After four months as an intern, Houston Deck takes over as U.S. Ski and Snowboard athletic development coach
All it took was four months this year for Houston Deck’s life to change completely.
After traveling to Park City from Auburndale, Florida, where he grew up, Deck took an internship with U.S. Ski and Snowboard in late April. Four months later, after the end of his internship, U.S. Ski and Snowboard offered him the full-time position of Athletic Development Coach for aerials and freeski.
“It’s exciting for sure, kind of a no-brainer for me when I was offered the job,” Deck said. “I was originally looking at positions in Florida following the finish of the internship, but they had a job open up and I went for it. I had to do an interview and presentation but it was worth it.”
Deck, despite his youth at 24, believes that his age will benefit his coaching as a two-part system that can propel U.S. Ski and Snowboard forward. Having graduated college four years ago, according to him, Deck is much more relatable to the younger athletes. They all have similar common interests and are in similar parts of their lives, being up to date on the latest fashion and pop culture trends and just communicating with one another.
“My age was actually something asked of me during the interview process for the job and I told them I think it’s a benefit because of the relationship I can have with the athletes,” Deck said. “Compared to the coach who may be older with a family and a mortgage, and not knocking that at all, but with me being younger it allows me to be on a similar level as the athletes are in our respective lives.”
The second part of where his age believes will be an asset to U.S. Ski and Snowboard is that Deck will come in with little knowledge of the sport-specific training required. Because of this, Deck says he will constantly ask questions in order to learn more and develop better training regimes.
“‘If you’re smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,’” Deck said, reciting a turn of phrase. “Having that age factor, I’m going to ask a ton of questions. … Where some might have obvious answers, some might make the other coaches and staff think as well in ways they might not have considered. Instead of being older and coming in believing I know it all, my youth should help us so much more.”
Finding out he got the job was a life changing experience, especially because it allowed him to finally tell his family what was going on. Deck, who’s close to his family, kept everything a secret from them regarding the full-time job process because he didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.
“Accepting the job was the easiest part of the process but telling my family, now that was hard,” Deck said. “I’m really close with my older brother and obviously, he was stoked for me. My mom on the other hand, she wasn’t as excited because I was her last son to be leaving home and going across the country. But now she’s super excited and beyond supportive of this new journey.”
The one person who did know about the process, and actually pushed Deck to apply for the internship in the first place, was his girlfriend Melyssa. According to Deck, because both of their families live on the East Coast, the couple had it in their minds to come out West. The decision to not only apply but then take the job was easy as it comes.
With the new season beginning very soon, Deck is focused on just continuing the culture that’s already in place.
He believes it’s already incredibly so continuing it and establishing himself as someone the athletes can trust and come to you are at the top of his immediate goals. He really expects that once the season ends, he can start working with the athletes in a more strength and condition-based role with his ideas and implement his style to help benefit the athletes.
“The best way to describe it is that I want to have more than a weight room relationship with the athletes,” Deck said. “It’s about way more than just making them stronger. I want them to know that I’m in their corner and they can trust me and come to me with anything. … If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does.”
Deck graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in Human Movement and Performance before he spent two years working at the Athletic Lab in North Carolina under sport scientist Dr. Mike Young, who deck considers a mentor.
While there, Deck gained valuable experience working with elite athletes and implementing new developments in sports science. He eventually left Athletic Lab and returned to Orlando, Florida, where he worked in the private sector before beginning his master’s program online with Liberty University, which he said should be completed around the summer of 2020.
“I had a goal for myself that once 2019 started, I wanted to go back to school for my Master’s and wanted to get more into the strength and conditioning side of things with athletes,” Deck said. “I’ve been in Florida my whole life besides a couple of years spent in North Carolina. I went out West once and really enjoyed it so I searched online for internships out there and I found this.”
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