Monday, November 21, 2011

Using The Off-Season For Professional Growth

The professional baseball job market has been a focus in the media since the 2011 season ended. Similar to those in the MLB free agent pool, many MiLB strength and conditioning coaches are goal setting in hope of career advancement within a competitive field. Common year-end goals for MiLB strength and conditioning coaches include:

- Obtaining a full-time position with benefits
- Getting promoted in level (i.e. Rookie, Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A, MLB)
- Receiving raises in salary, live-out stipends, and meal money per diem
- Becoming a Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

With career goals in mind, improving your stock within an organization relies upon your ability to perform your job well. The off-season is an ideal time for adding to your skill set. Being proactive towards education and preparation is an effective way to focus on career variables which are in your control.

Continuing Education

The NSCA requires professionals to maintain and report CEU’s every 3 years, which provides added motivation to sign up for a conference or seminar each off-season. Conferences cover a variety of topics, for those wanting to see what has been occurring elsewhere in the field. Whereas, seminars are often focused on a single topic or specialty. Networking can be an added benefit of attending professional meetings.

Learn and apply a new skill or specialty every off-season. Why would anyone ever promote someone who isn’t willing to advance their knowledge?

Program Evaluation

It is important to reflect back on the previous year and determine what went well and what did not. Was there a program or circuit you relied on more heavily than others because it just seemed to work well in the baseball day? Identify that program and use the reasons for its success to develop further tools. Also, did any strength and conditioning coaches in your league use exercises that could be a complement to one of your programs?

Be a good self-evaluator. Make the most of your strengths and resources. Identify and improve upon your weaknesses.


There is an attitude in professional baseball that because of the rigors of playing every day, the ability to put together a structured strength and conditioning program is limited. Although off-days, rain-outs, day games, fatigue, and injuries can make scheduling in-season training a challenge, the more prepared routines you have ready for the variety of situations that occur, the more comfortable you will be when the situation dictates you need to adjust the schedule on-the-fly. If you have a gym routine you like, ask yourself, what will I do to complete this on the field and/or without equipment available?

Anyone can improvise a routine arbitrarily. The more prepared coach can improvise while remaining goal-oriented, sport-specific, and focused on individual training needs.

Thanks for reading.

Eric McMahon, MEd, RSCC
Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach
Texas Rangers

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