NSCA's Coaching Podcast Special Episode: The Power of Mentorship with Mike Minnis and Co-Host Jon Jost

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D, Michael Minnis, RD, CSCS, and Jonathan Jost, MS, CSCS, RSCC*E
Coaching Podcast August 2021

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Mike Minnis, Director of Performance Nutrition and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Philadelphia Eagles National Football League (NFL) team, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, and guest co-host Jon Jost, a 27-year veteran collegiate strength and conditioning coach and Gatorade’s Team Sports Manager. This Gatorade Performance Partner Special Episode, highlights “The Power of Mentorship” and the importance of building quality relationships as the foundation of meaningful mentor and mentee experiences. 

Find Mike on LinkedIn: Mike Minnis, Twitter: @MMinnis89, or Instagram: @MMinnis89 |Find Jon via email: jonathan.jost@pepsico.com | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“What is a mentor? What does that mean? And what does it mean to be a mentor? And I really think it's somebody that you can trust. I think that's important. I think it's somebody where there's mutual respect. And then I think someone that can provide you a vision.” 6:46

“And so when I look back at that, I think that’s such a beautiful thing because I think there’s got to be a level of comfort within yourself and within your role and your position before you can start mentoring people. Being a mentor isn’t just telling people what to do and having people work on XYZ projects and things like that. There’s a lot more to it.” 13:41

“But I would say probably to me, one of the biggest things is just to enter into the relationship or to approach the individual with the attitude of, what can I do for you? How can I help you? How can I assist? And that goes a long way, to approach a mentor or a coach with, hey, is there anything I can do for you? What ends up happening is you get an awful lot in return.” 24:12

“And I think it’s our job to give feed back. And it has to be honest feedback. And it has to be transparent. And just transparent communication all the time.” 29:17

“They’re a sponge. And they are learning all the time. And they’re looking at you as a professional and how you conduct yourself, whether that is showing up on time and being punctual or showing poise under pressure, being able to adapt to change. And I think also how you treat others. Treating others fairly. Treating others with respect, with compassion.” 31:20

Transcript

[00:00:00.63] Welcome to this special edition episode of the NCSA Coaching Podcast.

[00:00:05.19] As we're doing this podcast, you know, I'm like really thinking deep. What is a mentor? What does that mean? And what does it mean to be a mentor? And I really think it's somebody that you can trust. I think that's important. I think it's somebody where there's mutual respect. And then I think someone that can provide you a vision.

[00:00:21.84] 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.

[00:00:32.62] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today we're joined by Mike Minnis of NFL Philadelphia Eagles. Mike as the Eagles' director of performance nutrition and also works with the strength and conditioning program. Mike, welcome.

[00:00:45.89] Eric, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

[00:00:49.11] This is a special Gatorade performance partner collaboration episode on the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I want to also welcome longtime college strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost, who is the team sports manager for Gatorade. Coach Jost, great to have you with us as a co-host today.

[00:01:06.08] Thank you so much. It's great to be here and be with the NSCA. Longtime relationship and member of the NSCA. So I'm excited to be on in this capacity. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:18.43] I've been looking forward to this, guys. Jon, Mike, you guys know each other a little bit. How did you first get connected?

[00:01:25.98] Yeah, you know, I don't remember exactly when we met. But I know that the common denominator is Josh Hinkes, who Josh and I worked together at Florida State, is probably-- many know who are listening, he kind of has worn two hats throughout his entire career. Sometimes both at the same time. Sometimes taking one off and putting the other one on. We worked together at Florida State where he was a strength coach and sports dietician. And then through the years he introduced me to Mike. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, he hired Mike with the Eagles. Or they were hired at a similar time. And then, of course, through Gatorade and through the SNIP program, that's just kind of deepened the relationship even more. And I have a huge amount of respect for Mike. And it's great to be on with him. And so, yeah. I don't remember the exact date. But that's kind of how it all spun out.

[00:02:34.60] Yeah. I was going to add the same thing. It's an interesting topic talking about mentorship because the first time I ever heard of Jon was through Josh and Josh kind of speaking on Jon as a mentor through his career in strength and conditioning. So it's kind of cool to come full circle and be on the call here. But, yeah. I had heard about Jon kind of leading up and working with Josh and through my career, then I think we finally just met, I think, through Gatorade at some point at some junction there. And so it's been a great relationship since.

[00:03:09.00] Mike, you've worked your way up with the Eagles, starting as an intern back in 2014. It'd be great to hear more about your role on the staff and what it's like working in the NFL.

[00:03:20.34] Yeah, absolutely. So similar to what Jon said about Josh is I wear a couple of hats. So first of all, I'm the director of nutrition. So, you know, big thing is just making sure that the nutrition programs are up to par and kind of overlooking the big picture on that program. And then the secondary piece to that is assisting with the strength and conditioning program. So, you know, it kind of looks a little different based on what season we're in. But really just to kind of give you a general overview of what that looks like, you know, a lot of it has to do with looking at body composition of players, setting goal body weights, making sure guys are where they need to be.

[00:03:58.29] A lot of has to do with hydration protocols. And we do a lot of hydration testing and make sure guys are locked in from that standpoint. We do a lot of biomarker testing. So looking at either whether it's saliva, blood, urine, sweat, things like that. Just really individualized programs for players. Not only nutrition programs, but recovery programs, training programs, things like that and. Another big piece is supplements and regulation of supplements and making sure guys are putting the right things in their body and taking things that are effective for them. And then another part of that is the return to play process.

[00:04:36.61] So making sure we have good protocols for guys. Forbid they do get hurt, how do we bring them back more effectively? And we can kind of help them through from the nutrition side. And so that's kind of a really general overview from the nutrition side. And then, obviously, the strength traditional side. We do something pretty cool where we overlook certain groups. So, for example, I'll overlook a little bit closely the quarterbacks, linebackers, and special teams this season. In previous years, I've worked with wide receivers and DB's in a little closer respect. Really, what that means is as we obviously have influence over the whole team. But those are really your guys to lock in terms of training loads, and modifications in the weight room, and making sure those guys are in touch with the recovery modalities, and things like that. So that's kind of a broad overview of that.

[00:05:27.18] And you asked, what it's like working in the NFL? I mean, I love it. I had a little bit of experience in college. One year. So a very, very short window. But those had great things with it as well. But I just love the NFL. I love the resources available. They just want one goal, and that's to win, and whatever it takes to get the job done is what we're going to do. And so there's a lot of good pressure to be the best and have the best resources for our guys and make sure we're doing everything we can to help them succeed.

[00:05:59.20] So today's episode is about the power of mentorship. And Mike, I want to dig into your background. Coming in from both the nutrition and coaching side, what's been your experience with mentorship and some of the key experiences and stops that you've had along the way?

[00:06:17.11] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is, to me, mentorship has been everything. And I'm sure, Eric, you could attest to it. And, Jon, you could attest to it. I mean, every step you take in your career personally and professionally, there's somebody there that's influencing you. And first and foremost, I think-- and mentorship to me is influence, something that's influenced you in one way or the other. When I think of mentorship, too, you know, because as we're doing this podcast, I was like really thinking deep, what is a mentor? And what does that mean? And what does it mean to be a mentor? And I really think it's somebody that you can trust. I think that's important.

[00:06:54.77] I think somebody where there's mutual respect. And then I think someone that can provide you a vision. I think somebody that can provide perspective with where you're at. They can provide a picture of where you want to go and paint that picture for you so you you can see. Obviously, somebody you can learn from. Somebody that can provide some wisdom. And then somebody that can provide empathy and compassion. When you're going through hard times and you're going through certain things and you got really hard decisions to make, it's somebody that can empathize with you. And, hey, I've been there before. I can completely understand you. I've never been there like that.

[00:07:29.26] But I can completely understand where you're coming from. So, I mean, when I look through my whole journey, and it's a short journey relatively speaking, but at every stop somebody has been there to help me. A couple that really stick out to me-- and I want to mention these because these aren't strength coaches. And so and I think we'll kind of get that of what is a mentor and does it have to be somebody that you're rolling with in terms of jobs and stuff like that. And the first one to me was when I transferred, I went from a business degree to when I switched to nutrition exercise, about halfway through that I almost was kind of regretting my decision and kind of realized maybe I made a mistake.

[00:08:12.94] I don't know if this is actually what I want to do. And I just remember very vividly having a phone call with my brother-in-law. And it was Brian. He lives out in California now. And he's always been somebody I've looked up to. Just his personality and the way he communicates and deals with people. And he was talking on the phone. And he just told me to stick with it. He laid out, again, a vision of what this could be. And he saw it before I saw it. And he really saved me from kind of ending this thing and maybe going a different route in my career. And so for me, like I always tell him, he's a mentor of mine. And that was one moment in time where he really shifted my trajectory.

[00:08:54.37] Another time was when I was at Kansas State I applied for my dietetic internship to get my RD. And I thought I was a shoo in. And I've told this story on the podcast before. And I thought I had the GPA. And I thought I had the experience and all those things. And I ended up not getting my internship. And so that kind of like crumbled me because I'm a futuristic person, so I already had everything laid out of how, OK, the next month was going to go. I'm going to go. Here and then I'm going to be done in X months. And that kind of really shocked me a little bit. And I had a professor there and a advisor, Dr. Kevin Sauer, who he was my soundboard. When we talk about empathy and compassion and somebody that was really there for me personally and professionally during that time to say, OK, that's not what we had planned. But here's the next step.

[00:09:45.47] So then I went back and got my master's because there wasn't really no other choice. And then I ended up getting into another internship where I then got into the Eagles kind of through a long story. So I'm not going to go through all that. But essentially, you know, you kind of talk about everything happens for a reason. And that was one of those instances. And a couple of instances out of a ton that I can mention because I could run down every person that's touched me at every stop. But I don't think we need to go that far. But those are a couple that are outside of coaching that are very, very powerful for me.

[00:10:19.44] That's awesome, Mike. One question I wanted to ask you is about the specifically about the Gatorade Sports Nutrition Immersion Program, probably better known as SNIP in the sports dietetic world. And you experienced really both sides of that program, one as a fellow and later on as a mentor. And could you share a little bit about, I guess, your biggest learnings on both sides of that experience?

[00:10:51.10] Yeah, absolutely. So I did my sports nutrition immersion program in the spring of 2015. And I did it at the University of Texas. And so for me, I had really had a lot of football-specific experience. And when I went to Texas, you know, it's called an immersion program. And I was thrown in to that in that way. And I worked with tennis, men's and women's tennis. They were trying to get their nutrition program up and running. Amy Cope, who's a director there, you know, she's like, hey, you have men's and women's tennis. Here you go. Obviously, gave me guidance and resources and things like that. But it was a great experience.

[00:11:30.04] And I think of Amy as a mentor. And again, we could talk every stop I'm at. But I've never seen somebody with such a good vision of, number one, what they want their program to look like, not only now, but in two years and four years. She had very objective measures of this is how we're going to say the nutrition program's successful. And I always looked up to that. And she was always somebody that really went to bat for more staff. I think when you look at University of Texas and their sports nutrition program, I think they really paved the way in terms of staff members. If you kind of look at the trend, even 5, 10 years ago, there might be a director, maybe one assistant. Maybe.

[00:12:09.19] Now you have a lot of these programs with a director, assistant director, and four or five maybe other assistants, GA positions. And I felt like Amy was really one of the first out there to really, really go hard for more staff and show administration the importance of nutrition. And so to me that was just learning from her, how she-- because really all my experience since that had been very small type of staffs where there's maybe only one nutrition professional, maybe two. And now to work with the whole department of nutrition professionals and then see how Amy could manage that was big for me. I began to consider her a mentor.

[00:12:46.30] And then on the flip side of that, then I was a mentor for a mentee for the sports nutrition immersion program a few years ago with Stephanie Capullo. And we actually ended up hiring her full-time. So she's now on our staff full-time. So obviously a lot of success with that program as well. And, you know, when I think about that, what's really interesting about this sports nutrition immersion program is, at first, I didn't like it is that they made you have to be in your position for, I think, Jon, correct me if I'm wrong, a year or maybe even more before you can apply. So when I first got there in 2016, I knew the program was great. I knew they had very high level candidates. And so I wanted a candidate right away. I think I emailed them or reached out and said, hey, I want to apply. And they said you can't. You need to be in a certain position for a certain amount of time before you can.

[00:13:41.48] And so when I look back at that, I think that's such a beautiful thing because I think there's got to be a level of comfort within yourself and within your role and your position before you can start mentoring people. Being a mentor isn't just telling people what to do and having people work on XYZ projects and things like that. There's a lot more to it. It's a lot of the things that I had talked about previously in terms of what I see as a mentor. And so, for me, I thought it was a good amount of time in me being in that position and then after a year being able to bring Stephanie in that role and really try to do a lot of the things that I had seen other mentors do.

[00:14:19.36] You know, Mike, I really liked how you broke down what a mentor is. Trust, respect, vision, providing some empathy, and just really painting a clear picture of what the field looks like, coming from a voice of maturity and experience in the field. And it also speaks to when you're able to step up and be a mentor. So sort of what you're talking about with that Gatorade Immersion Program that you need to be on a certain level to be able to give back and give quality information to students and prospective coaches. There's this perception in the field that a mentor is someone that you hook your wagon to, someone who is essentially going to get you that next job or give you a recommendation. Is that accurate? Or how do you view the role of the mentor instead?

[00:15:15.81] Yeah. I don't think that's accurate. And that's why I wanted to use a couple of very specific examples previously of people that I consider mentors that had a huge influence on me that have nothing to do with strength and conditioning, or nutrition, or the NFL, or anything like that. Those are just people that influenced me personally and professionally. And so I do think it's a mistake to go after a mentor just for the purpose of, like you said, hooking your wagon to them, right? I think I learned one time of-- and this might be a little corny-- but the analogy of a bird where when a bird stands on a branch, the bird isn't worried about it that branch falls or not because the bird relies on its own wings. And you can essentially say that about yourself as a professional.

[00:16:07.23] If you're always worried about, well, my job depends on this person and where this person goes-- AKA, that branch breaking. And if you're going to go down with that every time, I mean, that's not something I want to be involved with. So I think you always-- and you got to make relationships. And luckily, some of those might help you land a job or get your foot in the door. And that's great if that's secondary to that goal of a mentor. But I would definitely advise against hooking yourself to somebody because that doesn't always work out. And Jon's been in this a lot longer than me and can probably speak to that as well.

[00:16:45.41] What do you think, Jon?

[00:16:46.66] Yeah. I agree with everything that Mike said and how he defined the characteristics of a mentor and of that relationship being one of respect, and trust, and belief. And I think that's it's a reciprocated relationship, right. I mean, that respect, and trust, and belief goes both ways. And when I think back on those relationships that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of, it's one where I had a great admiration, and belief, and trust and wanted to learn from this individual happened to become my mentor. And I believe that that was reciprocated that he or she had respected my curiosity for learning, and wanting to grow, and just wanting to learn and be a better professional. And then that relationship is nurtured, and grows, and really develops into now what everybody's calling a mentorship relationship.

[00:18:08.15] But at least in my experience, I never really reached out and say, would you be my mentor? It's just been something that has naturally-- a relationship that's naturally developed and grown. And sometimes that grows into one where they are able to help you out, whether that's through a recommendation or, in many cases, me reaching out and asking for advice, or asking them to be a reference, or that type of thing. But, yeah. I think to me, at least in my experience, that it's a relationship that is very, very much a two-way street. And I would even go so far as to say that many who have through the years considered me a mentor, I have learned just as much, if not more, from them than I feel like they've learned from me.

[00:19:11.97] Jon, I'm really glad you mentioned that. I think of early in my career. I think we all aspire or look for a mentor, someone to guide us or just teach us something that it's going to take us a little bit longer to figure out on our own. And I think it's pretty common to believe that mentorship and networking are important at every stage of your career. But especially for young coaches, getting their foot in the door, making those early professional connections. You know, Mike, what advice do you have for young coaches? And sort of on Jon's point, how do you initiate that mentor-mentee relationship if you're getting into the field? Or is this something that just needs to happen naturally?

[00:20:01.97] Yeah. I mean, I love that question because I love to think about that. And I almost think there's a little bit of both, obviously. I think in an ideal world, every relationship would come 100% organic, right. And I think that it probably is best when it does come like that. But I think a mentorship like a relationship. And sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don't. And you could just say the same thing about maybe somebody is having a hard time finding a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or something like that. And they go on a dating app. So now you're being a little bit more intentional about finding a mentor-- or sorry, a relationship.

[00:20:41.03] But you could tie that to mentorship to where hey, maybe you're a young coach in the field, and you really just don't have that person that can give you that vision, that can give you that knowledge and things like that. So I think if you're seeking out something specific-- so if you're a young coach and you're interested in a specific part of strength and conditioning and you know this person right here is one of the experts, I think reaching out to them intentionally to maybe learn more and try to build a relationship with them, I think there's nothing wrong with that. I think that's still organic.

[00:21:14.57] But it's also intentional. Just because you don't meet them organically through somebody else, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But I do think, like I said, sometimes it's like a relationship. But sometimes it doesn't work out. You might think this person is going to be a mentor for you, and you guys just don't, whether it's some of those things that Jon talked about and I talked about in terms of maybe they just can't give you that perspective or paint that vision for you for whatever reason. And I also think that sometimes to have a mentor, you actually have to go through something together.

[00:21:48.71] When I think back at my mentors, you got to maybe win together. You got to lose together. You've got to cry together. Laugh together. You'd maybe have to go through some type of adversity to become stronger, again, to the analogy of a relationship. There has to be some kind of substance there. Otherwise, it might dwindle out. And so, again, I think it's long-winded. I think there's a little bit of both in terms of some intentionality and strategy to at least trying to find some mentors that for very specific goals. But I also think a lot of them just come about organically and naturally and through other mentors and through other stops along the way.

[00:22:28.43] Looking at it like a mentorship, like a relationship, some may work out. Some may not. But as a young coach, continuing to make those professional connections is very, very valuable. And there's learning on both ends of that. You might have a negative experience. But you can learn from that as well. And I think there's empathy on the mentee side of things as well as I think we all can relate to the fact that at different stages in our careers or lives we have other things that maybe we don't have as much time for taking in a ton of mentees or bringing on extra interns and these things. And so we go through different stages of opening ourselves up to being mentors and giving back to the profession. And I think going back to the young coach days, you know, I think young coaches are great at seeking out the people that have the time available.

[00:23:26.37] And they're going to keep making those contacts. And that's the lesson I try to pass on to young coaches. A lot is you have to go to conferences. You have to go to events. You have to do your homework of who's sitting next to you if you know they're at this university or whatever it is so you can have a good conversation. Coach Jones, I want to ask you a question now on the other side of this. What are some things that young coaches should avoid doing when reaching out or working with more experienced coaches, or especially when they get a new position and are building that mentor-mentee relationship with their head coaches.

[00:24:07.50] Yeah. It's interesting. I don't know if this is necessarily avoid doing. But I would say probably to me, one of the biggest things is just to enter into the relationship or to approach the individual with the attitude of, what can I do for you? How can I help you? How can I assist? And that goes a long ways, to approach a mentor or a coach or with, hey, is there anything I can do for you? What ends up happening is you get an awful lot in return. And, again, that there's that reciprocation that I was talking about. And to go into it with a very, very open mind and just the willingness to learn, and grow, and help. I don't want to be redundant. But I think that that's a very key ingredient to a successful relationship and mentor-mentee experience.

[00:25:26.31] And then if you just from the very beginning decide, you know what, I'm going to exceed all expectations, whether that is showing up showing up on time, or you're given a little bit of a responsibility and you're expected to have it done on Friday and you get it done on Thursday, whatever the case may be, just really do your very best to exceed expectations. And it's amazing when you go into it with that attitude and one of humility and one of giving how much you get in return. I don't know if there is a magic formula. I would agree with what Mike said. And that's sometimes the relationship works, and sometimes it doesn't. But there's no question that there's an opportunity to learn all along the way, right.

[00:26:25.05] How about you, Mike?

[00:26:27.75] Yeah. I just love what Jon said about it is a two-way street. Because someone's can have a hard time bringing you on as a mentee if you can't add value to them. It can't be a one-way street. And a lot of those people in those mentor positions only have so much time and resources, just like all of us. So they can just have an unlimited amount of mentees that they're dealing with and things like that. So there's got to be some type of value added on both sides. And when I talked about what a mentor was to me, the respect, the influence, the perspective, the knowledge, things like that, that has to be two ways. As a mentor, you're talking about your mentee, you have to get that back from them as well. So I love that what Jon brought up about it has to be a two-way street. I think that's 100% true. And that's probably why maybe sometimes some of them don't work out. Maybe it's too one-sided.

[00:27:20.58] I like that. Keeping an open mind to learning but still adding value to the program. Even if you're inexperienced, there's something you can do to help the program, help the program grow, bring something that is lacking or that maybe your mentor or head coach doesn't like doing and you can take it off their plate. You always hear that advice. I want to relate this a little bit to our work with athletes. What do you guys think about the role of coaches as mentors with players? Mike, how does that look now working at the professional level?

[00:27:56.69] Yeah. That's a great question. I think there's more parallels than not with our relationships with our athletes and how we go about mentoring them. I think the hardest thing always is the fine line between the relationship between a coach and an athlete and making sure that line is drawn where you do have a job to do in a certain thing, but you can obviously still be cordial, and be friendly, and things like that. So I think you're always battling what that relationship looks like, and what's appropriate, and things like that. But I think when it comes to mentorship, I really think about it the same principles of there has to be trust there.

[00:28:36.92] And, obviously, that's the foundation. And now we're talking about specifically let's just talk about coaching and strength conditioning just to put our vision in a little bit more. There has to be trust there for them to want to do the program. And if you're trying to push them to do something, there has to be trust there. I think, again, there has to be mutual respect between the coach and the athlete. And again, sometimes that can take time. Sometimes you have to show that they can be successful and help them improve before that gets there. And same thing with trust.

[00:29:09.42] And I think there has to be a collective responsibility. And this kind of goes back to you've got to be in something together. And so it's easy as a coach when you're a coach coaching an athlete, you guys are in it together. Your success depends on theirs and vise versa. And you guys are all in it for one goal. So that's kind of taken care of. But, yeah, collective responsibility. And I think it's our job to give feedback. And it has to be honest feedback. And it has to be transparent. And just transparent communication all the time. I think they really value that. And as a coach, that's very important.

[00:29:40.13] And I do think that whole painting a vision and being futuristic I think is important. I think sometimes we get bogged down and, you know, we talk a lot about the process. And I love it when everybody wants to talk about stick to the process and don't think too far about the goal. But at the same time, you do have to think about the goal sometimes in my opinion because I think if people get bogged down in a process, sometimes their like, what are we doing again? You know what I mean? Like, when you're into week, whatever, a training, and you're like, all of a sudden athletes are like, what part of the block are we in again? Like, why are we doing this again?

[00:30:11.93] So they're kind of has to be that vision and perspective for the athlete. And then knowledge. I mean, I think there's certain athletes that have a drive to learn more than others. And I think you as a practitioner, obviously, the soft skills are very important in communication and things like that. But you better know your stuff. You know, you better know the X's and O's of what you're doing and why you're doing on the floor and on the field. And I think that's important. And so if an athlete has a question, you should either be able to answer it or get the answer for them. So I think, again, there's a lot of parallels in how you mentor a mentee under you as an assistant strength coach or as a performance nutrition assistant and how you mentor athletes. I think the same principles apply for the most part.

[00:30:52.60] Jon, how about you?

[00:30:54.73] Yeah. I would agree. I think there is always mentoring from the strength coach, or the sports dietician, or the practitioner to the athlete. And it all starts with modeling, how you conduct yourself as a professional, especially in the collegiate and high school setting. They're a sponge. And they are learning all the time. And they're looking at you as a professional and how you conduct yourself, whether that is showing up on time and being punctual or showing poise under pressure, being able to adapt to change. And I think also how you treat others. Treating others fairly. Treating others with respect, with compassion.

[00:31:49.63] And in my opinion, all of that is very, very important. And no question in my mind that the mentoring process is almost continuous, I think. And in my opinion, at least for me, that was probably the part that I enjoyed, if not more, definitely just as much as the-- I'll say the X's and O's of strength and conditioning, and the programming, program design, and coaching. That part of it. And, hopefully, that is one of the reasons that we all get into this, to be able to help others grow as individuals and professionals.

[00:32:43.01] Yeah I really liked how, you know, as coaches we have a job to do. But we also have to keep the best interests of our players and athletes in mind. And I think of scenarios where you don't always know the impact you're having on-- you don't know the years you have with the athlete at the time. You know, I think of a few times that you get a call years later from a player you had. And they're calling you to ask for advice on something totally unrelated to the weight room. Or, hey, I remember you used to talk about this or you used to-- I remember you were buying a house or going through having your first born, and now we are. And those are really powerful career moments. Some of the best conversations. And they really hit you. We don't talk about those things a lot in coaching. And, man, it is so powerful.

[00:33:42.51] So the role that we play as coaches for our teams, for our athletes, it's a lifelong journey. And the way you guys are talking about that, I think just the fact that it goes beyond the here and the now, I think that's a great message for everyone listening today. Mike, I want to ask you something a little bit related to the fact that you were RD and you are a CSCS. So you work as a strength coach. But you work on the nutrition side of things. There's a lot of coaches out there that don't have the nutrition background you have but have to work with an RD. And so there's a little bit of that mentorship relationship there as well where there's learning to be had. What advice do you have for coaches that are working with a department that has an RD, when to refer to that knowledge, and just how to navigate that relationship?

[00:34:45.75] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think there has to be a drive to learn from the coach first and foremost. So, I mean, I think they have to obviously have that drive to want to gain that type of knowledge and gain that relationship. So I think there has to be, again, like kind of Jon said, there has to be a two-way want and need for that. But again, I think it's something where you just kind of navigate the staff and navigate the position. And, yeah. And, I mean, it kind of relates back to what we're talking about with how you find a mentor. And one thing that I kind of forgot to mention a little bit in terms of the strategy side is you've got to find a way to connect. And there's always a way to connect with somebody. You can always find that something.

[00:35:28.59] And I feel like a mistake that a lot of us make is we just think the connection is just strength and conditioning or the connection is just sports. So if I'm trying to find a mentor-- so in your example, a coach maybe went to work with an RD, or vise versa, or whatever. Well, we're just on the same team. So now we automatically have a connection. That's not necessarily true. Find out where that person's from. Do you guys have a common friend? Have you worked with the common athlete before? There's always something. And that was something I learned from Sean Holz, who I worked with in Philly is he was very good at finding that connection.

[00:36:05.67] I feel like every time that we had somebody come in, maybe a new person, he knew where they were from. And he knew somebody that was from there. And that's like so simple but such a powerful way to start a relationship with somebody. And so I think, again, not to get too long-winded, but I think for that person, I think I just find that connectedness first. So number one, is there a drive to learn? Is there value for both sides? And find that way to connect.

[00:36:33.48] I like that. You can be the mentor on one side but the mentee on at the same time working with-- as staffs have grown, as departments have grown and new roles are added, you're the expert in one area, and someone else is the expert in something else. And I think keeping that in mind is really valuable, relates to mentorship, what we've been talking about today. I've really enjoyed this. Mike, want to give you a chance for our listeners who want to reach out. What's the best way to do that?

[00:37:07.30] Yeah it's kind of the normal things. I mean, you can look me up on LinkedIn. I think I'm the only Mike Minnis on there from last time I checked. Maybe not. But you should be able to find me on there. Twitter @mminnis89. And then Instagram handle's the same. So I'm open. Open to always connect.

[00:37:24.71] How about you coach, Jost?

[00:37:28.07] Probably the easiest way is through my Gatorade email, which is Jonathan.Jost@pepsico.com That's going to be the easiest way to reach me. And definitely welcome anybody that wants to reach out and connect with me. And will help in any way I can.

[00:37:52.39] Both you guys are great resources for everyone listening in today. Mike and Jon, thanks for being with us today. To our listeners, we hope you liked what you heard. We would also like to thank Gatorade performance partner for fueling this episode and supporting important conversations to advance the strength and conditioning profession. If you'd like to learn more and join the Gatorade performance partner community, visit Gatoradeperformanceparter.com. Also, thanks to Sorinex exercise equipment, a regular sponsor on the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We appreciate their support. From the NSCA headquarters here in Colorado Springs, have a great day.

[00:38:29.53] 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.

[00:38:51.97] 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.

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Eric L. McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, 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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Minnis enters his 6th season with the Philadelphia Eagles, joining the team in March 2016. In his current role with the Eagles, Minnis provides overv ...

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Jon Jost has had a successful 27 year career as a college strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Holy Cross, SMU, and Florida State. He formerly ...

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