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Getting to know coach Kevin Heiberger

IMG Academy Performance Coach Kevin Heiberger was an all-around athlete in high school. Heiberger played football, basketball, and ran track. But what sparked his transition from playing sports to coaching them?

Heiberger leading a speed session for IMG Academy students

After being accepted into a college business program, this Iowa native realized that business was no longer his strongest career interest.

Kevin recalls, “I've always been kind of a gym rat. I loved lifting weights in my high school gym. It was just me and this group of guys that loved to train.”

Heiberger knew he wanted to do something in exercise science, but was not sure exactly what that may be.

“That's where all my habits were,” Heiberger said. “That's where I really enjoyed doing things. It never really felt like work to me.”

After graduating with a degree in marketing from the University of Iowa, Kevin attended Iowa State University to pursue a degree in exercise science. While working as a strength and conditioning intern under Coach Matt McGettigan at Iowa State University, Kevin developed his own coaching methods.

“I fell in love working with football there - the whole mentality of it. [Matt McGettigan> is one of the best strength and conditioning coaches I've ever met,” remarked Heiberger. “He's the type of person you meet and think, ‘that's exactly what I want to be, that's who I want to follow.' He opened my eyes to the real science of training.”

While completing his master's degree in exercise physiology and statistics at Iowa State, Kevin worked in the ISU exercise clinic and with several Olympic sports. He also worked with Frank Wintrich at the University of North Texas. Heiberger and Wintrich started a new strength program from scratch. Wintrich knew Jeff Dillman, the former head of physical conditioning at IMG Academy, and recommended Kevin for an open position at IMG Academy.

Today, Kevin is a strength and conditioning coach with the IMG Academy Performance Institute working primarily as a speed and movement specialist for performance electives, and also working closely with NBA and NFL draft prospects. We took some time to talk with Kevin and find out a little bit more:

What is your favorite sport to work with?

“Not really a particular sport, but working with coach Seagrave. It's all about movement. That's the one key aspect that's not applied in collegiate athletics. Everybody can do weights. It's the movement that's not emphasized on.”

What is your coaching/training philosophy?

“I don't believe in a [specific> coaching ‘philosophy.' That doesn't really make any sense to me. Philosophies change. What I use are called Performance Principles. Some of these pillars of performance include develop the athlete; prevent injury; intensive instruction; variation within simplicity; balanced development; train unilateral and multi-planar; master progressions; team and develop a competitive attitude.”

What are your thoughts on the facilities and resources that IMG Academy Athletic & Personal Development programsoffers?

“No one else in the United States has these resources or facilities. So it's a very unique opportunity for any student athlete, or professional athlete for that matter, that truly wants to gain performance in athletics.”

If you weren't doing Strength and Conditioning, what do you think you would be doing?

“I really like to cook, so maybe something in the culinary field.”

Who are you favorite athletes?

“Michael Jordan and Barry Sanders.”

What/Who is your greatest inspiration?

“My dad. He worked in a similar field as a physical education teacher. He was big into fitness and coaching, and his thought process on coaching was very specific and detailed. That's one thing that inspired me to get into this field.”

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