NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 101: Dr. Patrick Ivey

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Dr. Patrick Ivey, PhD, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*E
Coaching Podcast May 2021


Dr. Patrick Ivey, Associate Athletics Director for Student Athlete Health and Performance at the University of Louisville, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about the transition from strength coach to a director role in administration. Topics under discussion include perceptions of strength coaches, emotional intelligence, and continuing to grow where you are.

Find Dr. Ivey on his website: pativey.com | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“There's almost this WWE sort of aura attached to being a strength and conditioning coach. And if you're a good strength and conditioning coach, you know how to manage that. You know how to manage those perceptions and expectations, and what's reality. And it can be really fun to be the person that is a super hero to a lot of athletes.” 9:50

“Filling that void to be able to be an advocate for our sports medicine and nutrition staff, our strength and conditioning coaches. And it's something that I'm having to learn as well. Like how do I communicate with marketing, and all of the different areas that work in the athletics department.” 12:45

“So you might have an idea of what you want to get accomplished, and you've got to work towards that, but you got to be ready to adapt and adjust every day.” 26:05

“You have to take what's right in front of you, and deal with that situation as a leader in this position. So first and foremost, we got to be a leader in this position. Someone that is willing to learn how to communicate, and improve the communication. Written, verbal, body language. You have to be willing to learn in this position.” 26:37

“Research and science should be the basis of what we're all doing in health and performance, whether it's nutrition, research and science, sports medicine, sports performance, mental health, mental performance, the medical doctors. Research and science is the foundation of everything that we're doing.” 36:09

“How is it going to become habit forming, so that when we're developing leaders, how do we become better leaders ourselves? And hold ourselves accountable to that.” 40:12


[00:00:00.69] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, episode 101.

[00:00:05.10] When we're developing leaders, how do we become better leaders ourselves? And hold ourselves accountable to that?

[00:00:12.96] 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.

[00:00:23.77] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. And today we're joined by Dr. Patrick Ivey, the associate athletic director of student athlete health and performance at the University of Louisville. Pat, welcome.

[00:00:37.62] Thank you, Eric. Great to be here.

[00:00:39.82] Yeah, man. Excited to catch up with you today. And I want to give you a chance just to go back to the beginning for us. Tell your story in the field of strength and conditioning, all the way up to where you're at today.

[00:00:51.55] Well, I guess I probably have to start eighth grade, ninth grade. Just starting to lift, and trying to figure some things out with the concrete weights in the basement. Just knew that was something I wanted to be a part of.

[00:01:04.74] For me, it was part of growing up and protecting myself, and getting stronger mentally, physically. As I played high school football, I needed to be a lineman. So basically an offensive lineman. A skinny offensive lineman.

[00:01:20.55] But still, I knew I needed weights and to be able to lift. And so training in the weight room was something that I needed to do. I was infatuated with lifting weights all throughout high school. There were times I would lift in the morning at school, and lift at night.

[00:01:36.15] And day after day. And spend an hour and a half on the school bus to catch the public transportation to downtown Detroit, Michigan. Provided some opportunity to get homework done on the bus, so I could lift in the morning and lift at night. So it was pretty good. It was a good life.

[00:01:57.13] And I had a chance to play college football, University of Missouri. And strength and conditioning was a big part of training, as I needed to get stronger. Put on more weight. And I had some really good strength and conditioning coaches.

[00:02:13.44] Dave Toub was the head strength and conditioning coach who is currently the head special teams coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Donny Sommer, who was the head strength and conditioning coach at TCU. And Bob Jones is the head strength and conditioning coach at William Woods currently.

[00:02:27.51] So those three were my strength and conditioning coaches. Outstanding men. Poured a lot into us as young athletes. Showed us more about life than anyone else, any other coaches I ever had.

[00:02:43.29] And how to be handy with our hands. We would be over at their houses doing part time jobs. Hanging sheet rock and working on decks. Whatever they needed done. I learned a lot from them.

[00:02:56.92] So eventually I had a chance to play professional football. I spent some time with the San Diego Chargers, the Lions, the Broncos, the Packers. And took strength and conditioning very seriously.

[00:03:09.63] I always kept Columbia, Missouri as my home base. So I came back and trained in the off season, where I would volunteer. And didn't know at the time I was volunteering or interning. I just needed to be around the weight room.

[00:03:22.62] And next thing you know, you might find yourself with a stopwatch or a whistle around your neck, helping out the strength and conditioning coaches. Eventually, they gave me a key to the weight room when I-- in between trying to make it on teams or whatnot. I told them I would clean up the weight room at night. I would shut it down, make sure everyone was out.

[00:03:42.60] And I had my own key to the weight room when I was working over at the hospital, pulling wire as one of my part time jobs. So I think it was something that I demonstrated-- I must have demonstrated some sort of responsibility. High level of responsibility to get a key to the weight room.

[00:04:00.78] And eventually I found myself with the Broncos and the Packers. But in between that, I had started to be a graduate assistant. Because the head strength coach Dr. Dave Toub said if things don't work out, I want you to come back and work in the weight room with me. Not knowing how any of that worked, well, I got cut. Next thing you know, I'm driving back to Columbia, Missouri, and meeting with the head football coach.

[00:04:29.61] At that point in time, we had our defensive line coach, who was the dad of the starting quarterback. Right before camp, was out jogging. Had a heart attack, passed away a few days before I was released from Denver. So there was going to be-- unfortunately there was going to be a position available.

[00:04:49.23] And I met with the head coach. And he didn't know what he was going to do. Larry Smith didn't know what he was going to do. Either I was going to be a football coach or a strength and conditioning coach. It really didn't matter to me. I just wanted to coach.

[00:05:02.57] And the moves that he made-- he took, he hired, he promoted Dave Toub. I don't know if it's a promotion. But he moved him from head strength coach to defensive line coach. He promoted Donny Sommer from assistant strength coach to head strength coach. And that created a graduate assistantship for me in the weight room.

[00:05:22.92] So that's really how I got my start. Was due to an unfortunate circumstance with one of our coaches, position coaches on staff. So that's how I got started into the profession. And we can talk about more from there, but I think that's probably enough for now.

[00:05:41.72] Yeah, man. It's interesting to hear that progression. You went all the way back, and I had to laugh when you said you had to be a lineman. Because it took me back to youth football, where they got the weight restrictions to carry the ball, or to be in the skill position.

[00:06:02.51] So if you're a bigger kid, you're getting just thrown on the line. And then it's like you're there with all the big guys. And it's-- yeah, that brought me back a little bit. Just thought process of how that kind of led you into the weight room there.

[00:06:14.15] You had some great strength coaches along the way. And one thing I hear all through your story is you were always-- you probably had like a natural [INAUDIBLE] for the weight room. And you just liked being in there, and liked how it made you feel as an athlete, and gave you opportunity.

[00:06:33.86] But you kept going back. And even while you were still playing in the NFL, you were working with athletes. And you were trying to help as much as you could. And just by being present and showing a level of responsibility, you kept having opportunities.

[00:06:50.93] Obviously unfortunate how it worked out in giving you an opportunity into a full time role. But it also speaks to just your process of setting yourself up to have success after playing. And that's something that we don't talk about a whole lot.

[00:07:12.66] So I think it's something that-- what happens to our athletes after four years of competitive college athletics? And I think it also speaks really to the value that we have as strength coaches in looking at our athletes as human beings that aren't going to be with us just from 18 to 22.

[00:07:33.93] And it's really interesting to see where you're at now in an administration role.

[00:07:39.90] And you oversee different areas of the performance team. Break that down for us. What are some of the responsibilities you have as an administrator? And what are some of the departments that fit underneath you?

[00:07:55.62] Thank you. So I oversee sports medicine, sports nutrition, sports performance, mental health, mental performance, our team of physicians. And we are in the process of creating a sports science department. Everyone does analytics, and GPS, and heart rate monitoring. But we are in the process of establishing a sports science department.

[00:08:19.18] So those are the areas I oversee now. It's awesome, because the people that I work with are some of the best professionals I've ever been around. So it makes my job fun, just to have everything I guess working in synchrocy with one another.

[00:08:35.61] Just having everyone willing to have the highest level of communication, and collaborate with one another. It makes my job-- actually, it's fun. I get to just kind of help people out, that are really good at what they do.

[00:08:52.14] That's awesome. I want to dive in a little bit to being a high level athlete. You progress into strength and conditioning, and now you're in this administrative role. How has your view of the strength and conditioning profession evolved over time? How do you look at it now, now that you're in an administrative position? Yeah, take us through that journey.

[00:09:19.32] Yeah. I think as I look back, the strength and conditioning profession is guided by or directed by a lot of perception. There's perception of athletes, and what they think a strength and conditioning coach should be. Their perceptions of recruits, their perception of the media, perception of coaches, perceptions of administrators, fans.

[00:09:50.14] There's almost this WWE sort of aura attached to being a strength and conditioning coach. And if you're a good strength and conditioning coach, you know how to manage that. You know how to manage those perceptions and expectations, and what's reality. And it can be really fun to be the person that is a super hero to a lot of athletes.

[00:10:21.07] Like our strength coaches were our super heroes. So we would make up stories about things that they could do that were superhuman. But in reality, what we were trying to do is really-- that was for our own self-esteem and our own ego. That if my strength and conditioning coach is better than your strength and conditioning coach, then we're better because we're trained better. Because we're being trained by a better human being.

[00:10:53.63] So there's a lot of things that you have to manage. And I get it. The media wants to portray the strength and conditioning coach maybe as the wild crazy guy that can come unhinged. And he's the one that's the only person that can handle being a get back coach on the sideline. Or the person that is the yellow or the screamer, but also the motivator.

[00:11:19.24] And then there's the mother or the father, or the big sister or the big brother that we may have to be. Then there's the perception that maybe we don't know how to communicate in certain areas or certain ways. And so there's a lot of areas that we have to navigate as strength and conditioning coaches to be successful.

[00:11:44.51] How do you go into a budget meeting and convey to the business office that you need a certain type of equipment? Or certain pieces of equipment to do your job better, when they're looking at, well, you currently have a room, you currently have a staff, and you currently have equipment. Why is this equipment going to be better than what you have? What you have now, is it broken?

[00:12:09.67] Like there's just a disconnect between sometimes what the business office knows and understands and what we as strength and conditioning coaches are-- how we're used to communicating. Like I just told you I needed something. Why do I have to explain it? I need to get back to coaching. I don't need to be here talking to you, explaining why I need reverse hypers to train the low back and posterior chain.

[00:12:37.57] And so it's interesting. Because the role that I'm in now, I find myself kind of filling that gap. Filling that void to be able to be an advocate for our sports medicine and nutrition staff, our strength and conditioning coaches. And it's something that I'm having to learn as well. Like how do I communicate with marketing, and all of the different areas that work in the athletics department.

[00:13:05.92] A lot of athletics departments, there are hundreds of employees. Hundreds. And you only really know about the head coaches, and maybe a couple of the strength coaches. But reality, this is a business that has to operate. And a lot of schools power five or $100 million plus businesses.

[00:13:26.14] So I don't want to go off on a tangent. But it's a lot for a strength and conditioning coach to be able to navigate, and be a good coach at the same time.

[00:13:40.62] That's a great perspective. That strength and conditioning is, in a lot of ways, guided by perception. And that we battle those perceptions externally, on the outside. In the media, and what people on the outside think of us.

[00:13:57.57] But also internally. You mentioned budget meetings, and even the perceptions of our head coaches, assistant coaches. Just people that maybe don't have the same experience on the training side of things that we have. And everybody's a little bit in a different place of what they view the role of strength and conditioning is.

[00:14:20.61] I want to ask you. You mentioned the get back coach. And you see this pop up on the social media every now and again. Does that sort of role, does that sort of perception-- the yelling, screaming, get back coach. Does that hurt us? Does that hurt this profession?

[00:14:37.56] I'm not asking you to solve it. But I want you to just look at it from a perception standpoint. What does that do to our profession? And what are some really constructive ways maybe coaches can assert themselves to be a little bit more respected?

[00:14:58.02] That's a good one. And you can go many different ways on this subject. That's a loaded question, Eric. Why are student athletes expected to always be under emotional control? Being emotionally stable, being under control physically, mentally, during competition. Why is that what is expected?

[00:15:24.15] You're not-- athletes don't talk to the officials. Make sure you stay behind the line. Make sure that if someone-- we teach them if someone hits you out on the field, don't respond. Because it's always the second person who gets the penalty. If someone's talking trash, walk away.

[00:15:44.99] That's what we expect of the athletes. But with coaches, there's-- some don't have the ability to control themselves, because they're so into the game. It's like, well, no one is more into the game than the athletes.

[00:16:02.31] So why do we need to actually pull someone back two or three feet? That's all we're talking about. Two or three feet. So that we don't get a penalty because this person is so into the game, they don't know where they are on the field.

[00:16:21.74] But I think there's perceptions with that, too. We're so enthusiastic. We're so intense that, well, I need someone to keep me back, because I'm such a high intense guy. And that's part of the perception and the mystique with some programs and some people, too. So we got to understand, there's still some theatrics there that's on display.

[00:16:49.47] So I'm not knocking that. I'm not knocking it. Because for some people, that feeds into the whole process of what that team's identity is. And so I'm not going to knock it. But what I would like to say is that those strength and conditioning coaches are more than get back coaches. They're more than just people that's there to hold someone back.

[00:17:18.63] They have an entirely different skill set and job the other six days of the week, that requires a high level of expertise, experience, certification, maybe license, education. A lot of these people that are holding these people back, that are the get back coach, have master's degrees, exercise science degrees, exercise physiology degrees. Like really smart people. Hardworking people.

[00:17:50.66] And a lot of them, they practice what they preach. They're disciplined. They eat right. They do the right nutrition. So they're husbands and wives, and fathers, and they're mothers. These strength and conditioning coaches on the sideline, they're highly qualified.

[00:18:14.06] Some of the most highly qualified in the athletics department. They have to continue education. But that doesn't necessarily get the media attention. So--

[00:18:27.52] I hear you, man.

[00:18:28.84] Yeah.

[00:18:29.50] Yeah. No. I put you on the spot there a little bit. No, that's good I love that approach. It speaks to being versatile as a strength coach. Understanding the team environment that you're in.

[00:18:41.17] And serving the need of your head coach, of your program, of your athletes. If they need you to dial it up a little bit, and maybe play into those perceptions, that can be OK. But there should be that respect of-- and this is something we battle that we have to be advocates for our profession. We have to be advocates for our field, for our skill set.

[00:19:07.09] And there is always that perception that among us strength coaches, that we are some of the most highly educated people in the building. And maybe we're not getting the credit we deserve. And so I know for me, it's always, always remembering it's about the athletes. And that that's the reason we got into this. But it's--

[00:19:28.40] Well let me tell you a story about perception and how strong it is. So when I was first hired into this position, in this role, I was walking down the hallway. And another member of the executive team told me, I can't wait for you to just lose it one day, and like the old strength coach comes out. It's like, why?

[00:19:57.14] That's not-- I mean, why? That's not acceptable. I'm sitting in meetings, and taking notes, and writing emails, and returning phone calls and text messages, and having one-on-one conversations with people, and standing in front of groups. When is it ever acceptable to just start yelling and screaming at someone? A group of people?

[00:20:22.55] That's not professional. But they thought it was like, I know deep down inside, the strength coach wants to come out. Oh, man. And I was like-- I was all--

[00:20:38.40] It's funny, man. It's like if we were-- and there's a reason we all say, hey, if we were working in a cubicle, or if we were working in a bank, or in a business environment. Well, there's a lot of reasons maybe we haven't pursued some of those careers, and this is what we're doing.

[00:20:54.27] But at the same time, if we were in any other work environment, those things would be way off the table. You wouldn't even think about that. And it is really interesting. The perceptive elements of this. Just if that's-- it's accepted. It's OK in this coaching world that we're in.

[00:21:15.95] But it plays into some of the negative stereotypes that are put on coaches, so.

[00:21:22.25] There is the opposite as well. So there have been jobs when I have contemplated whether I leave the PhD off of my education. Or just make it not as prominent on the application, on my resume or my CV or whatever. Or do I send my CV or not.

[00:21:46.49] With this position, I send everything. I send my CV, curriculum vitae, and my resume. And just thought if you're not looking for someone with a terminal degree, a doctorate in this role, then I'll just continue to do what I'm doing. But I know some perceptions.

[00:22:07.98] And I had a coach before tell me, I know you got your PhD, but I'll call you doctor one time. But after that, I'm not doing it. Like, really? I went back to school to help everyone, not just myself. So the PhD doctorate is not for me. Like I actually sat in a class to learn about sports psychology so that I can help our athletes, our coaches.

[00:22:35.63] But there was a fear that maybe my ego would somehow take over. Or maybe I'm distracted because I went back and learned more. And got a-- there is still a perception out there that people don't want a very-- some people don't want what they might perceive to be as a smart strength coach.

[00:23:07.84] And I would love to-- that's my goal and my quest. Is to kind of undo that. To make it OK for the strength and conditioning coach to have a podcast because you've got an extra half an hour at night or on the weekend. Or if you want to write a book. That it's OK. It doesn't take away from your ability to be a coach.

[00:23:33.09] And to write a blog. To help. To be able to pass some information on. It doesn't take away. It only adds to your ability to contribute and make a difference. So there's still some perceptions out there that we're supposed to be the meatheads. And the people that live in the weight room.

[00:23:56.34] And I know of another strength and conditioning coach that was told by his head coach to stop making certain social media posts. Because he was getting-- the head coach was getting quote unquote "killed by" donors and fans. Because of the perception that if the strength coach can send a 30 second blog of a 30 second video of inspiration and encouragement to his players, that somehow that coach is not-- that 30 seconds is taking away from the team being trained.

[00:24:33.02] Those are some of the battles that we're dealing with right now. Those perceptions of what we're supposed to be.

[00:24:44.07] Wow, man. I love it. Be more than a strength coach. We are more than just strength coaches, when you look at the skill set and the education that we have. I want to ask you, and I think back. And maybe just something I've always honed in on, being from the baseball world. Thinking of coaches out there like Bob Alejo who have moved into administrative type roles.

[00:25:08.94] Speak to the value of a strength coach advancing in their career, becoming a director, and advancing into an athletic director type position. What does our strength and conditioning background and knowledge of athletes help with in that administrative role? And give us a little bit of hopeful projection of maybe where that could take us as a field.

[00:25:39.43] So there's a perception we have as strength and conditioning coaches of what it's like to be in this role. And I've had conversations with people that ask me, what is it like to be in this role? And a first thing I would say is get rid of those perceptions.

[00:25:51.66] Because just like no day was ever the same being a coach, and you might have an idea what you wanted to do, but you got to be ready to adapt and adjust. The same thing goes for being in this role. So you might have an idea of what you want to get accomplished, and you've got to work towards that, but you got to be ready to adapt and adjust every day.

[00:26:13.38] So you may think that, well, I want to be more of a high performance type of director. Well, then COVID happens. And you're going to spend 90-95% of your time dealing with COVID and medical issues, when you really want to be maybe more of the sports scientist, or the person that's measuring peak velocities, or-- that's not going to happen.

[00:26:35.80] You have to take what's right in front of you, and deal with that situation as a leader in this position. So first and foremost, we got to be a leader in this position. Someone that is willing to learn how to communicate, and improve the communication. Written, verbal, body language. You have to be willing to learn in this position.

[00:26:55.74] That's the one thing I know every day, is I don't know everything. Don't claim to know everything. I've got to learn. Every day I've got to rely on the people around me. I've got to ask questions to people that I supervise so that I understand better what they do and what they need from me.

[00:27:13.20] So you have to have your ego in check. You can't be the well, I was a strength and conditioning coach, so I know how to do strength and conditioning. No. When I go into a weight room, I'm looking to learn. I'm not going in to criticize. So whether it's Mike, Jason, or Andy, our directors of strength and conditioning here, or their staff members. They know when I'm around that I'm not being judgmental.

[00:27:40.83] I'm actually there to contribute, if I can. Or learn something if I can. Just to make their experience better here at this university. So I think you have to also continue to learn and grow while you're in that position as a strength and conditioning coach.

[00:28:00.09] Just as much as you read an article or a blog, or watch a video on your craft, you also have to learn about the budget process. Or media relations, sports media, advertising, development. You have to continue to ask to sit in a meeting. Visit with your sport administrator, and learn what it is to do their job.

[00:28:26.70] Visit with the senior women's administrator, the diversity person. Get to know those people and what it is that they do, and what it takes to do their jobs. Because all of that information, all of those experiences, are going to matter.

[00:28:42.03] I think when I stepped over on campus-- I took a year and a half, almost two year break away from athletics. And I went to work on campus in the chancellor's office. That experience, as much as I didn't like wearing a suit and tie every day, that experience prepared me more I believe, to be an administrator, a high level top administrator, than my strength and conditioning job. My strength and conditioning role.

[00:29:12.99] Now, I was also an assistant and an associate athletics director. And I was involved in those meetings. That experience helped me tremendously in my career. But just working with athletes, you also-- I find myself now, I'm working with people. Very experienced people.

[00:29:30.90] I work with obviously people with PhDs, and medical degrees, and medical doctors, and all types of licenses, and certified everything. I oversee the highest level of qualified individuals in terms of licensure and certification than in the entire athletics department. All of the people that I work with have to operate off a certain code of ethics, or they lose their license.

[00:30:04.32] So they have to continue their education in order to continue to be employed, and to remain employable. So that's something that you have to understand as a strength and conditioning coach, or whatever profession you're coming from. You have to continue to grow where you're at.

[00:30:26.57] That's awesome, man. Yeah, everybody has a unique role. Unique expertise. And as you progress in your career, strength and conditioning is a young profession. There's a lot of young coaches out there that make up the body of the strength and conditioning community.

[00:30:43.12] But as we get more experience, and even collective within our strength and conditioning community, we're all going to have different areas of expertise. We're going to work with different outside professions. It is sort of a professional evolution that happens within each of us. Is that we gain appreciation for these other areas and other disciplines.

[00:31:06.92] Even though this isn't maybe what we wanted to do with our career, or we didn't want to be an athletic trainer, or a physical therapist, or a physician, or whatever that may be. But there's a ton of value to all of these different professions within the performance spectrum. And that strength and conditioning coaches have a unique skill set within that, too.

[00:31:29.64] So it's really about creating that level environment where coaches can feel like they can thrive. I know that's one of the things we struggle with on the strength and conditioning side. But we want to be able to thrive to our perceptions in the same way other areas maybe are thriving.

[00:31:47.19] But on the other side, there's some grass is greener mentality to that, too. I think we all have struggles. Like you said, everybody-- every day is different. Even in this administrative role, it's not like you've just graduated to just this perfect scenario and you don't have to worry about any of the stuff you did coming up.

[00:32:07.14] Yeah. I was having a conversation with Zach [INAUDIBLE] And we were talking about when we got into this profession, looking at the National Conference when you go. Like where are the 40 and 50-year-old strength coaches? And no one has ever really answered that question for me. Like where are they?

[00:32:27.93] Where are the 40, 50, 60-year-old strength coaches that transition? What do they do? There are not many of these roles that I'm in. Not many exist. And to me, I went into this profession like a professional athlete. It really feels like being a professional athlete. The emotions, and the physical, the spiritual.

[00:32:51.30] You have to pour yourself into every day. Into every athlete that you are working. And there's a finite amount of time that you can do this. Just like being an athlete. Like one day, you're not going to run up and down the court, the field, swim. One day, you're not going to be able to do that.

[00:33:12.27] One day, someone's going to say, I want a younger strength and conditioning coach. Because someone that can relate. Quote unquote, "relate" to the athletes. And then your elbows, and knees, and ankles get tired. Get sore. The cartilage starts to wear out, when you've been pounding that weight room floor year after year after year.

[00:33:33.85] So what do you do to transition? I've had a lot of conversations with strength and conditioning coaches, sending out my job description because people want to be able to move. Stay around athletics, and move into an administrative role. So it's definitely on our minds as strength and conditioning professionals. I think we have to make sure we're the best prepared when those opportunities come.

[00:34:03.35] It's great advice. And one thing I believe is that these conversations and thought process can get the best of us at times. But as strength coaches, we are uniquely qualified in providing energy and enthusiasm to our environment. Targeting specific challenges and working to make those challenges disappear by building a plan.

[00:34:31.29] And that is not exclusive to sets and reps. We can take that strategic element of what we do and graduate that into an administrative role. But are you willing to go beyond the dungeon weight room mentality? And maybe you love that.

[00:34:49.86] We all love the weight room. Now that we've gone to these video podcasts, I get to see everybody's backdrop. You got a squat rack with the med balls. And it's awesome, man.

[00:34:59.37] I got a new squat rack in my garage. A product of the pandemic and not being able to get out to a gym. It's like we love this profession. It's in our blood. And we love the disciplines and skill set of being a strength coach. And there's so much value to that.

[00:35:19.68] Just one thing in this role, I love that I get to connect with so many coaches out there. And I just think there's so much value into keeping our narrative positive. And just showcasing how professional and how educated we are. And how qualified we are to fill in different roles within an athletic department.

[00:35:41.13] And one thing we've talked about a decent amount is you guys are moving into some different roles with sports science. I want to ask you, how does sports science fit within the University of Louisville athletic program? How is that going to interact with the other elements that you guys already have?

[00:36:05.10] I think it's just going to be another part of what we're doing. Research and science should be the basis of what we're all doing in health and performance, whether it's nutrition, research and science, sports medicine, sports performance, mental health, mental performance, the medical doctors. Research and science is the foundation of everything that we're doing.

[00:36:29.20] So making it be more present, I think in the physical sense. Saying, hey, we have a director of sports science and a director-- and a sports science staff. That biomechanics. And whether it's some sort of program coordinator, research, or someone that's doing data analytics. And then someone who's doing technology. So these different entities of sports science.

[00:36:58.47] And how do we utilize. We have the number one master's degree in exercise science and physiology in the nation. How do we use that in our health and human performance? It's on the first floor of the building of my office. So the academic unit.

[00:37:16.79] So how do we use that, and the graduate students and the doctoral students, to give them a first class experience working in athletics? How do we enhance that experience of our athletes and coaches, and everyone in health and performance?

[00:37:35.14] So that's kind of my job, is to help us figure this out. And it's going to take more than just the university. It's going to take people in the community. Us working together. So I see this as an entire community effort, more than just athletics, to bring sports science to the forefront of training athletes.

[00:37:58.68] Awesome, man. You spoke to your athletic background, all the way up through college. Being a college football player, going to the NFL, now in administration. And I want to-- we have a lot of young coaches that listen to this podcast. And they have similar aspirations as we've talked about.

[00:38:21.54] What are some of the resources that you've dived into over the years? Books? You mentioned leadership. Are there any really influential leadership books that helped you? Or even within the disciplines of strength and conditioning. What do you got, man?

[00:38:36.27] Yeah. There's a lot. Our athletics director when I was director of strength conditioning for a long time, his name is Mike Alden. He has so many other athletics directors that have come underneath him that are current athletics directors. He would always make sure we were reading a book.

[00:38:57.27] And 5 Levels of Leadership, Start With Why, You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader. So many books, that it was all about leadership. And we would talk about this book in our senior staff meetings, or our rising manager meetings, rising leadership meetings.

[00:39:19.17] And for me that was valuable. Because what we did is whenever we were going through a book as a senior staff in the athletics department, we would buy a book for every strength and conditioning coach. Out of our own budget in the weight room. And we would go, we would do the same thing.

[00:39:37.99] So as a staff we would go through a book. A different leadership book. The training books, we were expected to do that on our own. If you wanted to read Supertraining, you'd do that on your own. But it would be something that when it came to leadership, and communication, and teamwork, we always read those books as a staff, together.

[00:40:02.58] And I think that was huge. That was valuable for us. Because it was more than just reading. And it was about action. Like how are we going to actually do this?

[00:40:12.06] How is it going to become habit forming, so that when we're developing leaders, how do we become better leaders ourselves? And hold ourselves accountable to that. So I think as a staff, if you can continue to grow outside the profession and push yourself outside the profession, it will lay the groundwork for what is next.

[00:40:38.80] Yeah, man. That's a great leadership lesson. And another thing that does is that it unites the entire athletic department. The athletic trainer can take a leadership book and bring it to the training room. We can bring it to the weight room, bring it to senior staff meetings, bring it everywhere.

[00:40:56.35] And it puts people-- you mentioned how many people are in a high level athletic program in college athletics. And that's powerful. And you think of ways to bring the group together. That's a really great strategy to do that. So I know there's a lot of great programs out there doing that.

[00:41:17.50] We've all probably been a part of something like that. But that's something that for coaches and administrators listening, that's some really good advice there. Hey, Pat, I want to ask you, what's the best way for coaches, listeners to get in touch with you?

[00:41:35.32] Just my website. PatIvey.com P-A-T-I-V-E-Y .com. I put a lot of information on there. A lot of free information. Things that I've learned over the years. I think you can go there, and that's another site.

[00:41:51.46] That's another thing you can do as a staff. Is that's why I put it out there. I'm trying to pass the baton, and pay it forward. I've got books, and workbooks, and a mental conditioning online course. The stuff that I taught and I learned when I went back to school to get my doctorate, you can take stuff and print it off.

[00:42:12.16] And so many times we wanted to get information, but it seemed like in the strength and conditioning profession we were unwilling to share a lot of information. Thinking that we would give up our competitive advantage. So I'm in a position now where I don't have to worry about that.

[00:42:33.04] Or there might be the perception that you don't want to put things out there because you've got a head coach that does not want you doing it because they think you're giving up the program secret. So I'm putting it out there. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

[00:42:47.80] That's awesome, man. It's important we share. It's important we stick together as a strength and conditioning community. I know I've been talking a lot about strength and conditioning, but really, you've had some really cool experiences as an athlete into college strength and conditioning coach. You do some work in the private sector. You have your website, and you work in senior administration for the athletic department at University of Louisville.

[00:43:15.87] So it's been really great hearing your path in the field, Pat. And yeah. Thanks for being with us.

[00:43:22.42] Appreciate you, Eric. Yeah. I appreciate what you guys are doing, too, for the profession. So keep it up.

[00:43:27.46] Awesome, man. To our listeners, thank you for tuning in. And we'd also like to thank Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.

[00:43:36.03] From the NSCA, thank you for listening to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We serve you, the coaching community, so follow, subscribe, and download for future episodes. We look forward to connecting with you again soon, and hope you'll join us at an upcoming NSCA event or in one of our special interest groups. For more information, go to NSCA.com.

[00:43:58.89] 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 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.

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

NSCA Headquarters

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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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Pat Ivey, PhD, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*E

University of Louisville

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Dr. Pat Ivey is currently the Assistant VP/ Associate Athletics Director for Student Athlete Health and Performance at the University of Louisville. H ...

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