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Learn what it means to be Grinnell’s strength coach

Jason+Martinez+%28left%29%2C+strength+and+football+coach%2C+on+the+football+sidelines.+
Jason Martinez (left), strength and football coach, on the football sidelines.
Jason Martinez (left), strength and football coach, on the football sidelines.

“Strength coach” might sound like a peculiar term to non-athletes, and yet, Grinnell College’s strength coach, Jason Martinez, plays an important role in the physical development of Grinnell athletes in all sports teams. Martinez is currently in his eighth year as the head strength and conditioning coach at Grinnell College. In addition to his responsibilities as the head strength coach, Martinez is also the defensive coordinator for the football team, a position which he has held throughout his time at Grinnell.

In college, Martinez was a two-sport Division III student-athlete. He noted that sports have always played a fundamental role in his life. He first got into coaching because he wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of young people and give back to athletics. In an email to The S&B, Martinez wrote, “As a coach I am an instructor, friend, mentor, counselor and resource of information for all the student-athletes I help. I look at coaching as an opportunity to develop young men and women, just like my coaches did for me as I was growing up.”

More specifically, Martinez became interested in strength and conditioning coaching because he noticed the positive impact that training can have on one’s life both inside and outside the arena of competition. According to Martinez, not only does training help to improve athletic performance, but it also has a positive effect on one’s “mental confidence and character development,” he wrote. To pursue this field of work, Martinez had to complete an extensive certification process, and is now a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

As the head of strength and conditioning coaching at Grinnell, Martinez has two primary goals: improve athletic performance and reduce athletic injuries. In his efforts to improve athletic performance, Martinez works closely with athletes to help them enhance their speed, strength and power. Martinez helps these athletes perform to the best of their ability by teaching them proper exercise and lifting techniques and designing programs to strengthen body parts that might be prone to injuries within a particular sport. He also monitors the general health and well-being of athletes, occasionally providing nutritional advice.

Martinez works closely with all varsity teams at Grinnell. He wrote that “training programs will vary based on the demands of the sport but also the needs and experience of the student-athletes.” Therefore, Martinez is tasked with training a wide variety of athletes from different sports, yet he is able to tailor training programs to meet their specific needs.

Through his experiences as a former student-athlete, Coach Martinez relates to the daily stresses that student-athletes face as they balance a rigorous course load alongside their athletic responsibilities. However, in his experiences both as a student-athlete and as a coach who has worked at other schools, Coach Martinez believes that Grinnell student-athletes are unique in their thirst for knowledge. He wrote, “Student-athletes [at Grinnell] are so inquisitive and thoughtful when it comes to the things they are doing to better themselves both on and off the athletic fields.”

Martinez truly values his role. “To be honest the thing I love most working with student-athletes is the reward of seeing them succeed both on and off the athletic fields,” Martinez wrote. “I thoroughly enjoyed the position as a strength coach as it allows me to teach life skills through athletic participation.”

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