Coaching Part 2

“There’s no crying in baseball! Tom Hanks “A League of their own”

“There’s no whining in the gym!”

I preface today’s blog by stating that none of my recent training sessions have involved whining clients and that this entry is reflective in nature.

Truth Time: I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am not nearly as good at dealing with whiners as I thought I was. I previously liked to believe that I had improved my tolerance levels, but all I’ve simply done is not yell at people. Nowadays I typically voice my displeasure at the clients continued whining in a very low tone with an emotionless face.

One of my athletes stated he would rather I yell at him because the “you let me down” treatment feels so much worse than an a$$ chewing.

Coaches have their various means and methods of dealing with whining, which occurs across the full spectrum of clients from elite level athletes all the way to those that were literal “training failures” and those where improving mobility and functional movement is the driving goal.

Athletes, tactical personnel and some executive types have one driving thing in common; they have all to one degree or another become comfortable being uncomfortable.

– The athlete needs to remain on top against increasing levels of competition, or become competitive for the top positions within their sports.

– Tactical personnel typically have careers where success can be measured in life or death.

– White collar executives make numerous tough decisions on a daily basis. Some of which can change the entire course their employers position in the economy.

Do any of these people whine? I’m certain they do. But they take personal responsibility for their actions and move on. In military terms, they embrace the suck.

Stress Managers
I believe coaches are stress managers. The client has a baseline physical stress capacity. The coach provides the programming, direction and motivation needed to increase the clients’ ability to handle physical stress. In time, continued adaptation to stress leads to mental toughness and ideally the will to win.

I view training as an applied science. My current assessments include a set of timed performance tests that can be regressed if required. Aside from the clients functional movement patterns, strength and cardio capacity I am assessing their mental toughness and their intrinsic motivation. Typically closet whiners will out themselves during the performance tests.

Some people can’t do one push-up, but they will fight like hell the entire time to try and do one. I’ll take that person over the one that can perform 30 push-ups but held back for whatever reason.

Whining never solves anything. It simply provides an excuse to avoid doing work. I will admit there were times I was tempted to give a client a pass on an exercise simply to avoid their whining. I make it abundantly clear that I do not progress an exercise or increase loads unless I believe the client is fully capable of performing the exercise. I never said they wouldn’t be challenged, but they have the chance to succeed.


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