2016 Presenter Sam Coad
2016 Presenter Sam Coad

We are beyond excited to introduce our first presenter for The 2016 Seminar, University of Oklahoma’s Football Performance Manager Mr. Sam Coad. Currently he is responsible for assessing and enhancing student-athlete readiness, performance and recovery as part of the comprehensive sports performance program, as well working as a strength and conditioning coach with the current strength staff. His previous experience includes serving as a strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist at the University of Michigan (Football) and the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club. 

Coad has also previously worked as a teaching fellow in the sports and exercise science program at Bond University, having previously received his bachelor of sport sciences degree from the same university, graduating with honors. He is a PhD candidate at Bond, researching the neuroimmunological, physiological and biochemical responses of elite contact sports athletes to training and competition and has six publications in international peer reviewed journals.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about yourself, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available, and/or notable publications.

SC: My name is Sam Coad, Australian born, strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist. I have been working in the USA in NCAA football since mid-way through 2014, first with the Michigan Wolverines, and now with the Oklahoma Sooners. My current job is as performance manager of the Oklahoma Sooners football team and have had the privilege of working for Coach Jerry Schmidt and Coach Bob Stoops. Prior to moving to the USA, I worked with professional Australian Rules Football and Rugby athletes as a strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist. I have been lucky enough to have had some great mentors and work with some great sports scientists and coaches along my brief journey, all of whom have helped propel my own career.
I’m currently in the final stages of completing my PhD in high performance science, with a focus on neuroimmunological recovery in elite Australian Rules football athletes. I have four current publications resulting for this PhD. In total I have 6 publications in peer-reviewed journals and get to work with a great research group based out of Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia. Finally I’m an accredited CSCS and ASCA strength and conditioning coach.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

SC: One major mistake coaches and scientists often make is when implementing recovery interventions with athletes. Recovery has become increasing fashionable with many different interventions – cryotherapies, compression, mobility work, massage, monitoring methods, etc. However the mistake being made is demanding athletes to adhere to recovery guidelines that suit coaches rather than the athletes. In my opinion the best forms of recovery stems from enhancing an athlete’s psychological state after competition. By this I’m suggesting while the interventions for recovery are important to physiological restoration (and most certainly shouldn’t be ignored), enhancing an athletes perception of wellbeing is just as, if not more, important than the intervention.

Recovery programs which dictate an athlete must do “intervention A” for 30 minutes every week because “the coach said it works”, may be less effective then providing athletes with a variety of options they can use at different times of the season. If an athlete does not enjoy the recovery process, it may not be of physiological benefit; it may in fact be another stress to the athlete. So as coaches we need to find ways to make recovery something that athletes enjoy being involved in. Whether it’s by changing the environment or the intervention, successfully recovery has to be something athletes are enjoying.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

SC: I’m a believer in reading and listening to the opinions and thoughts/lessons of others; even if you don’t agree with everything that is being taught or said, there is always a chance their knowledge/ideas/thoughts will help fuel your own learning. I think a broader approach to learning is the best, as often the results of others can be the catalyst for your own personal development.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

SC: My presentation will focus on methods to go about implementing “sports science” into a “strength and conditioning” program, without completely changing the program.

JD: Any closing thoughts?

SC: I’m really excited and honored to be speaking at this year’s seminar, hoping to share some thoughts and experiences I have gained in my brief career, and looking forward to being a part of a great learning experience.

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