Snyder keeps athletes fit

Snyder keeps athletes fit

by Kelli Herzberg

Justin Snyder is one of the newest members of the Simpson Athletic Department. He joined the staff for the first time this year as the head strength and conditioning coach.

This is the first time a position has been created that focuses simply on strength and conditioning. Athletic Director John Sirianni said there was a need to create the position.

“When we evaluate what makes athletes progress better; what allows people to keep getting better, is three things,” Sirianni said. “First is making sure coaching continues to get better. This includes technique, schemes, and adjustments. The second area is to increase the number of quality players. The third thing is to make sure the players we have reach their full potential.”

Snyder said his job is of great importance to athletes and teams.

“A full-time strength and conditioning coach significantly reduces the potential of injury to the student athlete, while exponentially increasing their ability to perform the duties of their sport and position,” Snyder said. “Our goal here at Simpson is to produce teams that physically dominate the conference and the nation.”

According to Football Coach Jay Niemann, the need for a coach concentrated on strength and conditioning is so individual athletes and the teams can get more specific with their training.

“We always did strength training before by a coach with a strength coaching title attached to his name,” Niemann said. “He had to be a football coach, recruiter and strength coach. Now we have a guy whose exclusive responsibility is to be strength coach so he can get much more detailed and much more specific and actually more diverse.”

There are approximately 430 students in the athletic program here at Simpson. Snyder’s job is to individualize a training program for specific sports and athletes.

“We work in groups for our training but each program is very individualized,” Snyder said. “I do work with individuals or small groups for our nutritional consultations and assessments.”

The benefit of his ability and time to spend with individuals can greatly improve Simpson athletes.

“He has more time to spend on [individuals], because that is his job,” Niemann said. “He is able to take every player in a one-on-one meeting and talk to them about what their deficiencies are, strengths are and what goals they should have set for themselves.”

While Snyder is currently working with football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer, eventually, he is going to be working with each sport offered on campus.

A native of Panora, Iowa, Snyder is certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is also certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist with the National Academy of Sport Medicine.

He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Central College and his master’s of science degree in injury prevention and performance enhancement from California University of Pennsylvania.

He has five years of prior experience in professional strength and conditioning – he owned and operated a private strength and conditioning business, interned with Iowa State University, Drake University and Central College, and designed, implemented and administered year-round strength and conditioning programs for athletes at both the high school and collegiate levels in a variety of sports.

“I love my job because I love giving student-athletes an opportunity to stay healthy and be their best,” Snyder said. “I like to see the improvements they can make on and off the field over four years. I love seeing the touchdowns, the spikes and of course, the wins. I love the fact that Simpson is a really dynamic atmosphere right now, poised for some exciting and positive developments. Simpson College is striving to give all students the best opportunities to succeed in the game of life.”