Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Five Questions with Olympic Gold Medalist and AAK Strength Coach Dwight Thomas

Strength Coach Dwight Thomas working with students at All American Kicking Session.
Photo Courtesy: Dwight Thomas

Dwight Thomas is an Olymic gold medalist in track and is now All American Kicking's strength coach. A natural born athlete and instructor, Dwight shares not only how he found his way into teaching students but also what he considers the most important advice he shares with athletes.

How did you get into track and what do you enjoy most about it?

I got into athletics at an early age. I started organized sports at age 8 when I was in the third grade. I remember my first competition against a really good friend of mine. We were teammates and he won the race we were both in. I could tell how happy he was and the joy that was on his face. That day motivated me to practice harder and continue my pursue to become the best. Over the next few years I was the fastest student in my middle school and high school. What I love most about track is the adrenaline and the rush from competing knowing its an individual sport and you have only yourself to depend on.
Coach Dwight Thomas instructing students. Photo Courtesy: Dwight Thomas

Why did you want to start coaching and working with students on strength training?

After being a professional athlete for 10 years I started assisting and coaching my high school track team in Burtonsville, Maryland and discovered, hey this coaching thing is fun after all. I could talk all day about the joy of coaching youth sports and working with kids. The most important element is teaching and imparting athletic wisdom upon the next generation of college athletes and professional athletes. With my experience with strength training over the pass years competing in Olympic sport, I know how hard and how important it is to become faster and stronger, not only by talent but with wisdom and work ethic. I have been coaching about two and a half year at this point. I first started with my high school then my personal coach told me to pursue it further. He knew I had the personality and the patience that a lot of individuals lack at coaching kids.

What do you enjoy about working with the students?

Being an Olympic athlete I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge that will stick with these kids and help them with the pursuit of their goals. Coaches like myself enjoy seeing the end results of the hard work they have put into every session and finally the results show.

What are your key areas of advice or tips that you give to students?

This might sound so cliche, but I always emphasize how important school is and the correlation it has with sports. Without the grades, you won't get into college and you won’t be eligible to participate in college sports. Therefore, at some point, each athlete will figure out that sports and education are best friends.

How did you get involved with All American Kicking?

I got introduced to Nick through a mutual friend of mine that went to University of Florida that ran track. Nick and I went to Florida around the same time but we never met. But it is a blessing working together today. I have learned so much from Nick, seeing how he interacts with his students and how well he teaches them. I'm very happy to be working with All American Kicking.

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