I ask of all my athletes to think about what athlete they are bringing to the practice. Whether it is strength workout, a sport practice or tactical training, I want them to be fueled, rested, recovered to the extent that the training stress that will be applied in that session will be constructive not destructive.
This may come off as harsh maybe negative... But when you look at exercise, workouts and training, there are differences. However, all should enhance health, strength, performance, etc. All activity from casual to competitive can teach us something- provide valuable lessons and perspective. But carelessness, ego driven, "style" workouts where risk of movements performed outweighs the possible return (benefit) and when they increase the risk of injury, it is never good.
With no apologies, I believe we are in the age of the "GOON WORKOUT."
Even the language used to describe the "workout system" brand can tell you something. The name alone might lead you to question whether you are in for an experience that is driven by a marketing hype campaign. I am all for over the top enthusiasm, creativity, even themes when they are safely applied as part of a sound program. But definitely, I stand against "brands" that unnecessarily put those who participate at risk.
Here is what I preach...
S - Sport, could be any sport, could be Swimming
K - Kid, be a kid, unrestrained, enthusiastic and don't be self-conscious
I - Intensity, you've got to pursue your goals with some
L - Love, love what you do, you don't have to be good at it, but do it for the love
L - Laugh, yes, be ready to laugh at yourself and don't take yourself too seriously
S - So long, once you are done with your passion activity/sport, say so long and get on with the other things in life. Makes it sweet to get back out there!
As a practice, I love to switch my role from coach and being the one who gives instruction to the athlete and in turn, receiving instruction, coaching and maybe even as they say, "getting schooled." Eating a slice of humble pie now and then is always something that keeps our feet on the ground. I don't mind it one bit, never have and frankly, I like the taste...
As a professional strength coach and trainer, barbells, dumbbells, Kettlebells are all highly familiar objects for me and take up a substantial amount of space in my brain. I can imagine the feel well of my fingers curling around and Olympic bar and know the 45 pound weight of it instinctively.
But ask me if I ever coached an Olympic weightlifter, (Snatch and the Clean & Jerk) and I'd answer no. Although I have a good understanding of the Olympic lifts and huge respect for the amount of technique involved, it's a whole different world when you ask yourself to perform these lifts. Especially under the watchful eye of an experienced weightlifting coach.
For years, I have wanted to do the USA Weightlifting certification where coaches like me are taught the details and progressions of these lifts. USAW is the governing body for weightlifting competition. There certification is great (I have been told by peer coaches) but there are other schools out there.
Somehow, I got insanely lucky. I found out that right here in my new city of Winston-Salem there is one of the best weightlifting coaches in the world right here. Actually it is in the town of Advance, NC, about 15 minutes from my house where Travis Mash has Mash Elite Performance. (mashelite.com)
Travis just hosted a weightlifting seminar as he does throughout the US and I was eager to take off my coaching hat and get coached and learn these techniques on a whole new level. The seminar was very hands on with Travis taking the lead and his crew of coaches there were eager to step in and help throughout the day. My progression in technique through the day was as fast as it possibly could have been, (in my opinion) but don't get me wrong, I have a considerable amount of work that I am looking to put in before I can say that I can perform these lifts at a level that I'd like to.
It doesn't come together in one day. However, the knowledge and understanding gained in one seminar coupled with years of understanding the lifts can immensely expand your outlook and ability. You have to start somewhere is what I always tell my athletes.
I finished the day charged with huge enthusiasm energy, in spite of a few failed attempts in the Snatch lift. Why did I feel so great? Because I love to learn. I love to pursue new knowledge, skills and perspective. And I love to learn from great people like Travis and his crew.
Technique is everything. As a coach, I want to make sure that my athletes fully understand and execute the best technique possible. To train an athlete is to train their technique - in my opinion.
At my old pool there is a sign on the wall that reads "Practice makes permanent." I definitely agree with this statement. We develop habits in practice and we need to make sure that we are developing helpful habits in regards to our movement patterns.
On a daily basis I observe athletes working out. Those who I coach and those who are merely working out in the same facility. I love the interaction with my athletes and seeing them achieve technical proficiency. All their hard work is productive.
On the other hand, it's hard to hold back from offering some advice to those I am not coaching, especially when I suspect that a movement (exercise) or sport technique may result in some kind of injury. Importantly, I only intervene under certain circumstances. On the lighter side though, it's usually just optimal performance that is at risk when sub-optimal (maybe even bad) technique is repeated.
As well, sometimes a good situation arises and a conversation starts and I find that the person is really interested in working with a coach!
Every great athlete has a coach. A good coach offers objective feedback and guides his athletes in their movements and develops the athlete in terms of technique. Self-coaching is definitely a challenge. But so many folks choose this route.
So I will offer this advice. Consider working with a coach. Your goal in working with your coach is to gain technical proficiency through good feedback. Program planning and workouts that develop your ability to compete with the highest level of bio- mechanical efficiency a.k.a. technique!
We see so many new faces at the gym on January 1. Most of these new faces unfortunately won't be seen again in the gym after about two weeks. That statement is backed up by fitness industry research. These are our "resolution" people. Though these folks may have been sincere in their attempt to get fit, for some reason it didn't stick.
While these folks were at the gym though, my bet is that they work hard. Possibly harder than they should have worked. That is strike one. Doing to much to soon can destroy long term motivation and it can result in injury. Strike two, a abrupt change in lifestyle and and logistics shocks the system. Strike three may be the idea that we need to see progress immediately.
Patience is key and people new to exerciser or working out would probably do better to place more emphasis on process goals as opposed to outcome goals. What we want to avoid is exactly what seems to happen, our well intentioned folks head back to the bench (or couch) not having realized anything but frustration.
What can you do to make your resolution stick? Contact me - I'll show you the most effective way to safely get in fit and in shape and reach your goals!
There are so many great sports out there and so many great athletes too. I have always been one to follow the more obscure sports and in terms of participation and coaching, my focus has primarily been on the Olympic sports.
I'd usually have to know someone personally in the "big" sports to really get interested in them. My cousin for example played football for the Tennessee Titans for nine years and I'll confess that those nine years composed my biggest consumption of the sport. Back in college, I was on the swim team and I'd meet other varsity athletes on the baseball, basketball and football teams. Once I got to know them, I would always enjoy watching their games more so than if I didn't know them personally.
The wrestlers, forget it, I enjoyed watching the matches regardless of whether I knew them or not. Fortunately, I happened to know a bunch of them and they were great guys to know. They were tougher than most and regardless of weight class, no one could mess with them - unless you wanted to get tied up like a pretzel.
I always felt something in common with wrestlers. Maybe it was because I did Judo as a kid or maybe it was the one-on-one, head-to-head competition that we both faced when we would compete. Or maybe it was because back then anyway there wasn't necessarily anything beyond college. You weren't working your butt off for the hope that you'd become a pro. The big sports had the NFL, NBA or MLB floating out there. Ask most 20, 21, 22 year old male who is doing well in a big sport and I think by nature they would go for a pro career if given a shot.
But us swimmers and our wrestling buddies, we worked unbelievably hard probably driven by some raging desire simply to do better, to improve our time, or to pin an opponent. Self satisfaction of doing your best while reaching a goal is just as rewarding at the time it happens, but also ten or twenty years later regardless of the potential to get some kind of monetary reward. Maybe that is why I am so attracted to what they used to refer to as the "non-revenue" sports... It was a matter of true love and desire to be your best and the mere knowledge that you did is the only reward that really means anything.