Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.
5 Keys to having a Memorable Internship Experience in the S&C Field
It’s that time of year again at DSC. A new batch of young interns has joined our staff in hopes and aspirations of becoming strength and conditioning professionals. Whether the end goal is the University/College setting, or the private sector this experience will help “set the table” for their future endeavors. Over the years our internship program has evolved into a formal application and interview process. Well before an intern sets foot into the confines of our facility, it’s important that our staff feels that he/she will be a good fit for the DSC family. Pulse, passion, and purpose far outweigh diplomas, pre-conceived opinions, and certifications. We have been pretty lucky over the years to have a very good mix of interns, some better than others. Below are five keys for young coaches to have success, and a memorable internship experience in the strength and conditioning field.
- Every day is an Interview: Don’t ask me what I can do for you! Ask you what you can do for yourself. Every day’s an interview. Show up early. Look clean, neat, and tidy. Tie up your shows. Take the gum out of your mouth. I’m not concerned about your personal workout program, daily diet, or any tight muscles you may have. You are here to learn our system and work with athletes. I am very clear with all interns, I will not put my name on the line (letter of recommendation/call to a coach), unless you show up, do exceptional work, and have “pulse.”
- Learn the Language: Prior tothe first day of training, each intern receives a DSC Intern Manual complete with exercise protocol, progressions/regressions and verbal cues. Learn the language! You don’t go to France and speak Russian. The faster you learn how we speak, the faster you receive more responsibility! Simple as that! I like the car analogy. I tell our interns at DSC: “In the middle of our gym, is a fancy sports car. Your goal is to earn the keys and eventually drive the car (i.e. run dynamic warm-up, run a program). Some of you may not get the keys. Some of you may get them faster than others. Your goal: get them as fast as possible.” In order to “drive the car”, you need to speak the language!
- Be Proactive: You’ll never loose your shirt if you roll up your sleeves. Look ahead, get equipment ready for the ensuing tri-set, clean, put things away, take pride in the small things, and always be willing to go the extra mile. You should NEVER have your hands in your pockets; you can’t mold clay without them!
- Build Relationships: Get to know the athletes, their bothers/sisters, their passions and their personalities. No one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care. We are in the business of coaching personalities…get to know each and every one!
- Never forget those who helped blaze the path: This one is very important to me. During my “formative” years I never had an opportunity to engage in strength and conditioning internships of any lengthy duration, but I have learned many valuable lessons from Coaches who have come before me. If you have a fantastic internship experience NEVER forget that! NEVER take it for granted, NEVER think “you know it all,” represent that Coach with respect and dignity. That experience may have opened doors that would have remained shut, locked and sealed! We are all where we are today because of a parent or COACH…NEVER forget that!