Anthony Donskov

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.

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Becoming a Great Strength Coach: Part 2

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There is a pre-determined path for success that few strength and conditioning coaches decide to take on a daily basis.  Small, yet important decisions that separate the good from the great, the mediocre from the magnificent.  There is no secret that the best coaches in the world practice “deliberately”, constantly pushing their boundaries and growing their horizons, never afraid to fail, only afraid of not trying.  It is not by chance or luck, it’s by sweat, time and energy. Robin Sharma states: " Lucky breaks are nothing more than unexpected rewards for intelligent choices we've chosen to make.  Success does not happen because someone's stars line up.  Success, both in business and personally is something that's consciously created.  It's the guaranteed result of a deliberate series of acts that anyone can perform."


Since we now know what deliberate practice is, what personal qualities make a Michael Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Gray Cook and Mark Verstegen great?  The answer is they have an impeccable IMAGE.  What is their IMAGE you may ask?  The answer lies in the book “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sharma, which I highly recommend to all coaches to improve their abilities to lead teams, coaches, but most importantly, to lead themselves.  Do you have a quality IMAGE?


Innovation:  Great coaches are innovators.  Constantly trying to improve their craft and better their programs.  Always educating themselves through lecture, DVD’s and readings.  Michael Boyle recently posted a blog about the Perform Better Summit listing the speakers that he wants to see.  YES, Coach Boyle attends lectures too!  So do Alwyn Cosgrove, Gray Cook and Mark Verstegen. That’s one of the reasons they are all GREAT coaches.  What was the last book you read, the last lecture?  “Innovation sounds complex but it really is simply about consistently making everything a whole lot better than when you found it.”  (Sharma) Ask yourself, what can I improve on today?


Mastery:  Do you want to be regarded as a BIW (Best in the World) or a FMOB (First, Most, Only and Best)?  I DO, and to get there takes a lot of work.  Great coaches put in their work.  Sharma gives examples; according to The Harvard Business Review entitled “The Making of an Expert” it takes 10,000 hours of focused study to be regarded as an expert or master in your appropriate field, or to be a BIW.  If you want to be the best, start mastering your field, study, read, and attend lectures.


Authenticity:  Be yourself and don’t forget where you came from.  Authentic people are true leaders and GREAT coaches.  Dr. Seuss said it best: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”


Guts: Having the confidence, persistence and courage to stand for what you believe in.  Coaches with guts believe that failure is not an option; it’s a growth opportunity.  Coach Boyle received plenty of hate mail for his “Death to Squatting” lecture on Functional Strength Coach 3.0.  His experience, knowledge and practical application have started to change the way many coaches have looked at bi-lateral training for their athletes.  Without guts, this would NOT be possible. “Criticism is the defense reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change.”  (Sharma) To be a GREAT coach, you need to have the GUTS.


Ethics: Our reputation is all that we have.  Be honest, persistent, and be ethical in ALL that you do.  This makes for GREAT coaches and excellent human beings.


“Anyone in business is in show business, as far as I’m concerned, and when we go to work, we’re onstage.  We need to perform and dazzle the audience.  No one cares if you’re having a bad day.  They just want to get the show they paid to see.”  (Sharma) In order to put on this show, we need to have a solid IMAGE as coaches.  We need to be innovative, masterful, authentic, have guts and ethics.  We can ALL attain these qualities.  The philosopher Seneca said it best: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” 




(1) Sharma, Robin, The Leader Who Had No Title, Free Press, 2010.



Anthony Donskov, MS, CSCS, PES, is a former collegiate and professional hockey player, founder of Donskov Strength and Conditioning Inc., ( and Head Instructor/Director of Off-Ice Strength and Conditioning for Donskov Hockey Development (  He can be reached at








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