- Human Movement graduate Alex Moore had to quickly learn how to ski when he became the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the US Ski Team
- Based in the States, Moore helps prepare the athletes on a physical and mental level, both during and off-season
Soft powdery snow, international travel, gold-medal winning Olympic athletes and a gym equipped with state-of-the-art equipment – a dream job for any sports fan. Yet it’s just another day at the office for Strength and Conditioning Coach with the United States (US) Ski Team Alex Moore.
The big question is how does one land such a position? Completing a Bachelor of Human Movement followed by a master’s by research in sports studies at UTS, Moore credits his third-year placement as the catalyst for his career.
“I was originally planning to be a PE teacher, but I spoke to my supervisor Professor Aron Murphy and he got me positions at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation and the Waratahs Rugby Union Football Club. I was later offered full time jobs at both places. After I realised a career in strength conditioning was possible, I went for it.”
While he was at the academy, Moore began training the Australian alpine and mogul ski teams, which eventually provided a direct path to the US and his current success. Moore says the move wasn’t in his original plan.
“I had never really considered a career in strength and conditioning before because there are no full time jobs in skiing in Australia – I just imagined I’d stay in football. But once the job came up in the US, it was too good not to take.”
The role of a strength and conditioning coach is vastly different from that of coach. Firstly, the majority of Moore’s training with the athletes is done off-season. His focus is on physical preparation, keeping the team in top shape even when they are not competing. Any technical development is left entirely in the hands of the coach, and Moore says that’s lucky because he couldn’t ski when he first began working with the Aussie skiers.
“I had to learn to ski really quickly – I did a crash course, literally! But I fell in love with it and have been skiing for nearly 10 years now. I can get around with the athletes, but I can’t keep up, of course.”
Another important training aspect Moore helps address is the athletes’ mental preparation. The importance of a healthy and focused mind when competing is well documented, and although the team has official psychologists, Moore spends more time with the athletes.
“I work closely with them for eight months straight; we live in a small town and I often see them outside work, so we develop really close bonds. It’s a little different to working with a rugby club where you’ve got 50 odd people to train. I only work with 22 athletes – I get to know them very well and am able to really help prepare them on a mental level as well as a physical one.”
With a job like his, it’s understandably difficult for Moore to name career highlights, but he finally settles on one. “The US Ski Team is a pretty big brand name and they attract world leaders in sports science and exercise physiology. I’ve been able to learn a lot. Oh, and going to the Olympics was pretty cool.”