• Coaches Corner with Shannon Turley
    Shannon Turley is currently serving his seventh year with Stanford University as the Kissick Family Director of Football Sports Performance, where he directs all sports performance efforts for the football program. Named Football Scoop’s 2011 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year, Turley spent the 2006 campaign at the University of San Diego as the Director of Athletic Performance for the Torero’s 16 sport programs.
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  • CoachesCornerBannerCoaches Corner | Shannon TurleyShannon Turley, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D Shannon Turley enters his seventh year at Stanford University where he directs all sports performance efforts for the football program. Turley directs a staff of four full-time assistants, all of whom bring impressive backgrounds and credentials to the Stanford University Cardinal program. In 2013, his position became the first endowed football directorship in the Football Bowl Subdivision and was renamed the Kissick Family Director of Football Sports Performance. He was named Football Scoop’s 2011 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Turley spent the 2006 campaign at the University of San Diego as the Director of Athletic Performance for the Torero’s 16 sport programs. He also spent time at the University of Missouri as a graduate assistant (2001-03) and assistant director (2003-05). 

    In addition to his coaching duties, Turley directed the annual Mizzou Athletic Performance Development Clinic. He also developed and directed a comprehensive sports nutrition program for 20 varsity teams that included negotiating sponsorships with Kraft Foods and Gatorade, while managing the department’s budget for the purchase of nutritional supplements. Prior to his time with the Tigers, Turley was directly responsible for the strength and conditioning development of the Class-AA Wichita Wranglers (affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals) in the summer of 2001. Turley earned a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Sports Psychology. Turley earned his Bachelor’s degree in Science of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Tech University in 2000, also earning a minor in Chemistry. 

    He is a certified member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), and a Certified Sports Nutritionist with the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).

    Shannon is the recipient of the NSCA's 2013 College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award - Learn More

    1. How long have you been working in the field of strength and conditioning?
    Almost 15 years. I started as a volunteer student assistant working with Olympic sports while pursuing my undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech University in 1999.

    2. What is your training style/methods regarding training?
    Injury prevention is first and foremost in our training system. Our goal is to implement the most comprehensive player development program in college football. I will use methods from any discipline of training that I am confident and credible in teaching. Simplicity and execution.

    3. How has this training style/methods evolved over the years?
    My training style and methods are always under constant evaluation and revision. What I value to develop our players has evolved significantly throughout my career as I have continued to learn and grow as a coach. The program we implemented last year must be improved this year.

    4. Who has influenced you the most throughout your career and why?
    I have been fortunate to be trained by several great coaches and worked alongside many more. Mike Gentry at Virginia Tech University inspired me to pursue this profession when I was a freshman. He gave me my first opportunity and still provides valuable advice whenever I need it. Overall, Jeff Fish has been the most influential throughout my career. He hired me twice, mentored me when I was a graduate assistant, and promoted me to a full-time assistant position. I started with Coach Fish after working two years at Virginia Tech University and one season with the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball (MLB) organization. I thought I knew everything, but really “I didn’t even know that I didn’t know” and I still needed to learn the habits and skills in order to be successful in this profession.

    5. How do you adapt your programming to fit the needs of each athlete you work with?
    I adapt my programming by prioritizing their time and efforts toward addressing the weaknesses and limitations that can limit their athletic potential or increase their injury risk. For example, during our in-season training we have seven position-specific programs designed to counter the overuse of repeated movement patterns essential to their skill development in practice. Additionally there are approximately 20 additional players training on individually specific plans designed to alleviate stress from persistent or previous injury or impaired movement patterns while still maintaining strength, power, and lean muscle mass.

    6. What do you think is the most overlooked concept in the field of strength and conditioning?
    The coordination of care between the sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs. The two fields have immense crossover and require daily proactive communication and ego-less collaboration to adequately service the best interests of the athletes in the program.

    7. What resources do you use the most when it comes to getting continuing education as it pertains to the field?
    There is no substitute for continuous independent learning through books, DVDs, online resources, and trial and error for continuing education. That can get stale very quickly so sometimes great inspiration and information can be found through attending clinics and/or conferences. However, I believe the best format for learning is to seek out the professionals who pique your interest and inquire if you can visit them and embed yourself into their program for a few hours or days to maximize your exposure to their methods and practices.

    8. What is your take on “specificity” of training and how (if so) do you apply it to your programming?
    In my opinion “specificity” speaks to the quantity of factors your can influence in your training program to achieve the results you seek. I try to positively impact every physical and mental component possible to prepare our players to successfully execute in practice and games. True sport specific training is the time and effort devoted to acquire the knowledge and confidence that is earned from mastering sport specific skills while becoming a “student of the game.”

    9. What is your favorite tool in your tool box?
    Consequences to ensure safety, concentration, and accountability while training. We use a modified plank or prone bridge on the toes and elbows called the “thinker.” A position I learned too well from my strength and conditioning coach, Sonny Sano, while at Virginia Tech University. If you do not have your athletes’ attention you cannot coach anything. Thinkers have proven to be a very effective reminder for players lacking attention to detail.

    10. What are your five favorite exercises?
    5) Push-up variations: Scapular freedom, core stability, and hip mobility done anywhere
    4) Front squat: Minimal orthopedic risk, core integrated lower body strength, and power
    3) Jump rope: Low impact plyometrics in multiple planes requiring synchronization and fitness
    2) Gator push: Team building commitment evaluation with strength and conditioning development potential
    1) Team core: Individual accountability to a group effort through focus, core strength, and lower body flexibility.

    11. What advice do you have for young coaches who are beginning their careers and hoping to “follow in your footsteps”?
    If you can be happy in any other profession then you should pursue that career path. If you have to coach, then you will need to seek successful mentors to model yourself after. Listen and learn until you are consistently productive and reliable in your role. Confidence and credibility are earned so always sharpen your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Recognize the job you have now is the most important one of your career. There are fewer opportunities to reach the next step “up the ladder” and each demands more work, more pressure, and less hours of sleep. 
  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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