Taking Up the Baton

Why do you do what you do?

The reasons are many for most.

For Kyle Van Wyk, the questions are many. 

Why do you spend time putting together training programs for 18 different teams—men and women, who need unique attention. 

One group needs flexibility.

Another needs bulk, strength and explosiveness.

Another group needs to train for long, sustained, energy use.

Others are simply trying to fight off injuries that inevitably pop up over the course of a career that spans close to a decade for college athletes.

Throw in the individual who isn’t feeling quite right on a given day and needs a little extra motivation.

There’s your staff of eager student assistants who want to follow in your footsteps and need a plan.

What does a strength and conditioning coach do?

You dig in and get to work.

I’ve known Kyle since he arrived on campus as a student several years ago.  Nope, I’m not going to date myself and say how long ago it was, but it’s significant.

Now he’s circled back to serve in this capacity at Dordt College.

He’s the third strength and conditioning coach Dordt has had.

He’s here early in the morning when teams are training and I’d guess he, like me, has had to use the flashlight on his phone on occasion to see his way out at night.

Crazy thing is, Kyle, at one point was kicking around the idea of working in radio, so that’s where I met him initially.  Took him a little bit, but he finally settled on the strength and conditioning route.

I was disappointed to lose him from my student work roster at the time, but, it seems things have worked out just fine for him.

mbyk

Taking Up the Baton

It has been a whirlwind to say the least since the second semester started in January. Spring break was a welcome press of the pause button amidst the challenge of starting a new job and the adjustments that come with it.

Now that I had a chance to slow down and take a breath I was able to reflect on what it means for me to be back at Dordt College. My role as Performance Coach feels like it started roughly a decade ago and has now come back full circle with various important experiences to help fill in the gaps.

When football was added as an athletic program to Dordt College in the Fall of 2007, so too was the concept of strength and conditioning. For those of you reading who do not know what strength and conditioning is, it is most simply defined as the process of reducing an athlete’s risk of sustaining an injury and improving their measures of athletic performance (strength, speed, jumping ability, sport fitness, etc.) through various forms of physical training.

I personally had already experienced what real commitment to strength training had done for me and was excited to help lay the foundation for it at a place that, to my knowledge, had no previous exposure to it.

In its infancy, the strength and conditioning program almost exclusively comprised of being utilized by the football team.

In its infancy, the strength and conditioning program almost exclusively comprised of being utilized by the football team. Bill Bauer, who was one of Dordt’s first football coaches, served in the capacity as Dordt’s first strength and conditioning coach. While he spent a lot of time with football, he also initiated training for all Defender athletic teams.

To ensure that other athletic teams were afforded the opportunity to receive training, coach Bauer asked students that he knew were studying exercise science as well as interested in strength and conditioning to work as student coaches.

To ensure that other athletic teams were afforded the opportunity to receive training, coach Bauer asked students that he knew were studying exercise science as well as interested in strength and conditioning to work as student coaches.

Coach Bauer would devise the training program but it was the student coach’s responsibility to demonstrate the various exercises and supervise training sessions. For two years I helped coach Bauer as a student coach and worked with basketball, track and field, and soccer. I also performed my own training as a member of the football team during those years.

It was during this time that I felt like I had a hand in laying the foundation of strength and conditioning to Dordt College. For me, working in the weight room was a great way to interact with other students I otherwise would not have the opportunity to know. I also enjoyed helping other students who were perhaps intimidated by the thought of “strength training” and seeing them realize that this type of work was beneficial. Not only did it further them as an individual athlete, but also collectively as a team in both physical abilities and camaraderie.

Once my time at Dordt was finished as a student, I went on to other places where I gained valuable experiences that, when all put together, culminate to make a bigger picture that looks very much like my current position.

I went on to other places where I gained valuable experiences that, when all put together, culminate to make a bigger picture that looks very much like my current position.

Like a large puzzle, you can see the individual pieces and gain an approximate idea of where they go and what they do. But once the whole puzzle is put together, it is easier to see how all the pieces fit together in order to create a bigger picture that, at one point, was perhaps difficult to envision.

After college I developed in regard to how I understood the organization, design, and projection of training programs. I studied for and passed certification testing to be a certified strength and conditioning coach. I went onto graduate school where I taught, coached, researched, and eventually earned my master’s degree.

It feels like these past experiences equate to the position I am in now. Piece by piece, I was distinguishing individual parts of the puzzle and positioning them so I could put everything together and form the big-picture puzzle.

Piece by piece, I was distinguishing individual parts of the puzzle and positioning them so I could put everything together and form the big-picture puzzle.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post. In a way, I feel as if I am taking up the baton from someone else who started strength and conditioning at Dordt College, and now I am here to carry it forward. I was present at the start the race where I mostly worked in the margins offering support and assistance, and now I am here to take up the baton and advance it as best as I can.

I understand how far the program has come since its inception and I will work to progress it. But my biggest hope is that the athletes I work with see Christ in me through the way that I act, talk, and coach. God can use anything to bring about kingdom impact. Even a weight room. My prayer is that he uses me to do just that.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑