Vydell is a Strength and Conditioning Intern with Indiana University Olympic Sports Athletic Performance and this is his SPH story.
Tells us why you chose your major:
During college, I started lifting with a friend of mine to get bigger and stronger. I quickly became interested in fitness and wellness, so much that I changed my major from music education to exercise science. Over time, I had trained many friends to help them reach their fitness goals. I also had the opportunity to help a colleague, now dear friend recover from medical trauma and meet the physical fitness standards of the United States Army. The feeling that I got from helping them is one that I will never forget.
Share your future career aspirations:
In the future, I hope to secure a position as an Athletic Performance Coach for division I athletics. With my athletic and tactical background, and my interest in sports—I decided that working with athletes would be a good use of my abilities. It’s a career I find rewarding and enjoyable.
Share what skills, competencies, and/or characteristics do you feel are most important to be successful in your chosen industry:
As an intern, situational awareness is important. The safety of our athletes is our main priority. An intern can be invaluable part of the strength staff. They are responsible for a variety of things and can be a great help to the strength coach and the athletic team. Not only must an intern be competent, but they must also be social. Establishing connections with not only the athletes, but also the strength coaches, and other support staff will set apart good interns from great interns. Finally, one factor that drives great interns in this field is the desire to learn. Someone who is genuinely interested in becoming a strength and conditioning coach will show up with a positive attitude, ready to learn and work. Their passion for this field should show in their performance.
Tell us about an experience or experiences that has made you more confident in your career readiness.
As this internship is a one-to-one with what I want to do as a career, it has been the foundation in my certainty in career readiness. My current opinion is that the only thing that can prepare you for a career in Division I Athletics is working in Division I Athletics. This internship has given me not only the competencies to finish my final academic year with ease, but also the confidence to take on more responsibility as a strength coach. The academic curriculum provided during the internship is very in-depth and provides some perspective that you cannot get in a normal classroom.
Share a short-term goal you’re pursuing or working toward:
My short-term goal is to obtain my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). This is a great certification to have before going to graduate school. It will also allow me to become a graduate assistant for employing athletic organizations.
Share a piece of advice you have for peers pursuing your same path:
If this field is something that you are interested in, waiting will only inhibit the potential you may have in the future. The only thing I wish I would have done in my path to become a strength coach was start earlier.
A mentor can be a valuable collaborator in one’s career journey. Tell about a mentor you’ve had at IU and how this relationship has been beneficial.
I had the amazing opportunity in the beginning of my time with IU strength to establish a peer-mentor relationship with one of the full-time staff. My mentor has been invaluable in my path to becoming a strength and conditioning coach. I struggled with negative thinking and imposter syndrome. She helped me change my perspective to a more positive mindset. This guidance kept me consistent, increasing my self-confidence, and allowing me to continue to develop exponentially. She was significant in my early development and enabled me to not only be a better coach but have the mindset necessary to become a great coach.