Canada is a wonderful country. Part of what makes it wonderful is the beautiful province of PEI. The CSCA is thrilled to share this interview with Wyatt Inman, an S&C coach who has been making a difference in PEI for over 20 years.
CSCA – What is your current primary role?
WI – I have been a faculty member of Holland College on Prince Edward Island since 1998. I began as a kinesiologist with the Atlantic Police Academy, and in 2000 I became the co-ordinator of the Sport and Leisure Management diploma program. My current primary role is teaching topics related to exercise programming, exercise testing, and exercise training modes to Sport and Leisure Management students in the Kinesiology Profile at Holland College.
I think the more interesting role for your readers related to the CSCA is that I am the primary strength and conditioning coach for the Holland College Hurricanes. We are a small college in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association. The development of our strength and conditioning program arose as a natural marriage between a college program with keen students needing experience, and a varsity department that needed support. The relationship began simply in the early 2000s with keen students doing pre and post season testing for some of the coaches. For those up and coming strength coaches a key piece of advice I have is to take time to build and foster relationships with coaches. Attend games, show an honest interest in their program. As our coaches warmed up to our program, the support options increased. Coaches noticed athletes were healthier, faster, stronger, etc., and they recognized the value added that resulted from the relationship. The existing roster of coaches is entirely appreciative of the support we provide.
The current focus of my program is two-fold: 1) provide in-season and off-season support to all teams to maximize the quality of the varsity experience for athletes, and 2) provide my students an opportunity to teach, test, and coach real athletes/clients. I would suggest that to achieve these goals I spend 15-20 hours weekly between September and May each year doing work directly related to varsity strength training and conditioning. Some of that time is adjusting programming, meeting with coaches, and typical administrative work. The rest of the time is supporting sessions in the training environment with teams and student coaches.
CSCA – Entering the industry what was your greatest need?
WI – In one word, mentorship. I had some opportunity to provide testing and training for clients and athletes with a prof when I was a student at UNB, Fredericton. However, the experience was me simply doing the work without a great deal of guidance or mentorship. Then a month after graduation I earned a position at Holland College and began my career. The 1990s in Atlantic Canada was not a great era to find a local mentor in this field. I strongly encourage recent grads, anyone for that matter, to demand of themselves that they include mentoring as a part of development.
CSCA – To date, what has been your greatest learning?
WI – I have begun to embrace simple technology that both helps athletes and students learn better and frees up my time for more mentorship time for student trainers. Program sharing with athletes/clients was low tech when I started my career. I handed photocopies of word-processed documents to athletes. I wrote down cues and quick reminders in the margins and drew stick figures beside exercise names that were unfamiliar. In recent years I have really enjoyed using some simple tools to improve my ability to provide feedback and support and enhance program delivery. Two examples of tools I use regularly are Coaches Eye and Train Heroic. I suspect that most of your readers are using these types of tools, and I cannot imagine how I effectively provided support without these tools.
These tools have been invaluable during COVID-19 pandemic. For those unfamiliar with these examples, Coaches Eye is an app which, among other things, captures movement and contains excellent features for cueing and correcting movement. Video files can be reviewed and shared between coach and athlete or vice versa. When you cannot be in a room with an athlete, a tool like Coaches Eye is a real game changer. Train Heroic is a robust app/platform for supporting team/one-to-one training. I cannot imagine how I would be supporting the volume of students or athletes I am supporting now without this platform. I can do daily updates to a session on the fly with my phone, teams can communicate among themselves, and athletes can show props and ‘chirp’ one another about workout elements.