. But long ones. Thanks to today’s sports superstars like Manny Pacquiao who acknowledge their support staff, people are now becoming aware of the Strength and Conditioning Coach.

The trend now is specialization and coaches are not exempted. A Strength and Conditioning Coach is a specialized coach who works with athletes and sports coaches in improving their performance. There are certifying bodies who would assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in strength training and conditioning through written and practical assessment. That is after having checked the required academic achievement and the basic requirement of current Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is one of the internationally recognized bodies who certify individuals who passed their certifying exam. Those who passed the NSCA assessment for Strength and Conditioning Coach are called Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS). Other certifying bodies are the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA), and the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA).

cscs-logo2Not everyone who passes the exam and are certified can be called Strength and Conditioning coaches. It takes a lot of guided experience in order to develop into an effective Strength and Conditioning Coach. It is an ever continuous learning process. It is reflected by the regular recertification process which is every three years for the NSCA-CSCS. Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) are a requirement aside from fees. These can be gained by attending and/or conducting recognized seminars and workshops in related areas; having other certifications, having online quizzes; plus a mandatory requirement of an updated CPR & AED card.

There are a lot of individuals who are CSCS but are not actively coaching. This may be one reason the NSCA came up with the Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC). This is a registry of individuals who have the experience, knowledge, and skills in Strength and Conditioning. This additional title signifies that the holder has been coaching for at least two years or more. Not all the experienced and highly qualified Strength and Conditioning Coaches opted to be in the RSCC though since inclusion in the registry is not automatic. A qualified CSCS has to apply for it. The pioneer Strength and Conditioning Coaches may not have been certified but they were very effective as coaches and they possess a very deep understanding of the art and science of strength training. Certifying bodies are now setting the standards and trends in this area of expertise as more and more people choose to become Strength and Conditioning Coaches.

So what do I do? I have a career that gives me the opportunity to influence the lives of people. It is also a cyclic journey of long periods of preparation and hard work topped by a short but sweet peak of achievement only to start again at another level. To be in this profession requires one to play different roles, to work for the success of others while always being behind the scenes. It requires one to be strong enough not to be acknowledged during victories. This is what I do. That was more than four sentences.

01 January 2015