LSU Kinesiology Grads, Students Making Dreams Come True Through IMG Internship
BATON ROUGE – Ryan Coulon, recent LSU School of Kinesiology graduate and Destrehan, La., native, could have never imagined that today he would be settling into his new home in Beijing, China.
A few months ago through an LSU internship with IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., Coulon first heard of a strength coach position available at the Wu Fang Sports Center in Beijing.
“I figured why not me?” said Coulon. “I got in contact with the agent in Los Angeles and two weeks later, on the last day of my internship, I got a phone call. It was the agent telling me they needed me in Beijing ‘yesterday.’ So I moved home from Bradenton to Destrehan and four days later I was on a plane to China.”
The Wu Fang Center is an up-and-coming basketball training facility, which also houses an agency for Chinese Basketball Association, or CBA, players. Coulon’s job as strength coach is to organize and implement individualized offseason workout regimens for the athletes.
“In September, I will begin personally training one of the athletes before the season starts in November,” said Coulon. “After that, who knows?”
Coulon graduated in May with his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in fitness studies. The LSU Fitness Studies concentration is offered through the School of Kinesiology in the College of Human Sciences & Education, and is designed for students interested in careers in personal training, strength and conditioning, corporate wellness and hospital, government and community-based fitness settings.
Back in Florida, Coulon’s fitness studies classmate, Josh Miguez, a native of Alexandria, who will graduate in August, is completing his own summer internship with IMG Academies, a world-renowned sports training facility that specializes in providing athletes with the tools they need to improve and succeed.
“IMG provides you with a tremendous amount of knowledge that not many other facilities can provide,” said Miguez. “Every coach here came from a different place with different philosophies. So, I am trying to soak as much info in as possible from each coach and hopefully take it with me to improve knowledge in this profession.”
“The reason I went to IMG was to learn,” he said. “I would ask any question I could think of. Many times I could use what I knew from LSU, take what I was seeing, and figure out why things were being done the way they were.”
“Dr. Lisa Johnson said to me once, ‘someone does not need to be wrong for someone else to be right,’” Coulon continued. “This quote has stayed with me; I understand there are many ways to do one thing. Being mentored by 12 strength coaches at IMG, everyone has their own style and technique. I kept an open mind and learned something from everyone. The LSU fitness studies program provided me with the education and knowledge that helped me understand why the coaches at IMG were doing certain exercises in a specific manner.”
Johnson, director of the fitness studies concentration and assistant professor of professional practice in the School of Kinesiology, has greatly influenced Miguez’s career path as well.
“Dr. Johnson was the biggest catalyst to me going out and experiencing my profession,” Miguez said. “I owe her a lot. I had an idea of what I loved to do and what I would like to do in the future and she helped guide me down that path. The first time I was made aware of IMG was in the internship listings that Dr. Johnson provides us as fitness studies students.”
Both Miguez and Coulon expressed the importance of hands-on training and first-hand experience in the field of fitness.
“The core curriculum for fitness studies prepared me above the required standards,” said Miguez. “But not only did LSU give me the knowledge base needed to succeed; it also gave me a strong base in hands-on experience. Once I proved I retained and understood the material in the classes, they allowed me the opportunities to apply the material in a professional setting. This experience is invaluable for preparing a young person for the real world that is quickly approaching.”
“I led a yoga class at the Leo Butler Community Center – something I never thought I would do – but I did and I am glad to have had that experience,” said Coulon of his service learning experience in the Exercise Testing and Prescription class. “This program does an awesome job getting students out into the field for hands-on experience. The classes you take are only the tip of the iceberg.”
“For any student that may be considering this program, go for it. If you want a career in fitness, whether it is clinical, sports performance, or another realm, this program is the way to go,” said Coulon.
For more information on the LSU Fitness Studies program in the School of Kinesiology, visit www.lsu.edu/kinesiology.
For more information on IMG Academies, visit http://www.imgacademies.com/.
On July 1, six university units realigned to create the College of Human Sciences & Education. Through this reorganization of resources, LSU has created a high-profile college that will have a major impact on the quality of life of the citizens of Louisiana in the areas of social and human sciences. The college consists of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education & Workforce Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School. For more information about the College of Human Sciences & Education, visit www.lsu.edu/chse.