Sep 21, 2016Summer Internship
This article first appeared in the October 2016 issue of Training & Conditioning.
In his role as Strength and Conditioning Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School football team in Bamberg, S.C., Corey Crosby has been an integral part of the team’s 84-20 record over the past eight years. While he continues to improve the team, he’s also constantly searching for ways to improve himself. So when he was given the opportunity to serve as an intern with the University of South Carolina football team’s strength staff this summer, he jumped at the chance.
The arrangement stemmed from a meeting Crosby had at a coaches clinic with Jeff Dillman, SCCC, Director of Strength and Conditioning at USC. A mutual acquaintance helped facilitate-Crosby’s nephew and USC tight end Kevin Crosby, who had trained with his uncle for years before becoming a Gamecock.
“Coach Dillman was really impressed with Kevin when he started at USC,” says Crosby. “When he met with me, he asked me to do an internship with the football team over the summer, along with some other coaches. It worked out well.”
Taking on the internship meant Crosby had to balance his time between Bamberg-Ehrhardt and USC, but he was ready for the challenge. The high school team met every Monday through Thursday for 6 a.m. lifts, and Crosby drove an hour to USC on Fridays and Saturdays for 5:30 a.m. team workouts. This went on for six weeks, three in June and three in July.
“Sometimes it was tough waking up on Friday and Saturday mornings, but my motivation came from having a goal to shoot for,” says Crosby. “I got to go learn from the best and bring that knowledge back to my program to help my athletes reach a new level.”
At USC, Crosby was matched with three players at a time, rotating among different positions groups. He designed a workout plan for each athlete based on his needs and suggestions from Dillman, and then led them through a series of exercises, such as running, stretching, power cleans, and squats. Dillman and his assistant oversaw the workouts and provided Crosby with instructions and guidance when needed.
While Crosby also shared some of his own techniques with the USC coaches, he says he gained the most by listening to Dillman. His most significant takeaway centered on Dillman’s commitment to teaching players how to do things the right way, both on and off the field.
“The biggest things that Coach Dillman talked about were lifestyle, life lessons, and what carries over past football,” Crosby says. “He reminded us that being a strength coach is all about teaching, and every kid can learn something.”
Crosby hopes the more sport-specific lessons learned during his internship will translate into a successful season with Bamberg-Ehrhardt. “We’ve played for two state championships in the past eight years, but our kids have always struggled to finish games,” he says. “I learned a lot about speed development, agility, flexibility, mental toughness, and rest and recovery at USC. By focusing on these areas, I think we’ll be able to maintain and even get better in the fourth quarter this year.”
Thrilled with his overall experience as an intern at USC, Crosby encourages his peers to look for similar opportunities. “High school strength coaches have to take advantage of the universities and colleges around them, and find ways to talk to the strength coaches there,” he says. “Make them understand that you’re all about learning and teaching. You should never feel like you know everything.”