Ramsey Nijem ’14 (M.S. kinesiology) is a driving force behind the Sacramento Kings’ high-tech training environment. In his first season as head strength and conditioning coach, the Cal State Fullerton alumnus designed a state-of-the-art weight room in the team’s new Golden 1 Center.
With the latest in sport technology — including force plates, an isokinetic squat machine, 3D velocity cameras, functional training machines, a radar gun in the medicine ball wall to track velocities, a strength exercise pulley machine, a flywheel training device, sleds and run rockets — the facility is quickly gaining attention from other teams in the league.
Additionally, Nijem uses specialized athletic tracking technology to monitor external workloads in practice and games, as well as wellness surveys to monitor qualitative recovery measures.
Nijem credits his alma mater for deepening his passion for sport science, offering him with hands-on learning opportunities through the University’s Center for Sport Performance, and providing him with a strong, scholarly foundation to pursue his doctorate of science degree from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
What inspired you to become a strength and conditioning coach?
I aspired to be an NBA player, but after realizing that dream wasn’t going to become a reality, I turned my attention to training athletes. Naturally, I wanted to train NBA players given my passion for the game. I was fortunate to land a strength and conditioning coaching internship with UCSB athletics as an undergraduate student. The internship turned into an assistant position, which motivated me to move on to get my master’s degree from CSUF and turn my passion for training athletes into a career.
What have you found to be most useful about your training at CSUF?
My time at CSUF, under the guidance of the world-class faculty members, was invaluable and is a big reason why I am currently finishing up my doctorate in human and sport performance. Most useful was the training in the science of sport performance — the ability to understand and apply research in practice is pivotal to what I do for the Sacramento Kings.
Describe your role as head strength and conditioning coach for the Sacramento Kings.
My role as head strength and conditioning coach is split between traditional strength and conditioning responsibilities, such as programming and coaching; sport science, including data collection, analyzation and communication to training staff, coaches and front office personnel; and nutrition.
What advice do you have for students who wish to pursue a similar career path?
I like to tell aspiring coaches to dominate every opportunity they are afforded. Dominating current opportunities leads to better opportunities. Additionally, understand that relationships are everything in coaching. Your athlete only cares how much you know after they know how much you care. Finally, be the hardest working person in the room — first one in, last one out!