A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.
In August of 2013 I began as a “GA” for Dakota State University. I was the only strength coach but was considered a GA because of the masters program and money/reduced tuition I received. The primary teams I worked with were Football and Volleyball. These teams were marred with unsuccessful seasons. Football hadn’t had a winning season since the mid 90’s and the volleyball for almost 10 years.
The school had never had a strength and conditioning coach. I had never had this power either. I was fresh off an internship at the University of Northern Iowa with Jed Smith and Nick Davis (two mentors and role models I’ll never forget). It was scary and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Am I ready? Is this what I really want to do with my life? All these questions continued. Not to mention, I was LIVING in the storage closet of the weight room to save money. This was not known to anyone else, save a few people. It was my choice but there were many trade-offs.
One of the biggest trade-offs/stresses was the constant “what-if” questions of people finding out. What if someone catches me sleeping here? What if the athletes find out? What if? Rarely did I have a restful nights sleep as stress was seemingly always high. I didn’t go outside much as I was in the weight room literally all day and night. And when I wanted to go outside at night, I had to think of the repercussions of athletes seeing me walking back into the weight room at very odd hours of the night.
Eventually I moved out about a year later. I still don’t have my own room with a door but I have a place that is my own. I don’t stress when going to sleep that someone will find me. If I did, the mental hospital would be knocking at my door.
Fast forward to this past season for Football and Volleyball. I was hired as the first Strength and Conditioning Coach in Dakota State’s history. Both teams were improving (physically but more importantly mentally) throughout the first year as a GA and now many things in my own life had changed for the better.
Football had their first winning season in 16 years. Volleyball had theirs in almost 10 years.
Was it ME? Did I do this? The answer is a big fat NO. I was a very small part. Outsiders will point to me as a big reason. Heck, even the athletes have done this. But I refer to Mark Watts when reflecting on this.
“If you credit your team’s loss to the other team having more talent then you can’t credit your team’s win to the strength training program.”
Why did both teams, the primary teams I spent the most time with have winning seasons for the first time in a decade? Millions of little reasons I can only assume. The athletes are the ones going out and performing. I give them the credit. Did I go out and score a touchdown? Did I hit the game winning kill? No, and I’ll never take credit for the success of the teams I train.
THEY did it. I simply helped out a little each day.
Shine your Light