Open Top Ten from Eric Cressey

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Strength coaches have in recent years emerged as critical components to top level athletes looking for the competitive edge. What advice would you impart on those seeking a career in this field?

1. Learn functional anatomy.

2. Read at least one hour per day.

3. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do professionally and personally – good lifters and coaches. Intern, drive hours to train, etc. Build a big network.

4. Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It has nothing to do with training, but everything to do with being successful in whatever it is you do. The same goes for “Under the Bar” by Dave Tate.

5. Recognize that you’re more than just a strength coach and be versatile: mobility, regeneration strategies, nutrition, speed training, etc. It’s not just about strength.

6. Work smarter instead of longer. If you train people 12 hours per day, cut back and consolidate your clients into group training sessions. Use the time you’ve freed up to read, call/visit other coaches, and do what it takes to make yourself better. Income is temporary; knowledge sticks around forever.

7. When you’re starting out, read three training books to every one business book. Once you’ve been rolling for a while, shift it to a 1:1 ratio. Learn to leverage the abilities and knowledge you’ve accumulated.

8. Compete in something. Chess. Curling. Anything. Just do whatever it takes to share the competitive mindset with your athletes.

9. Swear less and coach/cue more. Athletes get desensitized to your yelling, and you look like a tool. Almost all of the best coaches I’ve ever seen have been relatively quiet in the weight room; it’s because they coach well at the beginning, so they just needed to sit back and fine-tune tactfully as time goes on.

10. Your #1 responsibility in working with an athlete/client is to not f**k them up. Your #2 responsibility is to provide programming and coaching that will prevent injury. Training to enhance performance is #3, but in every case, attending to #1 and #2 will always get you started on #3.

Eric Cressey