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Michael Doscher, MS, CSCS, RSCC*D
Now in his 17th year as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Valdosta State, Michael Doscher has been instrumental in VSU’s athletic success during his tenure with the school. After all, Doscher’s leadership in the weight room has aided the school in winning four of its five NCAA Division II National Championships, including three in football. He has aided the remaining ten Blazer programs to numerous Gulf South Conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances.Doscher has received numerous honors for his work in the field of Speed/Strength and Conditioning. In 2007, he was named the Samson Division II Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly while also earning the NSCA Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year award in 2005, an honor he was also nominated for in 2003 and 2004. Doscher has had numerous articles published during his career while he has also been selected to give presentations both nationally and internationally. In 2008, 2009, and 2010 he delivered presentations in China at NSCA seminars presented in Xining City, Shanghai and Hefie while also presenting seminars at various NSCA conferences over the last 17 years.
1. How long have you been working in the field of strength and conditioning?
I have been working in the field full-time for 17 years at Valdosta State University, three years as a Graduate Assistant (GA) at Mississippi State University, one year as a restricted earnings coach at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, six months at Boston College as an intern; so a total of almost 22 years in the profession.
2. What are your training styles/methods regarding training?
My philosophy is a ground-based triple extension program. The purpose of my training is to prevent common injuries, make unpreventable injuries less severe, and to help the athlete reach their genetic potential physically.
3. How have these training styles/methods evolved over the years?
This style and method has changed over the years by new research and training methods that help improve recovery and training time. But the basics are still the foundation of training and always will be: good technique and hard work.
4. Who has influenced you the most throughout your career and why?
First, I would have to say reading John Parkers book in high school really got me interested. Then, at Springfield College while learning how to train the body, I realized that I wanted to be strength and conditioning coach. Wes Emmert and Mark gave me my start at Boston College, but Dan Austin is really my mentor along with Al Vermiel. Also, my GAs and all the coaches that I have talked with overs the years have helped me develop as strength and conditioning coach.
5. How do you adapt your programming to fit the needs of each athlete you work with?
By testing and evaluating the performances and technique of the athlete when they train.
6. What do you think is the most overlooked concept in the field of strength and conditioning?
Personally, I think the most overlooked concept in the field is building athletes to be leaders and providing expectations to earn what they get, not to expect it right away. Which I feel can be done through a variety of training methods during a 4 year training program with your athletes.
7. What resources do you use the most when it comes to getting continuing education as it pertains to the field?
The resources I use are conferences, articles from all areas (e.g., the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), and online sources), and most of all calling and talking to other people in the field.
8. What is your take on “specificity” of training and how (if so) do you apply it to your programming?
I believe that training an athlete to be athletic is the most important thing. The program should make them stronger, faster, quicker, safer, and give the athlete the best ability to perform his or her sport. The training should work on the athlete’s physical weakness and conditioning. The skill work is for the coaches of that sport. If the training covers the athlete’s needs for that sport physically and metabolically, then we, as personal trainers, have done our job.
9. What is your favorite tool in your toolbox?
My favorite tool is ground-based training that requires triple extension and max efforts..
10. What are your five favorite exercises?
1) All Olympic lifts and their variety; 2) Squats of all types; 3) Presses of all types; 4) Post-chain training for legs and upper body; and 5) Plyo’s of all types.
11. What advice would you give to young coaches who are just starting their careers and want to follow in your footsteps?
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Coach Doscher and I collaborated on several research studies together due to his interest in developing new and innovative practices that would improve the training programs for his athletes. A great quality to have as a strength coach.
I want to know about how you have dealt with hardships in your career. Most common mistakes and how to correct, dealing with different coaches ideologies, coaching cues that you have found the most effective.... I need a knowledge bomb!