Everyday Habits of Unrelenting Strength Coaches
February 22, 2016
Insider Training asked me to write a piece on what I am passionate about in the field of strength and conditioning and something that would be beneficial to other coaches. Here's what I think is above everything else the most important quality of great strength and conditioning professionals.
While I take a strong interest in nutrition and love coaching Olympic lifts, there is nothing above passion that makes for a great coach. I would be hard pressed to find a field of work that has more enthusiasm for what they do than strength and conditioning, so I know I am preaching to the choir. Passion, however can be misguided if not practiced and refined with unrelenting work habits.
Reading everyday seems easy, and I have heard many people say that before. In fact, with so much social media, Facebook and other websites are inundated with blogs, articles, and book recommendations, making it easier than ever to find something for your brain to devour. However, let’s not confuse looking at information, with consuming knowledge with a purpose. Read to understand more complex thought processes; take days and weeks to chew on these. Read about people more successful than yourself and those who have won championships before you. Take interest in what makes them great. Read to reinforce why you are doing what you do, not only what you are doing.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” -JFK
Education does not come solely in the form of books. May is the best time of year for strength coaches to learn, because there is a large amount of seminars, since we have some time off. For myself and a few others at different schools, we got tired of waiting around for May to come so we started to give our own presentations to each other via Google Hangouts. This started in 2012 and has continued to this day. You can learn more from other people than you could ever learn from books. Maybe this means it is more important to discuss and reflect on things with other people every day than it is to read.
Explore other strength staffs. Visit and sit in on what they do and how they do it. Insider Training gives a great snapshot of what people do. Go visit and see why people do it. One of the most important books I have read in my career was Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I see a lot of interesting things on Insider Training and on social media, however I need to know why someone does what they do and put it into context, not just see an exercise and think it is good to try.
Beyond that, one of my mentors once told me that a strength coach is judged not on what they do, but how it looks when they do it. This means not only technique, but the set-up, flow and organization of what they do. The execution of what you know is the most important aspect of all of this. Coaching with passion and purpose is a deadly combination. That is how coaches make athletes successful. And then we will all read your books.
I don't want to get lost from the original point, which is the passion that makes people successful.
I find no purpose in passion, if passion is without purpose (that is a pretty sweet quote that I just came up with). It takes something every day like reading, discussing, presenting or listening to others to mold enthusiasm into something real that can impact others.
It starts with small routines like setting aside time in the day, every day, to read and discuss ideas, and over time culminates into something tangible that impacts others. “Every day” being the hard part about it. The ability of people to take monotonous and tedious tasks and give them purpose. The most successful people in the world have those traits. If you don’t believe me, you should read about it!
My Top 3 Training Books
Modern Trends in Strength and Conditioning by Charles Poliquin
Vermeil’s Sport and Fitness Training System for Enhancing Athletic Performance by Al Vermie
High-Performance Training For Sports by David Joyce and Daniel Lewindon
My Top 3 Nutrition Books
Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas
The End of Overeating by David Kessler
The Edge Effect by Eric Braverman
My Top 3 Development Books
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Stand Like Lincoln, Speak Like Churchill by James Humes
My Top 3 Iron Game Books
Muscle Smoke and Mirrors Vol. 1,2,3 by Randy Roach
Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Samuel Fussell
Anything book written by Vince Gironda
My Top 3 General Knowledge Books
Brain Rules by John Medina
Manthropology by Peter McAllister
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer