NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 72: Antonio Squillante

by Scott Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and Antonio Squillante, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, RSCC
Coaching Podcast February 2020


Antonio Squillante, a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Weightlifting Special Interest Group (SIG) chair, talks to the former NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about using weightlifting, not just the sport, as a means to build strength and power in athletes from the platform to the field. Topics under discussion include being involved with the NSCA through leading the Weightlifting SIG and teaching Exam Prep classes, moving from Italy to pursue his dream of coaching, and going back to school for his PhD.

Find Antonio on Facebook: NSCA CSCS Exam Prep or NSCA Weightlifting SIG

Show Notes

“I've always felt supported by the NSCA, itself, and I think, since that point on, all I wanted to do was growing within the community and give back to the community because they gave me a lot.” 8:28

“It’s a lot about taking the first step, once you get involved, and all you want is just, generally, giving back, opportunities will come your way. And you just have to be available and be-- I think, an open mind and embrace the challenge.” 10:20

 “A certain component of absolute strength work is always important for injury prevention reasons, but also to just improve your ability to express power.” 18:53

“That kind of impact is so much more rewarding than winning anything, championship doesn't matter, if you can impact someone's life, that's the most you can do, I think.” 25:52

“Either the CSCS Prep Group on Facebook, or if you're already in the community, working, maybe the NSCA Weightlifting SIG.” 27:59


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:00.69] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, episode 72.

[00:00:05.22] It's a lot about taking the first step. Once you get involved, and all you want is just generally giving back, opportunities will come your way. And you just have to be available and be-- I think, an open mind. And embrace the challenge.

[00:00:19.60] 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.

[00:00:30.48] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Scott Caulfield. Today with me, in semi-sunny Washington, DC, at the 2019 National Conference, Antonio Squillante. He's a PhD candidate at USC in Southern Cal. And he's currently the Weightlifting Special Interest Group chair. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:51.63] Thank you for having me.

[00:00:52.66] Yeah, I appreciate you making the time. I know it's a busy time, you know, being at a conference and trying to sneak away to do this. So we appreciate it. But know that there's a lot of cool, exciting stuff going on with the Weightlifting SIG and, in general, a lot of the stuff that you've done and some of your experiences-- pretty cool.

[00:01:09.66] Yeah.

[00:01:09.96] I want to definitely tap into them. Why don't you talk a little bit of about what you're doing with the SIG and--

[00:01:16.65] Yeah.

[00:01:16.77] --how you've even have gotten involved with the SIG in the first place.

[00:01:19.60] Well, I was originally involved as a regular volunteer. I started about two years ago. And then the guy was, at that time-- was in charge of the SIG-- had retired. And I was offered the position, so I was very happy to take it.

[00:01:35.37] And definitely, the SIG has a grown a lot so far-- to the point that we went from barely I think a meeting last year to be able to have a meeting at a roundtable this year and almost double our number of members, which is impressive.

[00:01:51.22] I think the biggest challenge was many people coming into the SIG-- or joining the SIG-- we're expecting to learn more about the sport of weightlifting, which makes sense at a certain point of view. However, the mission of our SIG is to teach people the best evidence practice to use weightlifting for sport, which is a different animal. It's a different situation.

[00:02:15.24] And our goal-- not just my goal, but also Dr. Ormsby that is helping me a lot. And Dr. Comfort is helping a lot as well. We want to provide coaches with evidence-based practice and resources to learn how to teach and implement Olympic weightlifting in the training of speed, power, agility, injury prevention, whatever the case may be, and change their mindset around the whole sport.

[00:02:38.78] Because many times, you have people coming with a very solid background in the sport of weightlifting. And of course, they definitely know what they're talking about. But their approach is to maximize performance on the platform.

[00:02:49.13] Right.

[00:02:49.99] And that's not the case when you're training athletes.

[00:02:51.50] Right, Right.

[00:02:52.29] And there's so many benefits in using Olympic weightlifting. Even just the basic derivatives, it doesn't have to be like anything too complicated, but it's almost a shame not to use it.

[00:03:00.65] Totally. Yeah, no, I think that's a great point too. Maybe talk a little bit more about kind of what's the whole purpose of the SIG-- or can we use that acronym, "special interest groups? If you're not familiar, within the NSCA, they're kind of specialty or areas of interest. Right?

[00:03:19.80] Yeah

[00:03:20.00] And what's your guy's real main mission within that?

[00:03:23.95] Yeah, our mission is, first and foremost, to bring together professional within the NSCA that share the same interest. That's the reason why we developed these groups-- or the NSCA developed these groups. Within each and every group, we want to have a nice mix of sharing experience so that younger coaches or coaches that are just looking for support or more understanding of the profession can learn more about how to develop their passion within their profession, which I think is very cool.

[00:03:51.78] Yeah.

[00:03:53.19] And second, we want to provide people with more-- I'd like to say that just, in general, more material available. And that can be in the form of sharing articles or organizing events, speaking at events, sharing personal experience or tutorials or videos or whatever the case may be so that they can improve the way they teach and implement weightlifting based on what is common practice within our community. Because in the end, where strength and conditioning coaches. We're not weightlifting coaches.

[00:04:24.30] No, that's such a great point. And yeah, before we started rolling, too, we were chatting about a presentation I did back in-- I think it was 2015 maybe. Maybe it was 2014.

[00:04:33.93] 2015.

[00:04:34.25] 2015, yeah.

[00:04:35.08] Yes.

[00:04:35.34] New England, ACSM and NSCA. We kind of combined forces and done a clinic every year for the past few years. But that was the first one we did. And I chose a weightlifting-related topic. I think it was maybe using assistance exercises to help improve technique.

[00:04:51.42] Yes.

[00:04:52.62] And it was like, yeah-- I was really nervous because it was like next on Cramer.

[00:04:59.29] Big names.

[00:04:59.99] All these big names and then me. And I was like, wait a minute. Why did I pick a weightlifting topic?

[00:05:04.75] [LAUGHTER]

[00:05:05.80] This might have been a bad idea.

[00:05:07.83] But it was a great presentation. I truly enjoyed it.

[00:05:09.77] Thank you. And I think, like you were saying, it was, like, the whole premise of it for me, too, was I don't train weightlifters.

[00:05:17.57] Yeah.

[00:05:17.87] I train athletes. And that's not a knock against you weightlifters. Don't get mad at me. I'm just saying I don't train people that compete on the platform.

[00:05:25.16] Yeah. I'm not a weightlifter, myself. I don't coach weightlifters. I understood the importance of weightlifting back in the days when I was a shot putter in high school and a track athlete in high school. And then, since then, I moved on to play football-- American football. And even more, understand the importance of strengthening in general. So I lived on my own self what it means to be able to perform this lift, improve your performance, and be able to play better.

[00:05:48.53] Right.

[00:05:49.04] And that's all about it. We're strength coaches. We're not weightlifting coaches.

[00:05:52.52] Yeah, and you've got a pretty cool experience. You know, you've been on this kind of educational path for a decade or so. But maybe tell us about how you first found out about the NSCA and [INAUDIBLE].

[00:06:05.39] Yeah. It's a cool story.

[00:06:06.90] Yeah, it's great.

[00:06:07.39] Yeah. So I started undergrad school as a biology major before I transitioned to kinesiology. But I knew that the reason why I was learning more about the human body, in general, is because I wanted to be a coach, eventually-- although that professional was not quite defined yet in Italy.

[00:06:25.26] So I started doing my own research. And I wanted to find more evidence-based articles-- peer-reviews, journals or whatnot. And back then, my English was very, very little. Not that now is anything good--

[00:06:35.63] [LAUGHS]

[00:06:35.75] --but even worse than that.

[00:06:36.64] Pretty darn good there.

[00:06:37.16] [LAUGHTER]

[00:06:37.52] Thank you. And I was googling-- just random-- googling articles. And I noticed that the best articles I was coming across-- they were all somehow related with this thing called "NSCA--" which I had no idea what it was.

[00:06:52.43] So I took the name, I put the name on Google, and I found what NSCA was about. So I went on their website. I learned more about books, textbooks, certifications, and whatnot.

[00:07:04.34] Very first thing I did-- I ordered a manual. However, the NSCA wasn't shipping manuals to Europe.

[00:07:10.25] Right, right.

[00:07:10.79] So I had to go through Amazon. And Amazon wasn't shipping stuff to Europe either.

[00:07:14.39] Oh, man.

[00:07:15.02] So I had to call them, order my book. It took two months for me to get the book. And I started reading it. My English wasn't good enough, so I had to learn English. I was reading this manual. And then, when I felt ready to take the exam, I tried to reach out to that office in Colorado Springs, and ask if I could take the exam. But back then, there was no format for people from outside the States.

[00:07:35.51] So I remember waking up in the middle of the night because the time zone.

[00:07:38.19] Right, yeah.

[00:07:39.37] I called the office. They sent me a fax. I had to fill out all my information and send it back in, pay the fee, join my membership. And then I think few weeks later, they told me, well, the first date available is in Long Beach. So good luck. Fly to Long Beach and take your exams.

[00:07:55.50] [LAUGHS] Oh, man.

[00:07:56.94] So I flew there, took my exam, loved it.

[00:07:59.30] Wow

[00:08:00.11] I was lucky enough to pass it.

[00:08:01.10] Nice.

[00:08:01.77] And I really believe it was a very mind-changing experience because that was my very first exposure to professional strength and conditioning.

[00:08:09.76] Right.

[00:08:10.80] But most importantly, I think a little-- I fell in love with NSCA because back then, it was so difficult for me to achieve what people can easily do today.

[00:08:19.97] Yep.

[00:08:20.43] It was such a-- there were so many walls to demolish before I could actually get there.

[00:08:25.45] Right.

[00:08:26.37] But all along the path, I've always felt supported by the NSCA, itself.

[00:08:30.97] Right, right.

[00:08:31.77] And I think, since that point on, all I wanted to do was growing within the community and give back to the community because they gave me a lot--

[00:08:39.01] Yeah. Yeah, that's cool.

[00:08:40.08] --when it was my time.

[00:08:40.66] Yeah. One-- because you've also been on a couple advisory boards.

[00:08:44.85] Yes.

[00:08:44.98] You're currently on the California Advisory Board. And you were on the Pennsylvania-- PA Advisory Board. How'd you get involved with those? Because I think, you know, that's new too-- probably in the last-- gosh, five years, maybe.

[00:08:56.81] But all the state directors, for people who don't know this, have advisory boards. And you know, ideally, that was a way that we've developed also, kind of-- eventually, to be a feeder system. So hopefully, the people who are on advisory boards within your state will eventually take over to become state directors at some point.

[00:09:14.51] Yeah. I remember after I moved to the States, and I gained more experience in the profession, I really felt more comfortable with my skills. And I felt I was at the point in my career when I was ready to give back and start quote, unquote, "educating people more."

[00:09:31.55] Back then, I was living in Pennsylvania. And I reached out to the local state director-- sent me the paperwork. I joined the advisory board. But literally, a few weeks after, I had to move. And I moved to Los Angeles. And then that's the way I connected with Matt Hank.

[00:09:48.14] Yeah.

[00:09:48.32] That was the state director back then. Now I think he's the Southwest coordinator. He overlooks a much bigger group of people. And to be honest with you, he was extremely welcoming.

[00:09:58.28] Yeah.

[00:09:58.54] And we met at a local state clinic-- I think the Southern California State Clinic. We discussed about what he wanted in terms of engagement in the community. I applied. I got the position. And since then, I've been involved with him, with NSCA, in southern California, northern California.

[00:10:18.90] And it's kind of like-- it's a lot about taking the first step.

[00:10:22.08] Right.

[00:10:22.58] Once you get involved, and all you want is just, generally, giving back, opportunities will come your way. And you just have to be available and be-- I think, an open mind and embrace the challenge.

[00:10:35.25] That's a really good point, though. You know, just the fact that-- if you're going into it for the wrong reasons, right? Like personal gain versus what can I do to help, and what can I do to make it better?

[00:10:49.32] Absolutely.

[00:10:50.85] Things happen.

[00:10:52.23] Yeah, they do.

[00:10:53.39] And then, it's kind of a wishy-washy statement, but it's true. And I've said before, you know, luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Right?

[00:11:02.58] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:11:02.69] [INAUDIBLE] really don't believe in luck. Absolutely. You know?

[00:11:05.73] You prepare yourself.

[00:11:06.61] Totally, yeah.

[00:11:07.82] And I remember when Matt and I got closer, we thought together a couple of very small continuing education events. And then I was offered the opportunity to go to teach the first CSCS prep course in Long Beach. It was a three-day event.

[00:11:22.50] I think it's a great event. I wish I had you back then when I started. It really does prepare you for the CSCS. And at that point, I was really freaking out because having to teach what no one taught me--

[00:11:35.19] Right.

[00:11:35.34] I had to learn it by myself.

[00:11:36.36] Yeah.

[00:11:37.20] And being able to deliver the message so that the message can actually be useful for people to improve their skill and eventually take the test. I always tell them, don't learn to take the test.

[00:11:46.98] You want to learn what you have to learn to become a better professional. Taking the test is just part of the process and your qualification that you need to become a registered professional in this field. But you want to study because you want to learn and you want to improve. And I think that's what the NSCA does the best.

[00:12:02.31] Yeah.

[00:12:03.40] We tend to develop professional-- more than just name after your name when you sign.

[00:12:07.80] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that. No, that's such a great point. And so after you initially had reach out to the NSCA, then you moved from Italy to the United States?

[00:12:19.61] I was already in the United States. My very first coaching position was in Boston. And then, since then, I've be moving different places, including Canada. I think I got more involved with NSCA almost simultaneously when I was kind of changing my career path.

[00:12:38.97] I was really lucky to coach a lot and coach all the way up to the Olympic trials-- I mean, track and field. And that was a great experience. I wish that kind of experience to everyone in this field.

[00:12:52.72] But I remember when we flew to Eugene for the Olympic trials, and I was surrounded by all these big-name coaches, it didn't make me feel-- I was extremely proud, of course. But it was a very humbling experience because I realized how little I actually knew, although I'd been coaching for a good amount of time.

[00:13:10.58] Yeah.

[00:13:11.56] And when I came home, my very first thought was, well, I probably should get back to school, further improve my education. Because now we have the experience. So I have some sort of know-how. I have a basic understanding of the science behind it. But if I really want to get better, I need to improve my education first.

[00:13:30.78] At that point, I decided to step away from the collegiate environment, embrace whatever it took to get to a good school, continue my education-- and that's how I switched to the private field. And that's how I start working in Los Angeles.

[00:13:44.41] And it kind of happened at the same time as I was getting more involved in the NSCA.

[00:13:47.67] Yeah.

[00:13:48.39] So it's been a cool process of me improving my own skills-- and transferred them right away to the future profession in this field. And that mentoring aspect of the profession is where it drives me to get better.

[00:14:00.24] Yeah, yeah. That's so cool. And such a huge part of it. Because there's so many different levels of mentors and mentorship.

[00:14:07.20] Yeah.

[00:14:07.74] And so what really made you decide to go down the PhD route? That's certainly not a easy--

[00:14:14.94] It's not an easy one.

[00:14:15.14] [INAUDIBLE] to take on.

[00:14:17.73] I have to be honest. I'm very thankful that I had the chance to meet Dr. Jay Dawes along the path. He really took me under his wing and taught me to basic in research. We actually worked together for my doctoral thesis in Italy. We had a very interesting project share between Rome and Colorado--

[00:14:37.19] Oh, wow.

[00:14:38.43] --on strength training and change of direction speed--

[00:14:40.98] Cool.

[00:14:42.18] --which we're in the process of translating now. So it will be published soon. He showed me a different aspect of research compared to what I was more familiar with. And it's research done with the purpose of changing evidence-based practice on a daily basis.

[00:15:00.27] Yeah.

[00:15:00.74] And that's something that's, maybe for you guys, is very common and familiar. In Italy, it wasn't. We don't really have much research in Italy on strength and conditioning. And he kind of shaped my approach to the whole academic field.

[00:15:15.69] Yeah.

[00:15:16.38] And I think, because I really love teaching and because I really believe in research, the PhD is the perfect combination of doing research and teaching.

[00:15:24.23] Yeah, totally.

[00:15:24.89] So--

[00:15:25.79] Totally. And so many coaches you've seen getting involved in getting a PhD-- and whether they're going to stay in the trenches and keep coaching, or move into academic roles, or where they can really, like you're saying, feel like they give back more by helping the next generation of coaches and fitness professionals.

[00:15:43.17] Yeah.

[00:15:43.69] And Jay Dawes' great. I could definitely give him a shout out too. He just took a new job. He's going to Oklahoma State. And I took over coaching-- or teaching his class in January. So I taught last semester at UCCS, Colorado Colorado Springs, the advanced strength and conditioning class for the masters program.

[00:16:01.72] Congratulations.

[00:16:01.93] So that was my first teaching experience. Yeah. Definitely, Jay threw me in the water, see if I could swim. And I guess-- hopefully, I did. We'll find out. [LAUGHS] It was fun, though.

[00:16:11.23] I'm sure.

[00:16:11.40] It was different. You know, totally different-- but not that different. You know? I think you know what I mean when I say that.

[00:16:17.34] Yeah.

[00:16:17.94] Jay Dawes has been probably the only mentor I've ever had. Because growing up, in this profession, I was always a big reader, so I was reading a lot of books. And I grew up idolizing Yuri Verkhoshansky.

[00:16:33.01] Nice.

[00:16:33.75] --just because I knew him closely because he moved to Italy.

[00:16:36.95] Oh, wow.

[00:16:37.66] So I was able to have a lot of his material available in Italian that is still not available in English.

[00:16:41.36] OK, wow.

[00:16:42.00] So I really got to know-- I actually knew about his work after he passed away. That's why I never actually got a chance to have a real-life mentor until I moved to the States. And the first person that actually helped me in this path was Jay Dawes.

[00:16:58.47] So how'd do you connect with Jay?

[00:17:00.99] I think I first connected with him just to ask general information about the NSCA.

[00:17:05.28] Nice.

[00:17:05.64] And I really wanted to do some research, but I didn't even know where to start from.

[00:17:09.42] Cool.

[00:17:10.05] And I knew he was very active. But to be honest with you, I felt like-- he's not going to pay attention to me. He's so busy.

[00:17:16.74] Right, right.

[00:17:17.20] He's doing so many research-- so many projects. Believe it or not, he answered me immediately.

[00:17:20.76] Yep.

[00:17:21.87] We exchanged phone numbers. He called me. That was unbelievable for me.

[00:17:25.28] Right, right, yeah.

[00:17:25.65] I never thought I could have so much support again.

[00:17:29.13] Yeah.

[00:17:30.66] We decided to work together. And since then, we've been collaborating a lot and talk a lot.

[00:17:35.34] That's cool. No, I mean, people who listen to this probably have heard me say this-- or might get sick of me saying it. But that's the differentiator, I feel like, for the NSCA.

[00:17:45.60] Absolutely.

[00:17:46.11] Organizationally, across the board-- the people, because they've been helped by others throughout this organization, are super willing to help you, whether it's look at a program that you wrote-- which was one of the first things that I asked somebody to do, and they gave me feedback on when I was super young and fresh. Or, you know, yeah, well, how do I start this research project? I don't even know where to begin. What do I do? Where do I look for PhD programs? How do I get a job in collegiate strength and conditioning coaching.

[00:18:12.54] Absolutely.

[00:18:13.19] So again, I think that's the huge part of the organization that such-- it's different than a lot of other organizations out there.

[00:18:19.20] Yep.

[00:18:21.81] So what's kind of the-- any big takeaways you can tell us about the thesis that you guys have come up with?

[00:18:29.31] Yeah. Well, the most important one, I think, is that strength does matter. So Regardless of training your athletes for speed, power, agility, or whatever sport your coaching, strength training is always a major component of your approach-- which doesn't necessarily mean heavy strength training-- could be more explosive, more ballistics.

[00:18:52.29] However, a certain component of just absolute strength work is always important for injury prevention reasons but also to just improve your ability to express power, which in the end-- you're a better athlete if you're a more explosive, more powerful athlete. It doesn't matter how much you lift.

[00:19:10.31] Right.

[00:19:10.54] It it's about how much power you can actually generate.

[00:19:12.81] Yeah.

[00:19:13.50] And strength-- it's still a component of that equation.

[00:19:17.11] Cool. That's good stuff. Yeah, and again, speaking of weightlifting, you guys have put together a pretty awesome roundtable tomorrow with some great people.

[00:19:26.31] So lucky.

[00:19:27.18] So maybe talk a little bit about that because-- you know, this will come out after the fact. But again, hopefully-- you know, what you guys are going to talk about is pretty interesting.

[00:19:36.27] Yeah, so usually, on national events, like national conference, every SIG has a meeting. And that meeting is meant to bring together the people that belong to the SIG and kind of update about what's going on with the SIG. But we're also given the opportunity, if we want to, to put together a roundtable, which is much more technical. So you go much more in-depth in what you're developing within your SIG.

[00:20:00.66] And last year, we didn't have the time to put together a roundtable, but this year we did. And as soon as I post that on Facebook, I had so many people contacting me. Oh, I would love to come and participate-- coaches, researchers, everyone.

[00:20:13.69] Wow.

[00:20:14.53] And the one that actually offered to step up and run the roundtable was Dr. Comfort from the UK, which is such an honor to have-- just having him attending would be an honor. I think him actually running the round table is unbelievable.

[00:20:30.60] Right. Yeah.

[00:20:31.51] And of course, bringing his experience on the table and his name-- a lot of other great names followed, like Dr. Haff. So many people are going to be there attending and sharing the background in research. And together, we decide to pick and choose a topic that was most relevant for our vision.

[00:20:48.89] And again, we want to differentiate from-- not necessarily USA Weightlifting, because we partner a lot with USA Weightlifting. And we try to help each other as much as we can.

[00:20:59.62] We just want to differentiate for the community of weightlifting as a sport in such a way that we are more oriented towards research-- a research geared toward performance in sport. So this whole roundtable will be about past, present, and future in research for Olympic weightlifting sport. So a very pertinent topic. And everyone would be able to take home a message they can immediately apply-- you know, daily life situation.

[00:21:24.09] That's awesome. No, because that's the big one. And that goes back to what we were talking about my presentation at the New England ACSM. There's probably a few people that coach weightlifters that come to our events. But primarily, the NSCA is people who train athletes. And again, we are first and foremost to say, if you want to know about weightlifting, you should go to USAW.

[00:21:45.39] Absolutely.

[00:21:46.16] Oh, you want to know about the technical lifts involved in the sport of weightlifting-- absolutely, USAW. Level 1, their advance sports performance course; level 2-- if you're going to coach weightlifters, you need to go there.

[00:21:58.38] And that's why it's so cool that you guys are doing this to kind of really differentiate. And it's like, look, we train field sport, court sport athletes. And this is the application of weightlifting for those sports.

[00:22:10.65] Yeah. And we're very lucky that Anna is the educational manager at USA Weightlifting.

[00:22:15.58] Oh, yeah, Anna Swisher. Yep.

[00:22:16.94] Yeah. She's such a huge asset for our SIG. She's very much involved with NSCA. And of course, she's very much involved with USA Weightlifting as well. And she's the one that actually, for the first time, tried to bridge that gap between the two bodies. And now we're actually working together, which is amazing.

[00:22:34.06] Yeah. No, and it's super cool. We've definitely-- again, we've been trying to do different things and see how things fit and work. And I remember it was a while ago, now, because Michael Massik, who was the NSCA executive director, was the executive director of USA weightlifting. And when he was the executive director of Weightlifting, I had gone over and met with him-- and trying to figure out what we could do more to work together at the higher level.

[00:22:58.96] Yep.

[00:22:59.13] You know? And then, he ended up being, now, our executive director. And so there's always this very, very common, great kind of friendship slash-- you know, we know there's so many different things that we could do together. It's just a matter of seeing what makes the most sense for all the organizations, right?

[00:23:18.46] Absolutely. And we want to let them know, everyone that has a very strong background in coaching weightlifting as a sport is always more than welcome to join the group and bring his or her own experience of the table as long as we all agree upon the fact that we're sharing information for coaching athletes.

[00:23:36.11] Right.

[00:23:36.36] That's all that matters-- doesn't matter where you come from as long as you have something to offer that can be used to coach athletes.

[00:23:41.91] Right.

[00:23:42.30] And of course, Olympic weightlifters or former Olympic weightlifters or coaches in weightlifting has a lot to offer. They have a lot to offer-- as long as they get into the right mindset that is switching the gear from coaching athletes from the platform to the field.

[00:23:57.39] Right.

[00:23:57.57] It's different kind of environment.

[00:23:59.13] Yeah. And because, again, we're talking about more than just coaching them to do the lifts. And we're also talking about all those other components--

[00:24:08.37] Oh, yeah.

[00:24:08.64] --speed agility, biometrics, [INAUDIBLE] movement--

[00:24:10.72] Yeah, it's a process a movement.

[00:24:13.26] --deceleration. Yeah. A lot of things that you're not going to get in a strict weightlifting environment.

[00:24:19.83] Absolutely.

[00:24:20.09] Yeah. No, I think that's great. And you spent some time in college-- high school too. Maybe talk a little bit about some of the strength the conditioning experience that you've had throughout.

[00:24:29.24] Yeah, I think, by far, the most shaping and meaningful experience I had was my very first one in Boston. I was coaching-- Anna Maria college-- a very small Division III college-- like, teeny, tiny in Paxton, Massachusetts. And I remember the day I landed-- again, it was my very first experience in the States.

[00:24:51.42] Yeah.

[00:24:53.19] I started as a volunteer at the beginning. And I barely spoke English. And I was in front of these 98 kids in a weight room with these squat racks--

[00:25:03.80] Yep.

[00:25:04.15] --and four bars.

[00:25:05.03] Yep. [LAUGHS]

[00:25:05.73] So not many resources.

[00:25:06.70] Right.

[00:25:07.65] And I think the biggest challenge, for me, was to be able to use my knowledge to design a program that was actually efficient in that environment with very limited resources. And that experience, later, taught me that most of what I know today. Despite of the results that we had in football-- those don't really matter.

[00:25:26.50] What I'm really proud of is that we didn't have a lot of injuries. Our athletes were improving throughout the season. But to be fairly honest with you, the leadership that I had with each and every one of those athletes is still alive today. And we're still in touch--

[00:25:40.97] Yeah, that's great.

[00:25:41.67] --years later.

[00:25:42.30] Great.

[00:25:42.76] They still ask me for advice in their career. A few of them went into strength and conditioning after coaching-- after lifting with me. And that's impressive. That's amazing.

[00:25:51.87] Yeah, right.

[00:25:52.17] That kind of impact is so much more rewarding than winning anything.

[00:25:56.49] Totally.

[00:25:57.04] Championship doesn't matter.

[00:25:58.23] Yeah.

[00:25:58.68] If you can impact someone's life, that's the most you can do, I think.

[00:26:03.45] Yeah, like you said, the coolest part of it-- they're still staying in touch with you or coming to visit if they're back home or whatever they might be from.

[00:26:09.73] Absolutely.

[00:26:10.71] Or, you know, again, with social media, the opportunity to stay connected is so much greater now. So it's too funny-- Anna Maria College, Paxton Mass-- it was probably the middle-2000s when I was competing in Strongman back in the day.

[00:26:25.68] So this guy-- I was just telling this story with my buddy, CJ Murphy-- owns a place called Total Performance Sports in Everett, Mass. So these guys used to put on a lot of Strongman competitions.

[00:26:35.37] Oh, I see.

[00:26:35.82] And there was a Strongman competition. It was supposed to be at Anna Maria College in Paxton. And I can't remember the time of year, but it ended up being this crazy ice snow storm.

[00:26:49.08] Oh.

[00:26:49.23] So it's probably middle-2000s, like '06, '07. It shut down the school, so they had to cancel the strongman competition. That wasn't going to be at the gym anymore. They moved it to this guy, Nate, who was one of the Strongman competition organizers. They moved it to his barn in Paxton.

[00:27:07.83] And it was like Snowmageddon. There was just ice everywhere. Power lines were down. There was no power anywhere. So me and my buddy, John Chaffee, we had been training for it, had paid all our dues. We were there. We stayed overnight in a hotel. We were like, well, it's canceled at the school. It's going to be at this barn now.

[00:27:25.40] So we go-- it's freezing. You know, you're in, literally, all your clothes that you could own. We tried to warm up as best we could. It was miserable. We did the first event, and then we quit. We were, like, screw this.

[00:27:39.08] [LAUGHS]

[00:27:39.21] We're out of here, man. We're leaving. This isn't worth it.

[00:27:41.91] [LAUGHTER]

[00:27:43.28] Well, I don't like the cold too much either.

[00:27:44.70] [LAUGHTER]

[00:27:46.47] It was too funny. But this has been super great. I know people are going to be interested in reaching out to you after this. Do you want to throw any social media up? Or what's the best way to connect with you?

[00:27:59.13] Either the CSCS Prep Group on Facebook, if you go down that path-- there's me, Kathryn, a bunch of other instructors-- that are supervising the Facebook page. Or if you're already in the community, working, maybe the NSCA Weightlifting SIG.

[00:28:14.22] Cool.

[00:28:14.76] It's a Facebook page which I manage.

[00:28:17.22] So after that, I can share all my private contact information. I'm always open to reach out to people. I answer private messages, email, phone calls, whatever the case may be. I try to be always available.

[00:28:29.25] Perfect. Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time.

[00:28:31.41] Thank you.

[00:28:31.55] Looking forward to the Weightlifting SIG meeting tomorrow. It's going to be super interesting. And a big thanks to our sponsors Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support. And to all of you listening, we appreciate your support.

[00:28:44.52] Again, if you like the podcast, make sure that you subscribe wherever you download your podcast from. Write us a review and on keep listening in. Look forward to talking with y'all soon. Thanks.

[00:28:55.56] Yeah, join the Facebook group-- again, CSCS Exam Prep that Antonio's on or, again, the Weightlifting Special Interest Group, which private page, I believe. Right?

[00:29:04.15] Yes, it is.

[00:29:04.53] So you have to ask to join. But you'll get accepted. And then you can interact. It's really a great way. So we appreciate your time.

[00:29:11.33] Thank you.

[00:29:11.67] And I look forward to the rest of the conference here.

[00:29:14.10] It was a lot of fun. Thank you.

[00:29:15.12] Thanks, man.

[00:29:15.46] Yeah.

[00:29:15.79] Thank you.

[00:29:16.78] And as you know, we at the NSCA love research, and especially applying that research. If you're not a member yet, join us and get access to the best strength and conditioning journals available, just go to NSCA.com/membership.

[00:29:28.48] 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 and 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.

Photo of Scott P. Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*E
About the author

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

Contact Scott Caulfield

Contact Scott Caulfield

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Scott Caulfield

View full biography
Photo of Antonio Squillante, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, RSCC*D
About the author

Antonio Squillante, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, RSCC*D

Contact Antonio Squillante

Contact Antonio Squillante

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Antonio Squillante

View full biography
#NSCAStrong #NSCAStrong

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now