Trust the Process — Perfection

TAGS: football strength program, head coach expectations, head coach plan, weigh room expectations, Trust the Process?, athlete expectations, perfection, strength and conditioning coach, Coach G

column-gray-032715

Originally published in November of 2016

Trust the process. We hear this all the time, but what exactly is it and what does it mean? The process is the plan that the head coach has laid out for the program. It is the plan that is driven by the relentless pursuit of success. It is a step-by-step, rep-by-rep, long-term plan that is the fundamental core of the program. It is the plan that does not waver due to outside noise, doubters, or things getting tough. Everyone that is involved with the team has a part in the plan. Assistant coaches, trainers, strength coaches, academic personnel — all of us have a part.

It is actually quite simple. You and the head coach meet and map out how the weight room fits into the process, working through his expectations, needs, and wants. You take that to your staff and lay out exactly what you want and expect from them in the weight room. It is important to make sure that you and your staff members are all on the same page regarding how you want to convey your message. Decide on words and ideas that you want to stand for.


RECENT: Win the War — Day-to-Day Battles of Strength and Conditioning


Coaches often try to stand for too much. You've probably heard that if you stand for everything then you stand for nothing. In strength and conditioning, this holds true. Be concise; be direct. For example, my three rules are hunt, be relentless, and have fun. These can be used whether talking about the weight room, the football field, or the classroom. They are simple enough ideas where you can draw from them as a coach, but the players are also able to build their own concept of what it means to them.

After this, you and your staff take the plan to your athletes and lay out exactly what you want and expect from them in the weight room. I know it sounds very simple, and in some programs it is. They have a strong, detail-oriented head coach that believes in what they are doing, hires the right people to do it, and recruits the right players to implement it. In other programs it is not so simple. They may have a plan for some things and not others, some people are on the same page, and some are not. And then there are places that have no plan and no process. They may just say, "He’s the weight room guy" and you just do your thing with no parameters or direction. Let me give you an example of the difference between them. Unfortunately, in the last 20 years, I have probably come close to seeing it all — good and bad, with success and failure. Let’s use football as an example of what can happen.

head coach london raiders

Door Number 1

You are working with a young team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. A lot of young guys are playing and are not very good right now, but have a lot of potential. They are losing games but getting experience. The weight room is a different story. They are working hard, developing, and getting better every day. Players and strength coaches are engaged, all working toward a common goal of getting better. The outside perception is that the staff stinks, coaches don’t know anything, blah, blah, blah.

The coach comes in after the eighth loss and says to the strength coach, "Keep up the good work, we are getting better. Just stay on them. We are building something special here."

The strength coach gets a raise after a 4-8 season.

Door Number 2

You are working with a young team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. A lot of young guys are playing and are not very good right now, but have a lot of potential. They are losing games but getting experience. The weight room is a different story. They are working hard, developing, and getting better every day. Players and strength coaches are engaged, all working toward a common goal of getting better. The outside perception is that the staff stinks, coaches don’t know anything, blah, blah, blah.

The coach comes in after the eighth loss and says to the strength coach, "What are we doing in the weight room? Why can’t we play in the second half? I want you to do this and this, and have all my linemen benching 405. How many days do we lift in-season?"

The strength coach is fired after a 4-8 season.

Door Number 3

You are working with a young team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. A lot of young guys are playing and are not very good right now, but have a lot of potential. They are losing games but getting experience. The weight room is a different story. They are working hard, developing, and getting better every day. Players and strength coaches are engaged, all working toward a common goal of getting better. The outside perception is that the staff stinks, coaches don’t know anything, blah, blah, blah.

The coach comes in after the eighth loss and says to the strength coach, "Man, we are not very good."

The head coach is fired after a 4-8 season.

I can tell you from experience I would take the first scenario every time. You know exactly what is expected of you, you do your job, have input, and everyone is on the same page. Some people look at it as a blessing, others as a curse. Some coaches just want to be able to do whatever they want, program whatever, discipline whenever, with no one to answer to. I have been involved in all three, and would not choose to work with the other two. But this is the real world, and you are probably going to get stuck with door two or three, so what are you going to do about it? It is not a great situation, but unfortunately it is reality.

Let’s face it, strength coaches get fired for the dumbest reasons. So much of it is out of our control. The best advice I can give is to turn into the head coach of the weight room. Come up with a plan and cover everything down to the finest detail. Have a reason why you are doing what you’re doing and how you are going to go about doing it. Leave no stone unturned. Try to answer all questions you have asked yourself. Remember what you’re in this business for: the athletes. Be a better coach, mother, father, grandmother and Uncle Bill to these players. Make your own process, so if anyone from the outside asks you or your staff where they are going or what you are doing, you are all on the same page with the same answers.

This is the difference between a workout and a program — having everyone on the same page getting it done. I know this sounds redundant but when it is done, life is better for everyone, win, lose or draw. It has helped me through the thin years, and helped me to keep pushing through the fat ones. It will help to reduce the pressure your staff experiences when worrying about the outcome of every game. You are preaching the same message whether you're winning or losing, good year or bad. It keeps all of you focused on a goal that is almost unattainable but the most worthy and sought after: perfection.

Image courtesy of Chris Whitacre

powermax-medballs

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...