Negotiating Your Next Contract

David Hodge wrote a great article on why he thought Strength & Conditioning coaches should be given more credit.

Interestingly, over the past few years I have received a number of emails from S&C Coaches who realise that they are not being paid what they are worth.

The sense of frustration is compounded by the fact that the same organisations are paying higher rates for their physiotherapists and other staff.

While our collective profession should be pushing the standard of pay up, here are some things to explore when it comes to negotiating your take home package.


Chances are the organisation will be open to you using their facilities during the down times of the day, week and training year, especially since there is no hard cost to them.

If you consider that commercial gyms in Australia can charge their personal trainers between AUS$200-$400 per week you are potentially adding $10,000 to $20,000 to your contract.

Think about using the facilities for some personal training or for holding presentations and courses.

Title Change

My fundamental belief regarding job titles is best summed up when I apologized to a highly ranked army official for using the incorrect title.

He replied “Don’t worry, those who care do not matter, and those who matter do not care.”

Of course, there are people who are legitimately living up to the titles: Darren Burgess and Ian McKeown (High Performance Manger and Director of Athletic Development respectively) at Port Adelaide; and Sally Baily at the Brisbane Grammar School.

Job title

It’s just unfortunate that there are many who aren’t actually ‘Directing’, ‘Managing’ or ‘High Performance’.

Regardless, there are decision makers to whom this makes a difference and that decision maker might be interviewing you for your next position.

In consultation with your organisation, look to ‘upgrade’ your title (ensuring it does reflect your roles).


Can you tap into the organisation’s sponsors? Can you negotiate for extra contra?

Airline sponsor? Free tickets? Free miles? Lounge passes?

Clothing sponsor? Extra casual clothes?

Supplements? You get the idea.

While none of the suggestions mentioned above ‘pay the bills’ they do contribute to your overall package, especially if you are already paying for what the sponsors offers.

What about training the sponsor's CEO and management? Or doing corporate bootcamps for them? While it may not be your ideal way to spend your time, the money you earn doing theses could be vastly more than your entire contact.

Professional Development (Paid)

[Before discussing PD, remember that most people in charge of a budget are very protective of their piece of authority and often fail to see the big picture.

So if you are able tap into another budget (even though it all essentially comes from the same place) you are more likely to have success.]

Since your organisation will almost definitely have a ‘Coaching Budget’ and a ‘PD Budget’ there will be less apprehension to explore this option.

In fact, this is a great conversation to have with your organisation as it shows that you are looking to improve, while at the same time, they are actually investing into their own program.

Think about attending the annual Coaching Conference, adding extra skills by attending seminars or join us at the Junior Sport Science Symposium (unashamed plug : )

Remember, you can potentially use the Sponsors to help out.

Hotel sponsor? They can provide their accommodation. Car rental sponsor? There is your transport while you’re away.

A great knock-on effect is that your organisation looks good by having a representative at that course/seminar/conference.

Make sure you write a detailed report, with plenty of take home messages, about your experience and share it with those that helped you get there.

Professional Development (Free)

PD doesn’t have to be a paid experience. In fact, many of my most valuable learning opportunities were free: observing, interacting and having a coffee with people far more knowledgeable or experienced than I am.

Sometimes, though, it’s tough to get in contact with those people you want to spend some time with.

However, it’s amazing how small the Coaching and High Performance worlds are. We’re all probably one, maybe two, connections from each other.

Use this to your advantage by finding out who the other people in the organisation are connected to and leverage that.

Besides, you’re more likely to get that experience if you have a shared connection rather than just 'cold calling'.

Many teams and clubs have ‘feeder teams’ (think AA, AAA, etc. in baseball) and if you happen to be a feeder team to another professional team then use this link to your full advantage.

They should be glad to have you on board – you’re working with the players that will populate their teams in a few years – and will probably open their doors for you.

Build Your Presence

Whether it’s social media, regular media, or the organisation’s newsletter, there are channels to explore that might increase your value by building your ‘presence’.

Sure, none of the examples add to the ‘bottom line’ but as Jacksonville Jaguars S&C, Alex Hampton, wrote here: it’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

Write It In

Once you have agreed to terms, ensure that these terms are written down.

They are part of your contract and should be treated in the same manner as the financial aspects.

If you have any other ideas, please comment below or email them through.

Grant Jenkins is a Strength & Conditioning Coach who enjoys Coach Development as much as he enjoys Athlete Development. Follow him on Twitter @Grant_Jenkins

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