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    Coaches Corner | Kevin Vanderbush

    Kevin Vanderbush, CSCS, RSCC*E     

    Kevin Vanderbush is in his 30th year as the strength and conditioning coach for all sports at Ben Davis High School. He teaches advanced weight training, which is a class that involves both strength training and athletic enhancement activities. Coach Vanderbush has received four different national awards: 2008 American Football Monthly’s Samson High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year; 2007 – NSCA – High School Strength & Conditioning Professional of the Year Award; 2003 – AFLAC – National Assistant Coach of the Year Award; and 2001 – Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society – National High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award.

    Vanderbush has spoken at four different NSCA National Conferences and two Sport Specific Conferences. He will be presenting again in January at the NSCA Coaches Conference in Indianapolis.

    1. How long have you been working in the field of strength and conditioning? 

    I am starting my 30th year as the strength coach at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. I teach six periods of Advanced Weight Training, which is a class for athletes only that includes four days of weight training and one day of athletic enhancement activities. 

    2. What are your training styles/methods regarding training? 

    In the weight room, I would say that my approach is fairly traditional. I feel that the high school age athlete needs a base of strength and athleticism before concerning themselves with more advanced methods. 

    3. How have these training styles/methods evolved over the years? 

    I have done more “tweaking” than going through major overhauls. Over the years, I have included some functional movements in the weight room, and have added more activities that involve balance and core strength into the athletic enhancement routines.  

    4. Who has influenced you the most throughout your career and why? 

    I am a constant reader of books by and about successful coaches, so I have pulled from a lot of different sources. That being said, I would say that the athletes that I have worked with have had the most influence on what I do. 

    5. How do you adapt your programming to fit the needs of each athlete you work with? 

    The individual adaptations that I make are mostly about coming up with different methods of motivating the many types of athletes that I work with. I think that coaching the development of relationships is much more important than the assigning of workouts. 

    6. What do you think is the most overlooked concept in the field of strength and conditioning?   

    I think that more time needs to be spent learning coaching and teaching techniques. The greatest program in the world will mean nothing if you can’t get your athletes to buy into it. I think that more coaches should study sport psychology and motivation while looking for ways to teach leadership and team building within the strength and conditioning program. 

    7. What resources do you use the most when it comes to getting continuing education as it pertains to the field? 

    I have found that when given the opportunity to speak at conferences it allows for the valuable opportunity to communicate with a number of other coaches in the field. I also attend conferences, read the journals, see what others are doing by following some online sites, and as mentioned above am an avid reader of coaching, leadership, and motivational type books. 

    8. What is your take on “specificity” of training and how (if so) do you apply it to your programming? 

    I think that specificity of training occurs in practices, conditioning workouts, and in some athletic enhancement routines. I think that too often high school coaches feel the need to write up lifting routines specific to a sport, when a general routine or unified approach would be more beneficial to the athletic department, the ability to supervise larger groups, and the multi-sport athlete. 

    9. What is your favorite tool in your toolbox? 

    My favorite tool is the ability to make hard work seem like fun to high school age athletes. 

    10. What are your five favorite exercises? 

    I am not sure I can come up with 5 favorites. I do really like the single-leg deadlift as a great way to alleviate back issues as well as incorporate a single-leg balance and stability exercise into the weight routine..  

    11. What advice would you give to young coaches who are just starting their careers and want to follow in your footsteps?  

    I would say that a common mistake in this field is over-coaching. You will never use everything you know and shouldn’t try to. When attending conferences, or visiting programs see how the things would fit into the situation and variables that you have. If you find something that would add to what you do, use it, if not, file it away. Spend more time on learning how to coach, teach and motivate than on trying to come up with the ideal program design.
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      Championship Performance has a newsletter that has some good articles. They also put out a book called "Read This Book Tonight...To Help You Win Tomorrow" which I have given to a number of athletes and coaches who have all found it helpful. Theymore» also have a new book out called "Winning The Athletic Mental Game" which would be a benneficial read. Jeff Janssen has a number of books as well as a website which deal with sport psychology. Pat Williams has a number of motivational books out - "Who Wants To Be A Champion" and "Teamwork" are a couple good ones to start with. I think all coaches should read the book "Lead.. For God's Sake!" Feel free to e-mail me at kevin.vanderbush@wayne.k12.in.us if you are wanting any more or specific suggestions.«less

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      What books would you recommend on motivation and psychology?

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