If I hear one more coach justify the value of specific strength, speed, or power means due to the “bi0energetical demands of the sport” I am going to puke. Don’t get me wrong, I am as big a science nerd as the next guy, but when conversing or talking “shop” do we really need to speak in terms not-so-easily-digestible? When, in reality, our true audience are new, younger coaches looking for simple, practical information, or the athletes we serve, and all they care about is how they perform in their sport, not how educated we sound.
If research is the intended result, then, by all means, carry on. However, the more coaches I meet who are much smarter than I, the more often I hear a message delivered in, dare I say, layman terms? Whether I’m speaking with Derek Hansen, Joe Kenn, or Jorge Carvajal, they all get their point across in the most simple and profound way possible. Far too often we posture ourselves with vernacular and regurgitation that serves only our egos. I have to say, I have become rather jaded recently when I hear a garbled mess of complexity spew back and forth between coaches on social media. Now, I will admit, I used to be the same way. If you weren’t speaking at the level of genius that Buddy Morris is capable of, I wouldn’t give you the time of day.
Over the years in my environment, I have realized how self-serving and stupid that was. These days, the way in which I present my philosophy, system, and means may seem incredibly underwhelming to those looking to learn, particularly younger coaches. Athletes don’t give a damn about the intricacies of my presentation, they just want to get better; a mindset that needs to be adopted by more of today’s physical preparation coaches. Having said that, whether a young coach has hired me to consult, or an athlete has hired me to coach, here is how I sell simplicity in a complex day and age:
Step 1: Who am I serving, and what do they want?
Whether I am on a call with a young coach, or a young athlete is in my facility with her parents, what is the number one desire time and time again? What is the ability that separates the poor from the average, the average from the good, and the good from the great? Speed. Coaches want to teach it, athletes want to obtain it, “How can you help me with speed?” This initial step seems trivial, but it is absolutely necessary, knowledge is power. Having a crystal clear picture on what the athlete or coach wants is of the outmost importance if you are to deliver an outstanding service.
Step 2: What are their problems or “villains” they face?
- Villain: a stronger, faster, more powerful opponent, (perhaps even on the same team) and/or coaches selecting who plays based on their speed, among other abilities.
- Problem (external): the want to become faster.
- Problem (internal): constantly wondering “Do I have what it takes?”
I have encountered the scenario above countless times. One of the main reasons why I do what I do is because I have a deep-rooted philosophical problem when I hear the athlete lay her problems on the table. I feel compelled to deliver her the best plan possible because, in my mind, a young person shouldn’t have to deal with a lack of confidence.
- Villain: a competitor, parents of athletes, social media.
- Problem (external): the want to deliver a superior product.
- Problem (internal): the thought of, “Am I ‘smart’ enough?”
If you are in the private sector, you know damn well how much of a pain the ass ignorant parents can be, there I said it. “I want Johnny to have quicker feet, because he’s already fast, and he needs better, umm…core strength. More explosiveness too!” Tell me that shit doesn’t start to wear on a young coach whose only goal is to deliver the best product available. When a young coach faces those and similar “villains” on a regular basis, you better believe self doubt creeps in. I have another philosophical problem with this. A coach who is being paid does not deserve to deal with crap from outside entities. If you’ve listened to the Physical Preparation Podcast, you know I how I feel about this subject. No matter what, young coaches have something meaningful to contribute, don’t you dare rob this industry of your talents and insight.
Step #3: I am their guide, not their savior.
If I am their last coach, I have failed them. My role is to be the guide, not the way, the truth, and the light. It is important that the coach or athlete in need knows I have been where they’re at. Empathy is a wonderful equalizer, I am no more than them, they are no less than I. Now, while empathy is indeed salient in these relationships, they did hire me for a reason. It is “OK” to affirm their business decision by positioning yourself as thee authority, just don’t be an asshole about it.
Step #4: Provide the plan.
Athletes and Coaches
- Schedule a consult.
- Goals, timeline, professional prescription.
- Provide service.
The less complicated the process, the better. Athletes and coaches I have worked with respond well to the outline above. As far as the “meat” of the plan, again, probably may seem underwhelming initially. Here is what a typical training session prescribed to athlete or coach may resemble:
R1: Feet, Glutes, Lats
R2: 3-Month PNF
R3: 20-30 yd. build ups, A series
R4: Walk-in starts 4×20 yds., falling starts, 4×20 yds.
R5: Front squat 4×3, bench 3×3, hip thrust 2×10
R6: Squat jumps 3×6
R7: Supine breathing
Step #5: Call them to action, while avoiding failure and ending in success.
My “call to action” is not some stupid button reading, “BUY NOW”. No, I choose to empower those I serve with the confidence needed to go from good-to-great. The only gadget the coach or athlete needs is a camera (this simplicity thing seems to be trending). From there, we will analyze what is good, what is bad, and what we can do to ensure a better subsequent session. Do not expect me to get into biodynamics, pushers, pullers, etc. How about getting front side and down? There’s your biodynamics. In short, I discuss what is able to be absorbed in a consult, we will then modify given their situation, and apply what was prescribed in the training setting. Wash, rinse, and repeat until they have successfully “transformed” from a coach/athlete with lofty goals, to being seen as a hero with countless triumphs.
Do I have all the answers? Hell no. I wake up every damn day, look at myself in the mirror and say, “You’re an idiot.” Having said that, trust me, this does not need to be complicated. The goal is speed, we are not trying to hack into the main frame of the Pentagon. Complexity is a symptom of confusion, keep your eye on the prize. As Dan John would say, “Whatever the goal is, make sure the goal remains the goal.” Sprinting is a relaxed endeavor, don’t force it – let it happen. The same could be said for the coaching and training process as well.