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The Carletonian

Coaching Spotlight: Robert Barrett

<ach Robert Barrett, Carleton’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, has now been on campus for over a year, and is off to a great start.

Before Carleton, Barrett began his passion for exercise science at Western Oregon University where he was a four-year member of the Wolves’ track and field squad, specializing in the shot put and hammer throw. Since then he has worked in Michigan, Oregon, Maryland, and most recently Texas, where he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Texas A&M University at Kingsville. He now runs all strength and conditioning programs for student-athletes here at Carleton.

His first year on campus has been a whirlwind. Starting with the weight room in disarray when he first arrived, he came in and changed the whole structure. Since then, the efficiency and overall lifting culture has changed. Lifts are much more structured, organized, and are focused on building team camaraderie, seen through the addition of hour-long team lifts multiple times per week. Max Lane ’19, a member of Carleton Baseball, said he “likes how organized Coach Barrett is.”

“His organization makes the lifting process very clear,” Lane said. “You always know why you are doing each exercise, and he’s also very willing to work with each student-athlete on the team to create personal or position specific exercises. He is willing to go the extra mile for the student-athlete.”

When asked about the best part of his first year at Carleton, Barrett responded with nostalgia. “The best part is just becoming a part of the family,” he said. “I have never felt like an outsider. I have done my best to try to connect with everybody and I feel like everyone has accepted me. I feel like we have all gelled well together.” However, there have been some things that have been difficult as well. “The most difficult thing has been trying to take the chaos that is life within this realm, and managing the time, and my stress,” he said. “I need to keep on top of everything I need to do.”

Since Barrett moved here from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, one can imagine that there could be some transitional difficulties coming into this new environment. Carleton’s heavy focus on academics makes it different than other institutions that Barrett has worked at. Additionally, the student-athletes might have different attitudes about their sport. However, Barrett was pleasantly surprised by how Carleton student-athletes were when he first met them. “I got here and it’s just your regular college students that are smart, and take their academics just as seriously as their athletics,” he said. “It is actually a relief, because everywhere else I’ve been, nobody takes their education as seriously. So to see the student athletes just as dedicated to getting their degree as much as winning a conference championship, it is nice.”

Additionally, there was no issue with the transition and amount of responsibilities he has been given, because he had already laid the groundwork for what he wanted to do during his time in Texas. “When I got to Texas, it was a step up in responsibilities and duties,” he said. “So when I was there, I was already laying down what I wanted to do […] I just took what I had already played around with and expanded it. So it was a good transition.”

When asked if there is anything he is planning to do in the next year or two, whether in strategy or adjustments to the weight room, he concluded that his overall goal is to increase efficiency, whether it be with new weight room equipment or overall structure of the lifts. “For me, since I have so much stuff to do, and so many people to manage, my concern is always trying to work on efficiency,” he said. “So as you see right now, we are trying to bring in good equipment that will last. I am trying to organize things, and bring in stuff that we need to reach everybody, so we can have the most efficient workout possible. My goal is to continually strive to be better, as one both a coach, and two, in the flow of workouts.”

However, he added that he does not have a definitive picture in his mind of what the next year will hold, but that he is always trying to become a better coach. “I am constantly going to clinics and meeting new people, and reading new things, and learning different stuff,” he said. “My goal is for this to just get better, and I don’t want to have what we do be the same thing year in and year out. This time last year, I didn’t expect to see us where we are at now, so I cannot say what I really envision. I have a picture, but it is a little gray even for me. It is kind of like an amoeba of an idea. We will adjust as we go along.”

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