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Monday, October 27, 2014

Why I let one of my favorite "clients," go

As the great Popeye the sailor once said "that's all I can stands n me can't stands no more!"

I've heard "why aren't we training?" or "why aren't you training the kids?" probably 12x over the past two-three weeks.  In the beginning I simply said "time to make a change," but I've had a real strong desire to clarify recently, so I'll keep this short and sweet... Which probably means it'll be long and bitter. 

In the past, I've trained many groups of kids, many teams and even leagues.   So to guess at who I'm referring to, would be just that, a guess.  However, those who know, will know.   In this case of the "why I let one of my favorite clients go," I'm referring to a group of kids I trained, their coaches, parents and one decision by mgmt that I still disagree with. 

Why?
I cannot train kids effectively if coaches undermine my efforts.
How did they?
Example:  I ran a series of nutritional seminars, along w stretching classes that emphasized their particular needs for their sport.  The very day after the nutritional seminar where I stressed the importance of what to eat prior to competition, the coach brought in a birthday cake.  Just one example, but there are probably another 6 stories right along these lines. 
Aside from their complete disregard for teaching kids the importance of proper nutrition, and a nutritional base that'll help their play on the field, there was even a "coach," that would joke "out of energy?  Find some coke (as in cocaine)," and coaches that would pull their teams or particular players out of sessions claiming the athletes "didn't need it today."
So to summarize above:  I was being trumped by completely unqualified "coaches," who were making judgements and decisions that they had no business even discussing.

More?
Parents today are very, very different.  Because of their need to be their kids best bud, they stopped being parents.  In doing so, they made it their mission to protect them from hard work.  The parents were (are) the number two reason why kids underperform.  
I'd say "what did you eat before you came?"  Chipotle
Ok... Go puke somewhere else please. 
"What time did you go to sleep?" 4....am.
Ok... Why don't you go sit down and take a nap.
So much of this and it starts to turn from a training session to baby sitting. 

Two things to know, when we began our relationship, things weren't this way.  This group was tough.  From top to bottom, they were tough, worked hard, and wanted to be great.  There were kids coming through that just walked the walk and talked the talk.  They wanted to win, they wanted win in drills and constantly compete.  Now?  It's just not there.
(Number two, later)

Lastly, mgmt brought in a "specialist."
A sales specialist hidden as a trainer.  
It turned a corner and all the sudden numbers and profit were more important than facts, science and product. 
You'll hear from him "yes, the results of this training will fade quickly if you do not keep up with the program." No shit.  "So sign up for the next set of classes."
This has been my nemesis forever.  The clean, well packaged product.  Well packaged with little substance.  A very nice appearance and sales gimmick... But it's a trick.  
What the kids learned in these classes that advanced their numbers and became this trainers "proof," were a series of movements that imitated their sport movement.  Something that should have been taught in practice, for free.  But they sold it as a specialty.  This would be like me holding a special squatting class for my current clients... "Why aren't we already doing this?"
Because of this change and the hype and marketing they put into this, it reinforced my position as "group baby sitter."  The group began to see me as the evil sitter they were forced to spend time with throughout the week and everything I said or did became static.  
When this happens, me turning to static anywhere, I leave. 

To continue the thought from above, part two, which has been my hurdle for a long time but I'm no longer interested in hopping it.
I've worked with teams for over a decade and been training in the gyms for quite a few years.  
I've read the books and studied.  
I've trained myself hard (I consider myself a 6 but I've found very few better.  The 6 rating is how I feel there's so much more to learn and do).
When my clients are engaged and committed, which is often, all goals are met.  I can honestly count on one hand the number of clients I've had that did not make drastic transformations and change their entire lives.  
My programs, especially in terms of sports performance... Good luck finding someone better. 
(Damn... So unlike you)
Well, sometimes there's a time to talk a little shit. 
I meet a client and always think "is there someone better for this person than me?" and of there is, I make that reccomemdation.  I'm 1000% honest in what I can and can't do.  

"No, I'm not coming back... I think it's time to make a change."
But no one from mgmt asked why, no coaches asked why which also reinforced my feelings of how little they think of my programming and what I bring to the table, which has all the sudden lit a major fire under my ass.
They havent felt it yet and probably won't since the mindset of so many of their coaches, kids and parents have changed, but they lost one of their best assets when I walked away. 

One of my only regrets is that I feel it was such a wasted opportunity.   It became too much about money (for me) and not enough about results (for them).  
The potential was endless.  But I was tuned out and ignored by the great majority.  (In saying that, I also regret, deeply, not being able to work w that very small handful that I was able to connect with).

"Why aren't you training us?"
Because aside from maybe 10 out of 300 kids (I can literally name the 8-10 and these are the only ones I'd work with elsewhere), and aside from maybe, MAYBE 4 coaches, tops (I can definitely name them), no one here wants to be great and it's too depressing to watch.

I always hung onto that small group I was reaching and even when coaching football, I knew out of 20-30-50 kids, only 4-6 really "got it," but the scale can tip so far the other way (parents, coaches, and mgmt/school boards not caring along w 90% of the kids sleep walking), it's time to walk.


*Addition:  Since posting this, a little over 48 hours ago, I have heard from 5 different teacher/coaches who have expressed similar frustrations and feelings towards their athletic directors, fellow staff, and parents.  I'm not sure how this came off, but I do not directly hold the student-athletes directly responsible.  Kids imitate what they see and know what they're taught.  Yes, they (as well all are) are individuals BUT, lessons are learned, and habits are reinforced early in life, so I do point the finger at the leaders and teachers who consistently drop the ball.