Thursday, November 13, 2014

Athletes and Attitudes

Being a strength and conditioning coach is interesting (for several reasons), but for me one of the best parts of the job is the impact that you can personally make on an athlete. I don't mean the impact you can make physically on them, but the impact that you can make on them as a person. Fairly often, athletes will start to look towards their strength coaches as mentors/friends and will develop a pretty close bond with them.

I think a lot of it has to do with the S&C coach's role in making athletes stronger and healthier and the athletes understanding of that. They can often see how we are helping them build towards their goals as an athlete and they appreciate that.

However, once in a while, you get an athlete (or athletes) who are just butt-holes. There's any number of reasons that you end up working with an athlete who's a turd. Sometimes they think they know what they really need and you don't, sometimes they don't see the benefits derived from training and think it's a waste of their time, and sometimes they are just self-entitled products of this generation and don't understand why your stupid rules should apply to them because they are clearly better than you and everyone else in the vicinity. Regardless of the reasons or the way that it manifests itself, their shitty attitude towards training and being in your gym will be readily evident to everyone else that's around. 

I currently have an athlete like this that I work with. He's a prep-year basketball player which automatically puts him a step behind many other athletes. I think it's safe to say that many coaches within the strength and conditioning industry would agree that basketball players tend to start off with a much more lackadaisical attitude towards the weight room than athletes from other sports. On top of that, he's from a family that is apparently able to afford a fairly expensive prep program, which might explain some of the entitlement issues that he apparently has. You would think, though, that having all the schools he wanted to play basketball at pass over him as a senior in high school would alert him to the fact that he is, in fact, not the best basketball player since Michael Jordan. If he was as good as he thinks he is, then he wouldn't be here in the first place. 

His complete apathy for everything revolving around strength and conditioning has manifested itself in a few ways. The first was that he consistently took upwards of 2 minutes to go from his A1 exercise to his A2 and then again to A3. It wasn't a break he took due to fatigue; he simply would stand there and look around at the other athletes. The next significant exhibition of not having a single fuck to give was when the director of my gym was down at the basketball court putting the whole team through some hellish conditioning for leaving the weight room littered with water bottles for a few days. Despite being instructed to touch the lines every single time, this particular athlete continuously didn't even make an attempt to touch his lines. When singled out and confronted about this at the end of the workout he responded with "I didn't think it was important". 

The most glaring example of this athletes poor attitude is seen by me on a thrice weekly basis. Three times a week his training group comes in. Each time I say "guys, let's go, on the turf!" to start their warmup, I know without a doubt who's going to be last off of his foam roller and who is going to take the slowest walk to the turf. He consistently bullshits his way through the warmups and no matter what I say to him in front of the other athletes he continues to repeat the behavior. I finally had enough of it and sort of lost my shit on the entire group of athletes the other day (whoops).

I'm not suggesting that it was the CORRECT way to handle the situation, but I think it was an EFFECTIVE way to handle this particular situation. Were I able to go back and re-do it, would I handle it differently? Yes, I probably would. I'm not a coach who yells very often, so I feel like the one time I do it, it will shake some things up. Unfortunately only time will tell if what I did was effective or not. The next measure I take will end up being a one-on-one meeting where I lay out the issues and expectations just a little more personally.

Coaches, how else could this situation have been handled differently? Does anyone else find this to occasionally be an effective way to handle a particular athlete?

Thanks for reading and for the feedback; have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!

No comments:

Post a Comment