It’s that time of year again. Our off-season hockey group is growing rapidly, and with the addition of a few camps Endeavor will be running I’m more excited for this Summer than ever.

With that said, I thought this would be an appropriate time to repost an article I wrote last year about internships. We had a great internship candidate have to postpone his commitment, so we’re opening up another 1-2 slots for the Summer. If you think you might be interested, I’d encourage you to read the article below and complete an application ASAP.

Regardless of how many good candidates we get, we’re taking a MAX of two more interns. With spots filling up on a rolling basis, it will be important for you to get your application in quickly.

Sports Performance Internship

With the Summer rapidly approaching, and a lot of our junior players already starting to trickle back in for assessments, the hockey off-season is officially upon us. The Summer is an extremely busy time for us at Endeavor, not only because we have 50+ elite hockey players training with us every day, but we also have dozens of youth hockey players, all of the athletes competing in other sports, and our general population clients. This is on top of the speaking engagements I’ve committed to, the continuing education courses members of our staff attend, and at least for me, an extremely busy wedding season (apparently my friends don’t take my work schedule into account when planning their weddings). Needless to say, it’s a very exciting and busy time for us.

With that said, it’s extremely helpful to have a few outstanding interns to help ease the load. Last Summer we had a huge intern class, with interns relocating from Canada, Ireland, England, and all over the U.S. to spend the Summer with us. This Summer, we’re looking at bringing in a smaller number of interns so our staff can spend more time training them and teaching our methodology. If you’re interesting in getting a ton of hands-on experience working with the full spectrum of ice hockey players, complete the application available here: Endeavor Sports Performance Internship

Endeavor

To answer the most pervasive question I get…No, the internship is not paid (more on this later) and we don’t provide any assistance in the way of accommodations.

You will be considered a stronger applicant if:

  1. You have some previous coaching experience either in a private training facility or at the collegiate level.
  2. You’ve been following my work and are familiar with the general layout of our programs and the exercises we use most frequently
  3. You’ve purchased and watched Optimizing Movement so you’re familiar with our assessment process and how it influences our program design
  4. You feel comfortable teaching exercises, cuing, and interacting with clients across a wide range of ages and abilities

Optimizing Movement Cover-Small

Our system for viewing, assessing, and optimizing movement.

To be extremely up front, the application process isn’t about telling us what you know; it’s designed to get a feel for your experience and passion. I’ve read a lot of applications over the years and it never ceases to amaze me when applicants use their entire essay to discuss how prepared they are to design programs for hockey players and how they know what it takes to succeed in the sport because they played. I don’t know of any reputable facility that would let interns design programs for paying clients. Simply, that is not your role in this position. In our setting, the goal is to make you a better coach and equip you with the knowledge, experience, and confidence to transition into your own coaching position. Use the essay and to convey your enthusiasm for learning and coaching instead of how much you know, and you’re more likely to make it through the first round of reading.

As another tip, you’d do well to familiarize yourself with the exercises we use at our facility when filming the exercise you’re teaching. If I get an application with videos of a prospective intern doing crunches, dips, and burpees, I know they haven’t done their homework on our methods and the application is immediately rejected. This discussion is not meant to scare you, but just to help you understand what my (and likely many other internship coordinators) perspective is in reading applications.

Making it in the S&C Industry
A couple weeks ago on HockeySC.com, there was a forum discussion on what education and certification organizations could do to produce better S&C coaches. While a lot of ideas were proposed, the one common theme that everyone agreed on is that students needed more actual coaching experience. There is a very clear link between coaching ability and hours spent in the trenches. Simply, you need to put in your time, and the only way to expedite your coaching abilities is to gain experience working alongside coaches that possess the knowledge, skills, and/or experience you aspire to have.

From a financial perspective, interning sucks. You spend a lot of time, work really hard, and you don’t get paid. If you relocate, you also have living expenses that you need to pay for. As an aside, the Summer between my two years of grad school at UMass Amherst I was set up to come back to the Delaware area and run hockey clinics, camps, and lessons on the ice all Summer, in addition to doing some training work on the side. I was very excited about this because I loved coaching and teaching and it was a great opportunity to spend a lot of time on the ice. It was also the best paying job a student could ask for, and I was looking forward to saving a lot of money to pay off student loan debt. Instead, I paid out of pocket to take a Functional Anatomy class as part of Boston University’s DPT program and interned at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. I estimate that that decision was roughly a $20,000 swing in the wrong direction for my bank account. That said, I can still say confidently that it was the smartest career decision I’ve ever made.

 Tony Gentilcore

You will not learn this in school.

Here’s the thing about interning: It’s not an expense; it’s an investment. And there’s much more of a “return” on that investment than just the coaching experience. I was accepted into the Cressey Performance internship because I got a good recommendation from Chris Boyko, who I volunteered for my entire first year of grad school at UMass. During my internship at CP, Eric introduced me to Mike Potenza, the S&C Coach for the San Jose Sharks, who not only invited me out to help with their prospect camp and pre-season training camps (incredible experiences) , but later became a business partner with HockeySC.com and has become a great friend. These are just a couple very isolated examples, but I can essentially take every person I know in the field and trace it back to an introduction that stemmed from one of my internship experiences. This has given me an amazing network of extremely bright, driven, motivated, and successful coaches for me to bounce ideas off of and observe. Further, this is also how a lot of S&C professionals find out about job openings; someone in their network hears from someone else and passes the information along.

Finding great interning opportunities and committing to working as hard as I can while I was there has had an incredible impact on my career, and it can on yours as well. I’m currently looking for 2 GREAT interns for this Summer that have a passionate interest in working with hockey players. You’ll not only gain a ton of hands-on experience, but you’ll get a first hand look at how we assess our athletes, how assessment findings are used to individualize training programs, and our current data tracking and analysis methods. If you want to join the Endeavor team for the Summer, and work with nearly 100 players from the youth through professional ranks, this is your chance: Endeavor Sports Performance Internship

If you have any questions, post them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
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OptimizingMovement.com
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“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University

Back on track this week with a wrap-up of this week’s (and the three preceding week’s since I’ve been slacking) activity in the world of hockey strength and conditioning. Over the last several weeks, I’ve added several articles on topics ranging from strength and conditioning internships to specific hockey training techniques to maximize performance and minimize injury risk. Check out what you’ve been missing at the links below.

  1. Strength and Conditioning Internships
  2. The Myth of Wrist Strength in Hockey
  3. Managing Structural and Functional Asymmetries: Part 1
  4. Managing Structural and Functional Asymmetries: Part 2
  5. Improving Athletic Performance Beyond Peak Strength: Part 1
  6. Improving Athletic Performance Beyond Peak Strength: Part 2
  7. Off-Season Hockey Training Program
  8. Men’s Fitness: Hockey Training Feature
  9. What It Means To Be A “Boyle Guy”

We’ve also added a TON of great content over at Hockey Strength and Conditioning. I HIGHLY encourage you to read through all of these pieces as I think there is an awesome combination of quality information, great training programs, and unique exercises that will apply to players at multiple levels. We’ve also had a few terrific contributions from a few guys I hold in a very high regard in Anthony Donskov, Jim Snider, and Kyle Bangen. Check out the links below.

Articles

  1. Debit Card Strength and Conditioning: In-Season Account Withdrawls from Anthony Donskov
  2. Essential Components of a Strength Training Program from Darryl Nelson
  3. Pro’s vs. Joe’s from Jim Snider
  4. Triple Flexion Training Considerations in Hockey from Kyle Bangen

Programs

  1. Spring Training 4-Day Per Week from Darryl Nelson
  2. Summer 2012 GPP Phase 1 from Mike Potenza
  3. 2012 5-Day Off-Season Hockey Training Program: Phase 1 from me
  4. Off-Season 2012 Phase 2 Strength Training from Sean Skahan

Videos

  1. Side Lying 1-Leg Hip Extension from Sean Skahan
  2. 2 Arm DB Snatch from Darryl Nelson
  3. Phase 1 Sprinting Variations from me
  4. Hip Extension Holds from Mike Potenza

That’s a wrap for today. As always, if you aren’t a member yet, I encourage you to try out Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. It’ll only cost $1, and if it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Over the past several months, we’ve had more internship applications flood in for this Summer than we’ve had for any term in the 4 years that I’ve been at Endeavor. This, I believe, is a result of some of the networking we’ve done with local universities/colleges and the fact that Endeavor has become increasingly visible in the area and on a national scale, as we’ve received applications from students all over the country and a few from abroad. I’m always humbled when someone wants to intern and/or spend time observing at our facility, and am happy to see students being proactive about their future.

Throughout my interactions with these prospective interns, I’m realizing more how much of a wake-up call some students need. It seems that some students are more interested in making $8/hour standing on the floor of their local gym than they are about making sacrifices to pursue a quality learning experience. This is something that I’ve heard other coaches reference in the past, but I hadn’t seen much of it. I recognize that it isn’t always easy for students to volunteer their time in unpaid positions for several months. That said, not easy and not worth it are completely different things. It’s interesting that students will spend between $20,000-$150,000+  in a college education, much of which won’t directly translate into improved ability in a strength and conditioning setting, but can’t find a way to muster up a roughly $1,500 sacrifice in living expenses to intern. My friend, colleague, and former internship supervisor Eric Cressey wrote a great article on this topic that I highly recommend reading:

  1. Is an Exercise Science Degree Really Worth It (Part 1)
  2. Is an Exercise Science Degree Really Worth It (Part 2)

To backtrack slightly, I think some students view internships as a necessary evil to get college credits and finish their degree. “Why do I have to work for free?” In reality, internships are, by far, the best opportunity to learn training theory, program application, the art of coaching, and build a network of professionals in the field, all of which are critical to finding quality job opportunities in the future. If you want to get a decent job in collegiate or professional strength and conditioning, you’ll have to pay your dues.

For what it’s worth, I’m not preaching here. Over the course of my college experience, I interned at the University of Delaware working with football, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and field hockey, at a private high school working with the athletes in every sport (where I was provided with an opportunity to write the programs and run the sessions), UMass Amherst with men’s ice hockey, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, and men’s and women’s skiing, and finally at Cressey Performance, where I gained exposure to training in a private setting with a wide range of clientele, from high school athletes to bad-ass senior citizens. Throughout those years, I’ve also taken advantage of opportunities to visit and observe at Michael Boyle Strength and Conditioning, Boston University, Holy Cross, Quinnipiac, and Nick Tumminello’s place in Baltimore.

The summer I interned at Cressey Performance I passed up an opportunity to run a series of hockey clinics in the Delaware area, and paid out of pocket to take a Functional Anatomy class that was part of BU’s DPT program. It’d be tough to directly quantify this, but I’d estimate that this decision, to live in Worcester, take a class at BU, and intern at CP was probably a $10,000-15,000 swing in the negative direction. And I can say, without hesitation, that it was the single best decision I’ve ever made. My only regret is that I didn’t wise up and start interning earlier.

To provide a quick illustration of the power of networking through these experiences, I volunteered under Chris Boyko at UMass Amherst. Chris introduced me to Eric at a seminar that Eric was speaking at, and Chris and I attended. This is where I talked to Eric about interning, which I received in part because of Chris’ recommendation. During my internship at CP, Eric introduced me to Mike Potenza, who was and still is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks. Mike has become a friend, an incredible resource, a business partner, and has provided me with an opportunity to come out to help with their prospect camp and pre-season training camp. Eric also put a great word in about my coaching ability to Mike Boyle, who later provided me an opportunity to work with the USA Women’s National Hockey program.  In other words, just about every experience I’ve had in professional and national team programs can be traced back to an introduction made through an internship experience I pursued. And this is strictly a discussion of the power of networking, let alone the indescribable amount I learned in all of these experiences about strength and conditioning, coaching, business, and family, among other things. I’ve also neglected to message the number of other coaches I’ve been fortunate to be introduced to, who collectively have been a huge educational resource for me, many of which have also become friends.

Everything I’ve been able to accomplish I owe to the terrific mentors I’ve had over the years, many of which I met directly or indirectly through internships. My situation isn’t at all unique. Almost every coach I know has a similar history of internships, volunteer experiences, and assistantships that have provided them with what they needed to be successful at jobs they enjoy, to live their dream. So when I hear students say things like “I can’t afford to spend a Summer interning”, I can’t help but think, “you can’t afford not to.”

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Another great post from Endeavor’s newest addition David Lasnier. Forgive his grammar. He is French.

Enter David:

This post would be for those looking to make it in the strength and conditioning world in the first place.  I know that from an outside perspective, it might look like a cool job to work with athletes on a daily basis and helping them get to the next level; and believe me it is.  I know a lot of people who want to make it in this industry when they first get into College in Exercise science or kinesiology.  But the truth is a lot of them don’t know that it takes a lot of dedication and the process takes a certain time.

Beside from having good grades in College and pursuing continuing education, there is a lot more one needs to do to make it in this industry.  Here are a few tips to help you make it in the strength and conditioning business.

– Make contacts. Go out there in seminars and introduce yourself to other strength coaches and trainers. Make sure that the successful guys out there know who you are and that you trying to make it as strength coach.  These are the ones who might help you get an internship; they might refer you some athletes/clients if you live in a different region; they might even let you know about job opportunities.

– These same guys know a lot. There is a reason why they are so successful.  They know a lot about strength and conditioning, but they also know a lot about the business itself.  So don’t be shy to pick their brain and ask questions.  They have been around for a while, so they probably know a lot more than you do.

– Internships.  That is a key to making it in this industry.  Most of the time you won’t get paid for them, but you need to let everyone know that you are dedicated to getting more experience and making a name for yourself.  This is a necessary process if you wish to make it someday.  Go out there, bust your balls and someday you’ll be rewarded.

– On a related note, when doing internships, never forget that the goal is to gain experience. It is not to let others know how much you know because quite frankly they probably don’t care. I’ve seen too much people getting out of College without any experience and thinking they know everything.  You need to realize that theoretical knowledge will only get you so far.  Years under the trenches are worth so much more knowledge than what you will ever learn in College. So do me a favour and respect that.  So the next time you go on an internship or chat with a knowledgeable Strength coach, listen. Stop talking and listen to what he has to say, because he knows a lot more than you do.

– Be kind and polite.  It may sound obvious for some, but unfortunately not enough people get that.  People will always help out more somebody who’s kind and polite and they will be more willing to give out some of their time and answer questions.  And I’m not only talking about the strength and conditioning business here….this would apply in general in a thing called Life!

Hopefully, I’ve helped some of you out there who wish to make it as Strength and conditioning coach.  Be patient, listen, don’t be afraid to give some of your time and be polite and you will sure be rewarded someday.

David Lasnier

Enter Kevin:

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Top 5 ways to get on my good side:

1) Read everything I write, even if it sucks.
2) Email me from a computer, not a blackberry, ipod, iphone, ihome, icar, irobot, etc.
3) Take time to learn about my system before impressing your own thoughts.
4) Be humble.
5) Be coachable.

At the risk of sounding “preachy”, I expect the same from myself. Before I interned at Cressey Performance, I read EVERY single article Eric wrote. Every one. Since Eric writes in his sleep, his collection of articles was in the triple digits. It goes a long way in understanding why a coach does what he/she does and shows you’re serious about your career/education.

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

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