Unlocking Athletic Potential: Tom Mackenzie’s Journey in Strength & Conditioning
In the dynamic world of strength and conditioning, where athletes strive for peak performance, Unlocking Athletic Potential Journey Tom Mackenzie stands out as a dedicated professional making significant strides. From his roots as a competitive footballer to his current role as an AFL Strength & Conditioning Coach intern at Geelong Football Club, Mackenzie’s Unlocking Athletic Potential Journey is a testament to passion, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence.
In this episode, we interviewed our Geelong-based Unlocking Athletic Potential Journey Prepare Like a Pro Perth coach Tom Mackenzie. He is also the strength & conditioning assistant at Geelong FC and the head of strength and conditioning at Anglesea FC. Before commencing his career as a strength & conditioning coach, Tom was a competitive footballer competing at nab league, VFL football, and running a sub-3-hour marathon.
Highlights from the episode:
- How Tom managed to come back from 2 ACL reconstructions
- What he has learned during his career and what he would do differently if he were a developing footballer
- The importance of listening to your body and understanding when to change the plan to suit you
- How he prepared to get a sub-3-hour marathon and how he’s finding working at Geelong as an intern
Discovering the Love for Football
Mackenzie’s journey into the world of football began in his junior years through Oz Kick. Playing with the Uni Blues in the VFL and later with Anglesey Football Club, his love for the game took shape. However, a period of waning passion due to recurring injuries and personal challenges led him to reassess his path.
From Player to Coach
Turning setbacks into opportunities, Mackenzie shifted his focus to strength and conditioning. Starting as a personal trainer, he found his calling in designing workouts and running programs. His initial experience at Anglesey Football Club allowed him to delve into coaching, laying the foundation for his future endeavors.
Navigating Career Transitions
Reflecting on his career transitions, Mackenzie shares insights into his initial uncertainty after starting a sports science degree. After a stint in corporate sales at Channel 9, he realized his true passion lay in strength and conditioning. Mackenzie’s story encourages aspiring trainers to pursue their passion, even if it means restarting their journey.
Lessons from Injuries
Mackenzie’s personal experience with injuries, particularly ACL tears, shaped his approach to training and coaching. He emphasizes the importance of listening to the body and understanding the signals it provides before serious injuries occur. This perspective has become a cornerstone of his coaching philosophy, preventing athletes from learning the hard way.
Coaching at Geelong Football Club
Joining Geelong Football Club marked a significant milestone in Mackenzie’s career. The intensity and quality of training sessions at an elite level left a lasting impression. Mackenzie highlights the camaraderie among players, their ability to switch between focus and humor, and the importance of balancing work and life during the demanding football season.
Individualized Training Approach
One key aspect of Mackenzie’s coaching philosophy is individualization. He stresses the need to educate athletes on the purpose of each session, fostering a clear understanding of the training goals. Mackenzie believes that tailoring programs to an athlete’s specific needs ensures not only physical development but also mental well-being.
Looking Ahead: Ironman on the Horizon
Beyond his coaching role, Mackenzie has set personal goals, including participating in Ironman Busselton. Inspired by his father’s Ironman journey, Mackenzie views this challenge as an achievable pursuit, aligning with his ethos of setting ambitious goals and finding ways to accomplish them.
Tom Mackenzie’s journey from a competitive footballer to an AFL Strength & Conditioning Coach reflects the resilience required in the world of sports. His experiences, insights, and commitment to individualized training offer valuable lessons for athletes and aspiring coaches alike.
- Jason Kelly
- Randel Cooper
- Adrian Peterson
- Patrick Dangerfield
- Jeremy Cameron
- Konrad Slavinskis
- John Leyden
- Chris Denis
Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.