Interview with Scott Caulfield, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at NSCA
Scott Caulfield has been involved in fitness and athletics for over two decades, in a variety of different roles. Currently, he is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the NSCA Headquarters in Colorado Springs. He utilizes 20+ years of “under the bar” lifting and coaching experience in a variety of different roles in support of the NSCA’s mission as the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning.
Caulfield holds the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with Distinction (CSCS*D) certification and Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach with Distinction (RSCC*D) designation from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, as well as USA Weightlifting’s Level 2 Advanced Sports Performance Coach certification.
Scott’s specialties include: Strength and conditioning programs for athletic teams and individuals, strength training for speed and power, endurance, speed and agility development, energy system specific conditioning, injury prevention, Olympic weightlifting, strongman, powerlifting, nutrition for athletic performance, fat loss, and overall health.
What initially attracted you to strength and conditioning?
I always played sports growing up, but when I went into the Navy, I started lifting more seriously. It was during this time that I noticed the correlation between lifting and my own sports performance in basketball. When I found out you could make a living working with athletes, a lightbulb went off. I began pursuing the physical education field working with different sports teams and at different universities.
Could you share more about the athletes you currently work with?
At the NSCA Headquarters, we work with so many different athletes including high-level youth hockey (14-20-year-old teams), tactical athletes, police, SWAT teams, firefighters, first responders, Paralympic teams, and international teams.
I always joke that you never know who will show up at NSCA Headquarters. We have the flexibility to work with so many different athletes. Plus, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has reached out to our NSCA team to work with athletes.
You work with tactical athletes. Could you describe what this entails?
Tactical athletes are individuals who have to apply our strength and conditioning methods to real-life scenarios such as police, firefighters, SWAT teams, first responders, etc.
The biggest difference with tactical athletes is that they are typically older when they start working with us—around 30 or 40 years old. These individuals might start with us having poor movement mechanics and injuries that you have to work around.
Tactical athletes are not playing a game every Sunday like your typical athlete. They might leave a session with us and be called into a fire call or hostage rescue. The training has to be very sensible and cognizant of how much we do and how much we push them because they are leaving NSCA and putting their life on the line.
What is your philosophy in regards to strength and conditioning?
Everything we do is about results and relationships. We have to get results—bigger, faster, stronger, or reduce injury. But, it is also about building positive and impactful relationships with people.
What shifts have you seen in strength and conditioning throughout the years?
The most successful people stick to the fundamentals. Throughout the years, there have been many changes with implementing more wearable technology in the weight room and field.
What is the most difficult aspect about your position?
In our setting, we don’t see some athletes as often throughout the year. The biggest challenge when you don’t see someone consistently and you have to reassess and see where the athlete is currently on a given day.
What advice would you give athletes about recovery?
An athlete has to do what works for the individual. Recovery protocols have to be something that they are going to follow through with, and be practical and maintainable.
The Marc Pro allows athletes to have access to use the tool themselves, making it a huge asset. Athletes can use it for recovery for future workouts, and to feel better after hard training sessions.
What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?
Building positive and impactful relationships. I really like to learn more about individuals and invest in them as people. When you actually build those relationships, it comes back tenfold.
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