Vážení čtenáři, je nám ctí vám přinést rozhovor s trenérem, který se stal v letech 2008 a 2016 nejlepším trenérem roku v univerzitním prostředí dle asociace NSCA, a jehož kniha "CEO strength coach" se stala mezinárodním bestsellerem. Jeho jméno je Ron McKeefery, a jeho odpovědi na naše rozličné otázky můžete najít v následujícím článku.
Autor: Jakub Kalus
Ron McKeefery: "CEO strength coach"
Coach McKeefery, thank you so much for your time. Could you please tell our readers, what is your profession, how long have you been on this journey, and where have you been working during your career?
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story. I began as a self made athlete through high school and college using the weight room to find success on the field. After realizing becoming a doctor wasn’t for me, I found Strength and Conditioning as a profession and never looked back. I have coached with the Kansas City Royals (MLB), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Berlin Thunder (NFL Europe), Univerisity of South Florida, Army Special Forces, University of Tennessee, Cincinnati Bengals (NFL), and currently with Eastern Michigan University.
What was the toughest job you ever had during your career?
They have all been tough in different ways. The toughest was NFL Europe, as it was the first time that I was in charge of all aspects of the S&C program, while simultaneously living with all the other coaches and players in a hotel. You really didn’t have a chance to escape or unwind. However, that experience helped shape my career.
Let’s look at your responsibilities as a head strength coach who has also other duties than coaching. What is the biggest common mistake coaches make, when they apply for a job?
Biggest mistake, would be that people don’t understand there is a big difference between being qualified and experienced. Simply having a certification, degree, and internship experience is not enough to make you qualified to do the job. You must experience all of those things you mentioned in the day to day to be able to deal with them as a Head S&C. Designing workouts is the easy part.
As a head strength coach you must also take care about your employees, finances, schedules and so on. Do you spend more time being in the office or in the gym?
Wish I could say the gym as that is my passion. However, as an administrator/manager there is simply to many obligations that need your attention. I have made it a priority that if I have athletes training I am on the floor.
You published a book „CEO Strength Coach“. Do you think that lot of coaches are skillful in the technical aspect of coaching (workouts, periodization, pre-hab etc.), but they are missing the manager/entrepeneur set of skills?
Ultimately that is why I wrote the book. I feel that the emphasis has been placed on simply being a great technician. For that reason, many great coaches get out of the profession because they have not developer the skill set to be an effective manager, or have a entrepreneural mindset to constantly adapt and overcome the challenges of this profession.
In your book, we can find that it took you relativily long time to discover the possibility to work as a strength and conditioning coach. You have been in this profession for a long time, do you think that the profession is more popular amongst public, and more easily accesible?
This career is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns. The profession has gained popularity, and coaches are starting to be compensated appropriately so there has been a influx of young talent. The problém is that there seems to be equally as poor retention. An area we need to improve upon as a profession.
According to you, how much did the social media influenced this profession? You started in this profession in a time, when they didn’t exist, so could you tell us, if you think that the impact was beneficial or not, according to you?
Social media can be a very valuable education and networking tool. It will not be what gets you hired or keeps you employed. You must develop substance so that you have a lasting career. Using social media for learning, and the platform it provides for connecting to coaches around the world makes it a critical tool for the modern strength coach.
You had the opportunity to work as a coach in NFL Europe. Could you somehow compare the mentality of players in US and Europe?
To be fair most of our roster was American players simply playing in Europe, however the beauty of sport is that it breaks down barriers of race, gender, culture, ethnicity, etc. Outside of simply experience you wouldn’t be able to distinguish a European American Football player from and American.
You were working among other things as a coach in US Army. Was this job somehow similar with coaching college/professional players?
Regardless of your country, we are all lucky we have people serving to protect our countries. The military is similar in that everything is bulit around the team. Athletically, I had the privilege of working with some superior athletes, so the military was different in that way. However, seeing the power of the mind and how an soldier could push themselves past what superior athletes could do, was eye opening.
Could you give some tips for young strength and conditioning coaches to help them establish in this field, and generally speaking, stay in the business?
Ultimately I beleive you have to become the three things I talk about in the CEO Strength Coach: Technician, Manager, and Entrepreneur. You must work equally in all three areas, and constantly seek ways to improve.
I know this question will be difficult to answer, but could you tell us one person, that most influenced you on your journey?
Mark Asanovich was my boss with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he showed me a different philosophy that was equally effective and opened my mind to learning with out being close minded. Additionally, he was the most organized person I had ever met. Those two things have stuck with me for my entire career, and has helped shape the person I am today.
What is the best advice you have ever received as a coach?
You spell LOVE=T.I.M.E. That what you love you will spend time on. If you want to be a great strength coach and love it, then you need to work at it. Equally if you love your family, spouse, etc you need to equally spend just as much time working on that as you would working on your career.
Could you somehow describe the coaching lifestyle, and how much is it different from common 9 to 5 job?
What I love most about this job is that it is never the same day. I don’t think I could go to a 9-5 job and do the same thing day in and day out. Since I have never had a 9-5 job, I don’t know if I could effectively describe it to someone that did. I tell my athletes that they must become comfortable being uncomfortable. I would say that is the same as a coach.
Could you recommend us some books that most influenced you on your journey? It would be fantastic, if you could share with us some of the books from strength and conditioning field, and also some books from different areas, such as entrepeneurship and so on.
I read a book a week, and rotate between Strength and Conditioning, Business/Leadership/Motivation, and Family. I will give you one in each:
Strength and Conditioning – I really like David Joyce’s High Performance Training for Sport, but would also recommend Boyd Epley’s Path to Athletic Power and Joe Kenn’s Strength Training Playbook.
Buisiness/Leadership/Motivation – 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is my favorite of all time. The 4-Hour Work Week and E-Myth Revisited were two books that opened my eyes to the world of Entrepreneurship.
Family – Raising a Modern Day Knight was a fantastic read, and Lead for God’s Sake both were influental.
Thanks for including me in your article series.