Who are your strength and conditioning mentors?

Q: Hi, Joey who would you say are the coaches that have influenced you the most and why?  Sam

A: Sam this is a great question, when I meet and have young coaches that intern with me the first question I ask is who did they learn from, secondly where did they get their knowledge from and have they seen the coach in person actually coach, write and implement their training programs…because ultimately this will influence their program design and coaching.

The following is a list of the Most Influential Strength and Conditioning Coaches I have been exposed to during my coaching career:

1. Julian Jones-I was lucky enough to visit the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) Strength and Conditioning Department in Canberra-as part of my internship/work experience for my undergraduate university degree. In my mind The AIS was the pinnacle of Elite Sports Coaching and Performance in Australia. I remember the cost for the trip, food, accommodation, flights etc at the time for a poor student was quite significant! This experience was mind-blowing and opened my eyes up to what was really possible in terms of strength, organisation and culture.


I witnessed future female swimming world record holders doing pronated chin ups with 35kgs attached around their waist for reps. I watched the Olympic Gold Medallist Rowing team perform mind-blowing feats of strength, endurance and power. I saw Sprint Cyclists Olympic Gold Medallist squatting and dead lifting 2.5-3 times body weight for reps. I also saw the finer points of coaching first hand-and witnessed, the less is more approach in terms of verbal cues. Julians’ coaching methodologies influenced how I trained my swimmers and obviously paramount to the success they have had! 

2. Dan Baker- The Brisbane Broncos Multiple Premiership winning strength and conditioning coach was the first strength and conditioning educator who took me for my level 1 ASCA course back in the mid 90’s. He walked the walk and talked the talk. A power lifting record holder who was bloody strong and also had a brain, aka has a PhD.

He has published numerous research papers that actually contain real world data from strong elite professional athletes making his research relevant to elite coaches. An approachable down to earth gentlemen that goes out of his way to help anyone he can. His coaching methodologies influenced how I trained my rugby league players and obviously paramount to the success they had!


3. Dean Robinson-Geelong premiership winning strength and conditioning coach. He has also coached rugby league teams to premiership wins as well. A former high level rodeo competitor and MMA fighter, he combines real world experience with multiple degrees in physiotherapy and is now completing his PhD in biomedical science. I was lucky enough to room with Robbo at the Level 3 Elite Strength and Conditioning coaches course at the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre a few years ago. Definitely one of the smartest training minds I have ever come across. When I visited Geelong during their premiership winning years. I saw how that club operated at entirely different level in terms of organisation and programming. It was the most complete program I had ever witnessed.


The program had every facet covered in great detail. From individualised nutrition, supplementation and recovery protocols, speed, strength, skill, endurance and energy system training. The most organised, individualised and specialised training I had ever witnessed to this day. He is one of the hardest working individuals I have come across. His training structure and specificity opened my eyes up to what is possible at the club and is a model I have aspired to replicate with the athletes I coach at my training facility in THE PIT.


4. Ian King-One of the greatest coaching minds I have come across, from what I’ve seen he operates at a level far superior to most people’s understanding. His results and concepts relating to the art of program design and coaching especially, flexibility and endurance development have heavily impacted upon my ideas and ultimately my results. He was one of the first strength and conditioning coaches to co-ordinate all facets of training-not only the strength training aspect. His strength training program design book is a must read for any up and coming coach that wants a major insight in how to develop balanced structured programs with all variables taken into account.


He was one of the first coaches to venture into coach education, product development and business coaching for strength and conditioning coaches-he has the whole picture covered and as far as I’m concerned was a pioneer ahead of his time. His book-The Way of The Physical Preparation Coach is another must read as it covers his philosophy on all facets of the industry.

These are guys most young coaches wouldn’t have even heard of. Virtually none of them, have a website or write articles for the Internet, because they are too busy at the grind stone coaching and getting results in the real world. When these men speak you should listen!

All of these great coaches have influenced my coaching in some regard and I am grateful for them taking the time or developing the resources to assist my development as a coach.

With the advent of the Internet there are many self proclaimed gurus out there with tremendous websites, marketing and sales copy, unfortunately many of these gurus rarely have the coaching ability or results to back up such claims.

I was fortunate enough to start coaching before the Internet revolution hit, which meant I actually had to find out which coaches were the real deal, call and make contact with them in order to learn from them.

All the best,

Joey Hayes