May 30, 2023
Mentor Spotlight | Taylor Lorbiecki

Taylor Lorbiecki

How did you get started in the strength and conditioning profession? How long have you been in the field?

I started as a volunteer Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville women’s basketball program in 2014 before completing formidable internships with EXOS in 2015 and US Ski and Snowboard in 2016.  Each of those experiences were foundational to earning full time employment at the division one level with the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2018. I am entering my 10th year of coaching, and 6th year at USAFA as an Advanced Instructor of Physical Education/Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach working with Baseball, Volleyball, Rifle, and Fencing.

What are three pearls of wisdom you can share with a young strength coach just starting in the profession?

  • Maximize coaching opportunities: take every coaching opportunity you can find regardless of how prestigious you think it is or isn’t, each opportunity is unique and can provide invaluable experience
  • Be the hardest worker in the room: you must earn everything, you have to be the hardest working, most humble, person in the room
  • Take time to be introspective: this is often difficult for young coaches, however, it can be your greatest career asset; take time to contemplate the day, what went well, what do you want to improve upon, and what actionable steps are you going to take to make those improvements

 What do you feel is the key to motivating athletes?

Motivation is a complex concept that is often naturally inconsistent. At the United States Air Force Academy, we rely heavily on discipline falling back on our core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Having this foundation on which we operate provides stability and consistency in how we execute and accomplish our mission.

 What’s your formula for success in helping your interns prepare for the SCCC exam?

USAFA’s robust mentorship program utilizes a dynamic approach to preparing mentees for the rigors of the SCCC exam and beyond. This includes a combination of academic assignments, hands on practical sessions, programming assignments, and team training observation/actual coaching and implementation of training programs. While the goal is to prepare the mentee to obtain their SCCC, we ultimately want to ensure they are optimally prepared to gain employment in the human performance profession.

How much do you rely on the CSCCa internship curriculum in preparing your candidates?

Our intensive 16-week curriculum is designed to address three specific areas including applied principles of exercise science with emphasis on programming, facility design, and personal development. Each week, mentees will take a deep dive into a particular chapter of the CSCCa textbook for written exam prep, an academic assignment, and a practical application session. Additionally, mentees will complete multiple program writing assignments where they will be charged with presenting and defending a 4-week training cycle to the S&C staff. Following completion of the mentorship program, mentees will leave with a portfolio highlighting all work samples completed at USAFA; this can be a tremendous aid in subsequent interviews as it clearly demonstrates the completion of real-world projects/requirements of a true full-time performance professional. 

What goes into the decision-making process when considering candidates for your mentor program?

We have a multi-step interview process that includes:

  • Submission of resume and cover letter to our mentorship coordinator, Coach Brad Raines, at [email protected]
  • 1st round interview – phone/virtual interview with Coach Raines and Coach Lorbiecki
  • 2nd round interview – virtual/in-person interview with a panel of USAFA S&C staff

Successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of a career in the human performance profession, in addition to completing the intensive 640-hour mentorship program requirement. We are looking for candidates that understand and live by the air force core values. Completion of a bachelor’s degree is required while prior coaching experience is preferred.

What do you feel is a key component of your internship program which sets you apart from others and sets your test candidates up for success?

The United States Air Force Academy is home to over 1000 cadet-athletes competing in 26 division one sports. In addition to intercollegiate competition, mentees may have the opportunity to observe physical education classes, USAFA aerobic (AFT) and physical (PFT) fitness testing, in addition to military tactical physical training. As one of three service academies in the country, you can expect a one-of-a-kind experience coaching future leaders and officers in the United States Air and Space Force. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, mentees may earn the responsibility to oversee all aspects of a USAFA Intercollegiate Team to include athlete/sport assessment, program design and execution of all training sessions. Mentees who have successfully completed this program have gone on to earn a variety of full-time performance positions with the United States military and in Olympic, private, high school, and collegiate performance settings.

How many candidates have you sat for the exam and how many have passed?

While we have placed numerous mentees into the human performance profession, USAFA is a newly approved CSCCa mentorship program, and we are looking for our first SCCC candidate. Our staff has spent countless hours overhauling our program in accordance with the CSCCa mentoring packet and SCCC requirements. We have 7 Olympic coaches on staff with over 90 years of experience and we are committed to educating, inspiring, and empowering the next generation of human performance professionals.

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A | P.O. Box 128 | Sparta, MI 49345
[email protected] | 616.520.2137