Sports provide awesome development and learning opportunities for Student-Athletes. There are countless life lessons learned while playing any sport. This weeks #WednesdayWisdom gives us a Coaches perspective. Zach Dechant is Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning, for TCU Baseball and TCU Football QB’s.
It is no secret College Strength and Conditioning Coaches spend more time with their athletes than any other coach on staff. Strength Coaches are role models and have responsibility in helping young men and women become successful adults.
There is a large number of TCU almuni and current MLB Players who come back to train with Zach. He has mentioned, “Once a Frog, Always a Frog.” This is no coincidence. Zach’s influence on these athletes is a major reason why they come back.
What’s the difference between working with College and Professional Athletes? Zach fills us in below. . . .
N.C.: What do you enjoy the most about working with Collegiate Aged Student-Athletes?
Z.D.: I’ve been at both the pro and the collegiate level and development is what brought me back to a university. I wanted to truly develop athletes not only physically but from kids into men. I can have much more effect at this level with not only physical development but turning boys into men. That means as much as anything to be honest. The relationships I’ve built watching an 18 year old grow, get married, have children and now become fathers are priceless. On the performance side, there is nothing better than watching a walk-on who few wanted come into a program and continually improve to the point where they fulfill a dream of being drafted and playing MLB. At this level I don’t just see my athletes for a season like is often the case higher up. We are with our kids year round and have the opportunity to develop over 3-5 years continually.
A goal without a plan is a wish. Zach has some lofty goals below, BUT has specific action steps in place to achieve those goals.
N.C.: What is one goal you have for yourself over the next year? How about your strength program?
Z.D.: My biggest goal right now is to help the high school coaches out there who have to fulfill the role of a strength coach. I am in the process of creating programs that they can implement on their own that fulfill all needs of not only a baseball athlete but any athlete. I just presented on a similar topic this past weekend to the Texas HS Baseball Coaches Assoc. High school coaches aren’t strength coaches but often have to wear that hat as well, so we want to inform them on how best, and most efficiently they can effect change and truly develop their athletes from the ground up. They are a very important yet underappreciated link between an athlete and their future. As far as goals for our strength program, we are not a numbers based program.
For us, those are a by-product of proper and efficient training. Of course we set aside goals of winning championships and keeping our athletes injury free but my goals pertain more to professional development and what I personally want to achieve with our program in the next year. I read constantly as well as try to visit other knowledgeable coaches and programs around the country. I think professional development is a hugely important aspect of our field. I spent time this past offseason with Altis in Phoenix, Arizona learning from some of the brightest minds in sprint training and plan to visit with several NFL colleagues this next offseason.
I encourage everyone to follow Zach on Twitter and engage with him. Zach provides some great content and insight into the field of strength and conditioning at his site below.
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