When I was approached to start writing for Brickhouse I was excited to do so, however I had a small hesitation in my chest knowing that everything I would eventually write about would simply be regurgitated information I have learned from all of my amazing mentors over time. As a young strength and conditioning coach I went through stages. I was young, relatively intelligent and had lifted a lot- so I knew so much right? I was energetic and determined so of course I had all the answers. Then I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for a while and blaming everyone other than myself when it didn’t work. I got my first full time job and my boss in a gracious manner helped me see that there was more than what I thought to training athletes. I got the opportunity to work for our Men’s Basketball strength and conditioning coach, Jonas Sahratian, and was humbled even more. I was lucky enough to learn from him and eventually call him a good friend. Without a doubt he made be a better coach and person. Along the way he introduced me to a long list of names that go on forever. He learned from these people in person, this was before the social media craze and the abundance of resources that could be accessed from the internet at an instant. He spent his own money to go out and learn from these individuals and assimilate all of his findings in a practical manner to get the most out of his athletes while not just using 100,000 different techniques that amount to just confusion. He never claims the knowledge as his own even though he went well out of his way to attain it. So as I start to write for Brickhouse I want my first posting to be about giving credit to the giants I have learned from. I owe my career to a few individuals and my knowledge content to a ton more.
Here I go: Dr. Serrano, Dr. Mike Kim, Rob Panariello, Bill Knowles for help in things other than just training. The guys who got me started Tim Lang, Mark Feldner, Ryan Carrol, Dave Vitel, Ryan Reynolds …. Rhork Cutchlow and Josh storms for hiring me as an intern/ga… Greg Gatz for taking a chance on me as a full timer, I wouldn’t the professional I am today without him. Jonas Sahratian for so much I don’t have enough time to state-Thank you.
The best way to give credit to your mentors other than just referencing their names and accolades is to do your best to present the message they conveyed to you correctly. Too often I see professionals play the game of telephone on what they have learned from others. I will do my best always to present what I have learned the way I learned it and even more important when I work with my athletes I will teach them the way I was taught, that is how I will give credit to the greats that I have learned from. So while I will not write a long list every time I write, let it be known that I am just really fortunate to have learned from some awesome people who have been in the trenches. If you are a young professional you need learn from mentors who work with PEOPLE on a daily basis. What we do is a blend of art and science. Thank you to all of those who have helped me along the way, I will do my best not to embarrass you!!
About the Author
ERIK HERNANDEZ, M.A., CSCS
Erik Hernandez currently serves as the Assistant Director for Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is responsible for training the Women’s Volleyball, Women’s lacrosse, Men’s golf and the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field throwers. He has worked with almost every sport at the University of North Carolina at one point and has been a part of multiple National Championship, NCAA finalists and all American performances. Before Carolina, Hernandez was a Graduate Assistant Strength Coach at University of Tulsa working primarily with football and basketball. Hernandez also did internships with Arizona State University and Niles North High School, along with serving as a student intern at Loyola University Chicago. A 2010 graduate of Loyola, Hernandez competed in the shot put for the track and field team and still holds the school record. He received a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola and his Masters of Education in training and development from North Carolina State University. Hernandez is also CSCS certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is certified through Titleist Performance Institute. Erik believes in a holistic all-encompassing training program that is tailored to the individual’s needs with health and performance being goal. He has experience working with hundreds of clients from grade school to masters athletes and takes interest in all levels of health and performance.