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Coaching Development

Content aimed to assist strength coaches and fitness professionals to become a leader in the industry.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Anaheim California with a good friend and fellow Strength Coach Sean Skahan.  Sean is the head strength and conditioning coach of the Anaheim Ducks in the National Hockey League.  I was invited by Sean to work the Ducks 2013 Development Camp for young prospects and drafted players within the organization.  To say this was a rewarding experience would be an understatement.  The week was packed with “in the trenches” education, shoptalk and good old-fashioned chalk, iron and sweat equity.  Sean’s presence in the weight room is a combination of passion and purpose fueled with genuine care for his athletes’.  He is an exceptional floor manager and leader.  These are just a few of the intangibles that make Sean one of the best in the business.  I learned many things from Sean throughout the week from protocol to practice, but the true lessons I took with me cannot be found in the pages of a textbook.  They are found on the floor, beyond the sweat, fatigue and sacrifice, they are found in the weight room-coaching athletes.  Below are three important lessons that were reinforced during my stay in Anaheim.  

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Last month I had the unique opportunity of speaking at a local grade school for “Career Day”.  What an awesome environment!   Seeing young, impressionable minds eager to learn and quick to smile.  It was a chance for me to reflect on why I chose my path, how it shaped me, how it made me the person I am today…. why I chose to Coach. My father was a Coach, both my brothers’ Coach, and I am proud to call myself “Coach”.  This profession runs deep in our families’ DNA. Having the chance to self-reflect it was easy to see why I chose to Coach. 

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I am convinced that if you want something bad enough, you have to roll up your sleeves, buckle up your chin strap and be prepared to scratch, claw and grind for every inch of greatness you can attain before it’s too late.  All athletic careers have expiration dates!  You have to be ALL IN! There is no “I think I’ll go play Nintendo today” or “I’ll just have Mom and Dad say I’m not feeling well”, or “I don’t feel like rehab today on my injury” at the elite level.  You’re either all in OR your all gone!  Recently “rare air” has been attained at DSC as three of our elite athletes have attained Championships at the International and National Levels respectively:  Lisa Chesson (USA Women’s National Hockey Team World Champion), Connor Murphy (USA World Junior Hockey Gold Medalist), and Keith Gavin (USA 84KG Freestyle Wrestling Champion).  To say that we are proud would be an understatement.  They embody what it means to be “ALL IN”.  Yes, they all have great genetics, BUT more importantly, they are “Everydayers”!  Their work ethic and drive matches their attitude and desire to get better, get stronger, listen to their bodies, rest, recover, regenerate, and attain “consistent greatness”.   Weather it’s focusing on lifting heavy weight, breathing patters, diet, rehabbing an injury or getting more sleep, they spend just as much time “working in” as they do “working out.”   Bottom line: they are prepared! 

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We get asked quite frequently about recommended reading/resources for strength and conditioning professionals.  Below is a comprehensive list of recommended resources and several of the books/DVD's we make available to our Coach's and interns at Donskov Strength and Conditioning.  The items bolded are considered "must reads/watches" for our staff.

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I vividly remember turning sixteen and getting my driver’s license.  Truth be told, I felt unprepared, uncomfortable and flat out scared behind the wheel for the first several months.  It took me years to get acclimated, feel comfortable and learn the intricacies of the road.  The “license” was just a piece of paper, not an advanced qualification, not trail and error experience, sweat equity, hours of sacrifice or deliberate practice.   The “license” did not allow me to drive motorcycles, eighteen-wheelers or commercial machinery.  In retrospect the “license” didn’t take much time to receive and certainly left me with many more experiences to gain other than the pages of a driver’s education handbook.  You may be asking, what does this have to do with Coaching?  Well, in this day and age of whom we consider “experts”, it has everything to do with Coaching! 

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