NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 78: Adam Fletcher and Coaches vs. COVID-19

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Adam Fletcher, MS, CSCS
Coaching Podcast May 2020


Adam Fletcher, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men’s basketball at the University of Illinois, talks to the NSCA Coaching Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about the impact of the Coaches vs. COVID-19 webinars to support the service community and build the strength and conditioning community. Topics under discussion include his journey from an accounting major to strength coach, how vital it is to get to know the sport coaches, and how he seeks to be a positive role model as he works alongside his wife.

Find Adam on Twitter: @Adam_Fletcher41 or Instagram: @coach_fletch | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“And in that, the aerobic capacity is really important and the movement capacity is really important. We don't just want to lose all the movement that we've went through and the pattern that we've created because we know that that's instrumental in our injury prevention.” 10:52

“And empowering those guys it creates more of an excitement around the program. I think right now, more than ever, you have to be empowering of your kids. They have to feel very positive about what they're doing.” 19:36

“I think a lot of times in strength and conditioning we push for relationships within our industry and that's important. But I think if you're not looking on the other side of the sport coaches, you're missing a huge, huge piece of what drives our jobs.” 26:50

“…it's important that, as you're on this path, that you try to positively impact everyone that you reach out to and everyone that you work with in a way that they can't forget who you are because you're true to yourself.” 28:20


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:00.75] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, Episode 78.

[00:00:05.43] It's important that as you're on this path that you try to positively impact everyone that you reach out to and everyone that you work with that in a way that they can't forget who you are because you're true to yourself.

[00:00:19.58] 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.

[00:00:30.63] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Our guest today is coach Adam Fletcher, the head strength and conditioning coach for men's basketball at the University of Illinois. Adam, welcome.

[00:00:41.76] Thanks for having me.

[00:00:43.51] So this is a-- also a special episode because it's dedicated to Coaches vs. COVID-19. Adam, you were one of the organizers of the event and moderated the college basketball roundtable session, which I really enjoyed. And talking to other coaches in the field, I've heard a lot of great feedback on that session. So talk about the process of how this event came together and what it means to you in our field.

[00:01:09.67] Yeah, it's-- well, one, it happened fast. And I think it speaks volumes to where our industry is and the excitement that surrounds getting a platform to speak and share what you do. I think from that standpoint it was really awesome to see a great group of coaches from multiple levels of the field, whether it was basketball, baseball, football, the Olympic sport world. I mean, there was so much involvement and it happened so fast. Just-- it just speaks volumes to where our industry is and, you know, the group of people and, you know, what makes up strength conditioning. So that was-- that was awesome. Obviously it's for a great cause.

[00:02:03.14] The relief fund and service industry, you know, how-- we all know from an economic standpoint, you know, how that's been affected and in the coming weeks and months we'll see you know even more of that. So being able to have a platform that was able to raise awareness around that within our industry, but also outside of that and then being able to raise money for those service workers, you know, it's-- it's awesome. It's really exciting to be a part of it and happy that, you know, I was actually one of the guys that I was able to help put it together.

[00:02:38.32] It was a total team effort. You know, Ben-- Ben Watson, Matt Gildersleeve, University of Buffalo, Lauren Green, Drake Berberet. You know, everyone was very instrumental. And it's not only us. It was-- it was every coach that we reached out to didn't hesitate.

[00:02:56.62] And, you know, it's those coaches. Without them, you know, without you, without the NSCA, it's not possible. But man, what a great-- what a great experience and collaboration that we had.

[00:03:10.24] Yeah, man, to echo what you're saying, you know, I've been really encouraged by the response of our strength and conditioning community, you know, everybody coming together. And this event, you know, is an example of, you know, supporting the service member, service community, but also really staying true to ourselves and keeping up a continued presence with our athletes, providing leadership and direction within our programs, and just kind of building that strength and conditioning community which-- which gets overlooked a lot, you know, just in our daily conversations.

[00:03:48.06] I do want to ask you about your round table session. But first, you know, for our listeners who may not have attended the event, you know, Coaches Vs. COVID-19 was a very successful multi-day fundraising webinar that raised well over its initial goal of $30,000 to provide relief for those most affected by the pandemic. Sorinex Exercise Equipment, our sponsor here on the NSCA Coaching Podcast, really stepped up in support of this event. They donated 100% of their OFF GRID Rack profits in the weeks after launching the product to the cause. There were over 6,500 registrations by coaches to attend the event virtually, and 30 different companies providing matching donations in addition to individuals donating-- donating what they could.

[00:04:37.43] Adam, from your roundtable discussion, much of the discussion was about how COVID-19 affects student athletes. Provide a little recap of that session for our listeners today.

[00:04:49.62] Yeah. Well, one-- you know, I'll do the best I can to recap it. But you can, you know, if you missed that, the opportunity to be a part of that and weren't able to see it or want to reference it, you can still go access that on YouTube. All 22 hours of the four-day event are recorded. So you can go back and certainly recap that on your own time as well.

[00:05:11.89] But, yeah, it was really geared towards the impact that this has had towards the student athletes and what are we doing as coaches to help the guys, girls, our athlete population, get through these times? And not only from a strength standpoint. What are we doing, you know, from working, but also how are we managing the amount of time that's being spent trying to get in contact with these kids and sometimes the-- maybe the overwhelming contact that the athletes are getting from everyone, whether it's academic, strength conditioning, the head coach.

[00:05:57.57] There's so many people that are trying to, you know, really just jam information down these athletes throats right now. So really having a mind of what we're doing to help balance that to make sure that we're not being too much, but also that we are providing a service still and helping our athletes get through this time and keeping them, you know, as engaged as possible. So whenever that time that they can come back, they're going to be in a situation where hopefully we can get rolling, you know, relatively quick and under, you know, the proper guidance to make sure that we're getting them back to what the peak form would look like as quickly and as safely as possible.

[00:06:37.91] Yeah. So I'd like to ask you about some of those return to play strategies. I know in many ways we don't know exactly what this is going to look like, but we are anticipating changes. You know, one example is this is one of the first episodes we're recording virtually on the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We'd never done that before.

[00:07:00.60] And so we do appreciate your feedback on that. If you can log in and give us some feedback on the sound quality and what you're getting from this podcast. But just an example of, you know, we're all having to make adjustments right now and changes.

[00:07:15.26] But I think as it relates to athletes, you know, we might be anticipating condensed pre-seasons for many sports or getting players back after extended time off. A lot of variability and maybe conditioning level that, you know, from one member of the team to the next, increased risk of injury potential related to that conditioning level. And even factors like facility and program management. There's sort of this ongoing fear and this social distancing concept, how's that going to relate to training? So if you would, how do you view the landscape of post-COVID 19 as it relates to our training?

[00:07:58.44] I think it's-- well, one, the post is right. That's the target that we're all trying to figure out. When is that going to be? What does that look like? So understanding that that's something that we can't control is very important. But what we are stressing with our athletes is what we can control and that's what we're doing day-to-day.

[00:08:20.76] You know, I've talked to our guys. Obviously, the NCAA has come out and said that hey, everything's voluntary and we understand why that is, right? We can't push, you know, exercise on these kids and, you know, there's-- you got to make sure that they're staying safe. So everything's voluntary and understanding that they're doing what they're capable to do if they can do it, right? And that's number one.

[00:08:45.63] But the second side of that is trying to do what they can do to maintain, whether it be movement capacity. I think aerobic conditioning capacity is huge. I think when you think about the conditioning continuum, it starts with that aerobic base. And we are working with our athletes to try to maintain that aerobic base so whenever we do get back we can get more-- we can get to the specific conditioning of basketball quicker.

[00:09:12.84] We're not trying to set that aerobic base and then trying to get into the anaerobic or the more sport specific conditioning capacity. We can't control that. We can't-- we don't have practice. We don't have individual skill breakdowns.

[00:09:25.65] We don't have those types of availability to the court to do court specific conditioning. But we can go out and go for a run, you know, and those are areas that we can control. So trying to maintain that aerobic capacity has been big for us.

[00:09:42.96] The other thing that we're talking to our guys about is trying to maintain your movement capacity. We don't just want to go from-- you know, on our conversation, there was-- there was a great point that was made. Hey, these guys have never had an off-season from the time that they were, you know, guys and girls, right? They've never had the off-season from the time that they've been playing basketball at 10 years old.

[00:10:02.77] Now it's a year round sport. It never stops. And really since 2008, in the college landscape, it does-- it really never stops. They get four hours throughout the entire spring and summer to work with the basketball coaches. So they're constantly getting that stimulus. And now we've stripped out away completely.

[00:10:23.67] So having a mind for what does that look like when we come back? You can't just obviously ramp right back up into playing basketball again. You know, what does that acute to chronic load look like? How are we managing that? That's going to be the other piece that that's really important.

[00:10:40.47] So, you know, I don't want to go from all this is great, they finally get an off-season, to, well, let's just not do anything, right? I think that's the area that we have to bridge and we have to avoid. And in that, the aerobic capacity is really important and the movement capacity is really important. We don't just want to lose all the movement that we've went through and the pattern that we've created because we know that that's instrumental in our injury prevention.

[00:11:07.00] Yeah. So let's talk about how is the role of the strength coach evolved with this, you know, in relation to other staff members? You know, what are the key areas of communication you're focusing on and what do you plan to focus on when you get back?

[00:11:24.34] Yeah. Well, one, understanding who your sport coach is. That's huge. And we as strength professionals have to get out on this on the front end. It can't be left to question, right?

[00:11:40.40] I'm in communication with our sport staff every day. And really hammering, hey, this is where we're at. This is where we would normally be at. And right now we're OK.

[00:11:50.48] But as this thing continues on, there is a component that we're going to be missing out on. And we can't just come back and say, OK, let's hit the ground running, whatever that date is, and let's just go right back into full activity. So getting-- really putting your coach, their mind at ease, and understanding that, hey, everyone's experiencing this. This is what we're doing to maintain the levels that we can maintain, and then when we get back, this is what the return to play is going to look like.

[00:12:20.90] And every sport is going to be different. So I can't necessarily speak to that specifically, but I can speak that you have to have the communication level with your coach. If you're not on the front end, we all know that coaches are going to get very excited, as they should, right? I'm going to be very excited. And we're going to have to self-check every day to make sure that, hey, we're not going to be where we were.

[00:12:42.11] But we know that we're not we're going to be where we were and that's OK, and this is the plan that we're going to use to get back to where we are. The coaches have to know that on the front end. If they don't, then you're setting yourself up for failure. Not only yourself, you're setting your athletes up for failure.

[00:12:58.10] Because they're going to try to get it back and when you try to get it back, that's how injury is going to happen. So we're going to be very careful with that. And I think really that's going to be the biggest piece, the communication with the coaches every day to put them at ease.

[00:13:09.92] Now, the communication with my athletes? I start out every conversation, how are you doing academically? I think that's the hardest part for all of our kids right now. We all get really excited about strength and conditioning and we're trying to focus on that and we're dumping all of our work into that bucket and maybe forgetting that these kids-- some of these kids are high academic risk kids that need a lot of help on campus from academic support and now that's been stripped away. They also have a hard time focusing.

[00:13:40.67] So now they're not in class and they're at their house and they're trying to find times to study and try to find times for education. So really having a conscious mind on how can we help them in that area, too. Don't just skip academics and think that it's all strength and conditioning.

[00:13:59.87] And then the last piece is having a mind for-- some of these kids are going back to, you know, food deserts. And they don't have access to the nutrition that they would have access to if they were on the college campus. So you think about your sports like football, these offensive linemen, you know.

[00:14:17.72] I feel bad for those guys because what they would normally have to consume the normal family is not able to give them that type of nutrition, right? I mean, it's almost impossible to maintain that every day compared to what they're used to getting here. So understanding that there's going to be slippage, but also knowing that we can manage a lot of that before it even hits when we get back to that return to play.

[00:14:44.79] Yeah. So this kind of reminded me of some of the topics that came up at the roundtable relates to your relationship with head coaches throughout your career and, you know, the topic that came up was the defining team culture around staff changes. You know, what's been your experience and how important is culture to a team? Is this a time that tests that culture or can we use this time to kind of forge ahead and define a new culture or enhance our culture?

[00:15:19.28] I think it's a time that's going to test a culture. And this would be a really hard time to establish a culture. If I'm a new coach or if I'm a new strength coach and I just had like-- I feel bad. I feel bad for those people. Because it's-- you're trying to define a culture in-- and culture takes time and presence.

[00:15:43.32] And if you're not around your kids, it's a really hard time. And then, it's also a challenging time if you've ran a very what I call compliant culture, where your kids are coached kind of militant, you know, and just responsive to you as the external figure and they don't really necessarily love it. You know, I-- I'll speak to our culture. I think we're very fortunate, you know, and the way I see culture is on a continuum and I've got three levels that I constantly try to hit with our guys.

[00:16:16.41] The first level is that compliant. And where I see it affecting the most is my incoming freshmen because they won't have that time with me where they learn to work the way that we have to work. And that does take a very militant approach and very compliant because they've never worked at that level before. The second level, you know, that's the committed stage.

[00:16:38.31] And the committed stage is they start to understand it because they're seeing the results and they're feeling the results, but it's not necessarily a lifestyle. And when I talk about the committed piece, you know I start talking about the other 23, right? What you do with me that hour, that's awesome. That other 23 still scares me.

[00:16:56.07] And then, the last piece is that conscious athlete. You know, where their creativity, their ownership within the program. They kind of know why they're doing it, but they also live that lifestyle.

[00:17:08.64] And I'm very blessed. I've been here for five years. I've got kids that have trained with me for four or five years now and they're at that level, you know? I'm seeing things that they're posting on their social media and just the creativity in the way they're finding, you know, different implements to put into their program and I see them maintaining our movement, and the-- how excited they are around-- around that creativity, you know that's awesome to see.

[00:17:36.25] But yeah, it's going to test culture. You know, one of our sayings-- and again, I think if you listen to our podcast that comes from the top, right? And Brad Underwood's an unbelievable coach. He's got an unbelievable culture. And our saying is everyday guys.

[00:17:51.33] And we're going to do it every day. That's who we are and it's as simple as that, you know? And because we've got that culture set in place, when we have those conversations, our guys are doing a great job. I'm very fortunate. But again, that comes from the top and coach Underwood's done a great job of setting that.

[00:18:09.78] That's great. Take that one step ahead. You know, what is this time teaching you about your team's culture and also just how your communication structure with athlete works?

[00:18:22.11] It's-- it's-- well, it's showed me a lot, right? It what it shows you individually where your guys are. This time really exposes athletes that need a lot of attention and that need a lot of help.

[00:18:40.05] And it also-- the other side of it, it exposes the kids that are really good and that have the ability to get through it and understand it and have the creativity and the ownership. Fortunately, we're-- we're more on that end. We're not perfect. Every team-- every team's got, you know, guys that have issues and struggles, but for the most part I feel like we're there.

[00:19:04.11] For me, the communication piece has really been empowering. I think it's really important that we're not jamming it down their throat. We can't, for one.

[00:19:12.87] But the other side of it is, if you're empowering, I'm writing a program and I hope that they can follow it to the best of their ability. It's an all body-weight program. None of our guys have access to weights. And the components are there, but not everyone can do all the components. And I understand that, right?

[00:19:32.11] And whenever I see what they're trying to do, I know that they're giving their best effort. And empowering those guys it creates more of an excitement around the program. I think right now, more than ever, you have to be empowering of your kids. They have to feel very positive about what they're doing.

[00:19:50.71] You don't want to put them in a situation where they feel like they're failing. Because there is going to be failure, right, and we know that that's OK. They don't have the means of getting to different places to exercise. Their parents may be asking them to do something. It's not perfect and that's OK.

[00:20:09.46] But we've got to make sure in what we're talking about. We're hoping that our worst days are better than everyone else's worst days. And you know, be happy with where we are, continue to push through, and just find a way, find a way to be an everyday guy.

[00:20:24.46] I like that. You know, everybody is going through this. So no matter how tough your situation is or how difficult it is to communicate with your athletes or get engagement, you know, it's very comparable to what other teams, your opponents, are going through. That's a really good perspective to keep in mind with this.

[00:20:45.79] Let's go back to the beginning for you. What's your background in strength and conditioning and kind of what led you into the coaching profession? You seem really passionate about it.

[00:20:54.25] It was, well, you know, I was fortunate. I was able to play-- play college basketball at Miami University. And it's funny. I started out as an accounting major. So to go from accounting to strength and conditioning, it's quite the opposite.

[00:21:10.27] And the way I got there was through injury. I had multiple injuries as a player-- knee injuries, ACL, meniscus, no meniscus, PCL. I had ankle reconstructive surgery. And that was in five years of college basketball. Every off season I was injured.

[00:21:30.91] And I started out because I wanted to be a physical therapist. I enjoyed the physical therapy process. I thought it was awesome, the return. I really enjoyed that.

[00:21:40.60] Until I got into physical therapy and realized that it's a very small population of physical therapists that get to work with elite athletes. And I didn't know if I would be able to get into that, right? I probably sold myself short a little bit, but at the time it didn't seem very clear to me. But I also knew that I liked lifting weights. And I thought, hey, this might be an area where I can kind of bridge this, you know, and try to have a little bit of that physical therapy mindset within strength and conditioning.

[00:22:12.22] And it's evolved. It's evolved over time and where I was, you know, 10 years ago to where I am now. It's completely changed again and it's constantly changing. But that's how I got into strength and conditioning was through physical therapy.

[00:22:27.35] And then I started-- I was I was an intern with my strength coach, Ryan Fanley at Miami University, who's an awesome strength coach. Did a really good job with us. And then from there I went to Michigan. And I was underneath John Sanderson at Michigan. You know, he's kind of-- he's kind of, I guess, my main mentor and was very fortunate to work with him right out of college.

[00:22:52.91] And when I was there, Josh Bonhotal, who was at Purdue, was getting his master's through Edith Cowan University in Perth, Joondaloop, Australia. And I knew that I had to get my master's. Josh and I talked a lot and he said, hey, a lot of the sports science is coming out of Australia. That's why I did this. You should give it a look.

[00:23:13.34] So I gave it a look. I was able to complete my master's while I was working at Michigan. Very fortunate to go through that program and get the information that I got from there. From there, I went to Towson. And at Towson, I was originally over men's basketball.

[00:23:30.14] In my second year, I got promoted to director of strength and conditioning where I was over all 19 sports and four strength coaches. And had a lot of success there with all the sport teams that we worked with. We really kind of revamped that program. Was very fortunate to be a part of that at the early stages.

[00:23:48.40] Was working alongside-- alongside really great strength coaches, too, which made that-- which made that possible. And, you know, we had a lot of success there from the basketball standpoint. I was working with men's lacrosse as well. And men's lacrosse was a great program under Shawn Nadelen who's still there. Shawn taught me a lot about culture.

[00:24:08.23] He's really one of the first guys that I saw it at a really, really high level. And I say that because it's important that you're constantly pulling from everyone that you work with, right? I'm, quote, unquote, a basketball strength coach, but I learned a lot whenever I was working with other sport teams as well along the way. So then from there I came to Illinois and John Groce hired me and I've been here now for five years.

[00:24:35.92] You know, John moved on. He's in Akron now. He's doing a great job. They have had an unbelievable program. They just won the MAC this year.

[00:24:43.03] So John-- you know, John did an outstanding job. Was very fortunate that he brought me here. And whenever he moved on, obviously coach Underwood decided to keep me, and I've been with coach Underwood now for three years. You know, it's an interesting transition. I'm very thankful for that. Not everyone gets that opportunity to stay, especially at this level when there is a coaching change.

[00:25:02.83] And it was, you know, very blessed that coach Underwood decided to keep me and we've had a lot of success. This, you know, coming off one of our best years in the recent history. So, you know, it's been a journey. It's been a lot of fun and certainly made a lot of mistakes along the way, but hopefully I've learned from some of those.

[00:25:23.12] That's great, man. So, you know, one-- thinking about, kind of, your pathway and starting off as a young strength coach and now you're in this leadership role where you have people under you. You know, on a job description, I always think of other duties as assigned kind of on the back end of that list of requirements and duties.

[00:25:44.71] And think back of, you know, what are the key experiences when you think back to starting off in this field that now in this role of leadership over a young and up and coming strength coach that you kind of relate those same messages to them? Like what are those key experiences for you?

[00:26:05.32] Jon Sanderson is, in my opinion, and, again, this is a biased opinion, the greatest networker in college basketball. I mean, he's unbelievable. If there is a college basketball strength and conditioning job open, I am shocked if Jon hasn't been reached out to or doesn't know someone that's involved in that job. And that speaks to Jon and his authenticity, who he is as a person, but also his ability to build relationships.

[00:26:39.40] So being able to work for Jon early was huge for me. It's really everything that I am in my relationship building. I think a lot of times in strength and conditioning we push for relationships within our industry and that's important. But I think if you're not looking on the other side of the sport coaches, you're missing a huge, huge piece of what drives our jobs.

[00:27:11.75] You know, it's ultimately there's going to be a head coach that's involved in that decision making. So how can you put yourself in a position where you've got a good reputation among sport coaches. Whatever sport it is that you're in, it's very important. And I think the way you do that is being real to who you are.

[00:27:30.15] You know, I've never been on a job interview where I've tried to speak to what I think that coach wants. I've always spoke to who I am as a person and what I can provide to you. At the end of the day, I'm a service provider. And for me to be really good, I've got to provide the service that I'm comfortable in providing. I can't-- I can't act like I'm going to be someone else that I'm not going to be.

[00:27:54.28] And I've been fortunate in that path to work with great coaches and I've built great relationships with those coaches. You know, Pat Skerry at Towson is the reason why I'm still at Illinois. I worked for Pat. We had a lot of success. Pat's an unbelievable coach.

[00:28:10.63] And whenever Jon moved on and Brad came in, you know, I was interviewing with other strength coaches for this position. And Brad called Pat Skerry, who I worked for, and Pat gave me a great recommendation and here I am. I think the people that you-- it's important that, as you're on this path, that you try to positively impact everyone that you reach out to and everyone that you work with in a way that they can't forget who you are because you're true to yourself.

[00:28:39.61] If I think about my 10 years, I've got coaches that I've worked with now that are at-- I mean, I could go down a huge list of schools-- Dayton, Butler, Louisville, South Carolina. I mean, I can continue to go down this list and it's people that I've worked firsthand with. This isn't like I was two calls away from the guy.

[00:28:59.53] The longer you go down this road, the bigger your network grows and if you're not positively impacting all of those people, then that affects you down the road. So just being really, really dialed in to who you're working with, spending a lot of time, that's been the key to my success. You know, it's-- we can talk about, yeah, the program worked and this guy got stronger, and this girl jumped higher, and you, know whatever. That stuff's very important and you have to have that.

[00:29:31.50] You can't not be a good strength coach. But if you're only a good strength coach and you're not good at relationship building and networking, that's really going to slow your process of getting to where you want to go, but also maintaining what you want to be.

[00:29:44.94] Absolutely. Your big emphasis on non-weight room skills, you know, for strength coaches. And I think, you know, you think back 10, 15, 20 years, maybe. Those weren't-- those soft skills sometimes they're referred to in strength and conditioning weren't key topics. I think the-- I think they are, you know, they are really important.

[00:30:07.33] And they are being talked about right now and I think it's important for young, aspiring strength coaches to really key in on this. And one thing that you said indirectly, but, you know, there is going to be a transition in your career when you go from getting hired by a fellow strength coach that knows what you know to getting hired by an athletic director or general manager or some sort of a athletic administrator or a head coach. And that has a different foundation of knowledge and application to the sport that you and position that you're applying for.

[00:30:44.88] And that is a huge transition and everybody gets there at a little bit different stage. You know, just the way our field is laid out. But you really presented that concept well and I think that's a really good message for aspiring coaches in our field. So thank you.

[00:31:03.54] Shift gears a little bit. I was reading in your bio. You know, we've had a lot of extra family time lately under quarantine. Your wife is the strength and conditioning coach for women's basketball at the University of Illinois, same school. And you told me off the air that you have your first born on the way. I want to say congrats.

[00:31:23.94] Absolutely. Thank you. Yeah. We've got our daughter will be born late July, early August, as long as everything goes as planned and the lord blesses us. But, yeah, it's an exciting time for us.

[00:31:36.60] Obviously, a little bit nervous under the certain circumstances. You know, we-- Kilee and I talked and said this probably isn't the normal pregnancy. Nothing's normal right now. But it's, you know, when you're going through that obviously it raises a level of caution everything that you're doing.

[00:31:52.44] But yeah, very, very blessed. It's an exciting time. The family is growing. And certainly, yeah, it's-- it's exciting.

[00:32:01.01] Yeah. Talk about family in the field. I mean, that's maybe a unique situation, you know, for most strength coaches. But, you know, working together at the same university, in the same sport, but, you know, a different team, you kind of-- I know as strength coaches we bring our work home with us a lot, whether it be mentally or taking out the laptop and rolling out programs. I mean, what does that look like for you?

[00:32:26.31] Absolutely. People ask me this all the time. And this will be my first public appearance with this question. But I think it is-- it's awesome that we have that ability and we're very thankful for it. The university helping-- allowing this to happen, one, was big and being understanding that we are working professionals and that the relationship doesn't get in the way of the work.

[00:32:57.16] So I say that to say that when we are at work, we're very much at work. And you're not seeing, you know, the Adam Fletcher, Kilee Fletcher, that is the marriage. You're seeing two strength coaches that are working with their respective team at a really high level.

[00:33:15.27] And the beauty of that is when we come home, you don't get to see the other side where now we're in that relationship. And we don't necessarily talk about strength conditioning at home. So that part's been really nice. Usually you go home and I guess maybe in another marriage you're telling your wife what you did at work. Like, well, we don't have that.

[00:33:36.42] So when we get home, we separate that completely. So work and our personal life is completely separate of each other, which is very nice. I think we're very fortunate for that. As for how it works out at work, it's awesome. She checks me. She has an unbelievable mind for strength and conditioning and I'll say specifically for conditioning and movement.

[00:34:04.92] In our last two years in the men's basketball program, Kilee's directly ran our conditioning program. You know, I'm there and, you know, I'm a part of it, but she's writing the entire plan. And one of the things that our coaching staff takes a lot of pride in is we're one of the fastest teams in the country. We've led the country the last two years in points scored under seven seconds.

[00:34:30.64] You know, our multiple efforts are there and I've thrown my hands up, that's beyond me. Coach Kilee, as everyone calls her, has run that. And I'm very fortunate to be able to work and collaborate with her on that because it's awesome to have someone of her capability and mindset around conditioning to be able to just kind of plug that in and I don't really have to do a whole lot with it.

[00:34:55.75] The other side of it is really cool is my athletes get to see the way that I-- I guess, treat my wife and I think that's important. I hope that they see through me as a man, a great-- a great husband. I hope that they see someone that loves and cares for their wife every day. I hope that they see, you know, how you talk-- talk to a female. I hope that they see these things in me every day as an example of what that may look like.

[00:35:29.70] So I think that's-- I think that's another dynamic that maybe not everyone is thinking about, but I think it's really important when you're working with 18- to 22-year-olds in college. What does that look like? You know, I certainly didn't always know what that looked like and probably made a lot of mistakes along the way. But I think understanding that you are that role model and being around those 18- to 20-year-old men in that locker room every day I want to make sure that those guys see, hey, this is what I think is a good example as to how you should be around, you know, someone that you love.

[00:36:04.84] Yeah, absolutely. I have a son and I know the importance of positive male role models for boys and that doesn't go away during the college years. Maybe-- maybe it's even more important at that time and that's really great what you said and talking about your wife and, you know, maybe we'll have her on the podcast at some point because it sounds like she's a really great coach and I look forward to meeting you in person and also her at some point as well.

[00:36:35.40] So how can our listeners connect with you? What's the best way to get in touch?

[00:36:40.64] You know, my Twitter handle, my-- my-- and I'm sorry. You know what? I should be better at social media. I'm not. I'm not very good at it. I spend a lot of time with our athletes and not a lot of time on social media. So let me pull it up here and see what I am. It's @Adam_Fletcher41. So if you can follow me on Twitter. My Instagram account, I'm trying to get better at that as well. And my Instagram is @Coach_Fletch. So you can follow me there. Also just email. My email account through the university. You know, all that information's online at the University of Illinois athletic science. So go out there, look me up, send me an email. You know, hopefully there's a way that we can connect through there. But those are really the best ways. I think the social media you get a little bit of who I am as a coach. Probably not enough. I should probably do better at that, but it's something that I'm trying to grow in. But then, obviously, the email is another way to reach out to me.

[00:37:54.10] It's great. Coach Adam Fletcher, head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Illinois men's basketball team. I enjoyed the conversation, man.

[00:38:01.84] Absolutely. Thank you.

[00:38:03.70] For all our listeners, thank you for tuning into the NSCA Coaching Podcast. Also thank you to Sorenex Exercise Equipment for their support of our show and Coaches Vs. COVID-19. For more information about upcoming NSCA events, virtual events, and other CEU opportunities during this recertification year, go to NSCA.com.

[00:38:21.31] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:38:22.30] This was the NSCA Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.

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

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Eric L. McMahon, CSCS, RSCC_D, TSAC-F

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Eric McMahon is the Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager at the NSCA Headquarters in Colorado Springs. He joined the NSCA Staff in 2020 with ove ...

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Adam Michael Fletcher

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Adam Fletcher is in his fifth season as strength and conditioning coach for the Fighting Illini mens basketball team. Fletcher earned a bachelors de ...

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