Thursday, September 16, 2010

Get to Know Your Coach: Nick Sanders

Hello Everyone!

Athletes at AGSP get to work with the area's best sports performance coaches during their training sessions. Recently I did a Q&A with Coach Nick Sanders, check it out and get to know your coaches better!

Our athletes know you as Coach Nick Sanders, what does Coach Sanders like to do outside of making athletes better?
Outside of coaching I like to stay as active as possible. I enjoy playing basketball, slow pitch softball, volleyball, and occasionally golf. I also like to stay competitive by challenging myself towards different physical goals. This year I trained for a sprint distance triathlon in the spring, I have ran a couple 5K and 10K road races, and plan on running two half marathons in the fall. In addition to athletics, I love just about all types of fishing and hunting.
How did you get started working with athletes?
I got started working with athletes right out of high school. My first year after graduation, my high school football coach approached me with an opportunity to help coach the junior high football team. I have been involved with coaching every since. I really got into the strength and conditioning aspect of coaching around my Junior Year in college which was sparked into a true passion during my internship at AGMC with Coach Sowers.

Based on your experience, what is the one, biggest physical skill that today's athlete lacks? How do you address that need?
That’s a tough question. Right now if I had to pick one overall skill I would pick body awareness with overall mobility a close second. Body awareness, especially in the younger athlete, is something that without proper coaching, the athlete doesn’t think about. Without someone saying “Hey your knees are coming together when you jump and land” you are never aware of the problem to correct. I love how our program promotes that self awareness. The technical aspects of Olympic weight lifting and movement coaching forces the athlete to be aware of what every joint in their body is doing in space at a given time. I think that awareness alone improves sports performance.
As I learn more and more about movement impairments I am beginning to realize how big of an issue a lack of mobility can be in today’s athletes. Athletes are often not taught to move well, which leads to tight and weak muscles that limit performance. Identification and correction of these mobility impairments is becoming a huge part of today’s strength and conditioning field. I think the growth of this area is reflective of the commonality of these problems.
You are also active in the field of Physical Therapy, how has PT helped you become a better Sports Performance Coach and vice versa?
I feel that going through PT school while coaching has made me a better coach. As a PT student you gain a great deal of knowledge about how the body moves and functions. This knowledge is invaluable when working with athletes. It has been a great advantage in understanding mobility issues. It has also helped me in the area of injury prevention and to gain an appreciation of what an injured athlete must go through to prepare to return to sport.
I hope that my experience as a Sports Performance Coach will make me a better PT as well. PT is essentially a coaching/teaching job. Being active in the field I get to interact with people and put my knowledge and skills to the test every time I coach. I have learned a tremendous amount about strength and mobility exercises. Every time that I coach I feel I learn something about how to better teach or modify an exercise.

What do you like most about working with athletes?
Watching them get better. Nothing beats when you watch someone struggle with a skill and then that light bulb clicks and they nail it. I love being a part of the excitement that comes with attainment of a hard earned goal.
What advice would you give today's athlete?
Take responsibility for your actions. You decide how hard you’re going to work, how much time you put in during the off season, how you act outside of sports, and what you do when no one is watching. These every day choices are your responsibility and impact your future in athletics and in life. Do your best to take advantage of the opportunities you are given and don’t blame others for your shortcomings. My coach once told me “You either get better or you get worse, you never stay the same.” I say do your best to get better every day.

Thanks Coach Sanders for your time, energy, and great coaching!

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart

No comments: