Profile and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Brandon Bedinger was raised in Trotwood, Ohio (near Dayton) and graduated from Trotwood-Madison High in 2005. He then attended Eastern Michigan University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in sports medicine/exercise science.
Bedinger interned with the Detroit Lions during the 2010 season and was the head strength and conditioning coach at Huron High School. He then ran a strength and conditioning program for a private sports camp in Pennsylvania before he returned to Ann Arbor to become the head strength and conditioning coach at Skyline High School in 2011.
He then returned to EMU, where he earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology.
Bedinger is a member of NSCA (Nation Strength and Conditioning Association) and NHSSCA (National High School Strength Coaches Association). His hobbies include lifting weight and trail running. He lives in Ypsilanti.
How did you happen to become a community assistant? I was coaching at Skyline before I became a community assistant. It was suggested that I apply for the position. Someone say that my skill set would be well suited for the job. Turns out they were correct.
Do people understand what you do when you tell them your title? Not many people understand what a community assistant is or even the responsibilities. But when I add on the strength coach portion, they all know what that means, or have an image in their mind of a meathead running around and yelling motivation quotes. There are some yelling and a few motivational quotes, but there is more to the job than that.
What would surprise people about your job? How smart these kids are. Most people have a favorite teacher from school, so you know you will have an impact on someone. But today’s kids are a lot more informed about social issues than when I was a kid.
When do you love the job most? As a community assistant, I love being able to connect with the kids during the day. When I was at Huron, I was only there in the afternoon so I did get a chance to connect on that level. Now I get to connect all day, build bonds and try to give the young people at Skyline some guidance. So as a community assistant, I get to see them grow and mature within the school setting. As a strength and conditioning coach, I get to see them grow physically and watch them conqueror challenges both inside and outside the weight room.
What would make it easier? Is this a wish list? LOL. No, seriously I would love a larger weight room and be able to teach. The larger weight room would allow me to coach multiple teams at a time and expand my reach in the school. The classroom has always called me; I taught a tutoring course for anatomy and physiology in undergrad. I would love to teach a leadership class as well as be a part of the p.e. department and coach strength and conditioning classes during the school day. Some classes geared towards specific sports and some classes that were more weightlifting (Olympic lifting).
What makes you well-suited for the job? Hopefully, peers would say I am disciplined in my work, that I have great work ethic, and that I can connect with kids. Connect first, then you can teach them what they need to know.
How did you become a strength and conditioning coach, and what does that involve? I was bitten by the strength and conditioning bug my second year in college when I met my then college professor and now mentor Tony Moreno. I already liked lifting for personal reasons, but when I found out I could coach whole teams and be part of a team culture I was hooked. After that, it is all about getting experience. I mean, getting a degree in exercise science and/or exercise physiology are important. Having the correct certifications is important as well. But being a strength and conditioning coach is about have the “chops.” Get in the trenches, make some coaching mistakes, train some people, train yourself. Be familiar with “The Iron.” Be familiar with failure and success, read books written by other coaches that have done it. Go to clinics and conferences, network and learn. Be humble and learn.
How do you stay in shape? It’s all about balance. I train every day. Most days are power and strength based on flexibility, mobility, and cardiovascular training as well. But I would definitely consider myself a strength athlete; I want to see how strong I can get. I eat healthy six days per week with a cheat day, but I also value balance and don’t beat myself up for satisfying my sweet tooth.
What’s great about working at Skyline? Skyline allows kids to be who they want to be. Everyone has their differences, but I think there is an amount of great respect for those differences.
How would you sum up your own four years at Trotwood-Madison High School? Traditional high school experience, jocks, popular kids, burnouts, nerds. I liked high school, I was fairly popular and kinda just chilled with everyone. I was a bit of a goof and a jock.