26 year-old Colorado native Kelsey Martinez opts for the Silver and Black by officially becoming the Oakland Raiders first female Strength and Conditioning assistant coach. Specializing in high performance, and strength and speed, Martinez delivers a wide range of experience from time spent at Tom Shaw Performance in Orlando, CA, and later with strength coaches of the Detroit Lions and Harold Nash Jr., former Super Bowl Champion, amongst others in her profession. Her work at Tom Shaw Performance included tireless efforts of tailoring workouts for athletes designed to boost speed and agility. According to the Raiders, earlier trainings also included development sessions for the Raiders 2014 first-round pick Khalil Mack, 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year QB Dak Prescott, RB Derrick Henry, and 2018 RB selection Saquon Barkley.
In otherwise male-dominated leagues historically clutching deep-rooted traditions and values, many have begun to break down some barriers by embracing unbiased values highly favored and shared by others. Whether as a position coach or time spent as staff, Martinez’s work as a female demonstrates not only a strong will but diversity and perseverance to obtain a goal that may likely be discouraged by the same (believe it or not) and opposite gender. Consider the war within having to battle others along with your very own. In addition to the NFL and having had opportunities to work amongst the best in their respective industries, Martinez’s experience spans across track and field, softball, baseball, and women’s tennis.
While grateful, Martinez’ job can’t be easy. It is one that must have the amazing strength to deal with immensely different backgrounds and ideals with the conviction to be seen as a “qualified person” reminding them to stay motivated to reach results for the overall win of the team as a whole.
As an integral part of the team, Martinez understands that while a type of coach she is still very much also a player. And that this requires the same efforts of knowing your job, following orders, while holding herself and others accountable in order to gain the respect and trust from players and sports audiences everywhere.