Elite USC coach gives powerlift to intern training

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Community Sport and Fitness University & TAFE

Mark McKean with Lightning players

The lead strength and conditioning coach for Sunshine Coast Lightning has embarked on a project to ensure the nation’s next generation of strength and conditioning coaches have the right training to be at the peak of their game.

Dr Mark McKean, USC’s Head of Physical Performance in High Performance Sport, will draw on insights from elite Australian coaches to develop a curriculum-based internship program for the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA).

Dr McKean, who is also lead strength and conditioning coach with USC Spartan’s swimming squad, has secured a $6,000 grant for the project from ASCA, the peak national body for strength and conditioning professionals.

Dr McKean said a lack of structure for internships in the industry was discouraging some people from pursuing careers as strength and conditioning coaches. 

“Individuals and organisations that are not ASCA accredited can offer an ‘internship’ with no minimum outcomes for learning and development and no links to progressive education in ASCA’s professional coaching scheme,” he said. 

“Some require individuals to pay for the experience and in extreme cases the young coaches are charged substantial fees.”

Dr McKean said the curriculum-based program would standardised the framework for internships and set required levels of coaching skills and experience for intern supervisors. 

“We also want to develop skills sets and competency outcomes that must be delivered and establish a clear difference between work placement and internship programs.”

As part of the project, Dr McKean will travel around Australia seeking the views of other successful ASCA-accredited professionals who mentor young coaches and have run their own internship programs. 

“The aim is to gain their input to develop a program that delivers what is required for interns to succeed in our industry.”

Dr McKean will also draw on his own extensive experience mentoring young coaches and managing internships at USC. He said two interns were now working in elite sport.

“Kristie Sheridan was a Sunshine Coast Lightning intern this year and is now head strength and conditioning coach at Adelaide Thunderbirds netball team, and Leanne Magalong, who did a swimming internship, is at the Queensland Academy of Sport.”

Dr McKean’s dedication to the growth and development of strength and conditioning education in Australia was recently acknowledged with a Life Member award from the ASCA.

A member of the association for almost 30 years, he has achieved the highest Master Coach level in ASCA professional coaching scheme and is Chair of its Sunshine Coast branch.

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