4/12/14 – The journey of a coach
I want to talk to you about what I believe to be the coaches journey, and your place on it. First off, I want to tell you that I hate the world ‘trainer’, and while that is what it says on my business card and on my professional qualifications, I have always identified more with the title of ‘coach’ and there is a reason for this. You see, when I say ‘trainer’ it conjures up images of a man/women in a polo shirt holding a clip-board telling you, “five more reps”, or “just 10 more minutes”. Well I am here to tell you that the type of fitness professional should be have been retired with the spandex leotards and leg warmers of the 80’s and early 90’s.
A ‘coach’ is not your trainer. A ‘coach’ is not your program writer. Your coach is someone who is trying to make you better in every single way that you can be better. A coach wants you to be a better athlete, a better father, brother, mother, son, and everything else in between. Your coach is someone who holds you accountable and makes you want to be accountable to yourself. Your coach is someone who cares about what goes on in your life outside of the gym and how it is effecting you on not just a physical, but also an emotional and spiritual level. Diane Fu wrote a fantastic article on defining progress for the Barbell Shrugged crew on how she defined the term ‘better’, and this really resinated with me.
The structure that Diane laid out was based on a holistic view of improvement in the athlete, which clearly inspired much of what I am talking about, but this is not a view of what it means to be a ‘coach’ that is unique to Coach Fu. All the greatest teacher, coaches and gurus all share this view and, while they have different methods of getting this across, they all care about you and your place within the relationship that you both share. The relationship between any teacher and student is a dynamic one that is exciting and in constant flux. Sparks fly, ideas are shared and development happens on both fronts. A true student teacher relationship develops both parties, leading to the gap between the student and teacher lessening, with the balance of knowledge shared shifting towards the pupil rather than the teacher till eventually, the student becomes the master, and the teacher is once again a student. This state of flux in can be found in the dynamic of many relationships, and it is how we keep developing and progressing not just as individuals, but as a species.
I will be the first person to say that I want to make money, and I want to make lots of it. I want to make enough so that if my computer breaks, I can get it fixed and not have to worry about making rent. I want to make sure that I can travel the world and put more money into my development as a professional but also as a person. I want to make sure that if I am lucky enough to have a wife and beautiful children that I will never have to worry about them going without. All of this my friends is not possible without money, but what I want from my business as a coach is to get rid of all my clients. I don’t want my clients to need me, and I want them surpass me not just as an athlete, but also as a coach in their own right.
You may look at this and think, ‘Wow. Now there is a recipe for a failing business”, but the truth is that I want my clients to be a small part of my overall business, and I want them to flourish as people. Only by having them flourish can I be sure that not only are they going to truly progress as people and athletes, but also that they are going to go on in their lives and make sure that they positively effect the lives of other. This in turn will allow them to grown and bring me more knowledge and allow me to provide a better service to my future clients, which more often than not, will have come from my news mentors and one time clients.
If you have something to off you will always have people willing to learn, but a teacher who only has his students follow behind him walks with no one in front of him and perceives himself to be alone. A teacher who pushes his students to walk beside him, and then to one day walk in front of him is never alone, and is truly aware of his place in the circle of life, knowledge, and personal development.
Owen Hubbard, one of the strongest humans in the world today, and someone I feel blessed to have trained with and to view as a friend taught me how to sumo deadlift, and today I messed up my sumo deadlifts. I still managed to pull a 20kg PR but the mechanics where all over the shop and my back position was less than optimal. Now, Owen was a great teacher and gave me a great insight into the mechanics of the lift but the truth is, I suck at the lift. My faults are entirely my own and have nothing to do with Owens coaching, but thanks to his coaching I am capable of looking at my movement and seeing where I am going wrong and where I can improve, and boy do I have a lot to improve regarding my sumo pull.
– work up to a 2RM
– 3 x 3 @20kg less than your 2RM
Deficit stiff leg deadlift
– 4 x 5
4 x max reps + 1 x strip set of Lat pulldowns
– 4 x 10
So please, take this away with you if you take nothing else away with you from this article. Be a ‘coach’ to someone. Help people to develop holistically and allow them to transition from walking behind you, to walking with you and to one day in front of you, guiding you in the next stage of your journey.