With social networks giving you up to the second updates from the blogosphere you can receive the most cutting edge information on health and training from coaches and researchers around the world. The level of connectivity in modern society has done wonders for professional development in the world of fitness. Coaches are learning at a faster rate and knowledge is spreading like wildfire. I think this is awesome, however I believe somewhere in all of the seminars, blogging and tweeting a piece of our craft is getting lost in the shuffle.
What do you see when sift through your blog roll?
You have your choice of any technical topic you want to learn about. Energy system development, rehab strategies, hypertrophy, research reviews, even how to get yourself published. It’s heaven for the inspired technician within us.
My point is, the majority of training information that is shared throughout this community is focused on technical methods and training systems.
Well, for one people like to feel smart. Speaking and reading in technical jargon makes people feel important, so naturally young, well-meaning coaches gravitate towards these resources. As a community we focus on science and programming because it can be quantified, it’s always evolving and because “advanced” methods and programming are sexy. In a field of highly motivated individuals everybody is on the look out for the next best thing and writing about it gets you more blog hits.
But, what about the role of the coach?
What about the values and concepts behind being a transformational force in a clients life?
What scares me is I don’t see a fraction of articles or lectures about mentoring young athletes as I do about the role of the aerobic system or how to market yourself on-line. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way the warm human element of coaching has gotten greatly overshadowed by cold, hard science.
Don’t get me wrong, read all the Sahrmann and Verkoshansky you want but realize that if you only look at the technical manuals then you’ll miss half of what the training experience is about.
The human element of strength and conditioning, actually being a coach I would argue is far more important than any training philosophy or program. The reason this topic is less touched upon is simply because it’s not new. The qualities that make a good coach, teacher and mentor are the same as they have always been, it’s nothing groundbreaking. So, naturally the blogoshpere will skip over it in favor of something that will garner more reads. Too often, people think of the positive impact of coaching to be an implied outcome and consider the psychology of coaching as an after thought.
I think, “What a disservice they are doing themselves and even more importantly to the people they coach.”
The truth is the ability to be a good coach takes active intention and character. Consider this quote from Joe Ehrmann’s Inside Out Coaching “
“One of the great myths in America is that sports build character. They can and should. Indeed, sports may be the perfect venue in which to build character. But sports don’t build character unless the coach has it and intentionally teaches it”
The ability to be a good communicator and developer of relationships is invaluable in our field. If you are not good at communicating and connecting with individuals your results in the gym will be sup-optimal. If you can’t effectively communicate all of your intelligence to your clients then what’s the point of having it? Even more important, as a coach you have the power to impact someone’s life for the positive or negative for the rest of their life and that isn’t an exaggeration. Your ability to positively impact that individual should be your priority. The programming should come secondary in my mind.
Think of it this way.
Most coaches in our field will be developing young athletes, the majority of which will never reach sports at the highest levels. When you realize this it becomes a pretty stark reality that you are training these individuals for life out side of sports and strength training is simply your vehicle to do so. Whether you are working with adults, college kids or youth athletes you can be a powerful force in someone’s life. Don’t waste on opportunity to have an impact.
The greatest benefit to working for Mike Boyle hasn’t been learning about assessments or programming it’s the wisdom that he has imparted on me about being a coach. He always says “you’ll never know the impact you will have on these kids until 20 years from know.” He’s right, I probably don’t but I am definitely keeping it mind everyday.
If nothing else develop your coaching skills for your businesses sake. Prospective clients become long-term clients because of the coaching and interaction not the programming. We have athletes who have been coming for 10+ years who wouldn’t know the difference between good and bad programming. Frankly, I don’t think many of them care. They come because of the culture we’ve created and the relationships they have built with the coaches. The clients experience is what builds a sustainable business year in and year out.
Go back and think about a mentor or coach that you had in your life and how they either positively or negatively effected you. Think about the lasting impact they have had on your life. Now go look in the mirror at yourself think about the effect you have on the athletes you coach on a daily basis.
What lessons are you giving?
At the end of every day of coaching ask yourself…
“Did I Positively Impact Someones Life Today?“
Thanks for reading,
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