Season 4 Episode 7- Carl ‘Shep’ Sheppard- “How important is it for coaches to be educators?”

Today we have an awesome discussion on building a performance program and department with Carl “Shep” Sheppard. Shep has been given the unique challenge of building the new preparation program for Space Force, which is (obviously) an extremely unique branch of the military. Throughout the 37-minute discussion Shep and I dive into:

1) The role a soldier and an educator has driven his professional development
2) How the “average make up” of the operators he works with makes developing a preparation program a unique challenge
3) What aspects of human physiology they’re evaluating and how they’re looking to develop those qualities.
4) How using the health of the operators is the most value and first level of their preparedness
5) The battle between forward thinking and the way it’s always been.
6) Where wearables do and do not fit in the development of these operators

Such an interesting assignment, and an awesome discussion with Shep Sheppard diving into how they’re building the preparation program for these operators. I can’t thank him enough for being so open to sharing the directions of this process with us today. I hope that you’ve found value in the discussion, and if so please feel free to share it with a colleague and please subscribe and leave us a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform.

Who is Carl ‘Shep’ Sheppard?

Mr. Sheppard has spent some 30 years in the fields of Human Performance, Orthopedic Rehabilitation, and Sports Medicine. He holds a BS in Kinesiology from Campbell University, is Master’s prepared in Physician Assistant Studies from East Carolina University, and also holds a Master’s of Exercise Science from the University of Pennsylvania – with an emphasis on Human Performance and Injury-Prevention. He holds credentials from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS); a Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F); Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT); is a Level 1 Performance Coach for USA Weightlifting (USAW); and a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM-PES). Entering the US Army in 1993, he was a Combat Medic who went to both the Physical Therapy Specialist, and Advanced Clinical Competency Courses at the Army’s Health Sciences Academy. As a soldier and athlete himself – a competitive powerlifter for the Army Powerlifting Team – he spent his last 7 years on active-duty with All-Army Sports, Armed Forces Sports, and The Army’s World Class Athlete Program. During that tenure, he provided sports medicine care and strength and conditioning to athletes in more than a half-dozen different disciplines, as the various teams went through training camps and competitions in the US and around the world.

Among his many positions over his civilian career, he has been the Director for Transitional Therapy at Cape Fear Valley Hospital, Director of Strength and Conditioning for Fairfax county Fire and Rescue, and the Managing Director of the Ft. Carson Army Wellness Center. He was an Exercise Physiology, Anatomy, and Biomechanics instructor at the Institute for Business and Medical Careers in his home of Colorado Springs, and served on the Academic Curriculum Advisory Board there. He has been a faculty member in the Health and Sports Sciences departments of both American University in DC, and at the University of Louisville, where he was also the Internship Program Manager. He is a validated NSCA instructor for the TSAC course, and a contributing author for the TSAC report. He left the University of Louisville to come to what was then Air Force Space Command, and is now the Senior Human Performance Advisor for the United States Space Force and its Health and Human Performance capability, the Holistic Health Approach.

Shep settled in the Black Forest area of Colorado Springs, CO with his wife, Crystal – a retired Army Colonel and Nurse Corps officer of 25 years. They have three children: Layton, who lives in LA and teaches; Lauren, who lives in Monument, CO and is a regional manager for a large service firm; and Bronwyn, who also lives in Colorado Springs and teaches. They have 3 grandchildren and 2 step-grandchildren.


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