Jan 29, 2015
We’ve Got Next

By Ryan Johnson

Over winter break, I was able to meet with a couple of former veterans of the Wayzata program and talk about summer work and internships. We have had a terrific run of sending athletes to the collegiate level over the years, and though it doesn’t receive as much attention, we’ve had paralleled success with former Wayzata students becoming interns and strength coaches in the college ranks.

Over the past six years, our program has sent countless athletes to college teams. But another fact that I am very proud of is that we have also helped out nearly a dozen individuals become collegiate interns and begin careers as strength and conditioning coaches.

During this time, we have developed a remarkable partnership with the University of Minnesota Strength and Conditioning program. In the last six years, five of the yearly interns have come from our summer Trojan power program.

The U of M appreciates the hands-on experience that our workers get as they are comfortable working with athletes and comfortable working in group settings. These two traits tend to be the biggest markers of whether or not an intern is accepted. I would describe our training as above average for a high school, as it gives our future interns experience with the Olympic lifts as well as basic principles of plyometrics.

A highlight of this summer for myself was taking a dozen summer staff members to a strength and conditioning clinic held by the National Strength Coaches Association at the University of Minnesota. Not only did my kids learn a lot, they asked great questions and genuinely enjoyed themselves.

In the concourse, I did a lot of mentoring, convincing the kids to simply go and talk to the presenters in between sessions, introduce themselves, and ask their more specific questions about their personal futures in the field and continuing education. I even learned a very valuable bit of information regarding postgraduate work while pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree. That nugget is to make sure you find out what research is being conducted by the program at the schools you are interested in. If you are not interested in the research that that institution is working on, it will not be a good fit because that is what you will be doing for the next couple of years!

I think the biggest asset I provide as a mentor is patience. I realize I didn’t have things figured out right away in my younger years and I like to let people find themselves along the way. In fact, I realize even now that I don’t have things all figured out as I learn new things every year from my kids who come back with the latest research and training techniques.

I like to tell them that my goal in life is to work for one of them one day! But it is an added benefit for me to have them come back and instruct not only our athletes but myself and our other coaches in the latest and greatest–it keeps us on the up and up to say the least.

Ryan Johnson is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Wayzata (Minn.) High School. He is also a frequent blogger for T&C. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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