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From College to High School: A Strength Coach's Journey

David Neill
Sep 9, 2019

The single best career decision I ever made was to transition from collegiate strength and conditioning to the high school level. While being a college strength coach was an amazing experience, high school is where I feel truly called.

I was fortunate to have a fairly successful career as a young strength coach. I had my first full time gig 6 months after graduating college. I had the opportunity to work at three different D1 universities, including two power 5 football teams. With that success however, came the typical college S&C lifestyle. Long hours, high stress, low pay, and little to no job security. I wouldn’t trade my time at the college level because it made me who I am, but I would be lying if I said I missed it much.

High school strength has been the dream job. I get to see my family every night and weekend. I don’t struggle to feed my family. My stress levels are far lower. But most of all, I have far more impact on young people's’ lives. Maybe it’s being in charge of a program instead of being an assistant. Maybe high school athletes are more open to influence. Maybe I just “click” better with this age Whatever it is, I have had more meaningful relationships with athletes in my two years at this level, than I did in the five before it. Which that’s why we're coaches in the first place right? To have impact.

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