Mike Ranfone is and up and coming star in the Sports Performance industry. In my discussions with Mr. Ranfone he displays a thirst for knowledge and a drive to be the very best he can in his profession.
[ Q ] Give us a brief intro in regards to your job at Yale and responsibilities. What led you to this point?
I am currently one of two coordinators for the
strength and conditioning program at Yale University. I write and implement programs for 17 varsity teams ranging from men's soccer to women's lacrosse as well as assisting with the other 17 teams that frequent the weight room.
[ Q ] How is different training a large group of athletes in comparison to individualized training?
Training a large group of athletes at one time is a regular situation here and the issue that I am most concerned with is my effectiveness as an educator. The weight room is a very animated environment and as a coach you must be conscious of allocating your focus as evenly as possible so that learning is maximized and safety is preserved.
[ Q ] Is there in names in the industry that stick out as big influences in concerns to your program design?
I have been influenced by many people, some well known and some that aren't even in the "industry". The most obvious in my work is from
John Davies, he has been very gracious with his time and energy to guide me whenever possible. He has influenced me since I was a player in college and continues to do so in my professional career.
You (Jamie Hale) have also proven to be a most useful resource sine meeting you at the RT clinic last year. Our conversations and subsequent meetings have had a profound change in how I approach developing movement and range of motion especially in novice athletes who need mediums of training that are slightly alternative.
[ Q ] What are the differences in working with male and female athletes?
First of all I take pride in all of my teams when I'm on the floor coaching I don't see
football players or fencers I see competitors on one of the highest levels a student-athlete can achieve.
But I do work with over 600 athletes on a weekly basis and this creates a very diverse profile of personalities, ability levels and confidence and because of this large and assorted pool I approach my work more on a need basis so that by the end of the day gender is hardly the distinguishable variable.
[ Q ] Many coaches in the industry debate the effectiveness of the Olympic lifts for athletes? What are your views on this subject matter?
I think the fallacy that is most common in this industry begins with how the coach assesses the needs of an athlete. Most coaches and players forget that lifting weights and running sprints are actually sports in which people train years to become accomplished in so if a coach designs a program for a field hockey player to get really good at squatting and benching then they are really missing the point.
In regards to Olympic lifts I believe that they can be extremely effective in furthering athletic ability; they stress the importance of postural alignment, harmonious movement and they teach explosive behavior, but again one must evaluate the needs of the sport and prescribe exercises and routines accordingly.
[ Q ] Any advice for young males and females that are interested in becoming strength and conditioning coaches?
My best piece of advice is don't get caught up with the terms strength and conditioning in the traditional sense. Both can be easily manipulated through numerical expressions so that a coach can proclaim his methods as effective but most of the time they hardly represent the true and full spectrum of their meaning.
[ Q ] Who are your favorite athletes to work with?
To tell the truth I don't have a particular group that is my favorite, I am actually quite fortunate to work with such highly motivated and determined athletes.
[ Q ] Could you give us a list of suggested readings that would benefit the fitness professional or athlete?
This goes along with the previous question but read as much as possible from as many different sources possible. I extract information and philosophies from a variety of fields that may be relevant even if it is in an abstract way. Just like anything else the broader you make your base the more you have to build on.
Coach Davies working with Mike Ranfone, Yale University Strength & Conditioning Coach with Jim Massaro and Anthony Giamattei.
Just for example the word conditioning has very deep psychological roots and yet when you a coach uses it probably referring to what type of shape your in rather than the process of presenting a certain stimulus to Chuck Palahniuk elicit a certain response.
So getting back to literature I would recommend anything from John Davies, your last book and numerous articles, Mel Siff, Paul Bragg, Eric Schlosser, Howard Zinn, Alex Grey, and Chuck Palahniuk just to name a few.