There's been a 3 month gap since I last put anything on this website. A lot has happened in that time. Starting back in May, the pace of life picked up immensely and I stopped blogging in order to focus on what I was trying to blog about: training and coaching. This is the life of a coach. We work extremely hard, for little recognition and compensation. I'm not here to tell you that I deserve recognition, because I haven't earned that right. I am not here to tell you how little I make or how many hours I work, because that would be complaining about something that will have little importance when I pass away.
This is the life of a coach, as I am learning. That hours are long. On average, I worked 60 hours per week, every week from June 10th to August 25th. There were several weeks that I worked 70+ hours in a week, and some of those were for events that ended up being total disasters. But I learned a lot. As a coach, and as a person, the summer time was one for a lot of personal growth. I worked hard, made mistakes, and learned a lot of lessons. Here are few of the greatest ones:
1. The Problem With Youth Sports Isn't the Youth
I encountered several parents who micromanaged their child's training and life schedule. In the pursuit of the providing the best educational and athletic opportunities possible, they subsequently left out the part about being a kid. I had several athletes who would be in our training facility for 10 hours per week, along with having music lessons, ball games, camps, and a ton of other activities. There was an evident lack of unstructured play for these 9, 10, and 11 year olds. Parents are packing the schedules of their kids with so much that it was doing a disservice to their physical and psychological activity. These kids were exhausted.
2. I Picked the Right Profession
While I worked 60-70 hours a week, it was honestly a lot of fun. I love what I do. I don’t make a lot of money, and I didn’t get any extra for the weeks that I worked that many hours. I once heard of a saying that went along the lines of “Find a job, that even if you couldn’t get paid, you’d still do anyway.” That would adequately describe what I do. Strength and Conditioning isn’t a field that is easy to break into and even once you’re in can be hard to make a living. But doing what I love is privilege every single day.
3. Effective Communication Matters
Prior to summer starting I employed a movement based system that allowed my assistant coaches to have freedom to create sessions that fit into a mini-periodized model, for our program. This system works well, if my communication is on point with my coaches. Being a leader is more than just coming up with the ideas, more than just telling people what to do, and more than just a figurehead position. Leadership is a servanthood role, and communication between all you are leading is crucial for any success.
4. Discipline Equals Freedom
The phrase originally coined by former Navy Seal Jocko Willink rings true. With the busy schedule, exhaustion, and some ever lingering personal issues I was dealing with, creating tangible things in my day that I was not allowed to say no to helped me end everyday with some sort of accomplishment. It’s become a lifestyle now, being as disciplined as possible. I always do my best to eat a good breakfast, go for a walk, and train for 60-120 minutes per day (except for Sunday). These are things that must happen everyday. These are things I’ve come to realize are very beneficial for me, and doing them no longer takes any effort. While it seems rigid to some people, I feel freer than I have in years.
5. Patience Is Required
So many times this summer and into the early fall, I would have one or less young athletes show up to classes. Often times, they were athletes who needed lots of individual attention due to lack of ability to pay attention. While it benefited them in the long run, and myself in ways I didn’t see at the time, dealing with the frustration of those sessions was very difficult. I always felt that my time was being wasted when I had a lot on my plate to do. These times taught me patience, because if you work with youth athletes (from K-12), you’re going to need a lot of it. There will be days they don’t pay attention, days where they disrespect you, and days where nothing makes sense. It’s in these times that learning and utilizing patience is the key to getting through the day.
Those are the big five lessons from the summer. It’s been a month or so since summer ended, and it’s taken me this amount of time to reflect and learn from it. No, it was not easy summer, but the lessons learned are ones worth sharing and that hopefully a few people can learn from.