Michaela Kelsey: The Strength Behind CSUEB Athletics


Strength and Conditioning coach Michaela Kelsey working with the Women’s Basketball team

Dylan Anderman, Sports Editor

Behind every sports team is a strength and conditioning coach that pushes athletes to be their very best. While some coaches may do too much and others don’t do enough, California State University, East Bay, has a strength and conditioning coach like no other. Michaela Kelsey, 2nd year coach, has changed the weight-room culture at CSUEB. Her degree and expertise has allowed her to create specialized workouts for each team and help athletes understand the importance of nutrition. She is the strength behind the Pioneers.
Alongside Kelsey, athletes spend a portion of their time training in the weight-room weekly. The weight-room is therapy for athletes and the welcoming environment Kelsey leaves, ensures that everyone feels at home. “My favorite part about my job is being able to build relationships with each and every athlete. I love being able to attend every sporting event and have a personal connection to each individual and be able to see their success and progress,” she stated.
The weight-room and strength and conditioning coaches bring out the best in athletes. When teams go in to train, they look forward to getting better with the help of Kelsey. “She is the highlight of my Tuesdays and Thursdays,” baseball player Jacob Klinovsky shared.
Kelsey appreciates the opportunity she has with the athletes here and she shares the excitement for an athletes’ journeys at East Bay. “Being the Strength Coach at East Bay has been an amazing experience. I get to help elevate the culture of each and every team. Every athlete [here at] East Bay is extremely hard working and it has been such a fun and rewarding experience thus far,” Kelsey continued.
Everything you need is in the weight-room. From free weights to bands, to the several racks throughout, athletes are always able to get in the work they need. When athletes struggle to train specific areas and need new exercises, Kelsey leaves a resourceful plan for each athlete and will even go out of her way to find different exercises that work for individual athletes. “She is always personal with every athlete and when things aren’t right either physically or mentally, she checks in and helps out. I had to do a rehab process and she laid out certain exercises to help right away,” noted Baseball player, Gabe Tanner.
Having a strength and conditioning coach who also played college athletics helps athletes relate, and feel seen. “I tore my ACL going into my senior season and this happened to be my 3rd time tearing it. I knew that I had to heavily rely on my athletic trainers and my S&C coach. My S&C coach, Heather Farmer, became a tremendous mentor for me in my return to play but I also fell in love with the weight room because I fully understood why building my strength and power was so important,” Kelsey shared.
After building strength and power through rigorous workouts, athletes are able to wind down with stretching, core, band work, and rolling out. Not only has Kelsey taught elaborate recovery plans, she also has many more pre-planned packets of workouts at-the-ready.  The recovery does not stop there; chocolate milk, Powerade, protein bars, and applesauce fill the weight room fridge for athletes to eat and drink to help fuel their body. 
Athletes need to be in the weight room and need recovery because it will enhance their athletic performance. Weightlifting, nutrition, recovery, and other vigorous exercises can help athletes build muscular strength, power, and endurance. “Strength and conditioning is extremely important for athletes’ success… my goal is to improve strength, power, and fitness [overall],” Kelsey commented. Improving in the weight room can help an athlete improve on the field and prevent injury. Becoming strong and confident are key values that athletes take away from their experience lifting weights.
Life lessons can be found and character can be shaped in the weight-room as athletes look to overcome failure and reach their goals. Kelsey welcomes failure as a building block to success. “In order to achieve a new max or to even progress in weight at all, there has to be failure. We have to learn how to continue to push past those failures to achieve our goals and that not only helps us do that with our own sport, but with anything in life,” Kelsey added.< It can be easier to overcome failure when each athlete has the help they need. The knowledge each athlete has obtained from Kelsey’s training will continue to show throughout time. “She is very knowledgeable [and] she always knows when to push through and when to crack jokes. She makes working out fun,” commented Water Polo player, Tavaya Martinezcuello. “We will always keep everything she has taught us in our back pocket, so we can continue to have success and take care of our bodies,” Softball player Kyndal Riddell said. The CSUEB athletes are both fortunate and grateful to have a strength and conditioning coach like Kelsey. Highly respected and beloved, her dedication, knowledge, and passion for helping athletes reach their full potential have earned her the admiration of the athletes here at East Bay. Her commitment to each athlete and helping them on their journey should not go unnoticed. She is not only the strength behind athletics, but she continues to be the beating heart.