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Kendrick Gholston on Helping ADs & Coaches Prevent Problems and Develop Athletes for Life

5 Minute Read

Coaches and administrators care about their student athletes and want to see them succeed in every way.

The problem is there are complex issues like domestic/dating violence and sexual misconduct that will not go away with simplistic solutions. Everyone has seen that even good people can act in surprising ways.

Coaches and ADs are wondering, “What more could we do?” Where every major problem has occurred, those campuses were already doing the typical approaches to prevention.

We understand these issues are confusing. It’s not even realistic for campuses to have optimal systems of prevention without outside help.

We are proud to have Kendrick Gholston on our team as a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Kendrick embodies the Complete Strength concept that drives our system tailored for athletes.

We asked Kendrick to share some thoughts. You’ll understand why we are proud to connect Kendrick with athletes and those who care about them.

An Interview with National Speaker and Consultant Kendrick Gholston


You played football at every level, even making it to the NFL. Most people see the glamour of being an athlete. What do you think a lot of people do not understand about the lives of athletes?

The work that goes into being a balanced person. In college it’s a balance between academics and sports. If you’re fortunate enough to play professionally it’s a balance of your family, sport and preparing for a life afterwards. In either case, the mental preparation is significant. You have to intentionally have a mindset that you are not the sport you play, its simply something you do very well.


You worked as an administrator in collegiate athletics. Where do you see leverage for reducing problems that could even have a side benefit of being a competitive edge in recruiting?

Everything in college athletics revolves around brand building, academics, media exposure (good or bad), facilities, coaches, etc. Some of these things are beyond the Athletics department control depending on conference or geography, but depending on how creative that department’s administrators can be they can get a recruiting edge in other ways. Student development programming is one of those areas where you can truly develop students for life and provide something other schools don’t. This includes mental health, career initiatives, and necessary life skills like managing our personal lives in an ethical and healthy way. I always found this to be a recruiting tool for every school who used it appropriately.


What are some of the needs you see among student-athletes that not everyone knows about, and what are common gaps in the programs to meet those needs?

Great question. One big thing is that upon graduation most student-athletes are still in a fog about their future. A significant number may have their degree, but just not sure what to do with it. They spend so much time in their sport, they never truly prepare for life after it is over. Some schools do a pretty good job of trying to address this through their student-development programs, but many could help student-athletes more (and protect their institution better) if they become more “intentional” about really equipping student-athletes for positive lives. What I mean by intentional is to focus on going beyond the minimum compliance level and having great programs around specific issues, as opposed to the basics on general topics. Most young men and women need more complete and effective programming to navigate the complexities of life outside the game, both in college and beyond.


You have empathy for the challenges athletics departments face. What could be done that would really move the needle to both prevent problems and develop athletes for positive lives?

Some of this falls on students to realize the opportunity they have in college and what it can do for their lives. There are challenges, but being in the position of student-athletes affords you a great opportunity to open doors that may not have been afforded to you otherwise. Now with that said, I do feel the biggest need the athletic department can fill is to provide properly equipped vehicles, figuratively speaking, for student development. This is done by addressing those specific off field issues, academics, and career initiatives with mentor programming that goes in-depth and does not shy away from their deficiencies. This needs cooperation from coaches and staff, but it is very possible.


What is it about Culture Strength’s "Complete Strength System" that appealed to you when you decided to team up with us to help athletes and coaches?

The philosophy of Complete Strength really intrigued me. The system gives a great opportunity to develop spirit, mind and body in a program. This form of student development programming is absent in a lot of athletic programs for one reason or another. I was very interested in being a part of something creative. The focus it gives on students and coaches is very in-depth. It could possibly enhance their opportunity to grow through past difficulties and develop an outlook to see a greater purpose in their careers and lives.


Our founder Aaron Boe describes you as a talented speaker who also has depth and sincerity of purpose. In your own words, what do you think helps you connect with those you speak to and mentor?

I look to connect with them by being transparent with my experiences and showing them how we all have to go through some form of a valley to find our purpose. I never try to speak as if I am talking "to" my audience, but instead speaking with them. Literally looking to speak hope and purpose into their lives, and to create relationships.

Our Complete Strength System is over a decade in the making and designed specifically for athletics.

The point is not to “do something” about these issues. The point is to do what will work.

With this behavioral science based approach, we designed a system of training and discussions that can fit into the structure of athletics and tap into the power of relationships to shift attitudes and equip your people for real-world decision-making.

This approach allows you to provide next-level value for your athletes while also protecting your programs and institution.

Contact us today at to learn more our Complete Strength System and inquire about availability to bring Kendrick to work with your athletes and teams.

Learn more about our Complete Strength System for Athletes.

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