This month STT interviews Nick Wilson. Coach Wilson is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Detroit Mercy. Nick came to UDM from the Detroit Tigers, where he worked within the Tigers’ minor league affiliates in Lakeland, FL (High A), and Toledo, OH (AAA) as a strength and conditioning coach. He also held the same position within the Minnesota Twins (AA) and Cincinnati Reds (High A) organizations.

STT would like to thank Coach Wilson for taking the time to answer a few questions. You may have met Nick at the Michigan Clinic this past May where he did an excellent job. Coach Wilson answers questions that most young strength and conditioning professionals will have to think about. See how Nick answers the tough questions that STT asks below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Wilson: I graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Wilson: I got involved in the industry in the same way so many other before me have.  I played sports my entire life and wanted to be a part of them in any way, shape, or form.  Once I realized that I wasn’t good enough to play I decided that trying to make athletes better was an avenue I wanted to try.  I did an internship at UDM, under Jim Kielbaso, and loved everything about working with athletes and doing everything I could to make them better.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Wilson: As far as a specialization I really don’t have one.  My main focus right now at UDM is Men/Women’s Lacrosse but I work with all the teams as evenly as possible.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Wilson: The most enjoyable part of my job is seeing my athletes succeed.  Seeing them win championships and also becoming better people.  One example is watching our Men’s Lacrosse team win their first game in their short history.  I feel that it was that moment when they realized that all the hard work, early mornings, and long lifting/running sessions really paid off.  Another enjoyable part is when coaches/athletes thank you for the hard work that you put in.  It really makes you feel like you are doing your job when they come back and thank you.

STT: Will aerobic exercise hurt muscle growth?

Coach Wilson: Ultimately yes. It all goes back to your goals and what you are working toward.

STT: What things should I know before starting a training program?

Coach Wilson: Just what your goals are.  If you go into a training program blindly and don’t have a goal in mind you are just training to train.  Having a goal helps you know why you are doing something and helps you stay focused.

STT: What is the best meal after weight lifting/training?

Coach Wilson: Peanut butter sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk.  Those two food items give you most of the nutrients that are needed to begin and aid in recovery.

STT: How often should I strength train?

Coach Wilson: I try to get my athletes 2-3 times per week for full body workouts.  This can and does change drastically based on time of year, in/out of season, and practice schedules.

STT: How does strength training change with the level of athlete?

Coach Wilson: This always depends on the age and experience of the athlete.  Younger athletes should focus on body control and technique.  As the athlete gets older/more experienced then the weights and exercises will become more complex.  Finally as the athlete reaches an elite level the focus in on injury prevention and function.

STT: How do I determine how long I should rest between sets?

Coach Wilson: This all depends on the intensity of the exercise, the type, and the purpose of training.  You need to focus on your goals and know what you are trying to accomplish while you are training.

STT: Why is an elevated heart rate alone not always a valid indicator of an effective aerobic-training stimulus?

Coach Wilson: You can get your heart rate elevated in almost anything you do which doesn’t mean you are training aerobically.

STT: What resources (web, dvd, books) do you use to learn about sprint technique and drills to improve speed?

Coach Wilson: When I need to learn about sprint technique and drills to improve speed, I go to Total Performance Training Center in Wixom, MI.  Jim Kielbaso and his staff have a lot of  insight to the new techniques and are experienced at teaching sprint mechanics.

STT: What do you notice most about athletes coming out of high school today?

Coach Wilson: Athletes today have a lower tolerance for hard work.  They think that they work hard but the intensity at each level goes up the further you go.

Keep in touch with STT for more interviews from coaches around the world.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!