A strength coach's job is to help players improve their court performance. They work with the team's trainer to create and oversee programs that improve the players' overall fitness. Head coaches are responsible for all team elements, including coaching, managing staff and creating game plans. The salary for a head coach varies depending on experience, track record and location.
Strength conditioning involves overseeing players' physical development and fitness goals. Each player will have different aspects of training to focus on, and not all athletes train the same way. Often, strength coaches have to manage a wide range of personalities, fitness profiles and training regiments.
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There isn't a single description of what a head NBA strength coach does, as it can encompass different aspects of coaching, but suffice it to say it's a full-time job. Generally, the strength coach works with players off the court to strengthen and develop their physical fitness concerning their given position. Each player position has its requirements – for instance, the power forward will need to be quick, and the center forward needs to be strong.
The strength and conditioning coach can train each of their players in the weight room and monitor their athletic performance through their workouts. These workouts usually last all season and even in the offseason. Usually, the strength coach works with the athletic trainers and head coach. Often, coaches will volunteer with their community by coaching in charity leagues, which may be a tax deduction.
While there are no formal education requirements, strength coaches have a few things in common. They're all high school graduates, and most hold a bachelor's degree. Their degrees are varied, but most will be in a field related to sports. Some head NBA strength coaches even have a master's degree in kinesiology, physical education, personal training, exercise science or athletic training. Many coaches were also student athletes themselves and have experience in the NCAA. The data experts at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics write that there is often additional on-the-job training.
There are certifications that head coaches may get along the way. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) offers credentials for athletic trainers, sports medicine professionals and even assistant strength and conditioning coaches. After completing the course, you'll be a certified strength conditioning specialist (CSCS). This credential can help propel coaches in their career advancement. The salary range significantly increases with these additional NSCA certifications.
The NBA employs over a thousand people, including head strength coaches, strength coaches and assistant coaches. With over 80 games a season, the NBA coaches have a lot to do throughout the year. The average team is valued at almost 2 billion dollars, and often the revenue exceeds previous years. There's no sign of stopping the growth of the NBA.
There's also a separate league for women, the WNBA. While they have their own set of regulations, they also generate a lot of income for the NBA. Players in the WNBA are paid significantly less than their male counterparts. The NBA is well known for its outrageous salaries, and player salaries keep growing, along with the average salary of the strength coach.
Years of Experience
NBA strength coaches often have years of experience before being hired in their end role, and coach salary is dependent on this. Moreover, nearly all coaches have played in the NBA or college basketball in the past. Some top coaches today spent time on the court as players, some as recently as 2013. Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks spent nearly 20 years on the court and was hired as the head coach for Dallas in 2021. As head coach, he makes an annual salary of $8.5 million.
According to the writers at the NBA itself, one of the winningest basketball coaches, Phil Jackson, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers, transitioned from coaching to the president of an NBA team. In 2014 he signed a $60 million contract to become president of the New York Knicks.
Job Growth Trend
The head coach or head strength coach jobs in the NBA aren't going anywhere. The NBA is the world's highest-paying professional sports league and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In addition to the NBA, some of these head strength coaches and head coaches spend time in the sport outside of the NBA, like basketball as an Olympic sport. Every 4 years, the United States Olympic basketball team will need coaches, and they'll be looking to the NBA for support. Steve Kerr, the current coach of the Men's National basketball team, is also the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.