Yo! Thank you so much for clicking to read. I am hoping this will be a consistent thing I can contribute to, but we’ll see how it goes. For now, thanks for being here and supporting!
I feel coaching is in my blood; it’s my calling. My first opportunity to run a session, I literally could not sleep the night before. I woke up at 4:30 (the session was at like 7) cooked my oatmeal at the school and sat around for over two hours waiting for the girls to show up. There are few things in life I have been as excited for. Five years later, I sit here as a small business owner with two employees, who this business couldn’t operate without, and selling tractor parts by day. Here's a little run down of what I have learned since that morning at 4:30 eating my oatmeal.
One thing about me- I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well; I am a 3 on the enneagram if that’s your jam. So when I became a strength & conditioning coach, much less the first full time strength coach for the school I was at, I had this overwhelming sensation to feel like I needed to know everything. I needed to know it all to prove to the coaches I belonged, to show the athletes I was legit, and to prove to myself I was worth having this job I had dreamed about and prayed for. Come to find out, there’s a name for this feeling. If you are unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger Effect goes as follows: when you first start something, you’re extremely confident about what you know, which is everything. After that, your confidence drops off and you realize you know absolutely nothing. After that, there comes a point where you are okay with not knowing, admitting what you don’t know, being confident in what you actually know, and slowly growing in knowledge & confidence. Here are some different layouts in pictures if your brain works like mine does.
Let me tell you- I have done some really dumb things as a coach, like scary dumb. When I first started, the fitness structure I was most educated and interested in was CrossFit. Now, hear me say this- CrossFit is not dumb, nor is it dangerous. At its core, it is a great thing. It has become a nice punching bag for those who don’t understand it. But, I rest my case.
Anyway, that was what I knew, so that is what I programmed. CrossFit’s mantra is “constantly varied movements” so that is what we did. Week to week, nothing was the same. I was teaching 1-3 new lifts or movements daily; it felt like coaching because it was busy and I was, quite literally, coaching movements constantly. With that, it was hard to see progress. We were spending so much time in our one-hour training sessions teaching that we were losing a ton of time. It was tough and it felt like I was doing something wrong, I just didn’t know what was right. You see, there is a generally a typical flow strength coaches follow to become a coach. It goes like this- intern during undergrad, graduate assistant, assistant, head coach. Now, this takes some coaches a lifetime to achieve and it can be a gnarly, grueling, and unforgiving process. Along the way though, many coaches build a network, they have mentors and friends in the industry they can lean on. Here is my flow: student athletic trainer, strength coach. Boom. Just like that. It was a blessing and looking back, it has been awesome. But goodness it has been a grind. I have maybe 7-8 (this is me exaggerating for the sake of my first blog, enneagram 3, remember?) friends in this industry I can bounce ideas off of and get feedback from.
So, a lot of my learning was just like every other millennial- I went to social media. I have learned from some incredible coaches who post content for athletes and coaches alike. This has led to some great discovery and courage to play with ideas and trust myself. 5 years ago, I did not have the confidence to do something I knew without a doubt, worked. And while doing it, making sure athletes thought I knew everything about it. Now, I am comfortable enough in my skin, my skills, and what I do not know to tell athletes something like this: “Hey, I thought about this. I don’t know if it’ll work, but let’s try it.” For me, that statement, that mindset has been freeing. Why? It allows me and that athlete to try out and idea and get honest feedback. If I am asking an athlete their opinion, he/she knows I trust them and love them enough to want their honest feedback. That’s where the freedom comes from- knowing there is nothing but an upside. If it sucks or doesn’t do what I hoped to, we shrug it off and try again. (ask Ashton Duncan or Shandon Herrera, they’ve been guinea pigs quite a bit!)
From 5 years ago to now, here is my biggest lesson: it’s okay to admit what you don’t know. It’s freeing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think from that 4:30 am wake up that five years later I would have coached hundreds of athletes, MLB draft picks, overseas hoopers, guys signing pro deals (just this month!) some of the greatest humans I will ever meet, and become, hopefully, a good mentor to my two awesome interns turned assistant coaches. (Shoutout Karson and Rachel)
I hope this writing encourages you to be brave enough to admit what you don’t know, find people to lean on, and bet on yourself. There is no better investment. And, it feels pretty stinkin awesome to have people pay you for skills you have dedicated time and effort to learn.
All the best to you and yours.
Hard Work Pays Off