An Open Message To All Competitors And Coaches

TAGS: competitors, Just Sayin', advice, trust, Skip Hill, coach

elitefts™ Sunday Edition

Last month there was a death of a young man that, at least for a couple of weeks, had the internet message boards buzzing. Everyone wondered what the impact of his death would be — who would be blamed, what part the competitor was responsible for, whether his coach was responsible, etc. The buzz died down relatively quickly and, at least from my vantage point, interest waned. No one seems to give a shit anymore.

I am going to take this opportunity to give what I consider to be valuable (and logical) advice to not only coaches but also to competitors that work with coaches for shows or other yearly training. Whether you consider it valuable advice or not is entirely up to you. My conscience won’t let me sit idly by while these things continue to happen; I can't act as if they are no big deal. If you don’t heed my advice, my conscience is clear, and at least I will have provided the information my years of experience in this game gives me.

When you work with a client your communication better be damn clear. Just because you think you are clear doesn’t mean you are. In situations like this, I have heard of coaches saying things like, “how could you have thought that?” or “that is not what I told you to do.” Understand that in situations like this, it shouldn’t be looked at as who is right or wrong. That really doesn’t matter. What matters is that a coach told a client to do something and clearly the client didn't fully understand what to do. If they had, they would have done it. The responsibility falls on the coach, not the client. No client wants to screw up or hurt themselves or hurt their chances of winning. They are also usually the one in the hazy fog of dieting; the coach isn’t. It is the responsibility of the coach to be completely clear and make sure that the client completely understands what is being asked of them.

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If, as a coach, you are giving advice on things that are potentially dangerous, you need to understand that just because something has been done a thousand different ways safely in the past, does not mean that it will be done safely this time with this person. Clients should be given the harsh reality of the worst possible outcome so that they are crystal clear that bad things can happen to them. It is also a good idea to be very clear in writing, text or anything that can be referenced at a later date, that the decisions made with supplements or how to manipulate water or any other preparatory method used to reach a goal, is the client’s decision. The coach must go over all possible outcomes.

As a coach you are stupid if your business is not legitimately organized as either an S Corporation or a Limited Liability Corporation. For those who don't want to pay taxes and are avoiding legitimizing the business, you are a fool. A corporate structure helps to protect your personal assets if you are ever sued, and in the world we live in, this is common practice. You might not want to give up the Facebook pics of you and your boo sporting expensive jeans, a bag on your girl’s arm that costs more than your monthly apartment rent and dining out every night — but if someone sues you, your ass will be broke-ass-broke.

As a competitor, it is your responsibility to do your homework and research to whom you give your money and entrust a good part of your health to. I have a thousand times that this industry has too many people that are greedy and egotistical that think they are experts after doing a couple shows, whether they place or not. These are the most dangerous people out there. Why people try to save money working with them instead of someone that has an established track record is beyond me. The top coaches are in the minority, but they are relatively easy to find when you start asking around.

Most well-respected coaches in the industry understand the responsibility they have to their clients and they don’t take it lightly. The newbies and the greedy bastards that think they have the experience to be a coach should take a closer look at situations like the death of this young man and understand that you aren’t just taking on a situation where you are going to help someone to win a show. You are responsible for making decisions that could potentially be harmful to their health. Quite possibly, those decisions could kill them if you don’t know what the hell you are doing. There will be a very large group of coaches that will read this and not even consider that I am talking about them — but I am.

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Here’s a little piece of info that will likely upset some of you, big time: Well-respected coaches don’t read other well-respected coach’s articles. They don’t need to and they don’t have the time. Shelby Starnes won’t read my articles because he doesn’t need to gain knowledge from me. He already has his own knowledge base. You are reading this because you want the information that I am giving you. That means that if you are a coach reading this, I am talking to you.

Competitors need to understand that when they pay someone and trust them with their health, they can ask questions and they deserve explanations of instruction they are being given. Coaches need to quit saying stupid shit like, “Just do what I tell you to do and it will work.” There aren’t secrets, there are just situations where coaches most times can’t answer or explain something and they act like there are secrets. If your coach can’t answer a question and doesn't want to find the answer for you, run like hell. The easiest way to weed out the shitty coaches in this industry is for clients to ask as many questions as they possibly can. If it doesn’t logically make sense or a coach can't explain why you should do it, DO NOT DO IT.

A trophy isn’t worth a damn if you end up in a coma or packed in ice to desperately bring down your body temperature. Your guns won't count if they have to be cut off to increase blood flow to your torso to try to save your life. The responsibility falls on the coach when instruction isn't clear or when the client has done what the coach has asked the client to do. As a coach you better be damn sure you have confidence in your knowledge and instruction. Just Sayin'.

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