The biggest short-term obstacle to overcome with athletes is trying to impose a mind-set upon them. In the beginning phases of a cycle, you, as a coach, are undoubtedly imposing your will upon your athletes with hopes of making your passion theirs. You need them to take on the task at hand, crush it with everything they have, and recover for the next session.

There is a huge difference between working out and training, but training dictates that there is a goal. No matter the goal, if you're going to take the time to reach for that goal, you had damn sure better go all out and do it right. If you can get your athletes to attack the training session rather than just make it through, you've created a mind-set and a positive training environment. I believe that as long as your training regimen is balanced, it isn't what's on the paper or board that matters but how you attack the task at hand.

Now we can look at some ways to promote this training atmosphere and hopefully in the end get some other opinions on how to change the culture of your athletes or trainees.

Practice what you preach

If you're involved with anyone who comes to you with the thought that you're the expert, you should have at least trained in the way that you expect them to train. For one, you should have a better understanding of what they're feeling. If you're programming for any type of strength gains, you should have some type of respectable strength levels yourself. Finally, if these athletes come to you looking to get big, strong, and in shape, you shouldn’t look like a globular walrus.


Be intense and enthusiastic

It can’t just be a low decibel command of “OK, fellas. Here's the workout” with your inside voice. Present the workout, let them know what you're looking for, and make sure they know that anything less than complete insanity will come up short. Don’t be afraid to call BS if they haven’t given it all on any given set. If you aren't juiced up for the workout, how are you going to expect them to have any type of enthusiasm? You need to sell your workout as the best thing since sliced bread. Then they will be more apt to buy in.



“Oh, I want my athletes to be intrinsically motivated.” BS. We all know that if you have your preferred tunes cranked on a max effort set, you have a much better chance at cranking up that weight. Now, you aren’t going to be able to please all people with your music selection. Just know that Kenny G is never going to get anybody ready to rip the bar in half. Choose something with great tempo and a good level of volume and get it rolling. Personally, I don’t think one could ever go wrong with good old-fashioned American metal, but if that doesn’t float your boat, refer to tempo and volume.


If you got what you wanted out of training, let them know. If you're always gunnery Sgt. Hartman yelling negatively, correction with a roar loses its luster. Being human, we all know that you will come back for more if you have been rewarded for hard work, even if it is only in the form of words. I think we would all run through a brick wall for the ultimate goal of being champions. If you promote an atmosphere of great training, a love for hard work, and a place that gives them pride, your athletes may run through a brick wall for you.

In conclusion, if you repetitively promote all these things, eventually you will create an environment of training. If you want to change a culture of athletic training or just make sure your athletes are gaining ground, this is a decent place to start. A house isn't anything without a good foundation.