NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 49: Jeff Carroll

by Scott P. Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and Jeffrey B. Carroll, CSCS
Coaching Podcast March 2019

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Contracted Human Performance and Optimization Coach of 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regimen Jeff Carroll talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his start in the field of strength and conditioning and his transition from professional athletes to a tactical population and setting. Topics under discussion include: Carroll’s career path, coaching professional athletes, transitioning to tactical strength and conditioning, and the future of tactical strength and conditioning.

Find Scott on Twitter: @scottcaulfield

Show Notes

Show Notes:

“As an intern, you’re not owed anything; it’s the will to go above and beyond.” 14:00

“The strongest guy is not always the best player. Some athletes are just naturally talented.” 21:00

“The lifestyle is very rewarding, but very intensive.” 22:00

“You need to volunteer and get experience to really get into that world.” 45:00

“In the tactical world, you are dealing with the world’s premier soldiers, so it’s hard to break into.” 45:30

“However you can, whatever you can do, you need to understand the military world and what they have to do.” 46:00

“A military soldier’s number one factor is the guy to the right and to the left of them.” 47:00

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.

Transcription

            MUSIC PLAYING] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, Episode 50. My advice for somebody who wants to do it is however you can, however you can think outside the box, but understand the military lifestyle, understand what these guys and women go through every day.

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. Their strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.

Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I am Scott Caulfield. Today with me Jeff Carroll, human performance optimization coach with the second ranger battalion 75th ranger regimen. Coach, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Exciting to have you guys here. You're out here for a TSAC Leader's Summit. It's a closed door event. You guys are talking about the big picture stuff and the future of TSAC. Is that right?

Yeah, there's the brain trust in that room that's way smarter than I am. So it's a privilege to be in that group. But some big topics being talked about.

Very cool. And where is the second ranger battalion housed out of? Where are you home to usually?

We're stationed-- or our home is JBLM, which is a Joint Base Lewis-McChord out in Washington state.

Washington state. OK.

Just south of Tacoma, Washington.

Cool. Well, as you know, you've been a listener, I've been starting things off a little differently. And actually, I stole some of these icebreaker theory from a guy named Mike Ritland in the Mike Drop Podcast, a former Navy SEAL. It has nothing to do with coaching, but it's another one of my podcasts that I listen to trying to get better. So if he ever hears this, I did give him credit that I stole his icebreaker intros.

But yeah, just give people a chance to know a little bit about you. What's the first job that you ever held when you were growing up?

Technically, that they paid for a job?

[LAUGHS] Yeah.

I worked at my uncle's nursery, digging holes, planting plants, watering. I called it a past time job. My father owns a Christmas tree and a beef farm-- cattle farm, and so that was my main staple of work.

Yeah. Good old fashioned manual labor, right?

Yeah. If I could ball that up and sell it right now, I think I'd be rich.

Yeah. I know for me, those kind of jobs, too, it was like it gave me a good taste-- I worked for a brick mason when I was in high school and I was like, oh, god, I could never do-- I better never have to rely on this.

It's tough. And in college, I was also an iron worker for summers.

Wow.

And it's a great job, it's respectable. But man, just to do it for your whole lifetime, it's physical work.

Yeah. People that have done that as careers or own a farm like that are amazing to me. I've always been impressed.

Yeah, my father is the strongest old man I know. He's incredible.

That's awesome. How about the best state you've ever lived in?

Oh. That narrows it down. I've tried to branch out, but it's basically been the Northwest. So I would have to go with Washington state.

Yeah.

It's home.

Cool. Sticking around. Good stuff. And we'll get into a lot of that when we talk about where you've been. How about, what's your favorite sport to participate in yourself?

I grew up as a wrestler and I loved it, but then I got to college and got into lacrosse. And lacrosse is the combination of everything. It's what an athlete is supposed to be and it's still fascinating to me.

And now it's booming, too, right?

Yeah, on the West Coast, it's growing. I think it's the fastest growing sport in all of youth sports.

I believe it. Well, and especially-- this could be a whole other topic, but people freaking out about football, right? Now they're thinking maybe that's too dangerous. So you can see how that would be a really good transitional--

Yeah. It's a great sport because it doesn't require a whole lot of size. Some of the top players are my size-- 5' 9", 180 pounds-- that make it happen.

That's cool. How about if you could only do one lift for the rest of your life, one basic exercise for yourself, not for people you train, your own self in your own fitness and your own health, what would it be?

That's a tough question. I would go with hang clean. It's a raw lift. It requires a lot of effort, a lot of power, and a lot of movement.

Nice. I like it. It's a good one. And then what's the first concert that you ever went to? A little musical taste--

I might be embarrassed to say this, but I think it was Color Me Badd at the Oregon State Fair. I begged my mom to get any kind of concert tickets and she came back with that. And it was eye opening, but it was fun.

Nice. Cool. Well, transitioning to that-- the Oregon Fair sets it up-- but you grew up in Washington state or in the Pacific Northwest. Did you come out of college knowing that strength and conditioning was something you wanted to get into? Or where do you first find out about it, hear about it, whatever you want to call it?

I'd love to tell you in this great story, but I'm one of those guys that just knew. Late bloomer in high school and just loved sports, loved athletics, loved just activity, and gauged my college choice off of a great physical education program. And from day one, that's what I wanted to do. Now, it might have changed from general fitness, bodybuilding, and then it got to what we call sports performance or strength and conditioning, and you got the bug and it just never stopped.

Yeah. I think a lot of people get involved in it like that. You learn as you go more and you go down farther. And you want to start learning more, and then you learn more. Although, today's day and age, growing up in the information age that these kids have today, Olympic lift-- I never heard of Olympic lifting back in the day, right? So now people are totally-- you see it everywhere in social media. So the awareness now and as this profession grows-- I think the awareness of it is a lot better.

I think it's the same thing, too, is we tell the young athletes not to be specialized. It's good to know your industry, but you want to learn bodybuilding, you want to learn your general fitness, you want to learn how the geriatric population struggles. I think it just makes you a better coach.

Totally. Yeah. Joe Kenn-- we'll have upcoming episode coming out with him. But he and I have talked about a lot-- we just saw him at the NSCA National Conference, and he was saying how there's the specialization now of the strength coach. So you could come up through your career and maybe only work with football or basketball. But back in the day, as you've been and when he was at Boise State and some other places, you had women's volleyball, golf, tennis. You had all the sports and it made you a better coach because of that.

100% correct. A conversation this last week is probably coaching the cross-country team at Eastern Washington University was one of the most rewarding coaching positions that you had, and it's something you would never think of. You think of football and you think of basketball, the revenue-making sports. But it's about the athlete and it's about the personalities.

Definitely, yeah. So much. I had men's, women's swimming when I was at Dartmouth College. The Ivy League schools have a ton of sports, but we also didn't have a ton of staff. So some days, I was the only person with an intern maybe, if I was lucky, with the 50 swimmers. You were like, OK, let's try and see how this goes.

We call it controlled chaos.

Absolutely. So yeah. Take us through getting out of school and getting that first job.

Well, I graduated college and I knew I wanted to be in strength and conditioning. So again, I was blessed to be fortunate enough, I knew Steve [INAUDIBLE] at the University of Washington. And my brother-in-law at the time was a GA and he was a University of Washington alumni. So I kept on calling, kept on calling, and finally they said, hey, just show up on this date.

And the day I showed up, there was 25 interns standing there all with the same stare. And we all asked each other what we were there for and you figured out real quick that it's a competitive field. And so you just got to work hard.

Yeah. What do you think those guys were looking for out of bringing in a lot of interns? What are they looking for? And this is obviously back then, but I'm sure it still holds true.

I think it's the same thing that I look for when we bring in interns or a young coach. It's just the initiative to go above and beyond. As an intern, you're not owed anything, which I think that's an error, that the interns go into a program or a internship and they think it's going to be a classroom structure, where it's not. It's real world life.

Again, I told this story-- I was mopping puke the first day while everyone else was standing by. And I was cleaning racks, I was just taking the initiative and doing what was right and what the weight room needed, and then the coaches saw that. I think that helped out a lot.

Yeah. Did you do other internships after that or was that the first?

I did a previous one. And again, this led me to strength and conditioning. It was a corporate fitness internship. It was great, learned a lot. It's just, I realized the corporate world wasn't where I wanted to be.

Yeah.

But so then you reach Washington-- that, again, opened up Pandora's box. Was fortunate enough, got great mentors there and they gave me a lot of leeway to do what I needed to do and it was awesome.

Nice. Yeah, we talk about our internship program here with a lot of the different-- we're able to give people a lot of different experiences between TSAC, between high school athletes, between regular people. And I think it's good, because a lot of the times they're realizing that they really want to train athletes. But probably one out of-- we have nine a year. Maybe three out of those nine every year are figuring out, wow, I really like the tactical population or, you know what, I don't mind working with the average people, and it gives them that chance.

So again, going back to the not specialized, I think, you don't know what you don't know until you open your doors a little and experience it.

I have a few of what I call off-time clients that somehow through word of mouth or through referrals-- I'm pretty selective on who I help out, but they could be from lawyers to doctors, and they're fun to train, too.

Yeah.

They appreciate the improvement and just the grass of knowledge they get is awesome to see.

Totally. That's really cool. Yeah, I also started out before getting into strength and conditioning, like a lot of people have, as a personal trainer and just worked with regular people. But some of the people when I was doing a little bit of both, sports performance and personal training-- one of them was an 87-year-old guy and he was a riot. He was so much fun.

Highlight of your day, probably.

Yeah. [LAUGHS]

Just salt of the earth, is what I call it.

Yeah. Cool. So then the first real job after that was at Washington State? is that correct?

No. I went to intern at University of Washington. And then Rick Hughley, the former head strength and conditioning coach there was the sports director at Velocity Sports Performance.

Velocity. OK. Cool.

And they were just opening up a center nearby. And he just kept on me. I made that jump, learned a lot. It was a great-- probably the best scenario that I could do just in transition to learning is just learning about programming, learning about teaching, just becoming a better coach.

Yeah.

Because I was at a lot of small group, real technical coaching that progressed at a great rate. And then product speaks for itself. So we produced some great athletes coming out of that center and we did some college kids for the combine. And I don't know how it happened, I don't know if I even want to know how it happened-- I got a phone call from Seattle Seahawks one day and they were like, come in for an interview, we have a position and we want you to interview for it. And I got it.

Nice. What kind of jump was that like going from private sector to now professional?

It was very smooth. It's very similar to-- you're only dealing with, at most, 100 athletes during training camp, but during the season, you've got 54 or 60 athletes that you're training and there's three coaches. Some teams have four, up to five coaches now. And they're people, they're human. You don't have to put them on a pedestal. They put their pants on one leg at a time, like anybody else.

Yeah. What was the most difficult thing about making that transition?

I think just trying not to be star struck. Because I was fairly young. I think I was 24, 25 when I got the position.

Wow. Yeah.

And these were players that-- the veterans were the guys that I was watching in college. Like Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer. Those were guys that four years ago I was rooting for and now I'm right next to them. And again, they're normal people, but you just got to just treat them human.

Right. Just treat them like everybody else. So that makes me think of this-- now all of a sudden-- like you said, you were watching those guys. Now you're actually helping them. They're looking to you to give them help. But what's maybe some of the biggest myths or misconceptions then about being an NFL strength coach?

I think the, I guess, advanced training that everybody thinks that goes on there. It is cutting edge and it is very structured. But we're not pulling cars, we're not doing complex biometrics. It's a simple system just to make sure they execute it properly.

It's nothing mind blowing that you can go on YouTube and see people do. There's no quadruple box jumps or anything spectacular like that, because there's a risk. It's a million dollar athlete. And at the end of the day, if you've got to go to the GM and say, hey, we tore Shaun Alexander's hamstring for doing a box jump, that's a big toll.

[LAUGHS] Yeah. And some of those guys probably are super gifted athletes on the football field, but are not super gifted weightlifters or strength training athletes.

[LAUGHS]

A lot of times and majority of the time, the strongest guy in the weight room is not the best football player. And there's just a God-given talent that is hard to realize unless you see it from day in day out. And I think that's where the public gets a little bit jaded that they can't believe that that naturally exists. And it does. They're phenomenal beings. The odds of them making it are astronomical and that's why they get paid what they get paid.

Yeah. How was the-- because I'm sure people are wondering this, like I wonder. How was the work/life balance? Granted, you were young at that point, where it probably didn't matter, that you weren't thinking about work/life balance. But what's the hours like for NFL strength coaches? What was that--

I had it pretty good. They took pretty good care of me. But the head strength coach, Mike Clark, he was there all day every day. It got to the point where we had this running joke that I'd see you in seven months. Don't call or don't write, because I'm working. It's a young man's game. It was great when I was young, because I could put all my effort into work. My girlfriend, my wife now, was with me and she understood it, she still does. But it's not easy. It's a lot of hours.

Yeah. Definitely. And on-call, too, right? At the beck and call of whatever. If somebody needs a meeting--

Yeah, it goes through phases. Right now, training camp's going on. So you're busy, but you're not working as hard as you can. It's just, you're always there. Your presence is needed a lot. It's not like on off-season where you're running through four or five groups a day and your voice is just shot at the end of it. It goes in stages. It's rewarding, but it's very intensive.

Yeah. That's cool. So good to know, right? Good to know ahead of time if you're thinking it's just all glamor and show and--

No, it's not the, hey, we just practiced and go home. It's an all day event and you're traveling some of the time. Game days are fun, but you're there at the stadium for 10, 12 hours. And then you go home and you relax for maybe four hours and you wake up and you do it all over again.

But I think from a lot of the pro strength coaches and in a lot of different sports that I've talked to, too-- I'm sure you'll reiterate it-- is also, depending on game day or travel, you're not necessarily doing your job all that time, right? You're support staff and you might be carrying bags in or helping setting up other random things.

That's what helped my longevity, is that I try to volunteer where I could. If the equipment guys needed help, I would ask them. I was trying to make it known that if any department needed me, that if I was available, I'll be more than willing to help out. And I think that's even more key in college.

For sure. So you were telling me this story before we started rolling here, but definitely want to go over it again, because what took you away from that job was-- one of the things was you telling someone that you wanted to move up the ranks, you wanted to be head coach. So talk about that story again.

Yeah. I was in Seattle. It was heavenly. I was a young coach and the program just allowed me to coach. I didn't see any of the-- you can call it the political side of things or the drama in the offices, I just coached and it was awesome. And it got to the point where one of the coaches was like, hey, what's your five year plan? I was like, I don't know, I want to be here, I love it here. He goes, yeah, but you've got to grow as a person, grow as a coach, and grow as a man.

And so finally, we sat down and after a long talk, he's like, you need to become a head strength coach. And so right then I was like, all right, this is what I need to do and open up the doors and see what was out there.

Nice. And so you went from there to Eastern Washington.

Correct, which is ironic, because that's where our training camp was at the time. I thought I knew the area and I thought I knew the facility. And it was good because my wife's from Eastern Washington. So we made the jump and went to Eastern Washington.

Nice. So did you see a job posting or had you put feelers out that you were looking and it helped that someone knew that you were looking?

It was both. You do this full internet search at that time, you start making phone calls. This popped up and at that time, I'll be honest, I was a little bit selfish. I was like, wow, I'm coming from the Seattle Seahawks. I should be able to get a big time power five job. I was a little late in the season when I made this decision and it was probably the best case scenario at the time. So we decided to take the leap of faith.

And that's a FCS school. You had every sport-- what was the duties of that one?

When I got there, the original position was just-- they had one strength coach and that was my position. Part of the interview process was-- I was like, hey, I need an assistant. There is no way that if you want us to be a national championship caliber team that I can do this on my own. So we worked the budget numbers and we were able to hire an assistant. So it was me and one other strength coach.

Wow. And then when you were hiring that person, what are you looking for when you're looking for an assistant? Especially one at that time where you're really going to have to rely a lot on that person.

You said it right there, reliability. You have to have somebody that's basically running a microprogram within the program. A big part of your process was, I'm not going to micromanage you. You have full reign over your control of programming, unless I see something drastically wrong that's going to hurt people and we'll change it. But you run your teams, I'll run our teams and understand that we have to work together.

Yeah, totally. And you guys grew that program. You ended up getting some interns.

Yeah, we tried branching out. There's an exercise science program there. We get interns. The tough part about that-- they're on the quarter system. And so it's a lot easier to have an intern for a semester, because you can actually progress them in quarters. It's tough and especially when you're working 80 hours a week trying to just get it going. You don't realize how far an intern is away from being a coach. And so a lot of tasks that you think should be natural, they have no clue.

Right. So what's your favorite part about working with a college setting?

I think just watching the young men and women grow, just mature. Because they're coming to you as an 18-year-old, sometimes a 17-year-old maybe and that's a very volatile age. And they go there and after three or four years, you see them sprout to be young men, young women. Several of them now I'm still friends with and you see that they have children and they're professionals in whatever field they're in. That's the rewarding part about it.

Yeah, that's great. The relationships has always been such that really, why most of us do it, building them. That's even better when you can stay in touch with those people or see them down the road or get invited to different events that they have in their life. It shows how much of an impact you had.

Yeah, random story. I was driving home the other day and stopped by the store. And one of the players at Eastern Washington, Greg Herd, was just walking out of the supermarket. I haven't seen him in probably three or four years and now he's a middle school teacher. He had a short career in the NFL and he's coaching his high school football team. At moments like that you get a chance to be like, hey-- I told him, hey, you were a great kid. I still remember you and I used to people about you. Just remember that it's not about football, it's about human growth.

That's super cool. And from there, how did you find out about the tactical world? Were you interested in it and it was growing? Or did somebody you know get into it first?

I'm a military brat, so my dad was in the military. It's always been an interest. At Eastern Washington, I was married, my wife was pregnant. And I was like, I don't know if I could be on the road for six months of the year. It's tough and a little bit homesick. And it was a-- we call it the quarter life crisis. And so I knew Rob Rogers and I called him.

I think the NSCA just started the TSAC and he was the coordinator. And I literally called him out of the blue and just pressed him with questions. And the stars aligned, it was the right time. It was when this whole military SOCOM push was going on and we struck while the iron was hot and one thing led to another.

Then have you been with the ranger battalion the whole time that you've been involved in the tactical?

Yeah. A little bit of the back story is I initially took the job with the 160th, the aviation unit out of Fort Lewis. A little bit of information. When they interview you, they ask you locations you want to be at. And so obviously, the military is worldwide. So there was Okinawa, Japan, Fort Carson, which was obviously everybody's choices. So you try to pick where you want to be. And then ultimately, we sat down as a family and were like, well, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is where I grew up. And between that and Fort Carson was where you wanted to be. You interview and they go through and it's tough.

Yeah.

It's tough.

So to get a job like that, what are people looking for? What are people that are hiring-- what are they looking for in coaches to get involved in being a tactical for special operations?

I think it's different now than when I got hired. I think when I got hired, no one knew anything about it. No one knew anything about us. The way I explain it to people is, you take a duck and you try to explain what a duck looks like to no one that's ever seen a duck before. And when you explain it, it's hard for people to be like, well, it's a long bill, he's got paddled feet, there's feathers, he's fluffy, and a short, stocky neck. Everybody deciphers it a different way.

So I think that's where the SOCOM, the POTFF, the [INAUDIBLE] was at that time. And I think the only thing they could go on and which they did was what was on paper. We talked about earlier today, you're hiring the resume and not the person. I don't think that's the right way to do it, even though I've probably benefited from that a lot. But I think that's the only option they had.

Right.

Now currently, it's a little bit different. The programs have been established. So you have coaches that worry about cohesiveness and team more than the knowledge.

Yeah. And how many people work with you? How many strength coaches are there with you guys?

Ranger battalion-- there's one other strength coach, Alan [INAUDIBLE], who came for the Mariners. Great coach, probably one the greatest assistants and people I've worked with. We have a civilian physical therapist, Jason Steer. We just hired an ATC. We have a performance dietitian. And then we have a military physical therapist.

OK. And how many athletes-- how many guys are you training?

It's a lot. Anywhere from 600 to 1,000.

Yeah. Because how many people are in a battalion?

It's roughly 1,000.

1,000. OK.

So it's a lot of people for a very little amount of coaching.

OK. And some of them are the actual operators. Some of the guys, they're the guys kicking doors and jumping out of helicopters and some of them are support staff.

Well, that's where range battalion's a little bit different. It's not like an SF group. Everybody's a door kicker. They all have to meet the same qualifications. And again, my first year there, you're like, oh, you're a cook-- and I love cooks. It's like the equipment guy, you love him. They're the greatest people on earth. But he got shot on a mission in the leg. And he's got a Purple Heart. He's still there to the day. But how many other people can say, your cook took one for you?

[LAUGHS] Right. Yeah. I guess one question, too, would be like a lot of these jobs, too, are contracts, right? So is job security an issue or is it-- I guess it's not something you don't think about at all. But how much does that--

There's two sides to that coin that you can play. You can sit there and worry about it and be on pins and needles or you can just take it day by day. When I first got there, everybody was worried, like, I'm sorry about this contract, we're sorry-- this is the things. And I was like, I understand it in the other world, but in the sports world, it's no different. I could be fired the next day. It's all about performing. If I don't put proof in the pudding, I deserve to get fired. It's in my title, human performance coach. I have to produce results.

Yeah. Then, I guess, going back to the athletes, too. So what was the biggest changes or the biggest difference from coming from the NFL, college, and now this tactical realm? Obviously, the range of age is probably more similar to the NFL, but the jobs are entirely different.

This is the way I put it-- everybody asks me-- is, there all the same. The personalities are the same in the locker room as they are in the loadout room. The only difference is is professional athlete's problems are a lot bigger than a military soldier's problem. In the military, a soldier's going to worry about $100 and a pro athlete, that's going to be $1,000. But they still have problems they still deal with the same way.

You still have your jokesters, you have your serious guy, you still have the guy that wants to head-butt you still have the guy that just wants to sit there and relax. And again, they're human. The personalities are there, it's just different abilities.

Yeah. That's cool. It's good to know. And it's still the relationship building, probably, like we've been saying. But give me a day in the life of what it's like for you, the second ranger battalion.

A general day is we get there about 0600, depending on the training week. Right now, we currently go through what we call a pre-ranger class for about 90 minutes. So it's all the soldiers, the rangers that are about to go to school. And then we spend the next two hours training the trigger pullers on the floor. We go through that.

This is one of the greatest things that we do as a staff, is we go to breakfast together as a staff. We have our own dining facility, so we go there. It's basically what I call my morning huddle to any pressing task. After breakfast, we usually have our rehab guys come in to where we spend their rehab sessions with us. It's a little more time to be personalized. And after that, it's usually administrative work, which is posting workouts, pushing out workouts, answering emails, facility maintenance, equipment purchasing, planning, knowing what's coming up in the next week or two.

And how big of a facility do you guys have?

Again, we're blessed. We have a great facility. I think equipment, like rack or gym weight room, we have about 13,000 square feet.

Nice.

We have a couple of other turf sections and some outdoor overhangs that help us out. But in the SOCOM world, we're a big facility.

And I guess that would be a question, too, I think of, is you're thinking army, department of defense, whatever. Do you just have a checkbook you just dip into anytime you need something? Or is it pretty-- like, you know your budget, you've got to be super specific?

Great question.

[LAUGHS]

At Seattle, there was-- I'll be honest, there was no budget. As you can justify it, you can get it. At Eastern Washington, my budget was literally $3,000 for-- I can't remember-- like, 350 athletes. I remember making plyo boxes out back with plywood and just doing what we called the prison workout.

Yeah.

And then the ranger battalion is almost close to Seattle. It's not an unlimited, but there's a good amount of money to be spent to purchase the top of the line equipment for the guys and to make sure that you're doing it right and facilitating performance.

Cool. Are you guys into any cool technology or something--

Were you just downstairs?

[LAUGHS]

Technologies is good, I think. I'm an old school coach now. 10 years ago, I guess they'd call me cutting edge. But now I'm all about just keeping it simple and doing consistency. So technology to me is a great tool, it's not the answer. The biggest thing that we finally pushed out is we've used TrainHeroic, just to publish our workouts to give another medium for guys to have access to it. We've tried heart rate monitors, Zephyr units, and for our large group, it's very hard to administer.

Yeah. How does that work? You have TrainHeroic, which guys can do on their own when they're away from you. So how often-- do you ever get to deploy with teams? Are you doing a lot of remote coaching? What's that level of that like?

It changes depending on the year and what we call the battle rhythm. I have deployed with the battalion before. It was very eye opening, but an awesome experience. I think we gained a lot from it. A lot of the times we try to go out in the field with them to do training events, just to help monitor to see how we're performing, not so much as coaching but just watch-- it's basically like game day.

But right now, the war and the world has changed. And so geographical locations-- it's hard to see everybody all the time. So TrainHeroic comes into play where it helps us out to have a broader range.

Yeah. What was it like when you were with-- what's the day in life then become when you're deployed? I know some people probably, like myself, are veterans or have military experience or know people who are in the military. But some listening might not have an idea of what that would be like.

I hope my mom's not listening.

[LAUGHS]

A lot of it is-- we're on reverse cycle, so we're up at nights and sleeping during the day. So that changed a little bit. You wake up, you see what's going on in the world. And you're seeing what the guys are going to do today or possibly do today. And if not, we would always have classroom structure. Like, hey, we're teaching this today, this is the classroom.

You would meet with leadership or squad leaders or platoon sergeants, be like, hey, what do you guys want to learn? And it's a very great setting. It's awesome because there's time. Everybody is very focused on getting better. There's no outside presence coming in. I call it a training camp.

Right. Not a lot of distractions.

Yeah. And you have their attention. They're not worried about getting off of work, because they know that they're there. Workouts-- some guys do two-a-days-- a lot of guys do two-a-days. So you're trying to facilitate, hey, just make sure we're doing the right thing. And travel-- you're traveling a lot, which is exciting, but also scary, because you're in a you're in a war torn country. There's stuff happening around you that you take for granted when you live in the United States.

Right. Yeah. So what's your training look like then when you guys are going? Are you sending-- like, we have our locker out there that deploys with a bunch of equipment or are these guys taking equipment with them?

We are. Again, that's changing. The landscape has changed. Before I think the global war on terrorism, a lot of places, like [INAUDIBLE], would have these full scale weight rooms. There were many towns. Now since it's, again, changing, we're sending equipment. We send a lot of equipment. We have the TRX lockers. We load up [INAUDIBLE] equipment and send it with them. It's not ideal, but you have to adapt.

Yeah. So how much different is your programming for that than it is when you guys are there?

It's a lot of struggles, because at JBLM, we have the abundance. We have BFR units, we have just the cat's meow of this arsenal of tools to keep them focused and interested in a variety of training, where a lot of times when they're deployed, it's a barbell, it's a bench, maybe a box, and a TRX. So you have to be creative with your training. A lot of times they get bored with it. So progressions are easy to follow at that point, but it's tough to keep the excitement.

Yeah. That's cool. It's good to know. Makes you think on your toes, right?

Yeah, it makes you a better coach, I think. To go back on a little bit what we gain from each position, programming-wise, I've become a better programmer. I feel that my confidence in programming is pretty awesome. Now, as my abilities as being an every day coach, that suffers a little bit, because you're not doing it every single day, four or five times a day. It's pretty rapid.

Yeah. That's a double edged sword, right? The higher levels you go as a manager and a supervisor and a head coach, the less you may actually spend time coaching on the floor

And that's what's scary. As a coach and as a farm-raised kid, you want to be boots on the ground. And it's tough because sometimes a soldier doesn't see that, what you're doing behind the scenes. Roles change. And so a lot of times, they're like, oh, they're not caring about us. We're like, well, I care about you, it's just I'm now in a different role of trying to better this environment for you and for the future of the program where I'm not on the floor four or five hours a day.

Right. We talked about your path and maybe it's a little different than some other people's. But would there be things-- if someone's listening to this and they're like, man, tactical stuff seems really cool. They're seeing more obviously, because it's becoming more apparent. Is there a specific path that you would say you need to do this, this, and this to work in the SOCOM world.

Again, were you downstairs? This is a conversation we had earlier today. It's tough.

I'm secretly tapping into the summit so I could find questions for this podcast.

It's tough, because if you're a college strength coach or a professional strength coach or just a general population strength coach, you can go volunteer at a local weight room, college weight room and get experience and know the lay of the land. It's an intimidating environment if you're not used to it. So you need that experience when you walk into a strength and conditioning center. It's overwhelming and you need to be comfortable in that setting.

It's tough for the military setting, because we don't have an internship program. I can't pick up anybody I cross off a college program, because security clearances come into play. A lot of factors come into it and you're giving them access to America's premiere warriors. And so you've got to be very careful and you can't hurt them. And so you have to have somebody who's experienced enough to be confident one, in teaching. And it's an intimidating environment.

My advice for somebody who wants to do it is however you can, however you can think outside the box, but understand the military lifestyle. Understand what these guys and women go through every day. And understand that it's not a college setting. You can't go in there guns blazing demanding proper workouts, because, again, you don't know what they've done for that day or how long they've been up or they just came out of the field or what mission they just went on.

So it's more of a consulting of, hey, tell me about it. It's that relationship building. Like, tell me about your day. What's going on? All right, let's try this. And it's that relationship building that I think young coaches need to work on. And I think if you want to intern or get into this, that's huge. Again, we talked about it. An athlete, as much as you don't want to say this, they're selfish. Ultimately, they're worried about their performance and how they're going to do it.

A military soldier, their number one factor is their guy in their unit, the guy to the right and to the left and behind them. That's all they worry about. And it's hard to get into that circle, because that bond is something that if pro athletes and pro teams had, you'd become invincible. And I think that's the secret to successful teams, is that bond that they have. They understand the different personality types, they all respect each other, and they all somehow figure out how to work with each other.

Wow. That's awesome. So you wanted to be a head strength coach. You became a head strength coach, you're a head strength coach now. What's next? Is there something that you want to do still in this career? Are you very happy? You love the SOCOM world?

I've learned to never say never in this lifetime, because it usually ends up biting me. Or I never said I'd move to Cheney, Washington, and let alone, I spent over 4 and 1/2, five years of my life there. I think coaching's good. I think there's a lifespan to coaching. I think generations change, athletes change. And it's not that you're a bad coach, it's just sometimes your delivery methods have to either adapt or you're put out to pasture.

So I think for me, to be 100% honest with you, I've probably got five, maybe six years more of coaching, maybe less. But you got to think of a global scale of, how can I take my coaching and now impact more of a greater good? If that's in the SOCOM, if that's in the standard generalized army. Because there's big changes coming and all hands need to be on deck and we all need to be rowing that boat and understanding what our roles are.

Yeah. That's exciting though, too, to think-- because I just saw recently, you probably have known about it for a long time, that the army is changing their physical readiness standards and the testing they do. So change is coming across the board, it's trickling down. They're probably going to be hiring tons more people to work with the quote unquote regular guys, right?

Yeah. But again, to go back, if you're a young coach-- I know that SOCOM comes with that glory. But again, if you're a young coach, a soldier is a soldier. You can make that soldier great and that should be your attack and your approach to it. The army is going to have hundreds of jobs. The strength coach industry is very exciting right now and it will be for the next five years just in the tactical field. I think people have to understand that coaching is coaching. Some of the best coaches in the world are not professional coaches, their high school coaches and, quite honestly, their t-ball coaches.

Yep.

And I think as a young coach, you need to have that.

Yeah. Wow. That's such a great point. I've said that a lot, too. It's like when we talk about the best coaches, we get some big names and really great speakers. And I've always said that the best coaches, we don't even know about, because they're too busy coaching. Or like you said, they're coaching t-ball teams and they're just making kids super fired up about playing and enjoying the process of learning.

And that's why I laugh right now because now I'm guilty of it, because I'm doing a podcast, which I never thought I'd ever do. I always-- hey, your world's best coaches are the ones you don't see. They're the guys in the weight rooms that aren't worried about the glamor, aren't worried about Instagram, aren't worried about likes or followers. They're worried about their athletes, their unit, and making them the best possible as they can be.

Yeah. Well, this has been super cool, man. I've learned a lot actually that I didn't know about the TSAC world. It's been great having you on the show. If people listened in and now they want to reach out to you, how can they track you down?

You're full of these great questions. That's a good one. I'll give you my email. I don't know if this is the wisest thing to do. But it's CarrollJBC, so C-A-R-R-O-L-L J, as in Juliet, B as in Bravo, C as in Charlie @yahoo.com. You can just send me a note and usually I'll try to get back to you. I'm usually pretty good about it, but I can't promise it overnight.

Cool. Yeah, we'll put that in the show notes. Do you use social media or anything like that? No? Keep that pretty private or you don't really do it?

Yeah, I try to lay low.

Yeah, that's all right. No, that's good.

It's the farm boy in me, I guess. I see the importance of it and I struggle with it. I think everybody does. But I like family time, I like keeping it private.

Cool. Well, thanks again, man. Appreciate it. It's been a great episode. We'll see you tomorrow at the Leader's Summit.

Awesome. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We truly appreciate your support and we wouldn't be able to do this without you. So keep on listening. If you enjoyed our episodes, please go write us a review at iTunes or Google Play, wherever you download your episodes from. Also, be sure to subscribe so you get these delivered to you every other week right on time. You don't want 

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Scott Caulfield is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Headquarters in Colorado Spri ...

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Jeffrey B. Carroll, CSCS

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