‘Nose to grindstone’ approach rewards SegerApril 27, 2020
BY JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — Kyle Seger is his name, and human performance is his game.
He recalled falling in love with the weight room while he played football at Southridge. For him, the weight room was more than just a pile of iron, it was a place that made it possible for every athlete to maximize their potential.
“The weight room rewards hard work,” said Seger, who also played baseball and basketball at Southridge. “I realized it was an important aspect of high school [sports] or having the hopes of playing collegiately. I considered myself not necessarily the most skilled player, so I knew I had to find an X factor somewhere. And I found that in the weight room. I knew if I could outwork people in the weight room and gain a very small advantage, it would help me in athletics.”
Seger credits his older brother, Brad, with helping to drill in the importance of the weight room based on his experience playing college football at Morehead State University (Ky.). He came to compare his work in the weight room to that of a stonemason.
“You’ll hit on your rock a hundred times without seeing anything,” Seger said. “But at the 101st blow, it’ll split in two. It wasn’t the 101st blow that did it, but all that went before it.”
So Seger worked at chipping the stone throughout his high school career, and the 2012 graduate took that effort to Ball State University as a walk-on for the football team. He stayed consistent in his dedication to improving himself, and one day, his efforts created a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was Day Two or Three of preseason camp going into my senior year,” he said. “Just like every evening after practice, you have a team meeting. We were playing a game show, and they started calling people up. It was a fun thing to get our minds away from football for a little bit. They called me up, and I had my back to the screen so I couldn’t see it. I’m looking into the crowd expecting to get some clues, and everyone starts going crazy and they mob me. I turned around and saw that I’d been put on full scholarship. There was this surreal moment. Calling and telling my family is something I’ll never forget.”
But his passion for athletic performance didn’t stop there. Seger studied exercise science at Ball State, graduated in 2016 and decided to leverage his experience into a career as a strength and conditioning coach. He took an internship at the University of South Carolina for a few months before becoming a graduate assistant at Temple University. Seger graduated with a master’s degree in 2019 and now works at Georgia Tech as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the football team.
He’s been hunkered down in Atlanta waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, but throughout his journey, he’s taken time to reach back to Southridge and share what he knows about strength and conditioning. He met Raiders coach Scott Buening in 2016 and they hit it off right away.
“I came back for a few practices when my little brother (Logan) was going up through middle and high school,” Seger said. “He seemed like a really good dude, in it for the right reasons and trying to build upon the success we’ve already had. One thing led to another and conversations started happening. I’d come back home during the summers and we’d talk about football and strength and conditioning. Those conversations evolved into, ‘Hey, here’s some things I’ve seen in my career that I think can help.’ I provided a different insight and experience for him to draw upon.”
Anyone who knows Buening knows he loves talking football any chance he gets, so finding a guy like Seger to talk shop with and bounce ideas off of was a gift from the football gods.
“He epitomizes everything we hope Raider athletics epitomizes,” Buening said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid. He’s a great teammate, and works extremely hard. When he mentioned he was an exercise science guy I’m like, ‘Heck yeah, I want to talk to this guy.’ We’ve stayed in touch, and anytime I’ve got questions or want to talk about something, Kyle always gets back to me. We’ve gotten together a couple times and spent a couple hours talking about strength and conditioning, our program and try to evaluate the things we’ve been doing.”
Buening credits Seger with helping him make the Raiders’ strength and conditioning program more efficient and inclusive for the various kinds of athletes who play at Southridge. Seger, in turn, uses Buening and the Raiders as another learning tool as he constantly works to improve his knowledge on performance and athletics. His philosophy incorporates progressive loading, force development and speed development, but it’s all tied together with what he calls movement quality.
“One of the big talking points that we always address is movement quality, honing on developing technique first and adding load second,” Seger said. “It makes all the difference in the world. For an athlete to blindly walk into a weight room and start loading weight, you’re asking for an injury to occur. It’s a long progression that needs to be taken by both the coach and the athlete to first make sure they’re taught proper movement patterns. Then make sure they’re loaded in a safe, progressive and linear pattern.”
Seger said his current posting at Georgia Tech is everything he could have hoped for, and is grateful for the mentors he has around him. He hopes to one day become the head strength and conditioning coach at a college program, but for now, he’s taking his time and soaking in as much of the experience as he can.
“In this profession, you have to constantly learn,” Seger said. “There’s no day that passes where I don’t try to reach out to a coach or player and try to learn something. The next step is continue to learn everyday, work hard and put my nose to the grindstone.”
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