6 Qualities of a Professional in the Industry

The following is written by my current coordinator with the Arizona Diamondbacks who has been my most influential mentor entering this industry as a young professional. Both professionally and philosophically, he has shaped me into who I have become as a coach and clinician. Beyond that, I have discovered my true passion for this industry and am motivated to become better every day because of the leadership of the sports medicine staff. Here are the qualities needed to be a sports med professional in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization–one of the best in baseball. How many of the 6 do you possess? 

There is No Substitute for Hard WorkWhen looking at potential employees for our organization there are certain requirements we consider mandatory prior to an interview.  You must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field (Kinesiology, Exercise Science, etc.), your CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association), and CPR/AED certification.  We also put an extremely high value on versatility within our organization.  Although not a requirement, having a feel and some experience with techniques and philosophies such as PRI (Postural Restoration Institute), DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization), ART (Active Release Techniques) among several others is certainly a plus.  Versatility will allow you to expand your role.  We look for candidates that possess a diverse background of related experience and bring a versatile skill-set (LMT, ATC, PT, etc.).  This will allow you to work both the training room and weight room, allow you to manipulate soft-tissue, and perform treatments in addition to strength and conditioning.  All of this will increase your value as an employee as well as the value you provide to the organization, the sports medicine team, and the players.  Once the prerequisites are in place you can apply for a job as an intern or a full-time strength coach.  Your versatility will be taken into consideration along with certain qualities we look for in employees that are very important to us as a team.  They include… READ ON!!


1. Team approach – The Team!  The Team!  The Team!  Always work as a team.  We are creating a culture of greatness.  The expectation is that everyone in the organization be committed to excellence.  It’s not about you.  Athlete care is your primary concern.  You will need to check your ego at the door and always take a ‘we before me’ approach.  Don’t think you know it all.  See yourself as a life-long learner, who is always looking for ways to improve, learn, and grow.  Be humble.  Be hungry.

2. Integrity – Conduct your personal and professional relationships with honesty and confidence.  Earn and give respect.  It is extremely important that you can be trusted with your decision making as a part of our team.

3. Work-Ethic/Passion – You have to be motivated and work hard!!!  There is simply no substitute for hard work.  This job requires many long thankless hours, especially when you’re just beginning in the field.  Like anything else in life, you’ll get out of it what you put in.  You need to pay your dues to remain in this game for an extended period of time and your work-ethic will be a barometer.  Employees absolutely need to work hard each and every day.  Invest the necessary time and energy to be your best.  We don’t want anyone who strives to be average.  We want individuals who strive to be great.  You must be willing to pay the price that greatness requires.  Players and staff should never be able to say you were the reason they didn’t get better/improve/win.  The candidate will need to have motivation, and show a true passion and enthusiasm for what they do.  You will never be great without passion.  Passion flows from purpose.  Our organization will only be great if it is filled with passionate people.  Therefore, we look to hire passionate individuals.

“Motivation is simple.  You eliminate those who are not motivated.”  -Lou Holtz

4. Communication – As a part of a sports medicine team, we should always have a uniform message/response.  We always need to be on the same page.  Consistency in our message and approach throughout all levels of the organization is extremely important.  Be concise, accurate, and confident when communicating.

5. Positive Attitude – Optimism is important.  We expect to lead with optimism.  Positive belief leads to positive actions.  To be a champion you need to think like a champion.  Be a positive influence.  Baseball has enough negativity in it.  If you fail 7 out of 10 times as a hitter you’re considered a very good player.  It’s a game based on failure.  As a member of the sports medicine team we should never add to that negativity.  One person can have an impact on the team/culture/environment and we want that impact to always be a positive one.

6. Continuing Education – Learn! Learn! Learn!  Knowledge is power.  Continually striving to better oneself intellectually, morally, and physically builds character.  We only consider high character individuals.  Always be learning and digging for answers.  Improved people improve organizations.  This profession is constantly evolving, if you’re not improving along with it you’ll be left behind.  The candidate should posses a solid fundamental understanding of anatomy and function, the ability to be versatile (manual therapy, conditioning, rehab, etc.), and have critical thinking skills including why injuries happen, how to quickly and safely return a player from acute injury, and how to prevent injuries from occurring.  We expect employees to eventually teach, mentor, and interact with all of our team members.

Brett McCabe serves as the Minor League Strength & Conditioning Coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  2012 is Brett’s seventh season with the Diamondbacks organization and his tenth year in professional baseball.  He is responsible for overseeing the strength and conditioning programs for the D-backs’ seven minor-league affiliates.  McCabe served three seasons as a strength and conditioning coach in the Toronto Blue Jays system, first arriving in professional baseball with Double-A New Haven in 2003 before taking over at Triple-A Syracuse from 2004-2005.  He completed his undergraduate work at Grand Valley State University (MI) in 2002, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Movement Science.  He is also a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

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