NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 64: Dave Forman

by Scott Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and David Forman, MS, CSCS
October 2019


Dave Forman, Director of Strength and Conditioning at Virginia Military Institute, talks to the former NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about becoming a strength coach. Topics under discussion include communication with athletes, appreciating the growth as a coach over time, and creating lasting impressions and relationships with athletes.

Find Dave on Twitter: @VMIStrength

Show Notes

“So really communication is key I tell him, hey, I’m here to help you. I want to help you be the best you can be, and that’s kind of been our thing, at least as a football program. We want you to be the best you can be athletically, academically, and militarily.” 8:20

“But I think your experiences make you who you are. Makes you appreciate where you are.” 22:28

“And to see how far they’ve come and the work that they’ve put in. And sometimes hard work does payoff. I just think that’s such a cool feeling. I mean, that’s one of my most rewarding moments.” 23:54

“I think at some point, you’ve got to be fairly self-aware and understand what are your strengths and weaknesses and what can I work on and what can I do better… How you do anything is how you do everything.” 34:03

“…that’s really rewarding. But I think they see that. They see that, you know what? I didn’t have all the answers. I can be vulnerable. That’s what I’m really working on is trying to build relationships. I never thought that was important or a thing. And I mean, I was absolutely wrong about that. I mean, that’s really all that matters. That’s honestly all that matters.” 35:27

“Because nobody remembers the ‘X’s and ‘O’s. Nobody remembers if we did five sets of four or four sets of five. Who cares? They remember the experiences that you created, the shared suffering sometimes, but then also the shared overcoming and triumph.” 36:14

“They have that mentality now in life. They’ve dealt with adversity. They’ve dealt with some bad stuff, and they know, you know what? If I keep working, if I keep pushing, it’ll be okay. And later on in life, that’s going to be who knows? Get a phone call and some relative has cancer or you know what? I don’t know; you just went bankrupt or you just lost your job. And you know what? I can do with those things too because I’ve dealt with this too. I don’t know, that’s life lessons in the weight room.” 36:38

“But I try to celebrate our guys, kind of give him a platform, whatever it is. #FlexFriday or something like that. But it’s @VMIStrength. Again, if you want to shoot me a message, please do. I love connecting with people.” 37:56


[00:00:00.86] Welcome to NSCA's coaching podcast, episode 64.

[00:00:05.33] Because nobody remembers the X's and O's. Nobody remembers if we did five sets of four or four sets of five. Who cares? They remember the experiences that you created the shared suffering sometimes, but then also the shared overcoming and triumph.

[00:00:18.96] This is the NSCA's coaching podcast where we talked to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know but probably didn't learn in school. Their strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.

[00:00:29.97] Welcome to the NSCA coaching podcast. This is Scott Caulfield coming to you from Washington DC, the 2019 National Conference. I'm excited to have my next guest on the show, because I've known him for a long time. Coach Dave Forman, director of strength and conditioning, at VMI, Virginia Military Institute. Dave welcome to the show, and thanks for being here.

[00:00:48.72] Thank you. Thanks a lot for having me. I really do appreciate it.

[00:00:51.45] First National Conference too, right.

[00:00:52.83] This is my first national. I've been to a lot of other NSCA events, but never the national. And this has been a great experience.

[00:00:58.53] Yeah, what's it been like so far? I mean, obviously like we were just chatting before we started rolling this is a mix, a conglomeration of everybody that makes up the NSCA and there's a lot of moving parts. But yeah, what's been some of your, kind of, observations so far.

[00:01:15.51] It is a mix, like you said. I've noticed a lot of exercise science staff or faculty I guess you'd say at the college level and a lot of exercise science students, a ton of poster presentations. Obviously, you kind of have, I guess, your personal trainer private sector fitness crowd and then obviously some coaches. It's just great for me since it's somewhat local. I'm a couple hours away, but like I said I've never been able to be at the national before. So it's kind of a blend of things. It's pretty representative I think of the NSCA.

[00:01:49.37] Right, yeah, no, that's what I tell people. If you want to see really what the organization is entirely made up of, that is what National Conference is all about. And again, the tough thing from an NSCA perspective is trying to keep all those audience groups happy, right. All those different people have different interests and needs, and that's why there's five different tracks at some hours and different things like that. But obviously, we had the coaching track today. Do you catch Jimmy Radcliffe for a bit?

[00:02:17.16] I did. I went to both sessions, actually, and I got in on some of the demos, in fact.

[00:02:21.46] Nice.

[00:02:22.04] Yep.

[00:02:22.39] Nice.

[00:02:23.25] Can never miss an opportunity to glean some wisdom off Coach Rad. He's one of the best and very, very respected in the field and just an honor to get to learn something from it.

[00:02:38.98] Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] still bounce a little for being, like, coaching for 40 years.

[00:02:44.01] He is the Super Bowl that he always talks about. I actually use that exact analogy, probably from him. Tomato versus a super bounce ball.

[00:02:52.55] Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. And you're at VMI. You are kind of a one man show there. Tell us a little bit what your responsibilities are and what that job is like. It's a pretty unique military university. It's a pretty cool place, I think, to work. And you have some interesting challenges as well as resources or things on your side.

[00:03:13.65] Well, yes, it's a state military school. And everybody at the school for four years has to participate in some branch of ROTC. There is no military commitment after graduation. Some choose to. Many choose to, but you don't have to. And so for a coach, when you have your first strength coach, when you have your, say, two hours a day or an hour and a half, whatever it is a day, you're contending with some variables.

[00:03:48.99] Most other places would be what is their kind of social life like, what does their sleep look like, their nutrition. Finals week always presents an added stress for people or midterms, things like that. We have another layer on top of that with some of the military-- some of the physical military things they have going on while they're there, which could be any of the participation in any of the ROTC things.

[00:04:14.64] Each of the four branches is slightly different in terms of their requirements and demands. And so yeah, it is somewhat of a challenge, because you're, again, as a stress manager, stress imposer, with just trying to factor in some of these added stresses that I've never been a part of at any other school. So it does present some unique challenges, but our kids are great. They are just such great people.

[00:04:41.28] They go into these-- it reminds me of Stanford when I was there. And I was fortunate to be at Stanford for three years and be around some great kids and obviously some great kids that went on to NFL careers, but also just great kids that are going to go on and do great things in life. And some of our guys at VMI, they do go into-- they do commission into various branches. We have two guys, two recent grads, Air Force.

[00:05:10.50] Another guy is in [INAUDIBLE] with Navy SEALs. I think we had two just finish OCS with the Marine Corps. And then another one, one of the coolest greatest kids that we had, Scotty [? Frazier. ?] He's an Army Ranger. And then if they don't go into that, they're going into some lucrative business opportunity. And basically, they've made a four year decision that's going to pay off for the rest of their life. And it's really cool to kind of see that.

[00:05:38.82] Because you take a kid who's 18, who doesn't maybe know what he wants to do or just they're good at a sport and you kind of watch him grow and then you watch them flourish. And that's what's been so rewarding for me as I'm starting to get older is that there are starting to be more and more kids that are now men that kind of grew up. And now they're getting married or, I mean, one of my guys who I had at San Jose State is like the-- he's like the director of the book the chamber of commerce of Santa Clara. How cool is that? Just really cool stuff. It's really rewarding for me. So yeah.

[00:06:13.99] You mentioned being a stress manager slash stress imposer. And I know the guys at the Air Force Academy really well, just because of our locations together. How much does that affect what you have to do on the fly and how do you adapt that when you've got guys coming in and it's like, oh, well yeah, we had swim class from 8:00 to noon today and we have to tread water for two hours?

[00:06:43.02] Yeah, like anything, you need to be flexible. It's been a learning. It's been an opportunity for me to kind of figure it out and grow. It's been three years. And I always say it's like a Rubik's cube. I'm playing with this thing and I think I got one side all the same color and I look and then I realize, oh no, I don't really know what's happening here. So it's a challenge, and I try my best. I just ask the kids to communicate with me as best they can.

[00:07:13.47] Sometimes some of our guys that are really, really involved with whatever branch, say they're definitely going to commission to Army and then they have a lot of not only responsibilities, say, with Army, but they also want to be-- they might be competing for a national scholarship within Army ROTC or they're trying to max out so that they get the best placement. They're really trying to do well in that and then juggle, obviously, a tough academic school. And I'm trying to be good at ball too.

[00:07:46.08] So they're pleasers. They want to do really well, so sometimes the kids who-- I just say, just please talk to me. Communicate, and I will work with you, and I will do my best. Because at the end, if the kid gets broken, we're shooting ourselves in the foot. That's terrible. That's the opposite of everything we want to do.

[00:08:03.30] But I've had some kids who they're going to tough it out or I don't know about something until after the fact. And it's like, yeah, he just took three APFTs this week. And I'm like, dude, you didn't tell me. And you're like, how are you standing right now? So really communication is key. I just ask my guys just-- and I tell him, hey, I'm here to help you. I want to help you be the best you can be, and that's kind of been our thing, at least as a football program. We want you to be the best you can be athletically, academically, and militarily.

[00:08:35.79] And kind of the way I look at it, and this is kind of, I guess, a philosophy of life is just the way you do anything is the way you do everything. So I don't think that you can half one thing and then be great at something. You tend to kind of be who you are. And our guys are high achievers, and they want to do well.

[00:08:53.91] So sometimes it's just, hey, man, I'm cool with you taking a step back today if we need to, at the end of the day, to get you better so you can recover. Because hey, man, you just did a whole lot of that or whatever it is. The same thing on the other end. I think communication is improving at the Institute itself, not just between me and the athletes, but also the various departments within.

[00:09:17.55] In fact, we had a very, very productive meeting a few months ago. I think every three years they have a new person in charge of each branch. And then they kind of have their I don't know if philosophy is the way to put it, but they kind of have their way of doing things.

[00:09:38.34] And then they have their kind of people under them who are the people who have the face time. And just understanding what they're looking for. How can we work together for the best result? So for them, they have to have face time with the kids so that they can then sign off on them and say, yes, he has these physical qualifications. Yes, he has these leadership qualifications.

[00:10:02.38] And so the result of that meeting was, hey, come to practice. Come to the weight room. Please, watch these guys kind of in action and then that's your face time. That way we're not asking them to do two things at the same time. So it was a very productive meeting, and I'm hoping that good things come from that. And like anything, if everyone's communicating and we get organized, we roll.

[00:10:23.47] Does the culture, air quotes, of being at a military institution make your life easier as a strength coach, harder, none of the above?

[00:10:36.32] Do you mean like from a discipline aspect?

[00:10:38.77] Yeah, I mean from people know what being on time means and showing up and having the right outfit on.

[00:10:47.14] We don't have a lot of the issues on any level that I've experienced at other schools. I mean, the worst thing our kids do maybe is forget to shave, you know what I mean? I've been at places where we had a few felony arrests. So our worst kid, air quotes, is everyone else's model citizen.

[00:11:12.39] So I mean, we have really great kids. I mean we really, really do. And so I guess so. But I mean, we're still dealing with 18 to 22-year-old young men or maybe even 17. And are they going to make mistakes of immaturity? Sure. But like anything, you teach them, they learn. I think they're pretty good about that.

[00:11:31.93] Yeah. That's real. And that's what I was guessing. I mean, I think, not knowing. But you mentioned San Jose State, Stanford. I know that we've had this conversation because I've chatted with you a lot. But I know that you started off, obviously, like everyone else, as a poor college student trying to do whatever you did and whatever you can do to make it in this, get this job that can actually pay you. So maybe jump all the way back there and kind of tell us a little bit about the humble beginnings.

[00:12:08.77] So I'm from New York City. And there really is no major college football program. I mean, I kind of lived near St. John's University and they used to have a football program, and that's kind of where we went to local camps. But, I mean, I guess Rutgers was an hour away, and I couldn't tell you where Syracuse is. Three hours north. But I played high school football and a couple other sports, but I just always wanted to be bigger, faster, stronger.

[00:12:40.95] And I mean, I'm old enough to be pre internet, so you get a bunch of magazines with Arnold on the cover and do a bunch of misinformed pyramid sets of hang cleans, and just totally trying to figure it out yourself. And so I had this idea of a strength coach. And I don't even know if it was a real thing back then, because you couldn't Google things like this.

[00:13:03.83] And I must have seen something, because this time period I'm talking about would've been like '93, '94, '95, '96, and that's when Nebraska had a three year title run with Coach Osborne. And so I must have seen something. And it would have had to have been a national news piece, maybe an ABC News type of thing, talking about Coach Epley and talking about the Nebraska power program. But again, it was just like, is this even a thing? I didn't even know.

[00:13:32.44] And I remember I was very fortunate in high school, my junior year, I took an elective class called sports physiology. And I had a teacher named Michael Keoffa. And he was big into the original MMA, like UFC, like back when there were no rules. And again, he kind of would write up these weird programs that I'd be doing, running around and doing weird stuff. And I remember he told me to go to Indiana and to major in kinesiology. And I remember I wrote that down. And of course, Indiana was not recruiting me to play football.

[00:14:09.25] So I ended up going to James Madison University. And I remember my first day there or recruiting trip, whatever it was, I remember talking to Greg Werner and said, how do I do what you do? So I go to school there and I would play. I played football. But then in the spring, I would volunteer with Greg. And that was my foot in the door.

[00:14:31.24] Right from the start or after you were done playing?

[00:14:33.97] No, no, no. I don't remember. I don't think my freshman year but definitely my sophomore year. So pretty early on.

[00:14:40.56] It was early, yeah.

[00:14:42.52] We had a coaching change when I was a freshman after the football season ended. And so we got a new football coach, and then they kind of split the department, where they brought in a football guy. His name is Jim Durning. So I had actually an interesting education where I played for Jim and kind of learned and operated in his philosophy. But then I worked for Greg and who had a different philosophy. And so I was very fortunate to kind of get the best of both worlds there.

[00:15:09.92] Well, somewhere in my senior year, I don't know, I decided I wanted to own my own gym. And this kind of concept of the private sector, as we kind of refer to it now, were still kind of new-ish in terms of like a facility. Velocity was kind of the brand. But they were only just starting. I think they had a location or two in Atlanta.

[00:15:34.82] And then they were going to open a Tampa one, and they were just about to proliferate, because they got very big right after that. So I also always wanted to move to California. So I honestly cold called a place in California who I kind of thought did some private training but of athletes, not personal training. That was kind of like a line in the sand, so to speak.

[00:15:56.98] Anyway, moved out to California. Started working at this place. I learned a ton. It was like a rehab clinic that then had that transition into sports performance. And the guy I worked for at the time was also the head strength coach of the LA Galaxy professional soccer team. So we had a number of professional athletes come into the place, but we also had-- we had all sorts of athletes, really.

[00:16:21.80] But after about a year, I learned-- I thought I wanted to learn about the business, and then, OK, yeah, I'll go start my own gym. But I also learned that I don't know if I really like the business. And I think a lot of people do this in the private sector maybe, and I've been certainly guilty of this kind of pigeonholing myself and I want to work with this specific population.

[00:16:41.03] Well, I mean, if you're in the private sector and you say, OK, I want to work with high school athletes, well, when are high school athletes available? 3:00 to 7:00 PM. What are you going to do all day long? How do you pay the bills? Got to keep the lights on. So very soon now you start doing a boot camp for moms at 9:00 AM. Whatever other things you gotta do. And so I kind of saw the business as that. And I was like, well, I don't really know if I want to do that. So I kind of was inspired to go back to school. I never intended to get a master's degree.

[00:17:10.33] Anyway, I end up doing a lot of weird odd jobs here and there. But I end up basically knocking on the door to USC. This would have been 2005. And I kind of had some connections to Coach Chris Carlisle through just people I'd known or worked for, people who knew him. And so I basically applied for an internship. I don't even know if they were advertising for an internship.

[00:17:31.54] And honestly, under the current rules, I probably would have been no thanks, because I would have been like the seventh or eighth person. But very fortunate to let me come around there. And learned a lot there. And then I was able to-- I became a GA at Ole Miss. And a lot through those connections there. So I go to Ole Miss and I get my master's degree.

[00:17:52.80] But I also kind of-- I was about 26 at the time, maybe 27, and I felt like I was late, like behind the curve. So I was pulling every trick in the book to graduate fast. And I really wanted to go to graduate school and really kind of learn stuff. And looking back, I wish I would have got a different major. I got another major in exercise science. I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already know. I just kind of did it again.

[00:18:21.58] But I finished that and I went up to Notre Dame as an intern for the summer. That was to kind of complete my master's degree, and I was fortunate because I knew the athletic director's family. And so I kind of got to crash in somebody's basement. So I got free rent kind of.

[00:18:41.03] And then I ended up, honestly, I really didn't have anything going on at the end of the summer. I didn't have a job. So I packed up my jeep and I drove back to California. And I kind of showed up at USC like, hey man, here I am. And I really had nowhere to live and I was living in my jeep. And then one of my friends who had been at USC, Gary Uribe, he got the head job at Sacramento State and he called me saying, hey, I got a little bit of money we can pay you. Come up here. Can you help me out?

[00:19:10.96] And I crashed at Gary's house for a couple of days but him and his wife were having their first baby back then and it was like, this is going to be the baby's room. And it was like any day now. So I was living in my jeep the whole time, and every now and then I'd crash in the locker room or in the football-- or in the weight room. But nobody knew that and I wasn't telling anybody that. Because you don't want anybody to kind of know you're a bum. But yeah. So I was there for a little bit.

[00:19:37.63] And then I ended up getting a job at Northern Arizona. I moved to Flagstaff, and I honestly had no clue what to expect, because I thought Arizona was going to be super duper hot. And I'd never been to Flagstaff.

[00:19:48.40] 7,000 feet, right?

[00:19:49.95] And I got there right in the middle of monsoon season. And I remember a couple of times I got my jeep stuck in the snow. I did not equate snow and Arizona. I didn't even own a winter coat. Anyway, I was there for about a semester. And I did have a place to live there. I actually lived with some of the athletic training GAs.

[00:20:08.98] But then Stanford had advertised for a paid internship, which back then actually paid more than I'd ever made. So I, I was fortunate to get that job, and I moved out there. And again, I remember being asked very directly from Shannon Turley, who was the head strength and conditioning coach. He said, where are you going to live? I said, don't worry about it. I got it. And he didn't worry about it. But I crashed in the jeep in the parking lot for another four or five months.

[00:20:43.03] And then I was promoted about two months, maybe three months in, and we had some kind of staff people moved around. So then I was full time and I was there for three years. And so yeah, then I finally got a place to live, I guess. But we definitely had our share of ramen or the-- man, there was this really nice lady at Jack in the Box at Palo Alto. It's about two blocks from Stanford.

[00:21:09.64] And she knew me by name. And every day I'd come in for the two tacos for $0.99. And she'd say, hello David. Hi, David. Two tacos? I'd say, yes ma'am, thank you. She said, do you want a drink? I said no, no thank you, because I couldn't afford the drink. And one day she goes, I'll give you the drink. I said, thank you, thank you, thank you.

[00:21:32.65] Talk about doing what it takes.

[00:21:34.00] Yeah, but sucking down as many muscle milks as you could grab or whatever kind of supplements that the guys were on. Trying to supplement your own life. But I mean, I guess that's paying your dues. Is that what they call it? It's just that I knew what I wanted to do. I always knew what I wanted to do. And whether it was a clear vision or not, nobody was going to tell me no.

[00:21:57.46] And again, that's not always a good thing from certain aspects. I mean, I probably pissed off a lot of people in my life. Even maybe my relationship with my mom. Just my blind pursuit of my goal and nobody was going to tell me maybe there's a different thing or maybe there's a better way or, hey, what about that money you owe me. Or why are you running up the credit card?

[00:22:25.48] But I think your experiences make you who you are. Makes you appreciate where you are. And like I said, there's nothing else I ever wanted to do. There's nothing else I really ever wanted to do. And I really do find it rewarding, and I think why I do what I do has changed over the years as I've gotten older and grown.

[00:22:49.30] And it's like I talked about. I really like that teaching moment when the light goes on. That's what it used to be, and I still like that. I still like those moments when-- but really it's I want to help. That was my deal when I played. I kind of had goals when I was in high school. I had goals, but I didn't really know what I was doing. And there was nobody there that could kind of be a guide.

[00:23:11.56] And that's really what a coach is. They take you from point A to point B and show you, hey, look, this is what you want. Let me help you get there. This is the path. This is the way. And maybe sometimes you gotta make sure they're still on that way or that path or sometimes goals change. And it's really cool when I see the guys, when I see the kids achieve their goals. That's so cool to me, when they have success.

[00:23:34.69] I've been at some places and programs. I was fortunate, maybe was right place at the right time, but where it was like a turnaround of a program. Where the program had been unsuccessful and they'd lost a lot. And then to watch and to help build and watch these kids change and see when they're on that stage holding the trophy or the whatever. And to see how far they've come and the work that they've put in. And sometimes hard work does pay off. I just think that's such a cool feeling. I mean, that's one of my most rewarding moments.

[00:24:04.91] I remember we-- it was actually here in DC, we at San Jose State in our second year won the Military Bowl. And we went 11 and two that year. And this was a team that two years prior won one game. And a lot of the same kids were on that roster, and they had suffered through the bad times. And to see them be so-- that's so cool still. And that's how you form relationships and bonds and where I'm still communicating with these guys that are having kids and getting married and little things. Little message on Facebook here and there or whatever, but it's such a cool thing.

[00:24:38.06] Yeah. Well, and I think when you were describing it, like what a coach does, that's the original definition of coach and what coaching method has adapted from is literally a coach.

[00:24:53.93] Stage coach.

[00:24:54.92] Right, that would be pulled from place to place and directed around.

[00:24:58.09] That's exactly it.

[00:24:58.85] 100% where it came from. So that's great. Kind of flipping back a little to the conference too. We were talking earlier too, there's been some really great sessions and some really important ones. And typically too, you'll see some sessions. And it's funny, because we talk a lot about how, you and I when I say we, talk about people who complain about the profession or different things.

[00:25:26.21] And we had a really unique opportunity with a former athletic administrator speaking today. I mean, heavily involved in coaching throughout his career. Hired coaches. Seen the evolution of strength and conditioning and had some great insight for strength and conditioning coaches.

[00:25:43.43] Unfortunately, there's very few people in the room. But maybe talk a little bit about what-- Ted Leland, he was the athletic director at Stanford at a period of time. I think he just finished up at Pacific, actually. He's been around 30 years in athletic administration. So maybe kind of give us some of the insight that you gleaned out of that session.

[00:26:03.79] Well, one, it was a great session. And I did work at Stanford for three years. I was not there with Ted Leland. He was the AD previously. The AD who I worked under was Bob Bowlsby, who is now the Big 12 commissioner. But it was really a fantastic session. And I guess we as a profession, we always like to, I don't know, complain or play the victim that no one understands us or that how do we deal with administration? They don't know how to talk to us or nobody knows what we do.

[00:26:38.18] One, this was a guy who knows exactly what we do, and that was kind of what was great about his presentation. He went through his own kind of career and he was a coach who actually had a background in kinesiology. And so he [INAUDIBLE]-- again, probably in the, I think, he said mid to late '70s, he also kind of functioned as the weight coach at Stanford, in fact, under Bill Walsh.

[00:27:02.34] And then he transitioned into administration. But he also played football and college ball. So from one as an athlete to then as a coach and as 30 years an administrator. Yeah. I mean, this is a guy with a tremendous wealth of experience but also who got it and saw, and this was his take on it, and it was very accurate. Kind of the trends and how things have changed and kind of where we sit now and why expectations are so high.

[00:27:29.48] And by expectations, then we're talking pressure. The pressure is on. And so talked about sometimes-- he used the term the genius of and, but really talking about the kind of dichotomous roles or expectations. Sometimes you have to kind of have one foot in each world or serve two masters, I guess, is the way he put it. And he didn't really have any simple answers, because there are no simple answers to it. But it's like, you gotta find a way to do both things.

[00:27:57.49] But it was great. It was great advice. I enjoyed speaking with him briefly afterwards. I took a ton of notes. But then I turned around and there's 30 people in the room. It's a grand ballroom. There's 30 people in the room. And it's disheartening in a way. Now maybe as we spoke earlier that maybe the attendees, when you look at kind of the scope of the attendees, if you're an exercise science student, maybe that means nothing to you.

[00:28:23.39] But the room should be packed with coaches, in my opinion. And I do think, and we spoke about this, that maybe that's something to be revisited maybe at a coaches conference when you might have a larger audience that could hear that message. Because it was great. It was great. You know what? That was the best one that I've seen.

[00:28:44.24] And there were some great speakers here, don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed Mike Israetel. I really enjoyed Tim Suchomel. I hope I said that right. But very, very dynamic speakers. Very clear, good humor kind of inserted in there. Really good stuff. And then of course Coach Rad, like I mentioned. Coach Connors as well earlier today.

[00:29:06.43] No, that's a great point. It's obviously we had him in the national. Knowing I'd been in touch with him ahead of time and kind of helped him figure out some of the outline for his presentation, I actually had the time to and I knew we were kind of putting it into today, which is like our coaching day. But I definitely have had it in the back of my mind that this is one that needs to come to the January conference, because obviously that's our most captive audience of strength and conditioning coaches.

[00:29:33.57] Yeah, I really think that it was a great presentation and message and one the coaches need to hear and learn from. And again, he didn't give any simple answers. There is no simple answer as to kind of how do we operate. But he did give some great take home points or takeaways and things to think about and things to go back to your own situation and then try to develop. Every school's a little different. Every role's a little different. But yeah, I mean, that's a critical relationship that we complain about, but we need to foster. Because at the end of day, these are the people who are hiring and firing us in the coaching world.

[00:30:16.84] Well, I think, correct me if I'm wrong or elaborate if I'm right, but I think one of his key things was a lot of times, strength and conditioning coaches aren't helping themselves by any means because of some of the things they're doing.

[00:30:28.69] We did say that. And you know what? That's very interesting, because I report directly to our athletic director. And he's great. He really is great. His name is Dr. Dave Diles. And that's something I think a lot of ADs want. And maybe it's just face time. But to be seen. A lot of times, I think we can be very comfortable in our hole. Maybe we have our own staff. But to get out there and be engaged with people, engaged with other people in the department, or engage with faculty and staff on campus.

[00:31:07.74] That's one of the things, one of my biggest regrets. I worked at Stanford for three years and I was an assistant at Stanford, but I never left the basement. How many books have I read by people who work at Stanford? Robert Sapolsky. At the time, the Heath brothers, I could have went and sat in their office. I never did. Same thing at San Jose State. You think I would've learned. And plus being in the place we were, I mean, in the middle of Silicon Valley, seeking out these opportunities. I tried to do a better job of that when I was at Colorado.

[00:31:42.08] But even still, I listened to a podcast recently. One of the guests on there was a guy named Dr. Dick Carpenter. They were kind of talking about licensure as a potential direction for the profession. And he's a researcher from the University of Colorado. Again, here's a resource that's right there. Somebody I never heard of or never went and talked to and I should have.

[00:32:04.49] Even from a learning perspective, but even just from a relationship perspective. Jeff Connors was talking about earlier, he really got involved with the sprints and jumps coaches. When you're talking about speed work and things like that, because they know it better than we do, probably. That's their world. And he really got ingrained with those people.

[00:32:23.81] Now, a place like us, our campus is kind of spread out. There's not a central location. In fact, most of the schools that I've been at, there's no one giant building where everybody is. There's usually multiple buildings or a series of facilities. But get out. Take a walk. Go over there. Go say hi. He said volunteer for things. Go be involved in search committees. Go ask what else can I do? How else can I help?

[00:32:51.20] I think that goes a long way when people-- if people truly don't understand what we do, what does it go back to? How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. He's a good guy. And it goes a long way. He's a nice guy. They don't know what you do, but he's a nice guy. He's around. He asked me about my family.

[00:33:12.20] He asked questions.

[00:33:12.90] Ask questions about that person. Get to know them. Get them talking about themselves. And it's important, but people need to hear that.

[00:33:23.78] Yeah. One of the reasons I like talking to you is because you're always very introspective. You talk about things like you realize I should've done this or I could've done this better. It's part of the kind of thing I think that shows that you're really committed to growth overall and improving yourself.

[00:33:47.54] I spent most of my 20's knowing everything, so I spend most of my 30's getting punched in the stomach and realizing that's not the case. So here I am at 40. Who knows where we're going? Yeah, I mean, I think at some point, you gotta be fairly self aware and understand what are your strengths and weaknesses and what can I work on and what can I do better.

[00:34:09.44] And again, if you want to be good at what you do or if you want to-- again, how you do anything is how you do everything. Again, how do you approach your job? Are you just kind of collecting a paycheck or are you trying to constantly improve? And I think that especially when-- you know what's interesting, actually? We talked about my career a little bit. I just realized this the other day.

[00:34:30.58] I'm more than three years at VMI now. I started I think June 15 or something, three years ago, 2016. This is the place I've been at the longest, which is actually kind of crazy. This is my longest tenured job. I was at Stanford for three years exactly. I was at San Jose State for two. I was at Colorado for three. And now I'm going into my fourth year.

[00:34:57.02] And yeah, it's kind of interesting. The longer you stay at a place, I think the more time you have with these kids. And then you can see not only growth in them, like I mentioned earlier, but I think they can also see and appreciate maybe the growth in you and they see how you've changed from day one till here we are now. And these are the kids when they come back after they graduate and they go out of their way to come seek you out. Hey coach, how are you doing? Hey man, good to see you. Whether it's homecoming or whatever event.

[00:35:26.69] But again, that's really rewarding. But I think they see that. They see that, you know what? I didn't have all the answers. I can be vulnerable. That's what I'm really working on is trying to build relationships. I never thought that was important or a thing. And I mean, I was absolutely wrong about that. I mean, that's really all that matters. That's honestly all that matters.

[00:35:47.47] Great people have written about it. I mean, Brett Bartholomew is tremendous. A good friend of mine, Angelo James, is like my secret weapon. More people should follow Angelo James and his work. And he really is a tremendous resource. And those guys are just great, and that's what they talk about. Building connection. Even Ron McKeefery talks about that.

[00:36:13.38] Because nobody remembers the X's and O's. Nobody remembers if we did five sets of four or four sets of five. Who cares? They remember the experiences that you created, the shared suffering sometimes, but then also the shared overcoming and triumph. And that's why, again, that San Jose State those two years, there were kids there who were labeled losers, and then we were champions. And they had it forever.

[00:36:35.26] But it's so cool, because they have that mentality now in life. They've dealt with adversity. They've dealt with some bad stuff, and they know, you know what? If I keep working, if I keep pushing, it'll be OK. And later on in life, that's going to be who knows? you. Get a phone call and some relative has cancer or you know what? I don't know. You just went bankrupt or you just lost your job. And you know what? I can deal with those things too because I've dealt with this too. I don't know, that's life lessons in the weight room.

[00:37:06.20] I love it, man. That's what it's all about. This has been amazing. This has been a great episode. I know we gotta let you get back to the last session here of the conference. I know people are going to want to follow up with you. You got any social media to throw out or anything you want to be able to be connected by?

[00:37:24.82] You know what? I have a Twitter, because that's where the kids are at. And I kind of have goofy fun on Twitter. I obviously follow a lot of people, so I get to see some good info on my feed. But I also follow like there's like this one thing about GI Joe toys which just brings me back to nostalgia, almost like watching Stranger Things, like my nostalgic youth.

[00:37:49.58] So I can't promise you I'm putting out great content on social media, but I think I'm funny. But I try to celebrate our guys, kind of give him a platform, whatever it is. Hashtag Flex Friday or something like that. But it's @VMIStrength. Again, if you want to shoot me a message, please do. I love connecting with people, but I'm not-- there are certainly many, many, many smarter people doing social media a lot better than I am.

[00:38:21.11] Well man, we appreciate you being on the show. Definitely appreciate you coming to the conference and taking time out from your busy schedule. And I appreciate your friendship over the years. So thanks again for coming on and thanks to everybody listening. Especially the support of the podcast has been outstanding. We never thought it would-- I don't know.

[00:38:42.78] I never thought it would take off like it has. So we've had tremendous support, and again, it's because of all you guys listening. So thanks again for listening, and thanks again to our good friends at Sorinex exercise equipment who support the podcast and everything we do at the NSCA. We couldn't do without any of you.

[00:38:58.00] Thank you Sorinex.

[00:38:58.57] Thanks, and we'll see you next time.

[00:39:01.28] And if you're engaged on social media, a lot like me, you also need to check out NSCA's is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

[00:39:08.50] 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.

Reporting Errors: To report errors in a podcast episode requiring correction or clarification, email the editor at publications@nsca.com or write to NSCA, attn: Publications Dept., 1885 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Your letter should be clearly marked as a letter of complaint. Please (a) identify in writing the precise factual errors in the published podcast episode (every false, factual assertion allegedly contained therein), (b) explain with specificity what the true facts are, and (c) include your full name and contact information.

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Scott P. Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*E

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David C. Forman, MS, CSCS

Virginia Military Institute

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