Home Blog CP Internship Blog by Sam Leahey – Taking Your Turn Serving Others

CP Internship Blog by Sam Leahey – Taking Your Turn Serving Others

Written on March 16, 2010 at 8:27 am, by Eric Cressey

Disclaimer: This blog/article is not about being humble or putting your time in getting coaching experience, though those are good and necessary things. It’s specifically about something else that I feel is one of many variables in the equation of success. And that very specific thing is Serving/Benefiting Others.

It goes without saying that we don’t just wake up strength and conditioning experts one morning. A necessary process must play itself out first. We’ve all read the book Outliers, where bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell articulates the 10,000 hour rule to becoming an expert in anything.


However I’d like to discuss the particulars of those 10,000 hours. Eric Cressey would be the first to tell you that those hours have to come from several different avenues – not just “live” coaching. Personally, I think you need 10,000 hours of:

1. Training/Coaching Others

2. Training/Coaching Yourself

3. Educating Others

4. Educating Yourself

Notice what I did NOT mention. There is no mention in the list above of any kind of selfless acts of service. There also isn’t any mention of doing things entirely to benefit someone else beside oneself. Yet, any strength and conditioning expert we all look up to can point to times in their lives when they either worked for someone else or occupied a role that required them to serve someone, something, or someplace higher up the priority list. This is because doing acts of service to benefit someone else is a VERY necessary process. This can come in the form of a collegiate coaching staff where the hierarchy goes from intern to graduate assistant to assistant to the head coach. Even still, the head strength and conditioning coach is accountable to the athletic director who is further accountable to the institution. The same thing goes for a private training facility. The flow of benefitting others goes from intern to staff to owner.

In some capacity, everyone in our field will perform a task at some point to serve or benefit others. It’s inevitable! The important question is do you do it willingly with joy or grudgingly with hate? In reality we may be somewhere in between, but I’d urge you to daily commit to falling on the positive side of fence. If you’re an intern, do you smile and gladly move to action when asked to mop the floor? Do you willingly clean up the weightroom after hours? Do you take the initiative and change the facility trash or do you wait until it’s overflowing so you can be told to do it? Do you vacuum or fill the water bottle fridge up without any grief? I’m sure many of the young people reading this have similar experiences as me. As an intern, I personally have mopped and vacuumed the entire Cressey Performance facility.


Last summer I did the same at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and before that College of the Holy Cross. . . and on and on and on.  You get my point, though.



If you are already an assistant coach in a collegiate setting do you try and usurp authority of the head coach by pushing your own training philosophies? Do you get upset when you are the one who gets asked to come in and supervise the 6AM football lift, which is supposed to be the head coach’s team? Do you just do your job and go home without having a personal commitment to the institution for which you work?

If you are on staff at a private training facility do you cringe when you’re asked to take on some additional forms of responsibility, like intern education or facility scheduling? Do you try and avoid interactions with the facility owner for fear of him/her asking you to do something else? Do you just do your job and go home without having any kind of personal investment in the business for which your work?

The wise person will accept this message. You don’t always have to be the beneficiary of your actions. It’s necessary and unavoidable to help others. It is part of the process to pursuing strength and conditioning greatness! Learn to enjoy the process!

Sam Leahey can be reached at sam.leahey@gmail.com.

13 Responses to “CP Internship Blog by Sam Leahey – Taking Your Turn Serving Others”

  1. B. Gorinski Says:

    Nice Sam.

    “Better to give than to recieve”…no, really, it’s actually true.

    Selflessness takes serious effort and pays big dividends in overall/long lasting happiness. Not too many other things do that. Looking out for “#1” certainly doesn’t.

  2. Deborah Says:

    Excellent, well written, post. I hope all of your readers take this one to heart.

  3. Sam Says:

    Yup, you got it man!

  4. Tim Vagen Says:

    Great Job Sam…
    As I approach nearly 30 years in this business, I will refer to this blog when I try to teach that not only does the hard work and dues make you better, but it makes you have a greater respect for what we do.

  5. Sam Leahey Says:

    Coach Tim – it truley does and someone with your quantity and quality experiance can really attest to that.

    Not calling you “old” or nothing my friend 🙂 but i knew the “well versed” strength coaches would appreciate this blog the most because you guys were doing it before it was even a full time profession (80’s). My hats off to guys like you and Coach Boyle who, dare i say “invented” the profession. At the very least you guys brought it to Professional status that it is today. Because of that good fight you kept on fighting young bucks like me are now able to persure a full time career in some “new” field called Strength&Conditioning. Thanks again man!

  6. Marc From RI Says:

    Sam, what do you think about squatting…deep. Is it always best to squat ass to grass? Thank you for your insight.

  7. Trevor Adams Says:

    Marc, and sorry Sam for intervening here, I have read in magazines that squatting deep is bad for your knees and back. Squatting moderately deep is also not that difficult for me so I don’t do it. Instead I use machines and do lunges. That seems to give me a good burn. Good Luck with your Training! Sam, am I wrong? Thanks!

  8. Sam Leahey Says:

    I feel like if you’re reading Eric Cressey’s blog you probobly are familar with the answer to that question already. HOWEVER, Marc & Adam, i think most people reading this would also get your inside joke too 🙂

    Just in case anyone doesnt know why/what Marc & Adam are talking about and why their asking such a question it can easily be understood with a youtube video (which is what their really referring too):

  9. Tom Lavern Says:

    Hey Sam,
    Interesting read. I will for sure take note as I work towards the perfect lift strategy. In response to Trevor, a good “burn” isn’t always the best avenue towards leg training. The machines should only be used as a way to help build muscle endurance, as the heavier you go the more stress you put on your joints. By squatting very very deep you then put your hip flexors into play, thus utilizing the entire leg. With a training regimen solely devoted to machines, you just look like a girl. I digress, thanks again Sam and keep up the good work!

  10. Trevor Adams Says:

    Hey guys! Thanks for the quick responses. I know see why my friends have been making fun of my leg workouts using that language. What a funny video Sam! I admit I am a novice lifter but I have been perusing sites like this one in hopes of gaining insight from industry legends like Cressey and young stars such as yourself!
    Tom, I guess I kind of do look like less of a man when I squat to parallel and do mostly machines and lunges. However, I have naturally powerful hip flexors and do not want to over develop them.
    Sam, also I am a sophmore in college and I was thinking about pursuing a career as a physical trainer in addition to my biology major. Do you have any advice on how to become you? hahahha. It’s inspiring to see your passion and I hope I can one day begin to emulate it! I will continue to look for your inspirational blogging and I eagerly anticipate your first book which I know will be great! KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK, YOU INSPIRE US PATHETIC MORTALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. RT Says:

    What you speak of is just a reflection of our society as a whole, has it’s roots in the 1980’s and we can thank the parents or as my mom used to say “those damn yuppies.”

    How many here can remember a time where being selected to play for post-season all-star team was a significant honor and accomplishment? How many can remember getting a trophy ONLY if your team won the league championship? How many remember getting nothing more than a little cloth letter if you lettered on a varsity high school team? Now we have kids of average ability getting trophies for just showing up, getting all kinds of clothing and gear to make them feel special, and, of course, being told a college scholarship may be on the horizon.

    I think what we’re seeing now is the first wave of these kids as adults in the workforce. They have no perception of starting at the bottom and working their way up the ladder. They’re above menial work and feel they should be regional manager after 3 months of employment.

  12. Sam Says:

    I totally agree “RT”.

  13. Trevor Adams Says:

    RT, as a member of that generation I am deeply offended by your characterization of our generation as a whole. Sure, there are the kids that never played more than an inning or two at the end of the game and still got their trophy. But, what about those of us who worked hard to make ourselves the best athletes that we could. What about those of us with moderate skills that worked our buts off just to make the team. Doesn’t working hard merit some sort of recognition? Or, do we live in a society where only the elite and as Malcom Gladwell would say, “Outliers” can succeed? RT, I know that older generations resent many aspects of our generation. But, tell me that when you were young, your parents generation didn’t resent your generation of hippies (presuming you are a child of that age, I apologize if I mischaracterized you but seeing as you have chosen to make a blanket statement about my entire generation, I have little remorse). Or, should we characterize your generation as the generation currently controlling and operating Wall Street in a manner which reflects a complete and utter disregard for achieving success through honesty and hard work? Every generation has a few bad seeds and so does ours. But what I will tell you for sure is that ANY generation that produces SAM is not to be fu%^ed with!!!!!!!
    Sam, step up and represent out generation!!!!!!! RT thanks for an interesting debate topic, I look forward to your response.

    Here’s to learning about lifting from blogging!!!!!!!

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