It is believed that there is only ONE female strength coach working with a Division 1 men’s basketball program.
Who is this mystery woman? Her name is Andrea Hudy and she is the strength coach for the Kansas men’s basketball team. She’s also someone you should get to know.
This link will direct you to an ESPN.com video and article.
I thought this article was great for a number of reasons, but was fascinated to discover some of her thoughts about the role her gender plays in working with D1 men’s programs have been, almost word-for-word, the same experiences I’ve had over the years.
Here are the points I found notable – with my own interpretations:
- You better walk-the-walk:I’ve told this to numerous interns (male or female) – male college athletes are just begging for a reason to discount you and your instruction. So, you better come in well prepared, confident, and have some type of obvious physicality to your stature. Over the years, I’ve made it a point not to back down to male athletes as they’ve “tested the water” by challenging me. I’ve literally kicked a soccer ball out of the weight room and down the hall, told men in no uncertain terms how strong they’re NOT & physically inadequate the ARE, won pull-up competitions against men, and yelled in guys’ faces. I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure everyone understands I’m the alpha in the room.
- The mom syndrome: Once I’ve successfully gained everyone’s trust and respect, I usually start hearing “mom” references from the guys. Regardless of how “hard” you appear, I think it is simply natural that the way a female strength coach communicates to her guys will still be, at the very least, subtly different than their male coaches. They interpret this as something that feels like home and their moms. It was surprising the first time it happened to me, but they really mean it and it is coming from a place of deep appreciation and caring.
- Sexism: Yes, this is alive and well for the female strength coach. Fortunately, I knew from the get-go that I needed to have a very specific and direct approach for my male teams. By taking this approach I’ve honestly not ever had a problem that I can say is stemming from an athlete or coach’s problem with me as a female.
Division 1 athletics is an intense pressure-cooker for everyone across all positions and it is encouraging to see a female strength coach profiled for her success with a high-profile male team. This is a real rarity!