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Apply by Subtracting: The True Theory to Coaching
I have always wanted to speak and help spread new ideas or concepts so people could then evaluate digest and remodel them into theories, philosophies, and concepts that could help the people around them. I believe I acquired this passion from my mom who was a Special Education teacher in my hometown of Hanford, California
I remember when I was young I would hang out in her classroom after school and watch how she interacted with her students. There was never a dull moment in her classroom. Whether it was trying to calm an uncontrollable autistic student lost in frustration and anger down before she blew up the building or leading a class project of letters written to Santa, she always knew how to inspire children.
I know my passion for education and inspiring others to think outside of the box came from my mother and her passion to help others. So, when I was asked to present a lecture on “The Theory of Coaching “to the kinesiology students at Sonoma State University (SSU), I jumped on the opportunity because I new the route I took to receive my degree isn’t the traditional four years and get out but a developmental process that took over eight years.
When I finished my baseball career at SSU I still had one more academic year left before I would receive my bachelor’s degree. During my last year I felt that something was missing from the massive textbooks and daily lectures that seemed so rehearsed. I felt that there had to be more to sports science than rep schemes and fat burning zones; I didn’t believe everyone could attain their goals based on a book of research that was done in a laboratory, where every variable was monitored and calculated to a T. So I left SSU and went on a four-year journey to find the gaps in training.
During those four years I came across the application of applied science, where rep schemes, power output, different metabolic zones, and nutritional advice doesn’t have an ideal situation and environment and will be challenged. Why? Because clients are unique and to achieve a specific goal you, the coach or trainer, must understand what his or her true applicable ability is. This was the key concept I was looking for, and applied science molded my training philosophy from that point on.
After many days of deliberating my approach and rehearsing my Power Point presentation, I walked into the SSU confident with theory of “apply by subtracting. I decided to challenge the audience with scenarios that they see every day, but ask them to look beyond the numbers to the environmental factors that cause a difference of programming.
Let me explain: If a middle-aged woman who has three kids and has a husband who works five to six days a week including business travel one to two times a month leaving her with only has three hours a week to workout, comes to you and says she wants to lose “10 pounds” because she is fat and out of shape. What type of program would you write? What areas would you attack first?
In school you learn that you should have her do 30 minutes of cardio three days a week, multi-joint compound movements such has squat to press, or deadlift to press and eat a balanced diet. Not a bad approach right? The problem with this type of program is these ideas target the curtain walls of the castle, but they do not have the type of impact that is needed for sustainability unless you are able to understand the courtyard and keep of the castle (your clients internal trigger point if you have lost me).
What we don’t learn in school is how do you approach a woman who is lying to you about her goals because she is either self-conscious or in denial of why she truly wants to lose ten pounds.
I remember a time when I had a client come to me and she said she wanted to get in shape, and that meant losing ten pounds because she was thinking about doing a bikini contest. She was already in great shape and honestly didn’t need to lose anything. So, I kept my ears on high alert and over time her true belief came out. Deep down she didn’t want to do a bikini contest at all, what she wanted was for her husband to acknowledge her, say she was beautiful and touch her. The idea of a bikini contest was for attention, and she was hoping it was going to come from her husband. This situation isn’t in any book because it is life. You can’t write a book about someone’s life scenarios and expect them to translate over to someone else’s. Life just doesn’t work that way, and you are setting your client up for failure when you base your plan (or program) on what they say upfront and not how they move and adapt to different stressors internally and externally.
As the minutes flew by we analyzed/reviewed client scenarios and a theme was arising throughout the classroom. The idea of looking on both sides of the spectrum and understanding where your client is and how to develop a program that is based on them thriving on both sides of the continuum crushed any cookie cutter systems in textbooks. Steam was arising from the students’ heads as if they were playing soccer on a cold winter day. Ideas and concepts were percolating throughout the classroom about approaching programs not by numbers but by environmental variables.
If the client works all the time and lives in a world of stress, then you develop a program where they understand what cutting loose and having fun is like.
If the client believes losing ten pounds will be the answer to all their questions then you develop a program where you mask numbers with small habits that reach small accomplishments that boost their confidence, gives them a new sense of self-worth and possibilities. Their program distracts them from the idea that they need to lose ten pounds, and instead focuses on positive accomplishment over the long haul.
Clients are scared to fail, shoot we are all scared to fail and what is ironic is the more we try not to fail the more we fail. Why is that? It is because we are ALL in denial and we need to look in the mirror and let failure be an accomplishment. Yea I said it “let failure be an accomplishment” because that is 1 more failed attempt to success and success brings endless possibilities.
Now how the hell do we fix this?
As I wrapped up my presentation, I was very clear on one thing. That the idea of applied environmental training isn’t easy, and there is not a template on how to approach each scenario, but one thing is very clear, if you are patient, have belief,and passion your client will give you the opportunity to bring down their draw bridge and dance with them in the courtyard. You just have to be willing to attack the situation outside of the normal three sets of 10 rep scheme and apply a developmental program that fills the client’s gaps based on how they live their life and not anyone else’s.
Approach all programs with an impact so powerful that clients have to wear sunglasses because it is radiantly pouring from your veins. Any program you develop based on a client’s true belief, will improve his or her whole quality of life and will not just penetrate the curtain walls.
Remember apply by subtracting and you will be dancing in the courtyard.
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