Staff Profile

Jaclyn Cohen

“I’ve always been an athlete,” Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Armstrong said. Injuries that he suffered in high school exposed him to the rehabilitation process, which he found interesting and set him on a path towards a career. This personal experience allows him to better relate to the students, producing a well-conditioned community of athletes.Armstrong earned Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Springfield College. He went on to the University of Rhode Island where he completed a master’s degree in kinesiology. “[Kinesiology is] a realm they started to come out with to integrate physical education, exercise science and biomechanics all under one major,” Armstrong said. “It’s more like the study of human movement and what happens when you exercise.” As an undergraduate, Armstrong worked at Harvard for a semester as a strength and conditioning intern. He assisted in the development and instruction of programs for the men’s soccer and wrestling teams and maintained the weight room. While at the University of Rhode Island he taught classes in the kinesiology department as a graduate assistant. He was also the graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for the women’s volleyball team.Armstrong found these experiences helpful in preparing him for his current responsibilities as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Colgate.”At Rhode Island, I was just women’s volleyball because I was teaching classes,” he said. “At Harvard, it gave me a heads up because they have a lot of sports teams. Gaining that experience was critical in coming here and dealing with the amount of teams that come in on a daily basis.”Armstrong works with 12 to 13 of Colgate’s 25 sports teams, twice a week with teams that are in season and three times a week with teams that are out of season. “If they’re in season we work on maintenance programs and out of season we make the programs harder to help build them up for the upcoming season,” he said. “The philosophy that we are trying to bring to the Strength and Conditioning Department is to work on the physical characteristics of an athlete. While doing this we hope to accomplish four goals of increased performance, decreased injury rate, increased self confidence and improved mental toughness. We try and design our workouts around these goalsin order to help each athlete obtain what they are capable of.” Armstrong devotes a great deal of time to working with the teams, putting in 12 to 13 hours each day.”Our feeling is [that] everyone needs the opportunity to come in and work in the weight room,” Armstrong said, “So we try to fit everyone in the schedule. The biggest responsibility is fitting them all in and making it work. As long as we have to be here, we’ll be here.”Armstrong finds this extra effort to be worthwhile, especially as he watches students improve firsthand. “You get to see so many kids and they’re always rotating,” Armstrong said. “It’s good to see their progress from their freshman year to their last year. When you can see that you’re helping them out and they can see that they’re improving, then they enjoy coming in more and respond really well.” Armstrong’s other responsibilities consist of supervising the fitness center including its general maintenance, student workers’ schedules and new equipment. This fall, new equipment was added to Huntington Gymnasium as part of Armstrong’s goal to better organize and equip the facility.”We are trying to improve the facility to make it accommodating for every member who belongs to the fitness center no matter their experience level,” he stated.”To accomplish this, the layout has been changed to make it more spacious, new equipment has been added and, hopefully, with support from the University and its members we can add more.”Armstrong’s position has allowed him to interact extensively with the Colgate community.”The Colgate community has been wonderful since I have been here, and everyone has been open and receptive,” he said. “The faculty and staff come for advice and it’s nice to be able to give them some.”One of Armstrong’s goals in assisting the community has been to spread awareness of health and fitness. “We made a new bulletin board with some health and wellness tips,” Armstrong said, “And we’re trying to initiate some health and fitness days in the fitness center where everyone can come in and we’ll do different activities.” Armstrong’s main focus however has been on the community of athletes at Colgate and enhancing their lives. “My role is to try and teach the athletes what is necessary from a strength standpoint of how to obtain their goals and to become a better athlete,” he said.”Also,my goal is to instill the importance and role that strength and conditioning hasfor their athletic performance and health. Hopefully they will carry that over with them when they graduateand finish their athletic career, so they can continue to do things necessary to live a healthy lifestyle.”