NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 95: Alex Calder

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Alexander Calder, CSCS, RSCC
Coaching Podcast February 2021

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Alex Calder, Head of Sports Science for the Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer (MLS) team, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about sports science data driving better decisions on and off the field. Topics under discussion include the importance of traditional strength training for soccer players, as well as, the variety of strength and conditioning opportunities there are to gain experience from at the high school, college, private, and professional level of sports.

Find Alex on Twitter: @calder_05 or Instagram: @calder_05 | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“…being good with the numbers and the sports science and the monitoring side, it does help drive better decisions in the gym and vice versa.” 7:55

“Now that we've gone through that, sort of, adverse situation in 2020, us, as a performance staff, probably have a better idea of how to utilize different recovery modalities or different protocols when it comes to some of those travel restrictions.” 16:38

“I think, at this level, you kind of rely on this a lot and you got to be humble enough to alter your program on the fly and be diligent about certain things and flexible about others.” 30:14

Transcript

[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:00.62] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, episode 95.

[00:00:04.46] Being good with the numbers and the sports science and the monitoring side, it does help drive better decisions in the gym and vice versa.

[00:00:13.10] 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.

[00:00:23.78] Hey, everyone and welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon and we are getting close to the end of season four. This is a podcast where we work to bring a wide range of voices from the strength and conditioning community. As your host, I truly value the conversations and broad perspectives that represent our field across a variety of sports and backgrounds.

[00:00:46.52] And especially now, after not being able to connect much in person over the past year, I want to hear from you, our listeners. What great coaches do you want to hear from in 2021 on the NSCA Coaching Podcast? I encourage all of our listeners to hit me up on Instagram or Twitter @ericmcmahoncscs with your recommendations. You can also email me at eric.mcmahon@NSCA.com.

[00:01:14.00] With that, I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks for tuning in today. We'll be back in just a moment with today's guest, Houston Dynamo, head of sports science, Alex Calder

[00:01:25.04] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast episode 95.

[00:01:28.85] Being good with the numbers and the sports science and the monitoring side, it does help drive better decisions in the gym and vice versa.

[00:01:37.49] 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.

[00:01:48.21] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon and today our guest is MLS Houston Dynamo, head of sports science, Alex Calder. Alex, welcome to the show, man.

[00:02:01.01] Eh, Eric. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Humbled to be here, to be honest.

[00:02:05.43] Yeah, Alex and I connected recently and had a great conversation just about the training landscape here in the US of strength and conditioning versus in Australia, where he comes from. So, Alex, I want to give you a chance to tell your story, let us know your background in the field.

[00:02:24.20] Yeah, sweet. Yeah, obviously I started back at home in Melbourne, a shire. Probably my first exposure to the US was when I was 17, 18. I got offered a scholarship to come here, and then play in the collegiate system. And never been to the US, so at the time, I said, yeah, no worries. I'll come wherever and I ended up being scouted by another Aussie that was in the collegiate field here in North Dakota.

[00:02:52.75] So I came out here and experienced collegiate sports firsthand, as a player. Ended up two years here and-- initially in North Dakota. And during that time, I was able to intern with a junior ice hockey team in Bismarck, North Dakota, as part of the undergrad degree. And I was 19 at the time, so I started to get exposed to some of the, I suppose you'd still call that, elite sports here.

[00:03:25.60] Ended up venturing home and I was trying to find a nice blend between still playing and still thinking I was an athlete and getting my strength licenses. So around that same time, I think I was probably 20, I'd gone and started doing that ACA level one courses and getting my feet wet in the S&C field, and while I was still playing at the time. So I had a pretty full on schedule where I was coaching throughout the day, and then having football training in the evening and trying to grasp onto that as long as I could.

[00:03:59.20] And then, yeah, I got to the point, in my mid 20s, where I realized I was a rubbish footballer and probably a better coach. So I, yeah, look. Packed up a suitcase and jumped on a flight and landed in Boston, where I didn't know anyone. But I was actually influenced by a lot of the private facilities out there. Those Mike Boyle's facilities and some bigger names out there.

[00:04:24.65] So I, yeah, tried to just go out that way, and I knew the New England area was kind of compact with a lot of cities. And I felt those days an opportunity there. So I started coaching in a private facility in Massachusetts a couple of years in, and dealing with an array of athletes. And then eventually made my way to Purdue University as an intern under Josh Bonhotal, who I learnt a lot from.

[00:04:56.47] And he helped me pass a job into the University of Louisville where I was brought in by Teena Murray. I wasn't there for too long. It was about a year. And then Dave McKay was the head fitness coach at Orlando City and offered me a job out there. So then again, packed up and went to went to Orlando and I was there for two seasons. Dave left and then I was kind of left there by myself for a while. And then I was lucky enough to get a role here at Houston, which is a Western Conference Team under Paul Caffery. And, yeah I'm going on to my third season here in Houston as the head of sports science.

[00:05:43.03] That's awesome. So it's your second MLS team and you have sort of gone the progression from strength coach into sports science. And that's-- we hear that a lot. That can mean a lot of things depending on the program you're a part of. I also think a lot of our listeners may not have a great understanding of the MLS or what professional soccer training really consists of. Talk about your progression from strength coaching to sports science, and what does that sports science role, head of sports science for the Houston Dynamo, consist of.

[00:06:21.93] Yeah, it's quite interesting because, it's funny you say that, because I would certainly consider my background and probably my primary specialties are strength training, strength and conditioning. So even when I was at home, the majority of my work was all strength training. I worked at pro ice hockey players, and I was strictly only doing strength work with them. But I just happened to be good with numbers and good with the "sports science," in quotations, if you will.

[00:06:53.11] So, yeah, my role here is, the title is Head of Sport Science, and I think Paul and the club shaped that because there was a need for monitoring at the Dynamo. More so to mitigate the risk of injury. However, I still am in the gym every day with guys and still play. I play a big role in the strength prescriptions and strength coaching.

[00:07:21.21] I feel that it's, we have a relatively small staff on the performance side. There's three of us. So there's this Paul, who's our high performance manager, there's myself, and then we have, a recently hired, Anthony Narcisi as our strength coach. But we're all in the gym even though our titles are different. And just, yeah, I try to bridge the gap between that sports science monitoring side of things and the gym work, and then that also bridges over to end stage rehab as well.

[00:07:52.56] I feel like, and this is probably just my opinion and based on my experience, that being good with the numbers and the sports science and the monitoring side, it does help drive better decisions in the gym and vice versa. Being a good strength coach but having a good understanding of what occurs on the field, and how GPS and just basic monitoring the players, definitely drives some of the prescriptions in the gym, too. Or maybe not draws, but influences is probably a better word. Influences some of the exercise prescriptions.

[00:08:29.20] Yeah, I think it's really interesting, you know, coming from the International side and getting a lot of your training through the ASCA in Australia. And then now you've gotten this professional experience over here. What are some of the key differences that you see across the international landscape, and strength and conditioning, and sports science?

[00:08:52.26] Yeah, I feel like the Australian high performance world is, and maybe I'm biased. I don't know. But I feel like they're are a couple of steps ahead, and I only say that because, probably the king sport at home is AFL; Australian Football, and they've been fairly ahead of the game as far as staffing and delegating tasks.

[00:09:15.57] As far as I was aware, that were some of the first clubs around that were hiring high performance managers and really branching their staff into sport sciences, strictly sports sciences and strictly strength coaches and even some clubs just have strictly rehab coordinators. Whereas in the current day, now we're in 2021, and still a lot of MLS clubs will only have two staff members. Or some of the better resourced clubs will have four.

[00:09:48.39] So when I first got here, there was only Paul and myself. So when you're talking about all the roles that need to be done, you've got on field work here, conditioning work, strength work, rehab. You become more of a generalist as opposed to, I'm just a sport scientist, or just a strength coach. We're kind of wearing multiple hats. And I feel like we've done a decent job of dividing and conquering. But I feel like a lot of the pro sports in Australia don't always have those, I guess, parts of the trade, that adversity that we kind of deal with, with being low-staffed.

[00:10:29.61] And that's only comparing that to the AFL. I think-- I haven't worked in the A league, but I think still a lot of the clubs in the A league now operate with only two or three guys as well. But those would be, probably the biggest differences for me is, there's probably more opportunity to be strictly a sport scientist or strictly a strength and power coach. In Australia, in pro sports as opposed to here where maybe the MLS demands a little bit more of generalists, and that's again, strictly just speaking MLS.

[00:11:03.03] That's interesting. So the NSCA has a new sports science certification coming out in 2021. The textbook is scheduled to launch February 26 from Human Kinetics. And we've been communicating that out as updates become available. And so, one thing, and this is a voice as we were in a panel at the Coaches Conference with Dr. Duncan French, UFC, and he was really comparing the international landscape of sports science coming largely from researchers and sports medicine and professionals that weren't necessarily coaches.

[00:11:46.95] But here in the States, there's a huge, and this is credit to the NSCA and other organizations, the strength and conditioning coach role has gained a lot of traction. And the coaching roles are embedded and ingrained to what this emerging sports science job description is. So in a way, strength coaches are sport scientists, but just not all sport scientists are strength coaches.

[00:12:17.85] And that's been a really positive message for our coaching community, because I think as strength coaches, we all look for, we're all looking for advancement. We're all looking for what's next. And in a way, working to the edge of our scope of practice. And that's one of the real challenges that has been faced by coaches here in the States, maybe internationally.

[00:12:45.47] I want to ask you specifically about technology that you guys use in monitoring for soccer. I'll always call it soccer. Even [INAUDIBLE].

[00:12:55.30] [LAUGHING]

[00:12:57.50] But, no. What kind of tech do you guys use in the MLS? How does that factor into the data processes and work with numbers that you do?

[00:13:11.37] Yeah, so we use GPS, we use Catapult GPS. I think a lot of the clubs in the league are all using Catapult or STATSports, but we use Catapult GPS. And then we just have other things that do play a role in the monitoring, but maybe they're considered strength pieces of equipment like, the Vald Performance. We have the NordBoard and Force Frame. But that certainly plays a role into the monitoring.

[00:13:35.34] So that's kind of more what I was even alluding to as priorities. Those pieces of equipment are considered strength tools or maybe rehab screening or strength screening. But does that fall under strength coaches job or a sport scientist's job? But we have that technology. We have heart rate integrated into the GPS, into the vests that we use, which is part of the Catapult. And then we have a analytics team that use video tracking software as well.

[00:14:05.66] So I have access to this. We're able to look at other teams, I guess, GPS data, but it's video tracking. And that's really it. So it's not, I wouldn't say we're highly reliant on technology, but we do have the basics, which is GPS and then some of those strength objective measures.

[00:14:29.94] So I had to, I'll be honest with you, I had to look this up. The MLS season runs, typically we'd be in preseason right now, and we'd be kicking things off in March and going through October, November. How has COVID-19 affected the schedule for 2021 and how is your staff working through that?

[00:14:54.93] Yeah, geez. Look, it actually affected 2020, like majorly. Which now there's a knock on effect to 2021, because obviously we're in a moratorium phase for the majority of last year. And then we followed suit to the NBA and went to Orlando for the bubble. And that became somewhat of a preseason tournament, I suppose.

[00:15:18.31] And then we tried to go back to market and still play games and still travel, but it made things a lot more difficult on our end as far as monitoring, because the travel was heavily restricted due to COVID. So instead of if, generally speaking, if we were to play a team in a different time zone, so if they were one hour behind, normally the rule of thumb is for each hour time zone, you travel a day prior. So if it's two time zones, you try to go one or two days prior.

[00:15:49.92] Whereas our hands were tied last year, so we'd have to fly in and out on the same day. And if we were to try to bend those rules, you'd have to get approval from the league. So that made things certainly difficult from a monitoring side, because now you're trying to get, from our side, you're trying to get players as physically ready as possible, and try to increase their readiness. But you're also asking them to fly in the morning where they're in a jammed 90-90 position.

[00:16:20.85] And then play in the afternoon and then fly back. It makes things incredibly tough. [CHUCKLING] So I don't know how that knocks on to 2021. We don't have a whole lot of information going forward. But now that we've gone through that, sort of, adverse situation in 2020, us, as a performance staff, probably have a better idea of how to utilize different recovery modalities or different protocols when it comes to some of those travel restrictions.

[00:16:58.47] Yeah, and then other than that, I think that was the biggest concern that tied us down with COVID. Other than that, the training procedures were no different than any other league in the country. We're testing regularly, wearing masks, have tried to keep social distance. We've had to rearrange the gym a little bit, moving platforms around and moving areas to try and fit those requirements.

[00:17:30.39] But yeah, the travel R was brutal. [CHUCKLING] I imagine it's going to be brutal again next year. So, I think this season will be a lot more congested than previous years, which will certainly challenge not only us, but a coaching staff, as far as rotating players and trying to keep the best squad out there as far as, not only technical tactical, but also how physically resilient they can be. Because playing two, three times a week is certainly tough on the body. Especially if previous seasons haven't been that way.

[00:18:05.46] So that'll certainly be a lot of challenges to think back going into 2021. But let's hope we learnt a lot from 2020 and going through that. We were pretty lucky that, oh, not lucky we worked our bollocks off, but we had a really low injury rate 2020. Knock on wood. But we did anticipate, throughout that moratorium phase, we did anticipate having a congested fixture. So we upped our strength training a lot last year.

[00:18:39.84] And I think it worked in our favor. We resulted in a 92% availability right across 2020. So we were pretty fortunate as a performance staff that that's what we yielded as far as availability. And yeah, like I said, knock on wood. Hopefully we can carry that over to next year and get more results. But, yeah.

[00:19:01.95] Alex, let's go back to the beginning for a little bit. You had mentioned coming over to the States and into New England. My old stomping grounds. And there's, yeah, you mentioned Mike Boyle as sort of maybe an influence in your career. Who are some of the other key influences that helped shape the coach you are today?

[00:19:22.69] Yeah, I mean, it was really interesting you say that, because he's really booked with some of the first ones I read. So some of the first strength training books were from Mike Boyle and also Mark Rippetoe. Mark Rippetoe. I'm not sure how to pronounce his last name there. But that's still, I'll still read that book, Starting Strength. That was one of the best books coming out there. But some other influences, as far as him, is, I think everyone I've worked for, I've been incredibly lucky to have, in my opinion, some of the best work under the best managers in a late sport. And the Josh Bonhotal and Tanner Murray and even the guy's in MLS.

[00:20:04.47] I'd say there, now for me, certainly my influences. But yeah, early on I liked a lot of Joe Kenn's work. Loved the top tier, what he was doing with the top tier system. I learnt a lot and actually implemented a lot of that early on with ice hockey players. I felt it was appropriate. And then, yeah. I'd say that I'd list off a good-- [CHUCKLING]

[00:20:33.63] Yeah, no. That's great.

[00:20:34.74] Got a lot of profile guys, yeah.

[00:20:36.24] And you mentioned Mike Boyle's book. Functional Training for Sport was the book that came out early 2000s and it's been through a couple of versions since. And I think back to that and functional training is one of those terms that gets thrown around, and maybe then the meaning gets misinterpreted at times. But one of the things in that book is that functional training is sport general training versus sports specific training, which was another big term around that time.

[00:21:09.42] How much, would you call sport general training, do you implement at the professional level versus really in depth sports specific, soccer specific training with your athletes?

[00:21:24.93] Yeah, this is, for me, this is a loaded question, because I've evolved my philosophy a lot. But I've kind of gone full circle already in the past decade of my coaching career. I did start off like I said, I've probably read two very different early books when I was 20, which was Starting Strength and then Functional Training, which certainly are two different sides of the spectrum.

[00:21:53.40] And early on, when I was trying-- and also, he implies that I was reading a lot of Peter Twist's work as well, which was very, quotations, "functional" if you will. So I started to evolve from true traditional, I guess west side barbell strength training and then started to try and drip feed some of this supplementary, or also functional work.

[00:22:18.54] And then I started to move away from that, especially when going back into working into football or soccer, I feel like it's, soccer is traditionally kind of flooded with a lot of that functional work. And I feel like a lot of the low hanging fruit is often undervalued, as far as the traditional strength training.

[00:22:43.70] So for me, the underlying issue is what a lot of soccer players have, is weakness; general weakness and then especially localized weakness in certain areas. But so now my strength program, or our strength program, is very, very traditional. I have no secrets in my programming. But we overload a lot. Trap bar deadlift a lot of bench press, a lot of IDLs. Just very, very basic traditional strength stuff.

[00:23:16.98] And now I certainly view strength training, and I have probably for the last five years, I feel pretty strongly about everything in the gym is really structural and neural adaptations. And we're absolutely not trying to replicate any sort of football movement. And then everything out in the field is your functional training, is your sports training.

[00:23:41.40] And the idea of the gym now is, and I strongly believe should be, is getting players physically and neurologically robust enough to withstand the football training outside. And like I said, I think it's worked in our favor. We have a cohort that certainly needs strength training. So a lot of the traditional sets and reps games, like we do a lot of 5 by 5 as well. Basic strength training prescriptions that we're doing now, day to day, even throughout the season.

[00:24:17.85] Yeah, I think a lot of coaches are going to like that answer. Because, as strength coaches, we often think of strength first. We think of building that foundational strength level and progressing that into sports specific skills, that is sort of a traditional mindset as we look towards some of the, maybe more integrative or integrated approach of what sports science is. And I'm thinking of working in professional baseball and a lot of the screening, and measurement technologies, and launch angles, and all the velocity metrics that are out there across different sports.

[00:25:01.05] And so it's refreshing to hear, coming from a head of sports science, that foundational strength still carries a lot of weight and that, and partly, this is a sport that has a high conditioning value to the sport itself. It's valuable to hear that, as a sports scientist, you're very embedded in the weight room. And that you have a lot of influences from, what many would call, traditional strength and conditioning and that those two are connected.

[00:25:37.31] I think that's one misunderstanding, is that sports science is over here, and then strength and conditioning is something totally different. And it truly is not that. I think that's awesome. Want to ask you about non-weight room skills and working with professional athletes. These guys are professionals. They're at the top level of the game and their sport here in the US. What is that experience like and what non-weight room skills do you have to rely on to be effective?

[00:26:11.60] Yeah. Communication side of things is, and yet, especially verbiage, it changes a lot, always I'd kind of gone back and forth. Like I said, I was initially exposed to pro ice hockey players, who traditionally are brute guys. And from a strength structured standpoint, for me, it was effective to be somewhat authoritative in the gym. And then coming to the collegiate world was similar. All the athletes there are developmental. Not just physically, but also trying to professionally and mentally prepare themselves for elite sport and pro sports.

[00:26:56.72] So that's why I think a lot of strength coaches in the collegiate field are authoritative. And I think it's really effective. A lot of guys we go from the draft are well disciplined, strong, robust, fast, like the collegiate athletes coming through a lot of those Power Five schools are sensational. And I think that is speaking volumes of the performance staff and coaching skills.

[00:27:24.35] However, coming to the pro, coming to the pro field of football in the US is completely different, I'll share an experience with you where I-- my first year at Orlando, where I completely lost a player just by my coaching style, it was really poor. And I'm happy to share that. But we had a player that was from Italy and he played in the top division in Italy. He played in World Cups and played for the Italian National Team and all that sort of stuff.

[00:27:57.56] And he was in his 30s and at the time, I was in my mid to late 20s. And I'd left Louisville and gone to Orlando. So I was somewhat still fresh off of the collegiate world and the coaching styles that are predominantly common there. And the players come in the gym and it didn't want to do anything. I said, this is what you're doing today. And he goes, I don't want to. Too bad. This is what's best for ya.

[00:28:25.49] And [CHUCKLING] it just did not go down well. It did not go down well. And I pretty much just lost him. He said, nah. Forget it. Not doing that. So it's, I found that out the hard way. But it's certainly a lot different, because there's an array of personalities and players and cultures. More so cultures in the MLS here. The MLS is known to scout a lot of players from Central and South America.

[00:28:53.87] And traditionally, these guys don't have a very large training age in the gym. So you've got these guys who have made their whole career by being extremely talented technically, but really, really kind of on the low end of physicality, especially in the gym. A lot of these guys will want to goblet squat with like, a 20, 30 pound dumbbell.

[00:29:15.50] And then like I said, then you get guys coming out of the draft who can comfortably trap bar deadly 300, 350 pounds, and incredibly athletic. And they're used to this authoritative coaching figure in the gym. So now you've got this big, an array of personalities and cultures, and I think, from a strength coach's standpoint, that certainly challenges what you said; a non-prescriptive skill set.

[00:29:48.53] Because now you're trying to get the best of the player and trying to get, I suppose the buzzword is, buy-in from these guys with-- on completely different sides of the scale. So I think I truly like the transitional leadership stuff that has been spoken about a lot in the literature and a lot of books; transformational and transitional leadership skills.

[00:30:14.47] I think, at this level, you kind of rely on this a lot and you got to be humble enough to alter your program on the fly and be diligent about certain things and flexible about others. I think there's-- when it comes to maybe more so how I've done things in the past, and also currently is, there's certainly a handful of things that I feel are non-negotiable in the gym. Like I said, traditional strength training, but how I get that done is certainly communicated differently to every individual.

[00:30:52.51] So, yeah. That's a long answer to your short question, but yeah.

[00:30:56.95] No, I like that. Speaks to the versatility in the role as a strength conditioning coach. As sport scientists, I think we all develop that sense of being the jack of all trades. We need to be able to communicate across multiple disciplines of the field and work with a variety of different personality types. Sometimes there's language barriers. Sometimes there's other factors that are impacting the weight room, and just being cognizant of that is extremely valuable, and kind of speaks to the experiential component that maybe you don't have your first few years of coaching, but you get later on.

[00:31:43.91] So I thought that was a really great, great answer, and appreciate you sharing that story. It's extremely personal to kind of share maybe something that didn't go so well, but it obviously was a valuable experience to you. And I think as coaches, we all have those. We all have things and being open about it and being able to say, hey, that really didn't go so great. What are you going to do next time? And that's the thing that, just being reflective and really evaluating yourself as a coach, that's an extremely valuable thing to do when you are in this profession.

[00:32:32.06] So I really like that you shared that. I want to ask you about international opportunities for American coaches. I think we all hear of people like yourself coming over from Australia or the UK and working here in the US in a number of different sports. But speak to the American born coaches that may want to seek out opportunities abroad in coaching. What does that landscape look like? What sort of opportunities are out there and how would you go about navigating that?

[00:33:07.46] Oh, yeah. That's a tricky one. Maybe I'm not the best to ask that because I'm still here.

[00:33:13.77] [LAUGHTER]

[00:33:16.52] Now look. I think that's interesting because, often a lot of people ask me why did I come here. And I feel like there's a lot more opportunity here as a strength coach just because there's a collegiate field, there's a high school field, a private setting. Excuse me. And then the pro environment where at home, we don't have pro or elite sports at the collegiate level. We don't have college sports.

[00:33:41.88] So you either go private or you go pro. So that kind of limits a lot of your areas where you want to go. So it's, yeah, I think a lot more difficult that way. And maybe that was probably the main reason I came out here, because I had been in both of those platforms at home. And I wanted to come here and work in college and work in pro.

[00:34:07.55] I feel like there's more and more internationals going home because they hold a different skill set. It's certainly the education and background here is different. I feel like there's some incredibly good strength coaches that have learnt through the NSCA and through-- you know, Westside Barbell grew up here. So there's some incredible strength coaches here. Whereas, maybe Australia, there's certain areas that lack that sort of intricate understanding of strength training because it was born here.

[00:34:40.95] So there's probably some room for growth there in Australia, and there's-- which in turn creates some opportunities for strength coaches. But, yeah. Like I said, it's kind of hard to, I mean it's hard to get into pro sports in general. So where Australia is only limited to private and pro, that, I'd say it makes things a bit more difficult. But, yeah.

[00:35:03.71] No, that's interesting. I didn't really think of it that way with-- we do have a high focus on college sports here. And if that wasn't here or being in Australia when you don't have college athletics, what would the field look like? What would strength and conditioning opportunities look like? To American coaches looking for international opportunities, just like you do here, I think networking and communicating with our international networks, I think this is a global community at the NSCA and we have great relationships with the ASCA, UKSCA and other organizations.

[00:35:47.34] And so that's one thing I really do like, is that whether you are a strength coach home or abroad, I think it's very valuable to network and just learn like we're doing right now. Gain perspective from someone that has a different background than you. And International opportunities are a great way to do that.

[00:36:10.62] So, Alex, man, really appreciate you being on the podcast today. Would you share your contact information for our listeners if they want to get in touch?

[00:36:22.60] Yeah, sure. I guess I'm on social media. That's just, every platform. So Twitter and Instagram is just my last name, Calder_05. Not much being posted on there, to be fair. A lot of coffee, maybe a lot of car pictures and that's really it. But hopefully I get a bit better on those platforms. [CHUCKLING] But, yeah. That's where you'd follow me.

[00:36:48.79] That's great, man. Alex Calder, the head of sports science for the MLS Houston Dynamo. Thanks for being with us today.

[00:36:58.10] Thank you, Eric. Appreciate it. Thanks again for taking the time to listen to me and invite me on the podcast. It's been great.

[00:37:05.20] Absolutely. Everybody, thanks for tuning in today. Also we'd like to thank Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.

[00:37:14.20] And to all of you listening, we appreciate your support. Again, if you like the podcast, make sure you subscribe wherever you download your podcast from. Write us a review and keep listening in. Thank you and I look forward to talking with you all soon.

[00:37:25.52] 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.

[00:37:44.26] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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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Photo of Eric L. McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F, RSCC*D
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Eric L. McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F, RSCC*D

Strength & Conditioning Coach, NSCA Headquarters, Colorado Springs, CO, United States

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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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Mr Alexander Calder, CSCS

Strength & Conditioning Coach, Houston Dynamo

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Alex Calder is the Head of Sports Science at Houston Dynamo’s Sports Performance team. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the then 17-year-ol ...

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