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2023 Hall of Fame Inductee: Patrick Cullen-Carroll

Patrick Cullen-Caroll

Patrick Cullen-Carroll was a Physical Education Teacher for 37 years before retiring, and coached football and strength & conditioning at the high school and college level during his career. Pat has been a competitive Power Lifter and has coached Olympic weightlifters from the beginner level to the international platform.

An NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, NCSA Registered Strength Conditioning Coach Emeritus, and USA Weightlifting International Coach, Pat has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from California State University in Los Angeles and a Master’s Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. He taught and coached in California and Arizona.

Coach Cullen-Carroll is a Past Chair of the Executive Board of the Youth Special Interest Group of the NSCA and also served on the Coaches/Education Committee of USA Weightlifting

Weightlifting has played a major role in Pat’s life since he was very young. He started lifting for sports when he was 14 years old. He realized as a young player that weightlifting is not only fun but also plays a very important role in athletic development. Coach Cullen-Carroll says there are two important reasons for an athlete to be in the weight room: 1) Improve performance; and 2) minimize injury. Stronger athletes perform better, get injured less, and recover faster.

Coach Cullen-Carroll has been involved in teaching USA Weightlifting Certifications for over 25 years. He feels that it is important to give back to the sport of Weightlifting by continuing to teach coaches and athletes.

What do you enjoy most about being a strength and conditioning coach?

Around 1984-85, I was talking to Strength Coach Jerry Simmons from USC. He made a comment that really put it in perspective. He said, “Being a Strength Coach is the best job in Coaching. You get to work with all the athletes and help them be better. Playing time is not on you.” 

Please describe your training philosophy.

I follow the following philosophy:

  • Athletes come to you at different stages of development.
  • Our goal is to find where they are and move them forward by:
  1. ImprovingPerformance 
  2. ImprovingWork Capacity
  3. ImprovingTechnique
  4. ReducingInjury Potential. 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments as a strength coach? 

I once sat down and tried to figure out how many athletes I worked with over the years. All I can say is it is many thousands. I would say my greatest accomplishment has been teaching them the correct way to train and why. 

To me, it’s really important that athletes know all the why’s and how’s of their training. They need to know for their own further development and 

lifelong fitness. 

How did your experience as Chair of the Board of the of the Youth Special Interest Group shaped you a high school strength coach?

I was leader of this group for two terms. The name was changed to the LTAD Special Interest Group. I was in favor of this because I wanted youth, high school and college coaches to see the importance of working together for the long term. This has been my focus throughout my coaching career

When did you become an advocate for the LTAD Movement, and how do you reinforce to your high school athletes to not focus on lifting heavy weights, but instead focus on technique?

My athletic career in football ended in high school. I had a knee injury and that ended my career . When I went to college, my end goal was teaching and coaching. I did not want my athletes to end their careers like me. I started focusing on the long process.

I was 14 when I started lifting. A coach took me in and showed me what to do. I was Powerlifting. I moved toward the Olympic Lifts in the mid to late 70’s. I read an article by a Russian Track coach who called it Speed Strength. That rang a bell in my head.

Interestingly, the more I coached, the more I recognized that kids did not know proper movement mechanics. This became a focus in my Physical Education classes, and by 1985 I had moved my Physical Education classes more toward the 60’s La Sierra PE Program, teaching movement and strength and conditioning 3-4 days per week. We wanted all kids to leave the program knowing proper exercise technique and knowledge of conditioning to lead to a longer athletic career and healthier life. 

Always remember….IT’S A PROCESS.

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