NSCA’s Coaching Podcast Season 6, Episode 1: Angelo Gingerelli

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Angelo Gingerelli, MBA, CSCS
Coaching Podcast April 2022


Listen in as Angelo Gingerelli, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, tells the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about his journey in the strength and conditioning profession. Topics include working collaboratively as a strength and conditioning staff, positive social media practices, taking on additional staff responsibilities as an adjunct professor, and working with endurance athletes.  

You can reach out to Coach Gingerelli on Instagram: @finish_strong_book| Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“I think so much our profession is based on getting an internship and making some connections, but I don't think we spend enough time teaching young coaches you have to nurture those connections. Like going up introducing somebody at a conference, that's a great thing, but what do you do next? Is there a follow-up email? What are you doing when that internship is over?” 6:41

“But I think the lesson for young coaches out there is, we argue a lot, the value of a master's degree. You have to have it, but we view it more as kind of checking a box on a resume than getting a lot from it a lot of time in the coaching profession. And I can tell you straight up and down having that master's in health promotion and MEd in education led to me teaching my first class. I was the only person that could do it, and it's led to tens of thousands of dollars in revenue over the last decade by being able to teach these classes and adjuncts.” 29:42

“So I tell young coaches, get as much experience as you can, intern under as many people as you can, read everything you can, and then start to develop your coaching philosophy or principles around that.” 35:04

“I would say the biggest thing I did as my development as a strength and conditioning coach that changed the game for me, in 2011, I ran a marathon.” 36:08


[00:00:00.78] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, season six, episode one.

[00:00:06.00] So I always tell young coaches, get as much experience as you can, intern under as many people as you can, read everything you can, and then start to develop your coaching philosophy, your principles, around that.

[00:00:16.65] 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.

[00:00:27.34] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today we're joined by Angelo Gingerelli, a strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Seton Hall University. Angelo also teaches some PE electives as an adjunct professor, and he's been in the field for a number of years. Angelo, welcome.

[00:00:46.17] Thanks for having me, Eric. I really appreciate it.

[00:00:48.27] Yeah, I'm excited to get to know you today. We've been going back and forth a little bit on a few things, and it's just always great to connect with a coach in the profession. And here's a chance just to tell your story to all our listeners.

[00:01:01.74] Awesome, man. Really looking forward to it.

[00:01:04.46] So tell us about your background in the field and how you got started.

[00:01:09.52] OK. So I was in high school at the Jersey Shore in the '90s, and I was super lucky. I went to a public high school that had a strength and conditioning coach on the staff. He was a Phys. Ed. teacher and a strength coach, and we had-- at the time, it was a great weight room. It's obviously been outdated some 30 years ago. It was great for the time, and he was just a super big influence on my life. His name is Rob DeVito. We still talk about once a month, today.

[00:01:30.79] And I just decided, like everybody else, I started lifting weights in high school to get better at sports, like wrestling, track, baseball, whatever, and just really liked the weight room. I just love being in there, I like training, I like pushing myself, the way we all do-- probably all you listening to the podcast like training-- and then I decided right as I was graduating, I wanted to pursue something in that realm.

[00:01:50.77] And right about then, the University of Delaware had started a major of exercise science with a concentration in strength and conditioning, and were in the first schools in the country to do that in the mid to late '90s. So it just made a perfect fit that it was a school I wanted to go to. They had a major I really wanted to pursue. And I got down there and started interning in the weight room my freshman year. I just started right off the bat. I was 19 years old, and just started learning the lingo and learning the profession.

[00:02:16.45] Tony Decker was the strength coach there, another super big influence on my career. And then my graduating class was the first group of students that had that exercise science, strength and conditioning concentration, on their diploma. And then I went out from there. My last thing at University of Delaware was a internship at NC State with Charles Stevenson, worked with him for a summer right from there.

[00:02:40.04] I was lucky enough to get a graduate assistantship at Virginia Tech for two years. Finished my master's degree in health promotions, and then another stroke of luck. As my internship ended, as my GA position ended, and I graduated from Virginia Tech, a full-time position opened up at NC State, which I got there. Actually, my first full-time job was down at NC State.

[00:02:59.59] I did one year with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005, and then as that wound up, I got to Seton Hall in 2005, and have been there 17 years. As everybody knows, that's an eternity in strength and conditioning years. It's almost like dog years. Every one year in our field feels like seven years in a regular job. But I found a good spot for myself, man.

[00:03:20.77] I always tell people, I got super lucky in that I grew up a Seton Hall fan. I had a Seton Hall starter jacket when I was in 10th grade. I remember watching them go to the NCAA tournament as a little kid. And my family's in New Jersey. I love living in New Jersey, and I love-- my dad comes to the games. It's a really good time. Now my daughter comes to the games with me and I'm a generational Seton Hall fan. It's really cool to be a part of something that I grew up watching on TV, and now, for close to two decades, got to be some part of our department's success.

[00:03:52.86] A lot of coaches really go anywhere and everywhere to pursue opportunities in this profession, and you've been really fortunate that you've been able to stay close to home and connected around the Northeast and just build a career there. If you would, share a little bit about the Seton Hall program. What do you really like about it? How do you guys structure your department? And just some of the teams you work with.

[00:04:17.08] OK, great question. So we have three people on the strength and conditioning staff that are all full time. One person works with men's basketball and women's soccer, and he's really not a part of the basketball staff, but he goes to just about everything. He's at every practice, every warm up, every shootaround, travels with the team. If he's on the road with the men, I'll take over women's soccer that day, whatever it might be. We have to cover for each other.

[00:04:39.36] We have another person on staff that covers women's basketball and men's soccer, kind of the same thing. She does everything with women's basketball, on the road, meal planning, that kind of stuff. And then when they're on the road, I stay back and cover the soccer teams.

[00:04:51.99] One thing we've done really good since this particular staff has been in place is we all work together and help each other out a ton. And we all write our programs using the same language, same terminology. For example, on Friday, he's going to be gone with women's soccer. We've already gone over the workout, so I'm ready to implement it seamlessly on Friday when he's on the road.

[00:05:12.00] We have six [INAUDIBLE] baseball [INAUDIBLE]. We have 40 baseball guys right now, the pitchers doing one thing, position guys doing another thing, pitcher's are training based on their day in the rotation. And both of those other people on our staff are invaluable with helping me make that work, because I'm one guy. There's 40 of them, might be in a couple of different locations. Guys are doing different things and really work together well.

[00:05:31.11] We don't have any grad assistants, mainly because Seton Hall doesn't offer any grad degree that would really help a strength coach out in their field. We have a huge business school, a couple other majors we're kind of known for, but we try to bring in between two and four interns every semester. And like anybody in the profession knows, that can be hit and miss. You get interns sometimes that step in day one and they're an asset to the room, asset to the staff immediately.

[00:05:54.69] Then you get some kids you got to drag along a little bit, get them up to speed to be a help. And then you get some kids that it's not for them, and you learn that during the internship, and I think that's fine. I think as long as you're coming in every day and trying to learn, and realize this might not be the career you want to pursue, that's a valuable lesson too.

[00:06:11.10] But I try to keep in touch. I do one thing I think is pretty cool, I started a couple of years ago with our interns. We don't have really a set internship program, but I put every intern that's interested into a GroupMe, and we keep in touch that way, for about 50 kids in there now. It's kind of like, if a position opens, I'll post that up in there so they can apply to it. If I produce an article or a book or something like that, I'll post it in there. And we all stayed in touch and communicated-- probably since 2015 or '16, we started that-- and it's really been a good thing for everybody involved.

[00:06:41.97] I think so much our profession is based on getting an internship and making some connections, but I don't think we spend enough time teaching young coaches you have to nurture those connections. Like going up introducing somebody at a conference, that's a great thing, but what do you do next? Is there a follow-up email? What are you doing when that internship is over? And I think one thing I've done pretty good is try to keep everybody that I've had, I think some kind of influence on, connected, communicating with each other, and communicating with me pretty often.

[00:07:10.71] Yeah, I think it's really interesting. The staff dynamic. You go from one university to the next, and you just see things can run a lot differently. One program doesn't always work at another institution. How you staff that program, whether it be interns, GAs, full-time assistants. And one thing I think is really interesting is that the NSCA was founded by a group of college coaches that came together and tried to be more organized. And so it's our founding audience, but it's also probably our most diverse and broad audience, in that you have high resource programs, low resource programs, power five major universities, all the way down to NAIA or Division III schools that some have resources and endowments and some don't.

[00:08:04.48] I think it's interesting hearing about staff dynamics and how things run. It sounds like you've been there for a number of years. It sounds like you have some great collaboration going on with your staffs, and you really try to make the most of it with your interns. If you would, speak to how you've seen the field evolve over your time at Seton Hall. What are some of the changes in the profession that you see now, from when you first started? And what's some of the momentum that you see building today?

[00:08:35.97] OK. I think if you go back to it, I kind of got in the very late '90s, early 2000s, so 20 plus years ago, at this point. And I think-- and this is coming from a power lifting, Olympic lifting background-- I think so much of that error was on the idea of athletes need to be stronger. And you've got to do that by doing the main lift, your squat, bench, clean, deadlifts, as heavy as you possibly can. Get everybody great at those lifts, and get as strong as possible on the platform or in the squat rack.

[00:09:01.98] And that was the era of everybody had a record board. Everybody would brag, this football team has five guys that could bench press 405 or whatever it might be. And I think what we saw as a profession, a lot of times, that didn't translate onto the field. You had your weight room all-stars. They weren't necessarily your all-conference, draft pick type guys. Or men or women, to correct myself.

[00:09:23.69] And so I think, we saw the pendulum swing the other way, into everything being so quote-unquote functional and athletic. And all of a sudden, it doesn't matter what you could squat, but it matters how deep you could squat, and how high you could jump with a bar on your back, and that kind of stuff. And now I think we're in a pretty good spot, where it's kind of in the middle.

[00:09:41.19] I think most strength coaches realize you have to develop a strength base to do anything productive in high level sports, but at the same time, let's say for example, you're at a 400-pound squatter. At that point, does it make more sense to have more time and effort to turn that person into a 500-pound squatter? Or a 400-pound squatter with great mobility, great flexibility, great explosive muscle fiber types, good landing mechanics?

[00:10:06.46] I think the one thing in college that's kind of different than the private sector, and even the pro sector really, we're always limited by time. We're always playing beat the clock. We only have so many hours a week, or semester, whatever period of time we're going to look at, to train our student athletes. So you've got to look at, I always look at it as, if I had 20 hours a week with these kids, I would do all of this stuff. Let's cut that in half, cut the fluff off, then cut that in half again. And that's probably what I'm really looking at.

[00:10:33.72] So you really got to get down to this, in my opinion, decide what is the most important thing you want to get out of every session, and most important thing you want to get out of every training block cycle, semester, however you look at it, and make sure you get that in, in the allotted time you're given by the NCAA and head coaches. And then if you have extra time, extra staff, put other stuff on top of that.

[00:10:56.13] The other thing I realize, too, is different. You said every staff is different, every school is different. That's 100% sure. If it was this podcast, you could tell us, people with 16 strength coaches on one staff, the school for one guy or girl does the whole thing. But teams are different. I deal with our baseball team, in the Northeast, is one demographic of players. Now, they're still 18 and 22-year-olds, but our soccer guys are a completely different demographic, and it has to be addressed differently. Swimmers are a different demographic, addressed differently.

[00:11:24.42] And that's one thing that a young coach could really learn. Everybody wants to work with football and men's basketball. That's the brass ring at the college level. I completely understand that. But I think if you get a chance to intern and see what a swimming session looks like, or what a cross-country workout looks like, what a baseball pitching workout looks like, I think you should take every opportunity to learn and take notes and ask questions about that too, because it's a different-- We're all human beings. Our bodies aren't that different. But if you're going to optimize training for, let's say, a first baseman and a distance swimmer, those programs are going to look very different. So how do you do that? And how do you make that work for all of the athletes you deal with?

[00:12:03.71] Speak to some of the ways you've seen this evolve, but speak to some of the ways that you've stayed current in the field over the years. Books, resources-- what are some of the pivotal resources that have driven your thinking?

[00:12:19.82] I'm one of the few people in my age group that I think, we live in an awesome time. As far as, everybody our age wants to hate social media, influencers are trash, and it's all garbage. In reality, there's as much good stuff on the internet, available right now, as the entire history of published books. It's super simple. It's all free. I always joke around with other coaches in our building, if you're screaming that you hate Instagram now, 500 years ago, you were the person screaming you hated books, and they were a fad and not going to last.

[00:12:52.01] So I know it's kind of funny, but Instagram, YouTube, all that stuff, e-books, everyone will look at it-- no listen, there's some stuff out there that's dangerous, terrible, people are going to get hurt, all that. There's also good information out there, and I think, where we need to do a little bit better as a profession is probably instilling our young coaches, our intern-level coaches, with a good foundation of how the body works, anatomy and physiology, and what is good.

[00:13:18.26] And then you can go out and sift through what's good out there. If you have no basis for knowledge, no basis of how the body works, you look at an Instagram account, you look at a YouTube video, you look at a muscle and fitness type article, and you think that's the gospel. When in reality, maybe it's trash. Maybe there's nothing good on there. Or in reality, maybe there's something good you can pull out of that article, and apply to what you already know, and make your programming better that way.

[00:13:40.14] So I think that the best stuff out there right now-- we live in a weird time, too, of everything is moving so fast. I just published a book myself, was a three year process, mainly because of COVID, would've been a two year process without it. So a book that comes out in 2022, someone wrote that in 2018 or 2019. That's already-- I'm not going to say it's outdated. Oh, there's probably some great information in there, but there's already newer stuff being put out every day online. So I think if you're going to be a strength coach, to some extent, you've got to be out there and reading what's out there.

[00:14:11.33] Another joke I always make that gets a laugh sometimes, I think knowing the science, and knowing anatomy and physiology, and how the body works, is super important, but as a strength coach at the college level for almost 20 years, I've never had a student athlete come in my office and ask me to explain the sliding filament of muscle contraction, slide filament theory, or the Krebs cycle, or any of that stuff. What they ask you about is what's current.

[00:14:32.21] So I think, to some extent, if you're going to connect to the players, you have to know what's going on in the bigger fitness industry. And if there's a reason you don't like one of those things that are popular, be able to explain why you don't like it, and have a basis for why you don't like it, as opposed to just being the old curmudgeon-- everything new is bad. Everything old is good-- because I find student athletes in college tune that person out real quick. But if you speak the same languages, and I know what's going on with the bigger fitness unit than just college strength and conditioning, those are the questions you're going to get asked day to day.

[00:15:03.45] We've seen this shift in the field, and in digging into your background, I saw you had a power lifting and Olympic lifting background for yourself. And what I'm curious about is, going back on your answer of how the field has evolved from more of those foundational, that power lifting, focus to some of the more functional or isolateral type training we look at today, how important is power lifting and Olympic lifting foundations within the strength and conditioning scope for your athletes? And specifically, to some of the athletes that maybe aren't in those ideal body types for those sports?

[00:15:51.33] OK. Sweeping generalization, what I teach my classes is particularly the power lifts, your bench press, your squat, and your deadlift or deadlift variation, those are the foundation of the house you're going to build in the weight room. If you can't do those reasonably well, anything else is going to be really hard. I think we all agree on that. Most strength coaches are doing some kind of squatting, some kind of bench pressing or pressing, and some kind of deadlift type move, maybe a trap bar, an RDL, or whatever it might be. So I think if we're going to try to build a house on a shaky foundation, it's going to be a real shaky house. We've got to get good at those movements.

[00:16:27.38] As far as Olympic lifting, as someone who came from a background of always thinking that was super important, as I've got older and seen things evolve, my attitude on that now is that if you have an athlete that's really good at your squat, your bench, and your deadlift, and you want to train some explosiveness, teaching a clean, teaching snatch, might be a great way to do it. But you got to look at that time component, too. So the example we give people is if you watch high-level, world class, Olympic weightlifting, those men and women dedicate their lives to learning those movements and those techniques and being great at them. They're the best in the world, and their technique breaks down sometimes. They get injured on the platform sometimes.

[00:17:04.93] So now we're going to take a young athlete that's a soccer player, a swimmer, a baseball player, whatever it might be, and expect them to do a perfect clean or perfect snatch, while they're playing a sport, while they're doing aerobic conditioning, while they're probably not sleeping, eating, drinking properly, because they're college students, and potentially they're not super into learning what we're trying to teach them, does that get dangerous real quick? Absolutely. So what I've figured out recently is we could take a lot of time teaching a clean, or we can maybe do some back squats, super sets or box jumps.

[00:17:34.48] Or we can maybe look at some things differently, and maybe, not dumb, but simplify the technique down a little bit, and get the most out of our time, and not to kill a ton of time, teaching these very complicated, multi-joint movements that, quite frankly, not everybody is going to be great at. If everybody's 5' 8", 165, we can probably get everybody great at Olympic lifts. But you've got a basketball team, and you got a guy that's 6' 11" 210, that person might not have the body type to ever really get good at that.

[00:18:03.86] So you're better off attacking that, skinning that cat, in a different direction, and maybe doing some super sets, stuff like that, some plyo work, med ball work, box jumps, stuff like that, for the explosiveness, and taking that time and maybe doing hypertrophy or put a muscle mass type work on that guy or girl, because that's what their body type demands.

[00:18:21.01] And that's an interesting thing, too, that the athlete we have today at the college level is, for the most part, better educated about their own body than ever before, because of the proliferation of your private sector training facilities. There is a prior point and-- when I went to college, if the strength coach said everybody's doing workout X, most people didn't know enough to question it.

[00:18:44.05] Now that guy or girl you were, in a weight room, an 18-year-old freshman in college, they may have already met with or trained with three or four strength coaches, personal trainers, athletic coach, or whatever, athletic performance people, whatever you want to call us. And they've been told for the last couple of years, you have tight Achilles, you so you have to address that. Your thoracic mobility is limited, make sure you address that.

[00:19:04.93] And I think the breakdown in our profession is we have kids that go see multiple different practitioners as they're growing up. Then they go to college, might do a completely different philosophy of training, completely different way to view the body. Then if they're lucky enough to play beyond college, that's another ballgame there.

[00:19:23.41] I'm not saying at all that I think we should adopt the Eastern Bloc method from the '80s and '90s, or develop kids from the cradle to the grave to be athletes, that's the American way at all. But I do think that there is some uniformity in the way we trained, and more of a progression. Not everybody, I think some athletes would do better by that, as opposed to being confused by meeting with so many different personal trainers, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and having their head full of so many different things by the time they meet their college strength coach.

[00:19:51.91] That being said, the positive side is a lot of kids I deal with are really good at the basic stuff the day I meet them, because they went to those places when they were younger, might've had a good high school strength coach. And they can squat, they can lunge, they can pull up, they can push up, and it makes my job a lot easier. I think to some extent, some of the people in the private sector, high school strength coaches, have become so good at their job, people like me at the college level have to almost sell ourselves more, because they were committed to one kind of training.

[00:20:22.72] In the last 10 years, no one's ever come to me being-- I come at it like I'm a friend, like here's what you were doing before. Here's what we're going to do here. It's great you did that stuff before. My job to help you get better. The blustery fire and brimstone strength coach in everybody's face, there's a time for that. But there's also a time for, if you got some questions about the workout, come to office and we'll talk about it. There's a time for, it's really cool you're 18 and can do all this stuff, but if you want to play-- and that got you to be seen all through the Big East-- but if you want to get drafted and play and get paid to play beyond this, I got some ideas that can help you. Let's sit down and talk about it.

[00:21:03.46] And that's one thing that a lot of strength coaches are-- I think if you're going to be in this game for a long time you have to get good at that side of it. I think the X's and O's, the percentages, the programming, your sets, reps, are incredibly important, but if you can't convey that to your athletes, why it's important and why you need 100% effort this day, they're going to take a recovery day, why I need you well rested this day, you're never going to get the most out of your athletes or your program or your teams, because so much of what we do, in my opinion, is interpersonal relationships and being somewhat of a salesman or saleswoman of why I need you to give me a ton of effort on this thing I'm asking you to do.

[00:21:41.80] And I understand why that's hard. I understand why it's a lot to ask of somebody. I'm going up to a 17-year-old kid, maybe hasn't seen his parents in a couple of months. He's in school. He might have a job. He's got coaches yelling at him nonstop. He's nervous about making a team. He might be dealing with an injury. And now I'm saying, let's put two plates on the bar and squat, whatever it is. So I think to some extent, you got to really develop those relationships and how the players trust you, and I think they got to know you're on their side.

[00:22:09.02] That's the one thing I think I do really well. I'm intense. When we're going to work out I need to be intense. I will joke around and laugh with our guys and girls, as much as anybody else on campus. But I think they all know at the end of the day, they could come into the office, pull me aside, shoot me an email, and if they have a real question they need help with, I'll do anything I can to help them. I think that goes a long way, that my relationship is not just a business relationship.

[00:22:31.51] We're giving you a scholarship to play, but I want more than anything else, you to walk out of here four years after the day I met you, a better man or woman than you were a boy or girl when I met you four years ago. And that's where you get-- it's kind of a cliche-- but as I get older, that's where I get the biggest satisfaction, going to alumni events, getting emails, getting texts. People are still training. They're having families. They're being successful in their career, and they told me I was a part of that.

[00:22:55.58] And that's really amazing, and that's the most humbling thing I've been a part of, probably, as an adult. And that's as someone who's been part of staffs that have won Big East championships and the NCAA tournament. All that's great. It's phenomenal. But I think the weight room and the impact we have on people's lives is really phenomenal, as well.

[00:23:13.67] Yeah, a lot of great perspective on growth of the private sector and how that has influenced college athletics and the athletes you get at 18 years old. It used to be that's when strength and conditioning started, when you got the first year student athlete on campus, but it's not always the case anymore, especially with some of the elite private programs out there that athletes are getting recruited from. One thing I want to ask is, COVID-19 has obviously impacted all of us in college programs, especially with how training sessions and policies are going in place. How did it affect you at Seton Hall?

[00:23:57.74] OK, so the first year of COVID, which is about two years ago now, we shut everything down spring sport-wise, and summer-wise, the facility was just pretty much closed. When we got back in fall 2020, we had a 19 person cap on how many people could come in the weight room at one time. We had 19 stations people could train at. They were about 10 feet apart. They were saying six feet. We separated even more.

[00:24:22.14] And we had the entire department doing the same workout. So every hour, 19 people would come in the room, and you would have everything you needed within about a 10-foot radius around your body. And you would do the same workout. We'd change it month to month. And it worked well with the conditions we had. The people got bigger, stronger. People felt better, because they went from not training at all during the first part of quarantine to actually training again, which was good. Coaching-wise, it was really rough.

[00:24:52.51] Strength coaches out there will really feel me on this. That, for example, 19 kids in the weight room sounds like a lot, but now, when you got 60 swimmers, instead of one hour of your day, that's three. It's a three hour block of swimming. It was a two hour block every day for baseball. I think it was 3 for softball, whatever it might be. So the day was just really exhausting. It was every hour, 19 kids come in. Every hour, 19 kids leave. And then completely sanitizing the room every hour. It was necessary. It was a lot of work, but it worked reasonably well for the world we were in at that time.

[00:25:27.71] This year we came back for 2021, and we're wearing masks in the weight room, obviously, because we're indoors. We're allowed to have full teams in again, which is definitely good. And now we're doing a lot more team-specific training, because now when it's the swimmers, it's just swimmers. When it was baseball, it's just baseball. And we can circulate around the room a little bit better, spot each other, stuff like that. So things have gotten better.

[00:25:50.03] We're still trying to keep teams mixing to a minimum, with the idea that if one person has COVID, trying to expose them to as few people as possible. And then our athletic trainer was doing a phenomenal job of testing and contact tracing and getting people out of the population, as soon as they can, to keep everybody else safe.

[00:26:09.56] It's been an incredible year of-- somebody out here for about 15 years before COVID, doing things one way, and trying to get better every year. And making small changes, doing things different. But to go to a completely 180 shift in the way you trained for the last two years has really been something else.

[00:26:25.31] The one thing I want to give the fitness community a lot of props on, I think when something like this happens, you see the best and the worst of people. I think the worst our field did was when people wanted equipment, suppliers doubled and tripled prices. You saw blood and you went for more blood like a shark. If you want a squat rack in your garage, and now instead of $500, it's $2,000 and we can't deliver it for six months. I didn't really think that was a good way to handle things, but I understand it's a business, the way the world goes around.

[00:26:52.22] But I think if you were a fitness influencer, and you were posting free workouts and showing people how to train and burn calories and get better in their house, which all these people did on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube for the last year, I got to take my hat off to that, man. I think you did a great job, and I understand you're marketing yourself and trying to sign clients, and stuff like that. But I think as a community, we did a really good job online of showing people you don't need a squat rack and a Woodway treadmill and 75-pound kettlebells to get a workout in.

[00:27:21.53] If you got a backpack and some sneakers and a couple gallons of milk, you can get something in, and not put on the quarantine 15 and be out of shape. And in my opinion, the world was so crazy the last two years. Being out of shape should not be another thing you have to worry about. And we have a very nice weight room here. We have power lift equipment. We got tires. We got all this stuff that costs a ton of money. And it's great. The tools are great, but if you come-- I always joke around with the kids-- if you come back to campus out of shape after a break, that's completely your fault. You need nothing to run, to do a dynamic warm up, to do body weight stuff. You go to a park and do pull ups.

[00:27:59.60] So I always get on them that if you're out of shape after the summer, it's only your fault. Not having access to a facility is not an excuse. And in my opinion, on COVID, not having access to the gym is not a reason to become overweight, more out of shape, obviously, more at risk for COVID complications, in those cases, and then to have hit the host of things that go along with that, high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, and all that stuff. So I think the community did a pretty good job of showing people that you don't need a ton of equipment to stay in great shape. And now I'm happy for everybody that owns a business, that the world's opening back up and get out there, and get back in the gyms and train again.

[00:28:35.01] Angelo, you've done some teaching as part of some PE electives on campus, and not every strength and conditioning coach has the opportunity to do that on campus, but many do. Speak to the value of having some teaching responsibilities, outside of your normal coaching duties, just for you, and how you view that and how you've pursued that throughout your career.

[00:29:00.31] Great. OK, so my teaching background is a little strange. Our baseball coach right now, his father was a previous baseball coach, and they're a legend in New Jersey baseball history, the Sheppard family. So Rob Sheppard, their coach right now, probably one of the best coaching relationships I've ever had, as far as strength coach and head coach, get along great. I've learned a ton from him. I hope he's learned something from me along the way.

[00:29:23.23] But before him, his dad was the head coach, and his dad was retired and teaching classes when I first got here. And then he had some health complications, and they needed someone to teach his class right away. And I was the only person in the building that had a master's degree related to education, that could take over. So with about two days notice, I took his syllabus and started teaching.

[00:29:42.45] But I think the lesson for young coaches out there is, we argue a lot, the value of a master's degree. You have to have it, but we view it more as kind of checking a box on a resume than getting a lot from it a lot of time in the coaching profession. And I can tell you straight up and down having that master's in health promotion and MEd in education led to me teaching my first class. I was the only person that could do it, and it's led to tens of thousands of dollars in revenue over the last decade by being able to teach these classes and adjuncts.

[00:30:09.01] I think one thing we can all agree on is strength coaches are not compensated nearly enough for number one, the amount of time they put in, number two, the amount of education we demand from them, and number three, how much they just work and have to get in the field. That's intern, GA, part-time coach, full-time coach, and only a handful of us making any money at the very top of the spectrum. I don't consider myself in that at all. So you got to supplement your income one way or the other, so teaching is a great way to do that.

[00:30:34.41] The other thing I learned right away in the classroom, literally the first month or two when I was doing this, back in about 2010 or 2011, the lack of knowledge about the human body by your student athletes and your general population students is astounding. You cannot imagine how many people-- and I'm dealing the smartest kids going to Seton Hall, one of the better colleges in the Northeast. We're talking seniors in college have no idea what a macronutrient is, no idea what a calorie is, no idea what a concentric muscle contraction is.

[00:31:04.71] So to some extent-- and I think high school teachers, public school teachers, do a great job. Private school teachers, shout out to them-- but we're graduating kids out of our education system that know nothing about the human body, and then we wonder why the obesity rate is what it is by the time people are 30. We wonder why so many adults are suffering from high blood pressure, hypertension, sleep apnea, all the things go along with obesity. And I got in that classroom, literally the first class I had, I'm like, Oh, wait this isn't common knowledge? And I feel like as strength coaches, we take for granted what we know, but the rest of the world doesn't know that, and I think one thing we could probably get better at as a profession is teaching more people that stuff.

[00:31:46.89] Now, I'm not naive. I don't think if we improve high school health, we become healthier as a country. There are a million factors out there that contribute to why everyone is overweight, why people choose not to be active, why our cardiovascular health is at an all time low. But I do think we need to do a better job across the board of educating Americans and teaching them that being active, eating a reasonable diet, drinking enough water, sleeping enough, those kind of things, are super important. Let's learn that right away.

[00:32:13.87] The other thing that hit me real quickly, I think I do a pretty good job of impacting our student athletes, and my relationships are great. I think I teach them a lot. I think I put a lot of myself and effort into teaching them things they are going to take the rest of their life. When you're teaching, you can do that to some more people. It's not just the student athletes. It's the general population kids. And if, for example, you're dealing with a student athlete, they're active. They might not love training, but they understand at least a little bit the value of daily physical activity. If you deal with a college senior that's never played sports, never been active, you're almost speaking a different language. I think learning that language is valuable, and being able to communicate that these things are important to long term health, to the people that may have never been told that before, is super important.

[00:32:59.26] The other thing, I think the cliche is, if you want to learn something, teach it to somebody else. And I can honestly say what I've taught in the classroom, I've learned like the back of my hand. In strength and condition, you get everybody understands NSCA textbook the day they take the test. They might be 22. Put them in front of that test again in their 30s or 40s, a lot of them can't pass it, because you're not doing that stuff every day.

[00:33:25.23] Is that fair? We're not doing that science every day, but I think when you put yourself in that classroom setting, an academic setting, and force yourself to stay up to date of what's going on, keep reinforcing the physiology and the nutrition and that stuff, it keeps you sharp. It's the same way as if you work on your flexibility every day, you don't ever get inflexible. You're in a much better spot than if you've got inflexible and got to get back into it. Same thing in the classroom.

[00:33:49.82] If you let that academic stuff slide and forget it after you take the certification exam, you can't be super surprised when you're in your 30s, and coaches in their 20s are knowing more than you, doing better than you, getting better jobs in some cases, because you chose not to keep your foot on the gas and stay abreast of what's going on in the industry, and on the academic and research side of things.

[00:34:11.07] So I'm on a podcast recently-- I kind of agree with this-- is that I think as a coach, there's three things you got to pull from. One is the research and the scientifical, clinical side of what's going on. And the NSCA does a great job putting that info out there and being the cutting edge, or part of the cutting edge, of what's going on with the human body and how to train it differently.

[00:34:32.54] The second thing is your experience, and that's how many teams have you trained? How many tools you have your toolbox? How many facilities have you used? How do you implement what you want to do in your head, ideally, to what you're actually looking at realistically? If we all had 10,000 square foot weight rooms and one client per hour and all the time in the world to work with that man or woman, we can all be great strength coaches.

[00:34:53.75] But now your first job was in a high school and you got two bent bars, a couple of mismatched dumbbells, and some metal plyo boxes, what are you going to do? How are you going to maximize that program, because you still owe it to those kids and those coaches to be the best strength coach you can be. So I tell young coaches, get as much experience as you can, intern under as many people as you can, read everything you can, and then start to develop your coaching philosophy or principles around that.

[00:35:16.83] And the last thing I have is what you do to yourself, how you train yourself. I think we have too many sport coaches in America that don't train at all and try to tell strength coaches how to do their job. If you don't squat, how do you tell another man or woman how to squat? It's one thing I really have a beef with is you have these sport coaches that either lifted weights barely, or were pretty good at it 20 years ago, trying to tell you how to implement a program, and you're grinding every day, lifting, running, doing plyos, and knowing how that feels internally.

[00:35:50.30] Unfortunately, because of the power dynamic in college sports, you can't normally tell those coaches what you really want to tell them, which is get the hell out of a weight room. I don't come to your practice and disrupt what you're doing. But I think to some extent, you got to train yourself and try different things, and push speaking the same language as the athlete.

[00:36:08.00] I would say the biggest thing I did as my development as a strength and conditioning coach that changed the game for me, in 2011, I ran a marathon. So after years of power lifting, years of Olympic lifting, I decided I wanted to try my hand at the endurance sports, did a couple 5Ks, did a half, then I did a full marathon. I've done a bunch since then.

[00:36:25.82] And all of a sudden, in four months of training for a marathon, I understood what our cross-country kids are going through day to day. I understood what our distance swimmers are going through day to day. And I feel like so many strength coaches don't connect with those kids, because you're telling a kid to do three sets of 10 heavy squats and he or she just ran 10 miles in the rain uphill. So I think I became a better coach when I experienced what they experience.

[00:36:48.93] And so in my opinion, coaching is kind of a mixture of reading the research, reading the books, doing the academic side of things, experience training other people and other teams in different environments, and then the way you train yourself and make yourself better and then apply that to other people.

[00:37:04.79] I appreciate that advice and a lot of great perspective in there. Angelo, if any of our listeners want to connect with you, what's the best way to do that?

[00:37:16.29] My best email to reach me at is Angelo.Gingerelli@gmail.com. I'll answer any questions you have. So again Angelo.Gingerelli@gmail.com And then we have an Instagram for the book that I just published. It's called @finish_strongbook

[00:37:34.32] Myself and the professor of athletic training got together about a year ago and wrote a book for endurance athletes that want to implement strength training into their daily routine. So we're kind of coming at it from the perspective of with endurance athletes we're dealing with, all of them, too much fatigue and too little time. And how do we address those things and break down a periodized program and prepare for your big marathons, your big triathlons, your big open water swims and stay strong while you're doing it?

[00:38:02.01] I do feel that as great as our profession is-- and I love being a part of it for as long as I have-- we've really under-served that community. And I didn't really, really realize that till I jumped in it. But the idea of there's so many people I was working out with that they would go run 20 miles but be terrified of a squat rack, or they'd go swimming in choppy ocean and be just terrified of a lat pull down machine.

[00:38:23.61] And my thing is, we got to do a little of both. I think endurance and cardiovascular health is super important, but if we're going to be good at these events, and be healthy and strong as we get older, we have to resistance train. So is there a way we can put them together and help people out? And if you've got that running bug, that swimming bug, whatever it is, can we extend your career, keep you strong and uninjured, and have a great career?

[00:38:46.62] Because I think as lot of former athletes that are listening to the show-- You can't be a better basketball player at 40, than you were at 20. And you could be a good power lifter in your 30s-- Olympic lifts, just the way our bodies mature, almost nobody's better at a clean or snatch when they're 45 than when you were 25.

[00:39:05.25] But if you want to stay competitive and keep getting after it and pushing yourself and say you stack up to others around you, those endurance sports, physiologically, you can get better as you get older if you attack it the right way. So I think that it scratches the competitive itch a lot of us have, and it's just become a really big part of my life. And I want to try to help people implement what I'm doing in the weight room, to what they're doing in their training.

[00:39:28.65] And the other thing I would say is to young strength coaches, in the college world, we are so bent on attacking men's basketball and football. Those are sports most of us want to work with. In the private sector, if you want to find a customer that's got time, disposable income, committed to their sport, and will buy a book, a training program from the Instagram account, those endurance athlete men and women hit that across the board.

[00:39:57.30] So I think that's just a market that's under served, and I'm trying to be a small piece of the puzzle of serving that demographic and helping them get better, and-- use a cliche in the title of a book-- finish stronger, which it then affected my life greatly. I want to help get that message out to other people.

[00:40:12.52] Now that's a great realization, endurance sports definitely an underrepresented area within strength and conditioning. A number of us here at the NSCA, we joke that the C in S and C is the most feared letter in the alphabet for a lot of coaches, and it goes back to a lot of our athletic experiences. But I really like the message of diversifying your own athletic experience to gain perspective on what your athletes are going through. I think that's powerful.

[00:40:45.66] Angelo, thanks for being with us.

[00:40:48.42] Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, Eric.

[00:40:51.05] To our listeners, thanks for tuning in. And we'd also like to thank Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.

[00:40:58.97] I'm Coach Boyd Epley. I'm known as the founder of the NSCA, and you just listened to an episode of The NSCA Coaching Podcast. To learn more about all the NSCA offers, check out NSCA.com and join us at an upcoming event this year. I hope to see you there.

[00:41:18.59] 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.

[00:41:37.46] [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.

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

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

NSCA Headquarters

Contact Eric McMahon

Contact Eric McMahon

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Eric McMahon

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 ...

View full biography
About the author

Angelo V. Gingerelli, MEd, MBA, CSCS

Contact Angelo Gingerelli

Contact Angelo Gingerelli

Your first name is required.
Your last name is required.
Your email is required.
Your message is required.
Your reCaptcha is required.

Your email was successfully sent to Angelo Gingerelli

View full biography
#NSCAStrong #NSCAStrong

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now