By BRADY SMITH
Penn High School Student Reporter
Penn High School Strength and Conditioning coach Matt Cates, just added another accomplishment to his resume as he was named the State Director of the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA).
Cates graduated from Portage High School and went on to Manchester University, where he played football. Cates has coached at multiple schools, including Portage, Michigan City, Martinsville and Penn High School.
Cates graduated with a Physical Education and Health Teaching K-12 at Manchester. He holds certificates for strength and conditioning through 3 additional organizations (USAW, HSSCS, SSC). Cates has served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Penn for five years.
“As a coach, I want students to know that they will be given as many opportunities as needed to grow," Cates said. "We are all in this together, good or bad, we will continue to work and have that growth mindset.”
Cates' goal, as a teacher, is to provide a culture of growth. This will cover leadership, physical strength, mental health, accountability, and of course, pride. When you walk into the weight room, he believes there is one mindset, “Be the best version of yourself.”
Cates explained that enhancing athletic performance is a lot more than lifting weights. Penn's Strength and Conditioning classes gives students opportunities to improve their confidence, show accountability, maintain a healthy lifestyle, demonstrate discipline, and allows all athletes to unite for the same common goal of excellence.
Nina Pulja, now a sophomore at Penn High School, said, “Coach Cates is a coach that motivates met to get up and work harder every single day so I can grow to not only be a better athlete, but also a better person inside and outside the classroom.”
Cates said that being selected as the State Director of the National High School Strength Coaches Association is an enormous honor. The job entails many different responsibilities and expectations.
Coach Cates vision' for the State Association is to continue the resources and educational experiences/relationships for all high schools in Indiana, and to continue to grow the message of importance of strength and conditioning for high school-aged athletes. The organization is not just for strength coaches and physical education teachers, but all who interact with students and student-athletes. The main goal is to continue Indiana’s success in strength and conditioning and make it a flagship state of the nation.
The state director is a three-year term with the option of an additional three years.