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Megan Young, MS, CSCSAs a native of Durham, NC, Megan Young attended the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. There, she earned a B.A. in Physical Education with a concentration in Exercise Science. She competed there as a NCAA Division I, varsity student-athlete, earning multiple awards in the Discus and Shot Put events. Megan went on to Baylor University to complete her master’s degree in Exercise Science, with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning. During that time she was a graduate teaching assistant and interned with the Baylor Athletic Performance Staff. Her duties were to assist with football and most Olympic sports teams. Coach Young is currently in her fifth year at Auburn University, where she is directly responsible for year-long programming and implementation of all strength and conditioning related activities for the Tigers’ women’s soccer and women’s basketball programs.
Coach Young is the Public Relations Director and serves on the Board of Directors for the Young Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. Coach Young has worked with multiple SEC conference and NCAA championship teams as well as professional athletes. Megan is currently working towards a PhD of Adult Education at Auburn University and holds the following certifications: NSCA CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), USATF, Coaches Course Certification, USAW, Weightlifting Level 1 Certification and CSCCa, Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified – John Stucky Award Recipient.
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Since I was in undergraduate I have found ways to volunteer and work in the field. I am currently in my fourth year as a full-time collegiate strength coach.
Currently I work with basketball and soccer, so my conditioning programs and lifting protocols meet the energy system demands of those sports and our lifting portion has a general preparation base working on mobility limitations and foundational strength. As athletes progress over their career we move into more complex movements and methods of training such as auto-regulatory progressive resistance exercise (APRE), Olympic movements, advanced plyometrics, resisted linear and lateral speed or change of direction drills, and using technology like TENDO units.
From my time being a collegiate athlete, intern, graduate assistant, and up until now, I have evolved due to seeking out more knowledge from successful coaches that have been in the field longer than me. Seeking out those coaches has provided me more knowledge about the different phases of the year and has made look a lot more in-depth at understanding athlete monitoring and ways to train for power beyond Olympic lifts. With that being said, I still go back and bounce all ideas of training off of the scientific principles and research showing the practical application and positive performance production that these ideas hope to achieve.
Mel Siff and his work on the force-velocity curve allow me to plot all exercises, understand the specific adaptation to the imposed demand the exercise requires, and the training effect that will induce. Also I continue to seek out people that are great in other areas that may compliment or supplement athletic performance gains made in training, such as work in European Futbol clubs, private sector facilities, professional sports organizations, nutrition, or technology.
Without a doubt, my athletes above anyone else are the most influential on me. I learn from them due to the different backgrounds they come from, limitations they may see over their career, and the amazing movements and skills they have, as well as watching them grow into adults. Every day I have the opportunity to influence and be influenced by college athletes; therefore, those interactions compel me to seek out understanding of how people think and are motivated, continue to progress in my understanding of training, and be the best version of myself for my student-athletes.
First step is assessment of needs, be it joint-by-joint movement screens, body composition, or fitness monitoring. The point is you have to know where someone is in order to meet them there and begin progressing. Each athlete will go through the same movements, but each is modified by things such as footwear worn, feet placement, hand placement, bar placement, and required time or distance in a given movement protocol. Everyone is moving towards the same goals of overall strength development, acceptable ranges of motion in movements, the ability to repeat explosive power with minimalistic drop-off, and development of the conditioning needed to meet the energy system demands of the given competition of their sport.
Putting more emphasis on understanding people and how they think. I do not just mean sports psychology, although I do think every team should have access to a sports psychologist, I mean understanding the background of each student-athlete and showing an investment in truly getting to know them. We talk about “buy-in” as something only made by going through team toughness together, well there is also an often overlooked opportunity to do that at the individual level.
People. I want to talk to, get to know, and understand as many people in this field as possible. We are in a field where we make the next generation of strength coaches—people do not just come out of a school, get certified, and land a dream job that is waiting for them. If we want our field to be great, we have to know each other, exchange ideas, and work to ensure the incoming coaches are a polished product who understand the demands and responsibilities of this profession. Learning people is a passion of mine and I get to use that platform to learn from so many great individuals such as strength coaches, sport coaches, or people outside the direct performance setting.
Currently, I would say the research being done in athlete tracking and monitoring, and getting insight into the overall picture of the stress and performance on the individual student-athlete.
1. Olympic variations on clean and snatch2. Squat (front, back, or goblet) 3. Pull-ups4. Any explosive medicine ball throws (I was a collegiate thrower)5. Change of direction drills
Seek out the person and program you would want to work for and then find a way to learn from them. Then leave and repeat the process elsewhere. It is important to understand that passion and self-purpose might have to be enough payment for an internship. Additional advice that I would recommend is to always practice what you teach, never stop learning, and to take jobs based on the opportunity, not just the logo.