This year will be the 6th time I will have attended the CSCCA National Conference, I have attended as a graduate assistant, assistant and as a head coach. As an intern I was informed of this almost mythical annual event, known as CSCCA National Conference which I thought of as the “WrestleMania” of strength coaches. Now 7 years later, my experience at CSCCA is always memorable and I always leave a better coach and with experiences. Here are some tips on “How to Win at the CSCCA National Conference”
Use Social Media. Usually two weeks before conference I make sure to post on social media that I will be attending conference. This lets friends in the industry see that I will be attending and usually I get a couple messages with “lets meet up” , sometimes I get messages from coaches I do not know that also say they would like to meet up, which is really the point of letting everyone know you are going. I again post a couple days before conference with the same message and get the same general response. During the conference, I will post a couple more times as well, all the posts I will use the hashtag that the CSCCA is promoting such as #CSCCA19. Use that hashtag to search and see who else is posting and what they may post.
Do you research- Some of the best interactions I have ever had at conference have been with coaches I do not know but I know something about their school/program. I once spoke with a D1 head football strength coach for 30 minutes because I knew a little about the football program. We were both in the restroom of all places and I asked him about the new football staff, instantly he was excited to speak with me. After 15 minutes of speaking about the program he told me he was the head football strength coach, gave me his cell and told me to stay in touch. I had no clue who the person was but because I had some background knowledge, it created conversation. I always urge people to know the “big names” in the industry, if I want to work at Ole Miss I better know who Paul Jackson, you never know when you may run into him.
Vendors- I always being a large amount of business cards, these are given out to many people. I have never handed out a business card and said “give me a job”, but if a coach asks I have cards on me. I visit almost every vendor and give them my card and hear them out on their product and get their card. I have a stack of business cards from conferences and whenever I need to buy something I don’t have to look for the correct person to contact, I go through the cards and it saves me time trying to reach out to a company and hope I am in contact with the right person. Even if you do not have the budget, learn more about the product, you may one day be able to afford it or a similar product. Even as a GA I went around and met with vendors, I didn’t have any money to spend but knowing the industry and how products are evolving is a very important thing. On top of that every coach is on the conference floor walking around, spend some time just being around you will be amazed by who you will run into and what conversations may pop up.
Have fun- If you are not going out and enjoying the city then in my opinion you are missing an excellent opportunity. I have met far more people out having a drink then I did in the conference center. Vendors will rent out entire bars and hundreds of coaches attend these; This is a place where coaches are most relaxed and really enjoy their time with people they only see once a year. This causal setting is also a great place to say hello and talk. As much as you may want to “talk shop,” remember this is also a vacation for some coaches. When I am out with coaches, we talk about the field but we spend MUCH more time talk about life. I generally do not wear my school apparel out but many coaches do, I think that makes them more approachable as you can associate the logo on the shirt to whatever information you may know as you should have done your research.
Early bird workouts- This is a great time to use equipment you want to try or may have never even seen before. More importantly this is a great time to go workout with likeminded professionals If you want to win the CSCCA you should want to be around coaches as much as possible. Many people would think that this may be a time of high judgement but generally it is just people getting their planned workouts done, yes there’s always some guys that want to max out every year at CSCCA but that’s the few not the majority.
If you truly want to win at the CSCCA National Conference, you will also have fun. Again, let people know you are attending and then be around as much as possible; if coaches are going you should also go. One of the best things about this profession is the brotherhood and bond that we all share as professionals. Enjoy Kansas City, eat some bar-b-que, learn as much as you can, be around for everything and most importantly enjoy the time with your friends and fellow professionals!