by Scott Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and Roger Marandino, MS, CSCS, RSCC,*E
Coaching Podcast June 2019
Roger Marandino, Director of Research at Catapult, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his experiences as a...
Roger Marandino, Director of Research at Catapult, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his experiences as a strength coach at the youth, colligate, and National Football League (NFL) level. Topics under discussion include the struggles he faced as a young coach, his advice for making a big impact on a small budget, interviewing skills, and the new opportunities arising in the strength and conditioning profession.
Roger Marandino, Director of Research at Catapult, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his experiences as a strength coach at the youth, collegiate, and National Football League (NFL) level. Topics under discussion include the struggles he faced as a young coach, his advice for making a big impact on a small budget, interviewing skills, and the new opportunities arising in the strength and conditioning profession.
Find Scott on Instagram: @coachcaulfield
“But I remember getting my first NSCA journal and I just said, you know, hey, I could really do this as a profession. This is something that I'm really into. And that spark was just lit in me to find out information.”
“So it just prolonged it and prolonged it, which ultimately, when I look back on it, was probably a good thing because-- I know this sounds a little bit bizarre because nowadays it just seems that most people are just chasing jobs.”
“…what do I want to do for the next 20 years of my life? And not to give advice, but you find out if you're a worker bee or you're not. Are you going to enjoy retirement or are you not? And I think that I don't know that I would ever want to stop working. I enjoy working. We all complain, but really, I found that out about myself.”
“And the one thing you find out really, really quickly with S&Cs is that they speak a lot of languages. You know, they speak training room, they speak parent, they speak player, they speak football coach, basketball coach.”
“You're in charge of that room. You're responsible for the safety of the players, student athletes. You start an exercise physical preparation program to get better, not worse. So you really have to understand everything that you're exposing the players to.”
“And it sounds cautious and it sounds corny, but safety leads to technique. Technique leads to success and strength, in my opinion.”
“It's fantastic. Your resume got you here. I don't want to talk about your resume anymore. What are you going to do when you have to get this person to do this and they don't want to do it? What are you going to do when you have a lot of success and you start feeling good about yourself?”
“There can be no ego in weightlifting. There can be no ego in training.”
“You're going to have to care about the people, the athletes, like you said, protecting their health. But they're going to have to know that you care about their best interests.”
“And if you don't know the answer, you have to be able to say, I don't know the answer, but I'm going to try and find it.”
“So that was such a valuable lesson that I learned from those guys, and having my house in order at home is really what's made us so much stronger as a family.”
“So I think sports science as it's viewed should be geared around safety, the protection of the players. You know, everywhere we go, especially when we get in front of ADs, they talk about welfare, student athlete welfare, return to play and how you quantify those variables.”
[00:00:00.77] Welcome to NSCA's coaching podcast, episode 56.
[00:00:05.78] And it sounds cautious, and it sounds corny, but safety leads to technique. Technique leads to success and strength, in my opinion.
[00:00:14.16] This is the NSCA's coaching podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:00:24.77] Welcome to the NSCA's coaching podcast. I'm Scott Caulfield. Today with me, Roger Marandino, director of research at Catapult. Roger, welcome to the show.
[00:00:34.01] Thank you, Scott. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:35.54] Appreciate you being on. We are here in a very empty exhibit hall. It's actually pretty nice. They just gave us a break here at the 2019 NSCA coaches' conference. How's it been for you guys so far?
[00:00:46.49] It's been great. You know, I don't know what conferences is for me, but I think my first one might have been in maybe 1993 in Las Vegas. So it's a lot of the same faces and a lot of new ones. So it's really cool.
[00:01:00.56] Yeah. And that's great to have somebody on like yourself, who's just had such a long history and involvement with the NSCA. And, I mean, you've been in so many different settings throughout your career. So I kind of want to definitely talk a little bit about that. You spent 17, 18 years at Brown University, Ivy League school. But you get started before that with some other experiences. Why don't you tell us a little bit about why you got involved in strengthening and conditioning?
[00:01:34.46] I still remember it pretty well. I went to-- I'm from New Jersey, and got involved in the drug-free powerlifting circuit there in high school, just getting ready for football, to play football and track and field. So I ended up going to King College as part of the New Jersey state school system. And I loved it. I mean, I literally got everything I could possibly get out of that school. And it was inexpensive as well, which was great.
[00:02:05.81] But I can remember, I was originally going to go athletic training route, because there was no strength and conditioning route at that time. But I remember getting my first NSCA journal and I just said, you know, hey, I could really do this as a profession. This is something that I'm really into. And that spark was just lit in me to find out information.
[00:02:28.70] I already knew that I enjoyed training and I was always trying to find out new ways to do it or smarter ways to do it. But that's what started the path. So when I graduated, I took an internship with John McBride at University of the Pacific. And prior to that, I went out to this speed clinic with a company called Speed City. It's based out of Nimbus, Oregon, and I met guys like Randy Smythe and Randy Korchemny. I think Kim Wood from the Bengals spoke.
[00:03:02.63] And tell you what, long story short, I ended up getting this internship with John. And then I went to the NSCA conference. And I think it was 1992 in Las Vegas. Tami Wooden and I drove down. And I interviewed. And I interviewed in a couple places at Dartmouth, with Steve Plisk at the time, who's still one of my oldest friends, and then Jerry Martin at Yukon. And I ultimately ended up taking the job at Connecticut.
[00:03:35.00] And it was fantastic. I mean, I enjoyed every moment of it. He let us coach. He always pushed us, very demanding human being. He's since passed away a couple of years back. But the cool part about it, Scott, was that he allowed us to be a fanatic about strength and conditioning, which, you know, at that time it really was so new. It wasn't new, but it wasn't as diverse.
[00:03:59.37] So I enrolled in the biomechanics program there. And Bill Kraemer had just left. He was in the exercise phys department. So at that time, we were treated as assistants. We were the assistant strength coaches. But we were paid through the graduate assistant program. So I think my first year there I think I made $4,000 and dirt poor still. I was still competing in powerlifting at the time, and then loving every minute of it, more or less.
[00:04:31.79] There were no assistants. I think my second year there I took over football, and they were transitioning from-- at the time it was I-AA to I-A. So it was a great experience, a lot for somebody that's in their early 20s to handle. But Jerry was always there to back me up.
[00:04:49.91] Andrea Hudy, who's been in Kansas now for I don't know how long and won so many national titles it's hard to count, she was there with me in year two. And that was the very first national championship that the women's program basketball at Connecticut won. And to this day, that's still the benchmark for preparation, toughness, smart play, even all the way up into the NFL. There really was no group that was like that.
[00:05:23.52] And so that experience led to some interviews. When I got my graduate degree, I interviewed at St. John's in New York and was offered the job. And then at the 11th hour, I was asked to interview at Brown, which is in the Ivy League and located in Providence, Rhode Island. And I went there thinking, at 24, I was the head strength coach, 37 teams. Our weight room was like, I don't know, maybe 3,000 square feet.
[00:05:55.30] It was in a basement, right?
[00:05:56.49] Yeah. Well, it was-- it looked like a basement because the windows actually had bars on them, so no vitamin D. And it was a square. It was a rectangle, so it was OK to-- you know, we had seven platforms, seven racks, holding area. Everybody cleaned. Everybody squatted, variations. And the size of the facility actually allowed me to do it, because had I had a bigger facility, just the sheer amount of scheduling hours in a day, there really isn't enough.
[00:06:35.98] So there, you got the kids in the morning and you got them after school. And some trickled through throughout the day. So it made for a long day. But that was really the only way you could pull it off. We didn't really train on the weekends per se, but in season, obviously, in football we did, because we would train on Sundays. So then that would allow me, OK, well, I'm going to be here for football, so I might as well get lacrosse done or swimming or whoever. And the next thing you know, you're there for seven hours.
[00:07:05.89] But I really have such a fond, fond memory of that place and the NSCA in New England at the time. I mean, we had Steve Plisk who was-- you know, it's really bringing me down, really. But Plisky was at Yale at the time. And we would have these Bulldog Clinics. And the best of the best would speak-- you know, Doc Kraemer, Jerry, Andrea, all the guys from Columbia, all down into Penn. You know, Joe Schoenleber that year, who was at Drexel, after 9/11, had this big memorial event up in New York, and we all went up and spoke. Doc Fleck I think spoke.
[00:07:49.23] It was just really the who's who at that time of not only researchers but S&Cs in that region. Mike Gerber, who was at Syracuse forever, it was just really a tight-knit community. And now some of the guys are out of it, but some are still around. And I guess I'm at that point where those were the old days.
[00:08:09.30] And then both-- I met my wife at Brown. She was a graduate student there. Two of her brothers also, they wrote at Brown. I knew one early on but didn't really know them, so another small world thing. And then both of our daughters were born in Rhode Island. And then, you know, it's a tough area because there were so many hours I had to put in at work, just like everybody. But financially it got tougher.
[00:08:40.23] And then when the military was starting to hire S&Cs, Jay Hoffman actually recommended me for a job, and it was very cloak and dagger. They showed up in a van at my house and brought me to the airport. And I was gone for, like, three days and didn't know much about the job. But ultimately, after a long wait, they ended up offering me the job, and we turned it down, because my wife was pregnant with our first daughter at the time, Annabella.
[00:09:10.86] But we did discuss. We said, hey, if the next opportunity comes, we really need to take it seriously. As much as we love it here, we're more than likely going backwards. So not long after that, Barry Rubin at the Philadelphia Eagles called me up. I'm from South Jersey. Andy Reid's a god there. I was like, yeah. The lockout was happening at the time.
[00:09:39.49] So it just prolonged it and prolonged it, which ultimately, when I look back on it, was probably a good thing because-- I know this sounds a little bit bizarre because nowadays it just seems that most people are just chasing jobs. But it allowed me to stay with a lot of our teams that were in the fall, our men's soccer program, and Mike Noonan who's now at Clemson, I mean, we just were rolling. And football, with Phil Estes, I mean, we built that program. It was really awesome.
[00:10:08.16] So I was able to deliver the team to Brandon, who came in from Iowa. So the crazy thing about it is that weight room, my white whale of trying to get a new facility, we were building it. And now it's enormous. It's fantastic. Brandon's done a great job with it. But that was my white whale.
[00:10:30.90] And then working with Mike Richardson at the time, Bud Charniga, Deliko, and just it was going to be that spot. And so ultimately I paid that price and then left it. And they built it. They did a really nice job. But I still have never had a really big facility. Even with the Colts, it's a very nice facility, but it wasn't like these guys have today.
[00:10:55.68] So then they offered me the job at the Eagles, and we went in July, it was, I believe. I went directly to training camp. We had a decent year. That was the dream team year, Vince Young said that. Mike Vick was our quarterback, great guy. So anyway, I got to work with Andy Reid, which was fantastic.
[00:11:19.09] That's cool.
[00:11:19.44] It was. And to work with Barry, what an unbelievable human being. We're still really, really tight. To work with the Reid kids and the Reid family and Tammy Reid was really, really fantastic to my wife. And then Ryan Grigson, who was working with Philadelphia in the front office, ended up getting the job with the Indianapolis Colts. And he says, would you like to go?
[00:11:47.53] And we talked about it and talked about it. And one of our goals going into the NFL as a family was, we want to be able to stay five years to get the pension, because at that point, it existed and it was extremely valuable to us, because neither of us made a ton of money to that point. So we ended up accomplishing that.
[00:12:10.12] But I was like, as long as the Colts have the program, then we're going to go. And, you know, it was hard to leave Philadelphia because my mother still lives there. But ultimately, you gotta go. The team did not do well the previous year. We went in, we kind of soup to nuts changed. You know, we went 11 and 5, we drafted Andrew Luck in the first round and the first pick, and we were rolling.
[00:12:40.68] Playoffs for three years in a row, AFC championship game, NFL record, consecutive wins. And then we were 8 and 8, and so the story goes in the NFL, you know, they sacrificed a lot of the staff. And I was part of that, which is tough. But again, I guess it's a part of the profession-- more so now, much more prevalent than I can ever remember. And it's a shame. However we were under contract, so that was good. We had all of our boxes checked family wise, so that made it a lot easier to swallow.
[00:13:19.47] So what to do next. So I was under contract for a year, so I couldn't work. And you know, I did a lot of stuff around the house, did a lot of research, reconnected with old people, visited, stuff that you couldn't do, because as you know--
[00:13:34.92] Too busy, yeah.
[00:13:36.15] --it just takes up so much your time, the job, just really, really set down and said, what do I want to do for the next 20 years of my life? And not to give advice, but you find out if you're a worker bee or you're not. Are you going to enjoy retirement or are you not? And I think that I don't know that I would ever want to stop working. I enjoy working. We all complain, but really, I found that out about myself.
[00:14:04.71] And I volunteered at a high school. And my young guy, David Williams, who was one of Jay Hoffman's students, back in the day in the sports performance lab and played football. You know, at UCF, I ended up hiring him at the Colts through Jay's recommendation. And he's a lifelong friend. So there's a lot of good that came out of that.
[00:14:29.49] But anyway he ended up getting let go. So I got him that job at Zionsville High School, and he's still there now. So you go from college to Ivy League to professional to high school. And then, you know, it's like, it really was a cool thing because the reality is, a lot of the principles are the same. They are. It's just a different population. But gravity is the same in a weight room in high school as it is in another part of the world, and you better be careful because somebody can get injured.
[00:15:05.37] And then from there, we had a couple of interviews. And one of them was offered, and it didn't end up working out. It was a really good job, but it just fell apart in negotiation. And then while I was at the Colts, we engaged with Catapult to track our players, to try and keep them as safe as we could, to learn more about the demands of the sport. And it just developed a fantastic relationship with Roger Moore at the time and Emma Beanland. And we just started talking and said, hey, why don't you come work for us, or let's talk about this, or what are you going to do with me at this time?
[00:15:46.58] And then that was sometime in 2017, before the CSCCA. And then ultimately I signed with them, and it's been a fantastic experience for me-- scary, because you do the same thing for almost 25 years, and a lot of that comes second nature. But ultimately I think I had experience with the product. My background in periodization really helps, because it just makes a lot of sense when you see this data come out, and what to do with it.
[00:16:23.33] And the one thing you find out really, really quickly with S&Cs is that they speak a lot of languages. You know, they speak training room, they speak parent, they speak player, they speak football coach, basketball coach. I mean, we had 37 teams at Brown, almost 900 athletes. There really wasn't a sport that existed in the US that we hadn't worked with.
[00:16:51.20] Equestrian was a team we had. Well, now I'm trying to do a project with an equestrian doctor that's really into eventing. And last night, Chris Morris and I were talking about another really cool project. So I mean, that experience, I never in a million years would think I would be using it at a different place down the road.
[00:17:13.22] But I do believe in the product wholeheartedly. It helped us big time. We helped catapult develop what's called a local positioning system, which is Clear Sky. It's an indoor GPS system. So we're very proud of that. And now the sky is the limit. But that's it in a nutshell, my career path.
[00:17:34.53] Nice. What I think a lot of the Brown situation too makes me have a lot of questions. Like, 37 teams, and again, coming from Dartmouth myself, I'm familiar with the amount of teams and how that works and how crazy it is. And I know typically, like we did, you don't have a lot of staff. So it's you and a couple of GAs. So maybe tell us some things that you did, maybe that you guys did, that helped you manage all these teams with a small staff. And then also maybe talk too about how if you're in a situation where you may be a one-man show, one-woman show, and you've got a small budget and you've got to get things done, what recommendations you have, or even things you thought of maybe after the fact. I mean, then again, you're there 17 years, so I'm sure you've figured out a lot of things.
[00:18:29.01] You know, one accident is too many. And I don't want to get choked up, but Jerry Martin was like, you always have to know why. And I had pretty good success in the strength sports, so sometimes that might not be enough. So you always had to know why.
[00:18:53.69] So instilling that in me and definitely in Andrea, because we're very similar, really was the cornerstone. You're in charge of that room. You're responsible for the safety of the players, student athletes. You start an exercise physical preparation program to get better, not worse. So you really have to understand everything that you're exposing the players to.
[00:19:23.34] And that's what the NSCA is all about. It's a research-based organization, and that's what sets it apart in my opinion. And then, back then-- and I'm sure you can do it now, but back then, we wanted to know the researchers. You know, I could pick up the phone and call Doc Kraemer-- he's a friend of mine-- and say, what do you think about this, or who studies this? So that was first and foremost is like, we had no business teaching somebody something that really was unsafe or was unproven or was just on a whim.
[00:19:54.57] Now, in the facility, it actually was kind of a blessing because it was small enough where we couldn't put five teams in there at once. And you had to be on your toes with your scheduling. Your coaches had to work with you because if a team was supposed to start at 4 o'clock, then I had another one coming in at 4:15. You know, as the equipment would free up, as they started to move through, then you can really get the job done and get it done safely. And I'm very happy to say, we never had an ambulance pull up to our weight room. Now, it could happen at any time, but--
[00:20:31.68] And then Scott, I think, more than anything, the kids there. I mean, they wanted to be there. And that's not to say they weren't a handful because they always are, but they allowed us to coach them and teach them the right way to do it, and we had to be fanatical, back to Jerry, about safety. And it sounds cautious and it sounds corny, but safety leads to technique. Technique leads to success and strength, in my opinion.
[00:21:01.14] You can only be as strong as how smart you are. Do you know how to hold the bar right? Do you know how to take the right breath? Do you know how to set the bar up when it's heavy? Do you know how to get rid of it if you get into trouble?
[00:21:13.08] One example that comes to mind is, because the schedule was so heavy, everybody would kind of be in somewhat groups. So I remember, there was a baseball group in the morning, 6:00 AM. So we had a rule that when you got off the bench, when your set was done, you went to spot. And then you just got into your rotation.
[00:21:34.65] Well, this kid was warming up in the morning, and there was 135 pounds on the bar, and he has a seizure. No one-- I mean, you can't predict that. So his arms kind of go funky for a moment, and then the bar drops. And it hits him kind of on the forehand and scrapes down his nose, and it's going for his neck. And the spotter was there to grab it.
[00:21:58.26] So the moral of the story is, because they were so accustomed to being into that rotation, if he would have just been doing that on his own, it may have gotten his neck. So things like that, the advice is, whether the room is full or not, accidents can happen. I think that equipment-wise, you have to buy the best stuff you can afford. And we got to spend some time with the new Eleiko guys and Bud Charniga. I mean, we did business with him forever. And my first budget I bought, in 1995, an Eleiko barbell, and it was still there 17 years later.
[00:22:38.63] And all it did was get dropped every day. Because you're probably not going to get a second time around to get your stuff, you have to be innovative. We built our own platforms in the wood shop. And the guy was happy to do it. He really was into it.
[00:22:56.37] Interns, inviting other people in to come in and see something that you don't see, showing them-- there was a lot of camaraderie in the profession then, but it was less digital. You know, it was more, hey, I'm going to come visit you. Let's sit down and talk shop. How do you implement this? You have to be a fantastic communicator with your coaches because they sense your passion, and you have to sense theirs.
[00:23:26.46] Picking the right people, really vetting them-- really, really vetting them, because it's easy to talk about, when you're in hour 20 and it's halfway through your second day of the week, it gets hard. I mean, fatigue causes accidents. I'm proud of a lot of the people that worked there. A lot of them went on and had fantastic jobs. I'm really proud of the fact that we had-- I think of only two assistants there in 17 years, all of them were female.
[00:23:57.33] So being exposed to that, until I got to the NFL, I always worked with female on the staff, all the way back to Pacific, with Tami Wooden was the first. So to me it just makes so much sense. And I really, really enjoyed it. But advice, I don't know, I guess safety first is probably the biggest piece of advice.
[00:24:24.52] I think that's huge. When you're talking about assistants-- and we actually just came from a resume-writing interview skills session that Ron McKeefery and I did. And somebody asked us, if all things considered qualification-wise and interview-wise the people did the same job in the interview, what are you picking based on for the person that you pick for that job? I guess what traits are you looking for in an assistant?
[00:24:55.78] You know, it's a fantastic question because when you're at a place like Brown, if someone's applying there, there's a reason. If you're in a place like the Indianapolis Colts, if someone's applying there, it's a completely different reason. So one of the things that we did in Indy, I remember when we were interviewing for nutritionists, and I immediately-- they would come in and sit down and I would say, I've looked at your resume. It's fantastic. Your resume got you here. I don't want to talk about your resume anymore. What are you going to do when you have to get this person to do this and they don't want to do it? What are you going to do when you have a lot of success and you start feeling good about yourself? Are you going to still be the same person? Are you going to be the same person under duress? Are you going to be the same person when we're winning? Because then, in my opinion, that's probably the most dangerous is when you're becoming successful.
[00:26:02.44] Why are you here? What's important to you? Is it the profession? Because strength and conditioning coach is a cool profession. Are you going to be willing to get up on a Sunday and go work with a basketball program that just came off the road?
[00:26:20.62] And again, it comes back to what we discussed earlier. Tell me why we squat. Well, it's a really great exercise. No, I understand that. Tell me why. Tell me your thoughts why. Are you thinking about this past first, second, third base? Are you really, really thinking at it? Are you studying it?
[00:26:41.65] What does it do to your nervous system? What does it do to your connective tissue? How about your endocrine system? What happens? I need you-- like, we had a group come in from Indiana State. And I said, has anybody heard of-- it was either yoga or Pilates or whatever.
[00:26:58.75] I said, what is yoga? They're like, well, it's-- I said, but no, what is it? I said, when they do a pose, what is that? And they should have said, it's an isometric contraction. What's the difference between isometric and eccentric?
[00:27:12.46] I said, so the professional really has to think deep and cover their bases, because guess what, there's going to be a lot of people on these sporting staffs that have trained with weight. And you're the professional. So do you want to be a professional? And tell me how. Tell me how. Why are you doing this?
[00:27:30.40] And again, I guess it goes back to Jerry. He always said, why? Why, why, why are we doing this? And there was never enough answers. There really wasn't.
[00:27:40.09] Empirically we all know, hey, the squat looks-- if I have an alien that lands here that doesn't know anything, if a guy can lift 300 pounds with half his body and 500 with his whole body, that's probably going to give me more bang for my buck. But I need you to go deeper.
[00:27:57.13] But above all that, above all that, it's a different day now with digital technology and social media. You're a caregiver. You have to be an expert. What type of person are you? Because if I have a passionate, high-quality person-- because let's face it, Scott, I mean, you go in that room, you're out-numbered. You're out-numbered. And so we have to be a team that's on the same page.
[00:28:26.86] There can be no ego in weightlifting. There can be no ego in training. Really, if I sense that, it was always a red flag.
[00:28:33.97] Yeah, yeah. You're going to have to care about the people, the athletes, like you said, protecting their health. But they're going to have to know that you care about their best interests.
[00:28:44.00] 100%. And the athlete is going to have to know that you're a professional. And if you don't know the answer, you have to be able to say, I don't know the answer, but I'm going to try and find it.
[00:28:52.18] Be OK with that, yeah. So what about going from collegiate to professional? Is that a big jump? You know, is it not as big of a jump as people might think? And I think some people probably see the professional level as like, oh, wow. I think some people get caught in the headlights and maybe they think that's the spot. You know, was that a little like, oh, man? You know, was that a little nervous for you to make that jump at first? Or were you like, no, you know, I've got tons of experience, I'm ready to go do this?
[00:29:30.61] I think nervous was a part of it. Excited was a part of it. The biggest thing for me was that I ran my own show, and then I was going to be an assistant. So I think one thing that's very clear-- and Andy Reid was great. I interviewed, I think, two or three times, because it just was that-- they were vetting me so heavily. He says, do your job, don't do someone else's. And I'm like, that is awesome.
[00:30:02.25] What's my job? My job is to support my boss, Barry Rubin. And if he wanted me to do something, if he wanted to give me some research, if he wanted me to help out with a project, I did it. But there were times, because human nature kicks in, where you're like, well, I might do this differently, or this is how I've always done it. So for me, it was so invaluable to have that one year. Oh, my god, was it-- and the reality is that you're going from an environment that is very unique in sports in an Ivy League setting, let alone to a different collegiate setting, so you're moving to a different setting.
[00:30:38.61] The players are very transient in professional sports, so they may be there one day, gone tomorrow. So you still have to train them. At least in the NFL, it is basically an in-season program. So you have to know your periodization inside and out. You can't do things based off of feel.
[00:30:58.41] The testing protocols are, in most cases, more advanced in college. You can one rep max test these guys so you're percentage based. But I would say this. The main difference is, they're professionals. They want to get a lot better. We used to have a rule, we'll work with anybody, but we won't let anything slide. And the number one rule is when we tell you "no," you have to say "yes."
[00:31:23.21] They never understood it. Like, when you want to put 500 on and you just did 450, I'm going to talk you into doing 460. And again, it goes back to no ego. But I think if you surround yourself with really levelheaded people and you don't have any ego yourself, you'll be successful. Because the players were fantastic. They really were. They were some of the coolest, down-to-earth people, obviously extremely talented, but they all got there for a reason.
[00:31:54.42] And I'm still friendly with a lot of them. And it's the same thing. You know, you hear relationships, relationships-- if you don't have that, then why are you doing it, in my opinion? I mean, the money was much better, but the hours were probably about the same. Travel was a lot more.
[00:32:10.59] Right, travel's big.
[00:32:11.69] Yeah. One of the things that was really, really useful to me when I went and interviewed with the Army Rangers was, he was a very unassuming guy, he probably was in his early 40s, and he was one of their leaders. He had long hair, just a really cool, down-to-earth guy. And obviously we got to the point where they explain to me what they do for a living. It's very serious business, as you know.
[00:32:42.80] And he said to me, he goes, we don't want to be mandated on. He goes, my guys know what they're doing. He goes, they want to get the job done more than the guy standing next to them, and that guy wants to get it done more than the guy standing next to them. So we really, really hit it off.
[00:32:59.46] And I thought, wow, what a great piece of information. And it really helped me in the NFL, it really did, because nobody, yourself included-- whoever's listening, yourself included-- wants to be told what to do. They want to be shown. Now, if somebody is going against the grain, that's where we say, we won't let anything slide. You're at work here, it's a professional organization, you have to lift weights, you have to stay in condition, that's a part of your job. And that was kind of cool too. But we never felt like we were forcing stuff down someone's throat because they're going to spit it back out.
[00:33:35.31] And then the other thing-- and again, it was hard when Jerry passed because you didn't have that guy to call and talk about. But going through that interview process with the Rangers, the one guy says, I always have to have my house in order. He goes, because I can go away from here and maybe not come back. So I just was like, wow.
[00:34:02.86] And I don't want to glamorize it because he was being extremely serious. So my first year in Philadelphia I didn't have that, because we had moved. My wife was left behind. Our daughter Susanna was just born, and it just was really fast, and it was new for all of us.
[00:34:21.08] So being able to sit down and be on the same page with your home base, it sounds so corny, but it is so, so important. Because guess what. Five years later, I got fired for the first time in my life. And who am I there with? And they get fired too.
[00:34:41.93] And that's the thing-- you know, my kids, they know. I can give you examples but I'm not going to. They know, because the kids at school will say something to them. So that was such a valuable lesson that I learned from those guys, and having my house in order at home is really what's made us so much stronger as a family.
[00:35:01.52] That's huge. That's cool. And Ray Ganong, who got the president's award today too, said-- I forget when it was, in the early '80s, when he sat down I think with Boyd who came to visit when they played the Orange Bowl or something, he told him, family first. And basically kind of the same thing, you gotta have that together. And you gotta have that support, that foundation.
[00:35:24.73] Yeah, because the thing is, being at Brown for so long, my wife and I didn't get married until much later in that run. So when it's just you and you can just worry about you, it is very different. So you adapt obviously. But that's a huge part of your family. I mean, those players-- and you don't realize it till you go. Or I went back to a hall of fame event, and it was just like, it's awesome, just seeing all these guys again. They're like, hey, remember when we did this?
[00:35:58.37] And there really is a real camaraderie. Because, let's face it, strength and conditioning, you're trying to get somebody that has a really good talent to try and develop another one. And it's work. There are times when it's really, really hard, and they don't see the light. But if they trust it, you know, if there's that mutual trust, then it's just a lot healthier.
[00:36:21.75] But when you get into the professional ranks it's hard because the players are very transient. There's a lot of money involved. But you still, a guy comes in, you don't want to talk about weightlifting all the time. You know, what are your interests? I mean, we had a guy at Brown, Nick Hartigan, who ended up being one of the all-time best players in the history of the sport in the Ivy League. When I first met him, I was on a recruiting trip. I said, what do you want to be when you grow up? He goes, President of the United States.
[00:36:50.62] So I'm like, OK. So I'm not really that political, but maybe I'm going to start-- you know, because I wanted to have a common interest with him, and I didn't know how good he was going to be. But I just, to me, it was just always a cool thing to develop relationships with them. Because guess what, man, you're in there with them so much. You don't want to talk about weightlifting the whole time.
[00:37:08.64] Yeah, frankly makes sense, the majority of the time with the athletes compared to anybody else that probably touches them. Was there anything when you went from college to the NFL that surprised you? Like, maybe you had a preconceived notion of what the NFL might be like, and you were just like, wow, that was way off? Like, whether good, bad, or indifferent.
[00:37:32.47] I mean, it's probably a two-part question, because when you're there, you literally have to put blinders on. But they're really that good. I mean, the players are really that good. And that was one thing that I think held up very-- you know, to see a guy like Michael Vick throw a football when you're standing 10 feet away from him, you're like, wow. Or just to see some of the effort, the timing, the preparation that they put in, it's really true.
[00:38:10.12] Obviously it's not for everybody. So those players normally aren't around a lot. But they're special people, but you also have to understand, a lot of them, Scott, they've specialized. Like, football, that's what they do, and they've been doing that for a really long time. And they get really good at it.
[00:38:30.13] And a lot of them get there for different reasons. Some of them, I was surprised how not strong they were. That really was surprising to me. And then I've seen some people that were so strong that you're like, wow, that's really special. They all got there for a reason. We see that a lot with Catapult.
[00:38:51.01] When we go when we look at teams, there was one volleyball program that we looked at, and all the players, they all looked really twitchy. They were lean. All their athletes who [INAUDIBLE]. And then we go and we do the research on them, and you see one of the athletes that really wasn't, but she had the highest values.
[00:39:12.76] So when you talk to the coach, you're like, well, does she know everybody's position on the court? She's like, absolutely. She's our smartest player. She's always in the right spot, therefore she's always moving. So they all get there somehow.
[00:39:26.86] But you know, I can remember a guy like Adam Vinatieri. You know, we're similar in age, not to-- but everyone knows. You know, so we were really tight. And it was good being around a guy like that because he was just such-- and is such a true professional. Great dude, very successful, very down to earth, easy to work with.
[00:39:47.63] I'm really into offshore fishing. I don't go as much, but I commercial tuna fish when I was living in Rhode Island, and then I have good friends in Canada and I go. And Adam is a real big outdoorsman. So I said, hey, man, I'm going up. Do you want to go? And he's like, yeah, I'll go. Sure, I'll go.
[00:40:06.48] And we had a couple of days in July, which really wasn't the best time to go. But we go. And I've done it a lot, and I wanted him to get a fish. So it was a time of the year where we could get one, we could get none.
[00:40:18.98] So anyway, long story short, you're going to go first, Vinny. And we fight with stand-up tackle, heavy tackle, stand up, a lot of technique, but you need to be in shape, which he is. He was very well-trained. So I said, the good news is, you'll probably get a shot. I don't care if I get a shot. The bad news is, you won't get a chance to see it first. So I'm going to have to coach you through it.
[00:40:41.99] So lo and behold, we're there, we're on the water like an hour. So you've got to accommodate a little bit. It's not the easiest thing because the coastal fishery is kind of rough. Anyway, he gets hooked up instantly. And the fish is big. It was over 800 pounds. And I watch him, and I'm coaching him through, having never done it, and he did a fantastic.
[00:41:04.52] But when these big fish get to the boat, that's when it really gets hard, because they're so big. They're so heavy. The end game is hard. Anyway, long story short, he gets the fish, and it really exhausts him. And he gets off, and he goes, I'm glad I did that one time. I don't ever want to do it again.
[00:41:22.02] And I said, you wait. I said, you wait. You wait. Your body will recover. Your mind will make you forget about the hard parts. And sure enough, he comes back. I got a fish, and he comes back. He goes, I want to go again. He got one close to 1,000 pounds.
[00:41:34.97] Holy cow.
[00:41:36.05] But he adapted so quickly because he was able to watch. So that was one of the things that surprised me a lot about the NFL and about professional sports in general is 90% of them are really professional. Some people just get there on talent and maybe they don't get the job part of it. But that was one thing that I didn't think was going to be so glaring, to watch some of these guys prepare, coaches as well, front office people, they're fanatical.
[00:42:04.04] And again, it goes back to what Jerry allowed us to do. Be a fanatic about strength and conditioning. Because where else could I do that? Now there's a lot more places, but back then, it just didn't exist.
[00:42:16.58] It gave you the opportunity to get the experience and be able to be a sounding board. It's huge.
[00:42:25.16] Yeah. And I mean, let's face it, you know, when you're in high school or you're in college, you know, hey, what are you into? I'm into lifting weights. I'm into running. Well, back then, it was like, oh, how are you going to make a living with that? And it was challenging financially for a long time, for most of my career. But when I got to Connecticut, or when I interviewed with Jerry, I was in Las Vegas. And he videotaped me, which was-- you know, it was unheard of then, because he wanted to go back and review.
[00:42:56.87] And so he was a very progressive thinker. And after I got that interview, I go, there's no way I'm going to-- I remember, I called my mom on a pay phone going, there's no way I'm going to Connecticut. I'm not gonna. And then we sat down and ate lunch, and I saw a different side of him, and we started talking. He's like, you know, I can remember, he's like, you know, why don't you leave weights on a bench press? Why don't you leave 45's on a bench press?
[00:43:20.31] And I had thought about this. And I said, well, because it's going to change the molecules in the bar. They're going to crowd to one side. Eventually, it'll bend. He's like, yes. He's like, good work. You know, so it's pretty neat to be back here at the NSCA and think about those lessons, but they were really good ones.
[00:43:39.13] That's really cool. That is really cool. We talked about Catapult a little bit. The sports science stuff is hot. You know, Dr. Triplett talked about the sports science certification that we're going to be coming out with, however long it takes to do it. What's your take on where is all the sports science stuff going right now? Because I know it's pretty new in the United States, honestly.
[00:44:06.74] I certainly don't think it's going anywhere. The good, bad, and ugly of it is that Chris Morris and I were-- he spoke for us yesterday at the pre-conference, Andy Althoff and Chris. They're clients of ours, and they've become really good friends. And it's cool. They get it.
[00:44:23.06] And we just went to get a cup of coffee, and he says, well, what do you think about the profession now? I said, well, there's a lot more opportunity. So that's one cool thing. It's another position that can help bring the profession that much closer to where it needs to be. I think that if you have a sports scientist, always debate, what do you call that position? Because, you know, we're all kind of scientists. That may rub some people with PhDs the wrong way.
[00:44:51.29] So I don't know about the terminology. I don't know about the naming of it yet. However, it's here. Safety is so important to me. It's always just so important to me. It didn't make any sense to take somebody that's perfectly healthy and try and get them to jump off a 50-inch box to get them 1% better that may not exist anyway, and they sprain their ankle, and they're 50% worse.
[00:45:15.42] So I think sports science as it's viewed should be geared around safety, the protection of the players. You know, everywhere we go, especially when we get in front of ADs, they talk about welfare, student athlete welfare, return to play and how you quantify those variables. If it can increase the research base, then I think it's fantastic.
[00:45:39.20] One thing I would say, especially with Catapult, is like, we use it on day one. Initially it was like, you get pigeonholed. They're like, you need to collect all this data first, and then you need to put on a lab coat, and you need to decipher it. Well, we were watching live practice. We had a player that came to our team, brand new, had a hamstring injury.
[00:46:03.91] And it was a time of the year where he was trying to make our team, so they did rehab as best they could. And then he gets released into the practice field. And he's winning our practice because we're monitoring all of our players live, and you can sit there and watch it unfold. It's really awesome.
[00:46:20.27] And so the likelihood of that guy getting hurt, yes or no, is high, pretty high, right? It gets deep into practice and we were able to walk over and intervene and say, listen, this guy, whatever you think of him, we need to tempo him down towards the end of practice so he can live to fight another day. And that player actually ended up making our team. Down the road, he was on our team, off the team. But you know, he got in the habit, if he pulled his hamstring right there, you know--
[00:46:47.98] Yeah, 10 years ago, maybe you don't have that. They let him go full speed still, and he gets hurt and gets cut.
[00:46:54.50] He gets hurt, he gets cut, his dream goes away. And so now that didn't happen. But I'm not saying that-- but I think you know what I mean. But that's technically what would be on your sports science. When we introduced the product to potential clients when we talk about it, we call it a communication tool. And everyone said, well, what does that mean? I said, well, we're collecting data, information, whatever you want to call it, and we're sharing it with the coaching staff. So it's increasing that communication between the trainer, the player, the coach, and there's, again, that deep thought. The deep thought exists, trying to really figure out what's going on in a practice, in a game, the difference between football and soccer and basketball, it's so drastically different. But empirically, you're empowering these coaches and these sports scientists with another tool to use.
[00:47:50.93] Well, it certainly is an exciting time. And I like what you said about the opportunity that it's going to provide for the profession, because we're seeing the 40-plus years now of this profession growing and becoming more recognized and with the accreditation stuff that again Dr. Triplett is talking about, where you'll have to have an accredited degree to get a certification down the road. And I think we'll see potentially a CSCS being a requirement of a sports science certification. So, you know, getting strength and conditioning coaches into those roles especially is pretty huge, because of the experience with safety first and exercise prescription that they're going to have to be able to influence the direction of training through sport science is tremendous.
[00:48:49.01] Yeah. And I mean, there is a fear, technology. You know, there's certainly is. It was for me. You know, they're like, hey, what are you gonna do? Well, we researched it ahead of time, and this is the program that we've developed with it. But ultimately, if I were to break it down, Mike Nitka just came over. You know, I've known Mike forever, you know, ever.
[00:49:07.88] And he's like, Roger, I'm old school. I said, well, I was old school when I was 13. So I think it's just [INAUDIBLE]. He says, but what is this? I said, Mike, it's volume and intensity. It's just collecting it in a different manner, just how you write down the weights you lift and distances you run. This is just collecting what's happening in a practice, in a game.
[00:49:27.59] And then, you know, Doc Kraemer used to say, if it bleeds, you can track it. As long as it's giving those numbers out repetitively, then you can start to track it and start to develop periodization protocols, so on and so forth. So to me, it's a brave new world. And I think that if you say it's technology, well, it's cool and it's fearful. But I just think it's just another method. We've had GPS in our automobiles. You know, everybody has it. You have it in your phone.
[00:50:00.68] And if you're new to this podcast and want to learn more about NSCA's strength and conditioning certifications, you can get all the details and nsca.com/certification. Well, great, this has been an outstanding episode. I appreciate you being on. If people are more interested in reaching out to you to get more info, what's the best way to reach you?
[00:50:23.04] Probably email. And it's roger-- R-O-G-E-R-- dot Marandino-- M-A-R-A-N-D-I-N-O-- at catapultsports.com.
[00:50:33.32] Outstanding. We'll put all that in the show notes. And as always, we appreciate everyone's support. So thank you for listening to the NSCA's coaching podcast. And a big thanks to our sponsor, Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support. And to all of you listening, we appreciate your support.
[00:50:51.83] If you do enjoy it, please go on iTunes, Google Play, wherever you get your downloads, follow us, like us, write us a review. We really truly appreciate your support of the podcast. And thanks again to Roger for being on.
[00:51:04.76] Oh, no. Thanks for having me, Scott.
[00:51:05.81] Look forward to seeing you the rest of the conference.
[00:51:08.69] This was the NSCA's coaching podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.
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