Former UTT student-athlete Asia Joseph is now a full-time strength and conditioning coach at Florida International University (FIU).
The 27-year old has been pursuing her studies in this field for the past nine years and has excelled on the international stage.
The ex-UTT and Scarborough Secondary volleyball captain began her academic journey in 2011 by attaining a certificate in Sport Studies at the tertiary institution. Three years later, she graduated with a bachelors’ degree in Sport Studies specialising in both Exercise Science and Sport Management.
During her time at UTT, Joseph was selected to the national senior team while training with the school’s strength and conditioning high performance unit coaches Ronald Rogers and Angel Ottley.
Joseph’s experiences with the pair taught her how exercise could be used to improve athletic performance. After UTT, she enrolled at Arkansas Tech University and completed her masters in Strength and Conditioning, graduating in December 2019.
In her final semester, Joseph applied to do an internship at FIU with their scholarship athletes. Upon completion, she returned for another semester as a volunteer coach.
“I didn’t see myself excelling in this field because being in college athletics is male dominated. I’m the only female staff here and was the second female intern. In college, it’s very rare to find a female coach so I knew my work was cut out for me to get accepted to do an internship.
“I just wanted to stand out to let people know that women can dominate. We can be loud, aggressive and commanding just like a male in this setting. I never knew I’d get this far but I’m happy it did,” said Joseph.
The Tobagonian said her long term goal is to establish a facility in TT which specifically caters for high performance elite training. She would also like to have a wider range of coaching courses offered locally and has plans to speak to some of her US-based coaching associates to bring this idea into reality.
With the majority of TT’s pro athletes having to fly out to attain elite training, Joseph believes TT is in much need of such a facility specifically designed to groom homegrown athletes.
She thinks the twin-island republic is overflowing with natural talent. However, nurturing and developing that talent to an elite level is what she believes TT is lacking.
“We need elite strength and conditioning training and staff in TT. Natural ability can only get you so far. I don’t like to see when athletes leave home to go abroad to train and then represent TT. It doesn’t feel the same for me because they’re not 100 percent homegrown,” she said.
She said that athletes require and demand a lot more. According to Joseph, strength and conditioning is very specific to athletes.
“It’s built around their competitions and seasons, when to peak, when to taper, how to develop certain attributes to extend power and agility that they need for their particular sport.
“Elite strength and conditioning is critical because it’s specific to athletes and not just the general population like a gym,” she added.
Joseph credited Kerry Dollaway (UTT programme director) and Rogers (also strength coach for West Indies) inspired her to pursue her sporting academics.
She said the pandemic did not hamper her progression as a coach but helped create opportunities. The former national volleyball player uses her social media accounts to post strength and conditioning training methods, recovery and several sport-specific training programmes.
Joseph also recently started doing virtual coaching with athletes while conducting live workout sessions three days weekly.
“My mentors inspire me. They always push me to be better and they don't see gender as an issue. Outside of my mentors, just being a female coach inspires me. So many women don't believe that it's possible to excel in athletics, especially in another country.
“So for me, it’s like inspiring and motivating others by blazing a trail for them to follow. I would love to see more females being brave and stamping their name and don't use gender as an excuse,” she concluded.