Attention strength and conditioning coaches and those aspiring to join the profession: if you want to be a better coach, invest in yourself.
By no means do I consider that “I have made it”, but in the wake of accomplishing my goal to become a strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball, I have received a few inquiries from prospective coaches regarding the path I took to get to the position that I currently hold – Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Cincinnati Reds.
For starters, I consider the most important ingredients for success are dedication, persistence, grit, mental toughness and investment. I wouldn’t say it’s ever easy, but it’s easier to adhere to these ingredients when you love what you do. So first and foremost, make sure you are committed to the idea that you are pursuing your passion. Once you have established that, dedicate yourself; becoming the person who is constantly trying to be the best at your profession. As a coach, I am in a field where it is my job to invest in other people, to improve THEIR performance, and make sure that I know and have a valid reason for every single detail that goes into their training program and workouts. With that said, if you are a coach, trainer, or other professional working in a field where you are responsible for improving the performance and lives of others, and your time does not reflect an effort to improve your knowledge and ability to demonstrate and execute what is required in your field, then you are failing to exercise due diligence as a professional.
You should never be satisfied with what you currently know or think you’re good at, because when you do, there is always someone else who is working harder and smarter to reach the top. I recently heard something that really struck a chord – “If you are the smartest, strongest, and most talented person in the room, it’s time to change rooms”.
Challenge yourself. Learn something new. Surround yourself by others who are better than you and push and motivate you, because nobody ever got better being complacent. Stress is a breeding ground for adaptation. When you become complacent, the other guy is being relentless. In life, there is always going to be someone who seems to have received all of the really good opportunities, but you should never stop learning, finding new mentors, exploring the unknown and searching for ways to improve your knowledge and skill set.
Coaches should always have coaches that they are looking up to and learning from. Never stop pursuing higher accolades and stay humble. I’m only 28 years old and don’t know much compared to coaches with more experience in the field, but I do know a thing or two about the human body and how to improve efficiency and performance. More importantly, I KNOW that I WILL get better when I surround myself by others who are better than me and push me to new heights.
Blaine Taylor is in his first season in the Reds organization following a stint as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Santa Clara University. He played baseball at Fresno Pacific University where he completed his BS and MA degrees in Kinesiology: Exercises science. He also interned for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Class A affiliate and at Pepperdine University.