Dear Coaches

TAGS: have to vs. get to, great coaches, Dear Coaches, commitment, Coach B, responsibility, life lessons

Dear Coaches,

Something I’ve noticed as of late is that there is a lack of great coaches. While some of you are in the high school setting, others are in the collegiate setting or the private sector...but this applies to all of you.

We ask so much of our athletes. So much. We have such high expectations for our athletes, but do most of you hold yourself to these same expectations? Do you hold yourself to the same standards that you ask of your athletes? You ask your athletes to lay it all on the line, to dedicate themselves to their sport and to push their minds and bodies to the limit every week, right? However, many of you coaches don’t do the same for your kids. It takes a lot to be a great coach, a lot...but there are not a lot of great coaches these days. I see kids give more than most of you coaches, and that's not how it should be. If you can’t give your athletes everything you're asking them to give, then please stop coaching.

One of my mentors, Mark Watts, recently wrote a great post in his training log about something he learned from Brian Cain. Now, as coaches, most of us understand the commitment coaching takes— the grind, the long hours, and the time away from our families. But you know what?  Nobody cares—we all went through or currently are going through those things. However, you picked this profession for a reason, and sometimes as coaches you forget this reason. We get so caught up in the politics and the money of the profession that we forget why we wanted to be here to begin with. Anyways, what Mark wrote about was that we need to change the “have to" into “get to." If you talk to just about anybody and ask what their plans are for tomorrow, most will say that they “have to" do this and they “have to" do that. But instead of always saying that you “have to" do so-and-so,  you need to start explaining that you “get to" do these things. That one word has changed everything for me...I get to be a coach.

When you love something so much—such as coaching—you commit yourself to it with everything you have. If you say you’re going to give your all to your athletes, you no longer have a choice. You’re either in or you're out. There is no half in. You don’t love something if you aren’t all in and fully committed. Get in or get out! As a coach, you get to change lives. You get to influence the future of this country. You get to be a father figure to kids who may not have a father. It's about more than the sport—it’s about life.

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You have to sacrifice everything for these kids if you are fully committed. Stop being lazy and self-centered. It’s not about you, it’s not about the money, and it’s not about the fame. It’s about changing lives and making a difference. But if you’re in it for any of those reasons—Get Out! Eliminate what hurts you, your athletes, and your family. Most of you don’t want to commit your time to being a great coach.

“Coach” isn’t just a title to me. It’s a display of respect and is the highest honor I believe one can attain. To be a coach is a huge responsibility to those who are affected by us. Our responsibility to our athletes isn’t singular to their physical state. It’s significant to their life and future. We hold a position where expertise, knowledge, education, and professionalism aren’t enough. Caring without end, growing all avenues of interaction and education, living with integrity, and being a steady, strong, and guiding light is vitally important in a world that is extremely confusing, lazy, and submissive. This is an incredible calling and one that I personally do not take lightly.

You need to connect with your athletes. All of us need to do this. Never underestimate a driven athlete, as strength training is a medium at which athletes can control and find immediate success...and it can be all theirs (which is more important than you guys think). Let athletes be free and work within the confines of technique in order to understand the exercises, drills, and lifts that are in your program. If we force them to be robots, we’ve crippled their creativity and we’re instead bullying them to be something they may or may not be ready for. We’re also teaching them that this type of behavior is acceptable. Strength is the underlying difference between an athlete being fairly good and being great. The athlete wants to be better and deserves the best that each of you as a coach has to give. Be a great coach and person—it will shine through each athlete.

Regards,

Coach B

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