Being a Sports Performance Coach and running my own athlete training business is super rewarding and a passion of mine. However, it definitely has some downfalls. Operating in a field that's both highly competitive and physically demanding, I constantly face challenges that test my resilience and adaptability.

Social media paints a rosy picture of the profession, but you and I know it's unrealistic. Here are some harsh realities of training athletes to prepare for.

1. Athletes are Seasonal 

Unfortunately, most of the time, when an athlete enters their sport season, they will likely stop training because of their busy school and/or practice schedule. This is not the most ideal situation to have when you are trying to run a business. 

2. You Will Almost Always Be at the Bottom of People’s Priorities 

Sports practices, team parties, school obligations, private one-on-one skill sessions, etc. All of the above will supersede you nearly ALWAYS. 

3. Some Athletes Do Not Want It as Much as Their Parents Want It 

I am sorry, but if the parent is forcing the kid to come to training and the kid does not want to be there at all, these are not very fun sessions to train. 

4. Be Prepared to Get Roasted

“Trainer Dave, why don’t you have a girlfriend?” 

5. Some Parents Think They Know More Than You 

Dad, who played D1 Football, is trying to tell you how you should format sessions for his son. 

Mom, who coaches club softball, yelling at you to push her daughter harder. 

These are both 100 percent true stories. 

6. Overworked Athletes 

I can not tell you the number of times that I have had to change up sessions on the fly because a kid walks through the doors smoked from one-on-one skill lessons, high school weights class, and practice. 

7. Be Prepared to Train Evenings and Weekends 

The only time athletes can really train during the school year is after school, 4-8 PM, or on the weekends. 

8. Be Prepared to Educate Your Athletes

“I am sorry Johnny, but if you want to continue being able to throw baseballs at a high level, you should probably stop barbell benching.” 

9. Unrealistic Expectations 

Everybody wants to go D1, which is great, but understand that playing at any level, JUCO, NAIA, D3, is a BLESSING! 

Seven percent of high school athletes will go on to play their sport in college. 

Two percent of high school athletes will go on to play Division 1. 

10. This Stuff is IMPORTANT to Them 

I am going to be honest: When I was a high school athlete, I did not think I cared about anything other than Friday Night Lights. 

If an athlete gives me everything they have, I will do my very best to pour everything I have into them in return to help them get to where they want to be.

David Akao aka “Trainer Dave” is the owner of David Akao Training. David is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and a Level 1 Weightlifting Coach through USA Weightlifting. He has his degree in Health and Physical Education from Friends University where he played collegiate football and received all-conference honors at linebacker. David specializes in Strength and Conditioning and Speed and Agility. He has worked with youth, high school, and college athletes, as well as older adults, and the special population.