Chris Black [MDT Series] – Networking, Coaching & Rehab Skills For Therapists

Posted By: Andy Barker

For the first episode of this special MDT series I caught up with top strength and conditioning coach Chris Black.

Chris has a wealth of experience, particularly in rugby, most noticeably with the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie.

Where You Are Going WRONG With The Shoulder

Having started his career at the Castleford Tigers, he worked his way through the ranks, from the academy to the first team and having reached the top in domestic sport he did the same in the International arena…

Working with England Rugby League as their Head of Performance.

He is now consulting with several athletes and sports teams, plus everyday people from all walks of life, helping them achieve their own fitness goals.

With such an extensive background it is no surprise that Chris had so much to share on the podcast, including tips on how to be adaptable with your approach with different players or patients…

How to network with others to progress your career and how you can learn from other sports and people to get better at what you do.

Here I have picked out 3 of Chris’ top tips for aspiring students and new grads wanting to pursue their own successful career and reach the top of your chosen area…

#1 Progress does not happen by accident

Chris spoke extensively about how networking had such a big impact on his early career.

He made great efforts early in his career, and he still does now, to reach out and contact as many people as he can.

Networking can open up great connections and doors to opportunities, allowing you to meet, observe and learn from other people.

Chris mentioned how he always learns from others, whether he agrees with what they are doing or not. 

Learning what others do well, or seeing different methods to get great results…

Or seeing things that he might do differently, but making notes and learning from these experiences to make himself better at what he does with his own athletes and clients.

Both good and bad experiences give great learning opportunities so take them in, make notes and use these experiences to progress your skills and career.

Alongside networking and learning from others, Chris also mentioned a willingness to work hard is so important to success and if you are prepared to do this, with the right support and a clear plan of where you want to get to, you have a great chance of achieving your goals.

#2 Broaden your horizons

Chris spoke how sometimes it can be hard to gain a broad perspective of your role, where that is as a therapist or strength and conditioning coach, if you only ever see one area.

You can learn so much from other people, other areas, other sports.

Break the bubble of just being involved in one area, step out into other areas and watch yourself grow! 

His big piece of advice here was to broaden your horizons.

Make efforts to get experience in other areas, see what others are doing well (and not so well) and takes these learnings for your own development. 

#3 Coach people

As a therapist you are also a coach.

You have to prescribe and ‘coach’ rehab exercises with your patients and athletes so this is a skill you need to be good at.

Chris spoke about how his early career and experiences shaped his coaching so much, and one of the best things he ever did has stepping out of his comfort zone and just coaching!

He did this first by taking the warm up of the team he was playing with at the time, just so he could practice.

These type of experiences are invaluable at the start of your career, in helping you learn and to figure out what works well for you and what you need to work on.

Maybe you could do the same with a local sport club near you…

Or ‘coach’ a family member or friend through their rehab.

Coach people, take notes, reflect and learn and to become a better ‘coach’ and watch you rehab skills rocket!

We spoke about so much more on the podcast.

To hear more from Chris you can catch this special podcast episode in full right here…

MDT Series; Chris Black – Networking, Coaching & Rehab Skills For Therapists (

This episode is also available on all the usual podcast platforms, including…

Apple podcasts ( )

Spotify ( )

Google (  )

For the others, just search on your preferred platform and do not forget to subscribe!