NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 55: Mike Caro

by Scott Caulfield and Mike Caro
Coaching Podcast June 2019


Mike Caro, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Emory and Henry College and chairperson of the College Coaches Special Interest Group, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his journey from National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) athlete to head strength and conditioning coach, with limited resources, but an eagerness to succeed. Topics under discussion include internship experiences, interviewing for jobs, and special interest groups.

Find Mike Caro on Twitter: @CoachMikeCaro | Find Scott on Instagram: @coachcaulfield

Show Notes

“Today was good, let’s make tomorrow better.” 8:25

“I want to spend more, I want to devote more of my life to helping people improve themselves.” 15:28

“I really want to give athletes the opportunities that I was never afforded.” 16:11

“Interview like you already got the job, if you want it.” 21:19


[00:00:01.10] Welcome to NSCA's coaching podcast, Episode 55.

[00:00:06.17] I want to devote more of my life to helping people improve themselves.

[00:00:10.43] 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.

[00:00:21.05] Welcome to the NSCA coaching podcast. I'm Scott Caulfield. Today from chilly Indianapolis with my friend Mike Caro, head strength and conditioning coach at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia. He's also the chairperson of the College Coaches Special Interest Group. Mike, thanks for being on the show.

[00:00:39.80] Oh, my pleasure. I really appreciate it.

[00:00:41.67] And I don't do you justice with that intro because you do far more than just-- air quotes-- strength and conditioning at Emory and Henry. Tell us more about what all of that encompasses.

[00:00:55.16] Well, my position at Emory and Henry-- I'm thankful they gave me the title head strength and conditioning coach. That's obviously a big part of what I do. We have 22 teams, a little over 400 athletes. And aside from working with all the athletes, we have a combined-- like many division threes-- we have a combined weight room and campus fitness center currently.

[00:01:18.17] So, we have a 5,000 square foot facility and I have a staff of about 25 students who supervise at different shifts throughout the day. And we're open about 13 hours a day to students, staff, and we do some limited memberships in the area. So I manage all those workers.

[00:01:39.71] And then I was lucky enough to get a full time assistant for the first time this last year, which is great. He's a huge help. So on the strength-- on the fitness center side, I've got a staff of about 25. On the strength and conditioning side, I have my full-time assistant.

[00:01:54.98] And then we have a pretty robust internship program that we're-- we just got a four-year degree program in exercise science, which is awesome. I'm really excited about it. And we're really looking to grow-- make the internship an integral part of that, almost like clinical rotations for athletic training.

[00:02:09.93] Awesome.

[00:02:10.55] So I have currently three interns working for me on that side. And I'm sure once the semester starts, we'll get about three or four more who decided last minute they want to do the internship. So all in all, I have a staff of around 30 to 32 people, all told.

[00:02:28.25] Wow, that's huge. That's awesome. And was that kind of being like thrown into the deep end of the pool a little bit, because of from a managing staff perspective?

[00:02:43.08] Yeah, kind of. In my last job, I was a one-man show in a facility that was in the basement across the street from our main athletic facility. So I didn't even see-- not only did I not see the sun, I hardly saw anybody on the staff ever. It was a bit of a shock, but the guy who I took over the program from, Josh Bullock, who's with USA Ski and Snowboard now, he did such an amazing job of setting up that program.

[00:03:09.99] He really founded the program there. And he did an amazing job with the equipment, the facility. He documented everything and gave it all to me. So I kind of took what he did. And we are very similar in our managerial skills, so I was able to pretty much take what he did and run with it, and just continue working on the path that he set most of the stuff, which is amazing. I stepped right into a great situation and I can't thank him enough for that. It's a great place.

[00:03:33.75] A huge shout out to Josh. I just saw him at Wolf Creek with the ski team in November.

[00:03:38.60] I love seeing all the pictures he posts about all his travels.

[00:03:41.07] Yeah, that's a great. We were talking before we started rolling here too about your path before that, interning and working at a private facility. Tell us a little bit about that, because I think that highlights the amount and the length that some of us go to. And people that I've talked about, how I came up, volunteering and doing different things too. But a lot of us have similar stories, that are somewhat different as well, but there's so many similarities. So yeah, tell us about that.

[00:04:13.84] Man, I've got a-- I've got a long, crooked path I could tell you about. I think for me, it really comes down to being a kid. I grew up on a farm. And I think that's where my love of manual labor comes from. I've done a lot of jobs in my life while pursuing strength and conditioning, where I could just flick my brain off or think about something else and get some work done. And I like the feeling of-- just like when you're training, I like the feeling of checking something off the list.

[00:04:41.67] I like the feeling of doing it a little bit better than you did last time. I want to-- I was a janitor for several years while I was pursuing strength and conditioning. I wanted to hit that room, clean it a little bit faster. I wanted to do this just a little bit better. And I think the same thing carries over to the way I train and the way I train my athletes.

[00:04:57.57] Like, today was good, let's make tomorrow better. The only easy day was yesterday. I love that quote. So when I-- I was a walk-on college athlete to a small NAIA school. I had a pretty good college career. Still got a record that stands. Track and field-- I was a hammer thrower-- small one, but got it done.

[00:05:16.45] And I didn't have a strength coach. We actually barely had a weight room at all. It was in the bottom of our dorm. There was one rack, two bars, one for the bench one for the squat rack, steel plates, no bumpers, a concrete floor. So when you-- anything you dropped with significant weight, shook the building, it was so small.

[00:05:34.52] And I got kicked out numerous times, because you couldn't be down there without supervision. My coaches were like, we got so many athletes-- because it was a big track team. We just don't have time go down there and supervise one person. So I actually had to break in quite a bit.

[00:05:47.37] But looking back, I had a really successful career, because I just-- I'm a hard worker. That's what I do. But I've always wondered if I had a strength coach, if I had somebody to show me something other than three sets of 10--

[00:06:00.55] Right.

[00:06:01.89] --how much better I could have been. So yeah, I got an invitation to train out in California and try and qualify for US track and field nationals. So I went with that. And actually started learning strength and conditioning foundations from Mike Barnett at Azusa Pacific University. Olympic thrower-- I was-- they let me train with them for free.

[00:06:22.14] Like, I didn't have to do anything except for show up, and he'd coach me. And I really feel fortunate for that. And if Mike were ever to listen to this, big shout out for having such a huge heart and welcoming arms. I trained out there for about three years. I never quite made it, but that's when I really-- he educated himself. I mean, obviously he worked with higher level strength coaches being an Olympic athlete and everything.

[00:06:44.71] But he educated himself on the tier system. Started working on his own programs. That's really where I got my start, I would say. And I started learning some stuff from him. And then I actually got my CSCS in 2006. I figured if I'm going to do this for real, I got to be legit. So I got my CSCS. I don't know how I passed it. That's not what my background was. It's not what my degree was in.

[00:07:07.32] But I had some friends that helped me study. Sat in on a couple college courses. Anyway, started coaching out there. I was coaching at a high school. I was substitute teaching. I had my own personal training business. And just, like you said, trying to make ends meet.

[00:07:22.93] So I sent out about 12 letters to local colleges. And there's-- I mean, there's a lot of them, Southern California, Azusa, Covina area. I sent out a lot of them. I got one reply. And it was Matt Durant at University of Laverne. Shout out to Matt Durant.

[00:07:37.59] He said, we have no paid positions, it's a small program, I got a small room. But if you'd like to come, I'd appreciate the help and I'll teach you some stuff. So I did that for about eight months, and it was an eye-opening experience. He runs such an awesome program for a D3 out there-- I mean, for anything.

[00:07:56.73] Runs a great program. I learned a whole lot. He would never hesitate to answer my questions right on the spot about anything. And I knew nothing. I mean-- I really-- I was super green. So I was there for about eight months. And California wasn't working out.

[00:08:11.75] And I ended up-- my girlfriend at the time, she ended up moving to Portland, Oregon. And I thought, I got some good stuff going here, but I was coaching three high school sports, three club sports, personal training, substitute teaching full time. And I was still just-- could not make ends meet. It's so expensive out there.

[00:08:34.68] Right.

[00:08:36.11] So I ended up moving up to Portland, Oregon with her. Got my way into Portland State with their football program with Andrew Pompei. Great guy, great program. It was my first taste of strength and conditioning for just football. And I was-- at this point, I was in my early 30s. So I started late, I started real late.

[00:08:59.07] And he put a lot of faith in me. And he had me write up some mobility programs for some of the guys. He let me screen them and work with them one on one, or two on one, and address some of their issues and their performance stuff. So I did that for a while. And then after that went to the University of Michigan, which is a dream for me.

[00:09:19.68] My Alma Mater was Sienna Heights University, which is only 40 minutes away in Michigan. So I worked some connections and got a hold of Jason Cole. And they interviewed me and said, yeah, you can come up be an intern. And I thought I've made it, this is it. I'm at the University of Michigan.

[00:09:34.85] I mean, I'm not paid, I'm not hourly, I'm not anything, but I'm at the-- the place for strength and conditioning and athletic performance. So I did the internship there and it was great. I was-- I tell people I probably got a better education, or an equal education, on the practical side of things at the University of Michigan, as I did with my Master's program, and I was doing both at the same time.

[00:09:57.26] At the University of Michigan, I was doing 50 hours a week as an intern. And I just wanted to be there. I wanted to immerse myself. And I was doing grad school at the same time. And like I said before we got rolling here, my wife was living in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

[00:10:09.60] I was working in Ann Arbor, crashing on a buddy's couch on weeknights. And then I'd drive down to Fort Wayne. And I was working in a private performance clinic down there a couple of days a week. So I was doing a three-hour trek one way, twice a week. It was-- it was a trip.

[00:10:26.72] Yeah.

[00:10:27.06] It was a trip. So then I was working at that private clinic. And from there, the job opened up at Transylvania University. I stepped in there. I was actually hired as part-time track coach, part-time strength coach. And again, continuous improvement. I just wanted to make things better, better, better.

[00:10:45.84] So there was no head strength coach. There was no department. There were a couple sport coaches that were certified. And I just took it and ran with it. I started setting everything up. I started assigning people to teams. I started working on the room, building things, doing flooring.

[00:10:59.07] And after nine months, they created the head strength coach position and asked me to take it. So I was really fortunate for that, right place, right time.

[00:11:06.22] Right. Right experience as well.

[00:11:08.21] Yeah.

[00:11:08.41] Right background to get that. So I think this is a cool question, because when you're talking about all that, like, man, so many things you were doing.

[00:11:19.96] There's so many side jobs.

[00:11:21.25] So many side hustle jobs. Like, why? Why did you do all that?

[00:11:26.71] That's a great question, because you know what my undergrad degree is? Computer science. I could be making a lot of money sitting in front of a computer. And it's just-- I figured that's not where my passion is.

[00:11:37.90] By the time I was getting to my fourth year my undergrad degree, I was doing personal training with people on the campus fitness center, which we got a new campus fitness center as I was graduating, at my undergrad. I was consulting with a couple of coaches on some performance stuff they should do. And this is just stuff I was learning on my own, from talking to throws coaches that I see it meets, other throwers that I saw meets all over the country.

[00:12:00.03] And I figured I want to spend more-- I want to devote more of my life to helping people improve themselves, whether it's performance or just health and fitness. I'd rather do that than crawl around on the floor or work on their computer. That's not having a big impact on them.

[00:12:16.81] And really, what it comes down to for me is, like I said, I never had a strength coach in college. I had great coaches. Some of the best memories in my life are going to meets. But I want to give the athletes I work with opportunities that I never had. And strength and conditioning, especially when you're in a power sport, like throwing, that's the backbone. If you don't have that, you're missing out.

[00:12:43.42] So I really want to give the athletes opportunities that I was never afforded. I figure that's my passion. I get excited to go in and see athletes get a little bit better. Today was good, tomorrow let's be better. And I love it when athletes buy into that and really want to go for it. And I've been fortunate to work with a lot of just really outgoing athletes.

[00:13:04.16] That's outstanding, yeah. I like what you said about you are always-- enjoyed manual labor. I think I was a brick mason's tender one summer towards the end of high school. And I realized that if I was going to have to rely on working my hands, that I would probably be starving to death someday. So I quickly realized that I was not cut out for manual labor type jobs.

[00:13:32.29] Yeah, unfortunately, honest jobs like that never pay a whole lot. You feel like you've accomplished a lot, but not when you sit down at the dinner table sometimes.

[00:13:40.78] But no, that's a great-- I mean, I just like hearing about the path, and the adversity, and different things that you did to make ends meet to get where you want it to go.

[00:13:52.03] Lots and moving around.

[00:13:52.93] You had people, mentors and different things that showed you this is what-- this is how you run the room, this is how you organize stuff. And then you were able to take that and make it your own. Because like you said, when that opportunity came, you had the right experience. You were in the right place, right time, right experience, same thing. They're not just giving it to you because you were there. They were giving it to you because you're the best person for the job.

[00:14:16.76] And I'll tell you what, to all the young strength coaches out there who go to interviews and whatnot, you can't be over prepared. When I got the job at Transylvania, and when I got a job at Emory and Henry, one of the things that my future co-workers said is you were the more prepared guy.

[00:14:35.21] I came in a suit, no question-- no polo, suit. I had documents ready to go. I had a portfolio ready to go. Here's annual plans. Here are training programs, a couple different examples. Here's some mobility screens I've done. Here's some stuff I did here. Here's-- you know, you can't slam a book down in front of them, but you can't overlook the benefits of here is who I am as a coach.

[00:15:01.81] Because for me, a lot of the time, stuff doesn't come to the front of my mind. But if I make it up, make it look nice, put in a portfolio, that's a great presentation. That's what you do when you're trying to seal a deal in advertising for business.

[00:15:11.43] Yeah.

[00:15:11.61] You know, why shouldn't it be the same when you're trying to get a job?

[00:15:13.79] Right. Yeah, I had a job at a private sector place in New Hampshire too. And same thing, they had a practical interview. And I brought the program printed out, whatever, folder, whole deal. And they were, afterwards like, no one's ever done that before. They were like that is the most prepared anyone has ever been.

[00:15:30.94] Yeah.

[00:15:31.57] So tell me more about the portfolio, though. For people listening, that's news to them.

[00:15:38.27] Yeah.

[00:15:38.50] What all it entails in that? We talked about preparation, but what should you have-- as you're kind of going through your career, should you be compiling this stuff continuously?

[00:15:49.93] Absolutely. You can never document too much. You can never I mean-- guys like Bob Alejo probably have documents going back-- I don't know, decades, decades, to the Stone Age.

[00:15:58.63] They were writing on tablets back then.

[00:16:01.34] Yeah, but they-- I mean, you can't document too much, because as a coach, especially a strength coach, you'll reuse programs. You'll reuse training. You'll tweak it. Everything-- whenever you learn something, you go back and look at the way you did it before. Is this a better way? Is this a newer way? And for me, it was, again, sometimes-- and a lot of the times, when we interview, we don't interview with people that know what we do.

[00:16:25.71] Right.

[00:16:26.13] I mean, we interview with sport coaches. We might interview with some AD's or administrators who have worked with a strength coach before. But we have to be able to-- and when you get the job-- we have to be able to educate everybody.

[00:16:38.67] Right.

[00:16:39.03] We have to educate sport coaches on how we do things. Even if they know strength and conditioning, they might not know the way we do it. We have to educate our athletes. We have to educate the people supervising us, because they just might not have experience with it.

[00:16:49.41] So you should be doing the same thing in your interview, not educating them on what is strength and conditioning, but educating them on this is who I am as a strength coach. This is the program I've built. This is the system I've done. And this is how well it worked.

[00:17:02.07] If you can produce solid numbers on improvements you've done, that's even better. I mean, it's a business deal. For me, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, a little OCD. So I make up the annual plan and I make it for the biggest team at that school. At Transylvania, they didn't have football. We had 26 sports, but no football.

[00:17:20.80] Wow. OK.

[00:17:21.08] Yeah, 26 sports, one strength coach, four racks-- four racks.

[00:17:25.12] Nice.

[00:17:26.31] And at Emory and Henry, they have a great football program. It's a storied program. So I printed up an annual plan for the football team that I'd never worked with and I put their name at the top. I put their logo on the side. I put their logo-- I put their logo out there. I put everything on it.

[00:17:46.56] I formatted it in Emory and Henry colors. And I made it look like I already had the job. And that's one of the things they'll tell you when you're interviewing, interview like you already got the job, if you want it.

[00:17:55.23] Yeah.

[00:17:56.31] So I did that. I wrote up a program for the football team. I took a program for a softball team and just changed it. So it was Emory and Henry colors, Emory and Henry softball logos, their sayings, whatever, put that on there. And if you want to talk subconsciously, if you've got someone that's interviewing you for your job, and you're showing them stuff that you've already done for the team like you're already there, you've really got a foot in the door.

[00:18:19.23] Right.

[00:18:19.95] Same thing on my resume, it's all whatever-- wherever-- when I was applying to Emory and Henry, Emory and Henry colors. I'm already here. Here's all the things I'm going to do.

[00:18:29.19] That's a great point that you said that too. Because I have a couple friends, who-- former assistant as well-- who interviewed for a job. And the feedback she got was that, you know, you just didn't seem like you wanted it enough.

[00:18:43.53] Ooof.

[00:18:44.13] You know--

[00:18:44.64] That's rough.

[00:18:45.24] And like, that's rough when you do a decent job, but that's the selling-- the part that didn't get you the job.

[00:18:54.20] Yeah, and it's a shame to be interviewing for a job that you do want, and to throttle back and not seem like you're interested, because you don't want to be too eager.

[00:19:01.50] Right.

[00:19:02.46] When I'm interviewing people, I'd rather see people who are over eager. Because they're going to get in there, and they're going to hit the ground running. They're going to go.

[00:19:08.43] Yeah.

[00:19:09.06] And that's another thing now, at Emory and Henry, I try to be at every interview committee for every coach or athletic position that's hired.

[00:19:16.50] Nice.

[00:19:17.10] As the representative of strength and conditioning, I'm going to end up working with everyone that's hired, every athletic trainer, every administrator, every coach. So I want to-- if there's an interview committee, I want to be there. Because I need to know who are we getting. Do they jive with my culture, with my way of doing things? Am I going to have to adapt to them?

[00:19:36.71] It gets you more prepared. And it lets them know you are the guy or the girl in charge of performance and athletic development. You're important, and that's the way it should be.

[00:19:46.98] Well, and you're being proactive on your own campus, to have people know who you are. You're not just that strength guy.

[00:19:56.37] Yep.

[00:19:57.45] With the shaved head and the beard.

[00:20:00.86] I've been to a few places where coaches, they'd bring their athletes through, and they'd refer to me-- doing a tour of the weight room or something-- they'd be like this is our weights guy.

[00:20:07.11] Weights guy, yeah.

[00:20:09.25] Yeah, that's what I am. That's what I am, I'm the weights guy.

[00:20:13.04] Right. I think that's a big, big piece and probably why you're having so much success there. You know, to be able to integrate into that entire system. And like a guy that we're both friends with, Steve Rassel and when he was able to do at Webber.

[00:20:29.40] Amazing.

[00:20:29.88] And build his internship into a program that has like 12 staff now.

[00:20:34.45] Oh, it's insane.

[00:20:35.22] Yeah.

[00:20:36.15] I mean, and honestly, Matt Nein and Steve Razz, those are the guys that when I was getting into the field at Transylvania, those were the guys-- they had some material out there-- I called them right up. You've developed an amazing program, coach, what tips can you give me? I'm trying to build something like what you have.

[00:20:51.61] What did you do when you were in my place year one, year two? And they were great help. Total open arms, willing to show-- Razz sent me like half a dozen emails. Here's this system for this. Here's this system for this. I mean, he's so organized. I had take notes. You know, it was crazy.

[00:21:08.99] That's great. No, I think that's a common theme, is the people that are so willing to go out of their way to share stuff with you throughout this organization. And when you reach out to them, they're ready and willing to help you.

[00:21:25.03] Oh, yeah. And I think that's especially true of small college coaches. Nothing against big college coaches, but with small college coaches, we have so few resources, that the more people we can contact as a resource, the better off we are.

[00:21:36.95] And I think everybody that's been in the field at a small college for a while knows, if I'm open to this coach and helping them out, they're going to help me out. And then I'm going to have that network of people that I can contact, because I might not have a staff of 12 people to bounce ideas off of.

[00:21:53.08] If you're a one-man show or one-woman show, sometimes you've got to reach out to so-and-so that was in your place, and be like, I'm trying to do this thing, you did something similar, what tips can you give me? And it helps to head off some of the mistakes you might make. And nothing wrong with making mistakes, that's how we learn. But you get there quicker, it's more efficient. Yeah.

[00:22:11.56] Do you have any-- I don't know-- must-do tips or things that you would highly recommend for someone in that setting, small college, strength coach, that's kind of a one-man show? Anything like, lessons learned that you would put out there as your keys to success?

[00:22:31.13] Number one, be a part of the college strength coach or college coaches SIG.

[00:22:34.39] Yeah.

[00:22:34.59] That's-- I mean, we've got a Facebook page. It's got over 2,000 people on it. So if you want to ask-- if you want to ask a question about strength and conditioning and get some feedback, you post it in there, and you'll get everybody, from big D1's to small colleges. And you'll get a lot of different information and ideas.

[00:22:51.61] And I've done that a lot, even being on the Executive Council. I'll post stuff on there, like, hey, I'm looking at doing this thing. Who's done it before? What's the best way to do this? Networking, I think, is essential as a small college coach. You have to-- you have to be able to-- you have to have no fear of reaching out to people.

[00:23:09.40] You'll get sometimes-- you'll get forgotten. Sometimes people won't call you back. It's life, that happens, but you can't be dismayed. If you really want to make things work, you've got to continuously improve. You've got to continuously work at it. Some networking, doing your research. There's a lot of good resources out there.

[00:23:27.25] A lot of the time, I'll look at what are the-- what's the cost-benefit ratio on building a piece of equipment as opposed to buying it brand new or getting it used. If it's in great shape, and I can get it used, I'm not going to blow money on a limited budget. I mean, there are some programs out there, especially small college programs, they get no money from the school, it's all fundraising. I'm lucky I get a little bit of a budget every year. But you've got to be smart with it.

[00:23:53.25] Planning-- planning is another huge one, I would say, for a small college coach. You're going to be stretched in so many different directions. You got to have a vision. You got to know what are your standards. And you've got to be able to navigate. Just like an annual plan that you set up for a team, you have to have an annual plan for yourself and your department. Where do I want my teams to go? Where do I want this department to grow?

[00:24:15.44] That's a big one for me right now, is looking at the growth of my department and where do I want it to go. But you can't over-plan, because that's always going to change. You're always going to update it. Just like a training plan, or a training program, you're always going to update it, and it should be the same way with your department.

[00:24:31.06] But if you have a general vision of where you want things to move, things work so much easier. And you don't those surprise, oh, I didn't see this coming, or I didn't think about this happening. Which is really helpful, because it doesn't waste your time.

[00:24:43.93] I love it. It's huge, huge. Everybody should be listening to that advice, not just small colleges. You mentioned the college SIG, Special Interest Group, super cool. You took over as the chairperson from our good buddy Dr. Mann.

[00:24:59.02] Oh, man.

[00:25:00.25] You know big, big shoes to fill literally and figuratively.

[00:25:04.54] Oh, man, yeah.

[00:25:06.03] But talk about-- how did you get involved with the SIG? Why did you want to be on the Executive Council-- that's what we call it-- and running the show?

[00:25:16.69] I just wanted to be more involved. I think, growing up I did a lot of-- I was-- I was really prosperous in sports that were solo. Track and field was my best sport. And I just wanted to be a part. When I learned there was an organization, the NSCA, that not only had the gold standard certification, to get your foot in the door, but there was a network of people willing to help you out.

[00:25:42.46] I wish I would've known it sooner. I didn't even know strength and conditioning was a thing until I finished my degree. So when I-- when Brian started working on beefing up the SIG, I was at coach-- I think I was at Coaches Conference three, I want to say three years ago. And I saw this thing about this Special Interest Group, college coaches. I want to be a college-- this was right at the beginning my collegiate coaching career.

[00:26:07.12] I was like, yeah, I want to be a college strength coach. I want to see what this is all about. And I just happened to walk in on the meeting when they were-- at that time they only had chair and a co-chair. And they were like, well, Brian Mann is our chair and we need a co-chair. And so they-- it was really relaxed.

[00:26:22.22] OK, who's interested? Raise your hand. OK, five people. We're going to give you one minute to give you elevator speech and why you should be on the SIG. It was like right there on the spot.

[00:26:30.17] I think I remember that, yeah.

[00:26:31.27] Yeah, and I was already nervous, because I sitting next to Mike Stone, Dr. Mike Stone. And I'm like, I don't even know what to say to with this guy. He's so intelligent, just way out of my league. So we did that. Everybody had their spiel. We stepped out of the room and they did a vote with just anybody that was in the room. And I was really lucky that I was convincing enough to get voted in.

[00:26:53.36] And I had no idea what it was all about, no clue. And I'm extremely lucky that Brian was the chair, and he had so many great ideas, and he's a get it done kind of guy. And I learned a lot of things about how to manage the group and the vision he had, where he wanted to take it.

[00:27:09.41] And again, just like with Coach Bullock, I took over something that was already really well founded and doing great. And I'm just hoping to do him justice, and keep building, and keep growing, and keep making it a great. We really want the Special Interest Group for college coaches to be a resource, something that people will have no fear of posting a question or a comment, Something that's always going to be professional, because that's how we want to be seen.

[00:27:34.82] And something that coaches can tune into, get information from, share their comments and concerns about the profession, about the field, about the way things are done. We also really encourage researchers to post information in there. We try to get as much science in there as possible.

[00:27:56.39] And we try to cover as much as possible that pertains to being a strength coach, the personal side, the professional side, anything that might happen. We want to we want to have something where people just want to have a community where people feel comfortable.

[00:28:10.97] And you guys have kind of taken it and run with it, so to speak. You're working on a few different things. But maybe kind of-- I know there's not a lot to share on that, but tell us a little bit about the tool kit, the kind of NCAA stuff that are in the works currently.

[00:28:28.37] Well, we've got-- we've got a pretty good Executive Council now. We expanded it out, so we've got a couple extra people now. And I try to do a conference call twice a year, before each-- the National Conference and the Coaches Conference, where we all get on a group chat and talk about here's the way things are, where do we want to go, again, planning.

[00:28:47.30] We've had some really good ideas from the new Executive Council members on having some more features. Specifically, for social media that will get people engaged a little bit more. Having-- one of the ideas we actually came up with was having a resource.

[00:29:03.53] Now, the high school SIG has a resource page on the NSCA website. And I got to admit, we came up with the idea and then we saw they had one. So we want to do something that's more specific for college coaches that gives them somewhere-- our idea was to have like a place they could go to look up information on different topics of strength and conditioning.

[00:29:24.08] Well, after doing some research and seeing what the high school SIG had, we want to expand that out, to have more podcasts, and not necessarily research, but articles written on being a strength coach at the small college level, at the big college level, things that pertain to the professional realm, where again, coaches can go and get information, share information.

[00:29:45.11] And then another thing that we've talked about is doing, we're trying to develop a toolkit that will be kind of a blueprint for running a collegiate strength and conditioning program. Which obviously, there are programs out there that have been established for a long time. There are some schools that are still adding strength and conditioning as a program or a department in their school.

[00:30:05.41] So the tool kit would be something that coaches can download that would have information on how to budget, how to manage teams, how to run a room, how to work with sport coaches. How to make an annual plan, how to forecast where you want to be. Not necessarily assuming that people don't know these things, but so they can have a resource to look up and say, you know, I've never really budgeted before.

[00:30:31.52] I'd never budgeted before I got my first-- I went straight from intern to head strength coach. I'd never budgeted before. So something where-- and I got a hold of people that had written articles on it-- how do I do this? So something where people can go directly to the NSCA website, and download that resource, and flip through it. And you might have been a strength coach for decades, and maybe it's just something that you want to brush up on, see how other people do it.

[00:30:57.13] So those are two projects we're working on now. We're working on a couple-- again, another thing to try and drive the social media side of things a little bit. And again, just give people more information, more interaction. We're actually-- fingers crossed-- we're doing a social tomorrow instead of a SIG meeting at this Coaches Conference.

[00:31:16.33] So putting it out there, trying to get as many people from the SIG to come and hang out, have a drink, and just talk, interact. A big part of the college coaches SIG, which I think makes it unique compared to some other SIGS, is we really encourage interaction between the researchers and the practitioners.

[00:31:34.06] We want our strength coaches shooting questions to the sports scientists. We want our sports scientist shooting questions and conversing with our strength coaches, so we get more of a marrying and a melding of those two sides of the fence, which should be commingling all the time.

[00:31:47.50] Yeah, I mean, you think about some of the people who have tapped into the resources of exercise science on your campus, and being able to utilize people that are doing research, or seeing what they're doing so they can see what you're doing, and how the application of it works, is such a huge asset to people that have that ability.

[00:32:07.42] Yeah.

[00:32:08.74] And I think the best part too, what you're mentioning about the college coaches SIG, and each month we kind of get an update report. It's been the most popular. It's the most engaged. It's keeping that top spot, not that we like competition or anything, but--

[00:32:25.39] We want to be the champions. Top of the list every time.

[00:32:28.14] Though, like you said, that group also is open now, I believe. So you can join in if you're-- even if you're not a college strength coach, if you want to be a college strength coach, you can get in there. And like you said, there's--

[00:32:42.66] Yeah, we have--

[00:32:43.15] There's no questions that are too dumb, quote, unquote.

[00:32:45.88] We have people from all over the world that want to be a part of it. We have people from undergraduates, just starting in the field, to obviously people that have been doing college strength and conditioning forever. And again, we want all those different people. We want the different opinions, the different experiences, people that have had a different trail to get to where they are. And that's, I think-- I think that melting pot is really what gives us some good ideas and some good discussions.

[00:33:11.34] Yeah, that's huge. I'm super excited for the growth of that and the-- once these resources-- because people are seeing these like high school tool kits and different things come to fruition, be published. And now that, once these collegiate coaches tool kits and different resources are going to be coming out, it's going to be really exciting, because people are going to see all this work that we kind of do the background stuff on. And sometimes, it's frustrating, because when you're behind the scenes, you're just working on it, and then--

[00:33:39.04] Yeah.

[00:33:39.66] --it takes a little while, and definitely you've got a lot of people involved. And college coaches are busy. You guys are--

[00:33:47.25] Yeah. Oh, definitely.

[00:33:48.48] So doing all this extra stuff is extra work. But, like you said, it's helping the people that are going to come after you as well.

[00:33:58.50] Yeah, and again, for those schools that are still adding strength and conditioning, it's something that can increase efficiency of your new coach. You hire a director of strength and conditioning for the first time-- a lot of times that might be a younger guy or younger girl. They got this resource, they can just flip right through it. OK, budgeting, here's some tips on budgeting, got it, I'm going to set out my budget.

[00:34:19.93] Here's some tips on working with 40 athletes at once, when I'm one coach. Got it, I'm going to try this, I'm going to run this. Instead of-- there's less trial and error, but it's a resource with proven methods from actual coaches who have done it.

[00:34:33.39] Right, who have done it and have been in probably a situation similar to whatever you might be in.

[00:34:38.12] Yep.

[00:34:38.28] No matter where that is.

[00:34:39.38] Yep. Whatever advances the field forward. We just want to keep pushing the pace, keep pushing things forward.

[00:34:45.03] Cool, well, this has been outstanding. If people, which I'm sure, after listening to this, are going to want to hit you up. How are they going to get in touch with you now?

[00:34:53.52] The best way is probably to join the SIG on Facebook.

[00:34:55.61] There you go.

[00:34:56.25] I approve everybody that wants to be a part of it. Or email address, just my Mcaro@EHC.edu, Emory and Henry email address. I do social media, but I don't do-- because of the SIG, I'm on Facebook a lot, but I only check the other things every so often. I forget about them. I neglect them.

[00:35:14.19] Right, yeah.

[00:35:15.24] A lot of stuff going on.

[00:35:16.39] No, cool. And it's C-A-R-O, so make sure you get that right. Cool, I appreciate you being on the show, man.

[00:35:22.29] I appreciate it very much. It's a great opportunity. Really fun.

[00:35:25.13] And thank you to everybody listening. You guys are a huge part of what makes us successful. We appreciate it, so if you enjoy this podcast, go on and give us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your download from. Make sure to say, hi when you see us at a conference. And we appreciate everybody listening in. Thanks for supporting us.

[00:35:47.85] 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.

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As the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Emory & Henry College, Mike Caro oversees the performance training programs of 22 varsity teams and thr ...

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