Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Job as a Tailor

How I love my job!  Training athletes has to be the best job in the world!!  Thinking about what each individual needs in order to reach his/her specific personal goals and designing a plan for that one person with his/her strengths and limiters in mind...what could be better than that??  Getting to know how an athlete ticks, what can make them give their all, what motivates them when they think they have nothing left to give, seeing someone achieve a goal they never even thought was possible...it's so rewarding to me.

I had someone ask me the other day what exactly it is that I do.  Well...first of all I spend a lot of time researching/reading/learning as much as I can about how the body and mind work.  I worked hard this past year to earn some designations/certifications, but I also spend quite a bit of time doing "continuing education" that doesn't "count" for anything other than personal knowledge, in order to be the best at what I do.

Book knowledge is great, having a motivating attitude is wonderful, but, in order to train other people well I have to learn how to apply the things I know.  There are a lot of theories on training out there and there isn't one single thing that works on EVERY body.  How I train someone who was a competitive athlete in their younger years will not look anything like how I train a 40something woman who never exercised a day in her life.  There is no "one size fits all" plan out there that will get someone in their personal best shape.  It's the difference between a dress or suit off the rack and one that has been tailored to fit YOUR BODY.

As a professional coach, I design plans for individual athletes which will allow that person to reach his/her personal goals.  I have a group of athletes, but I don't issue group training plans.   A workout that is ideal for one athlete may not serve another athlete's purposes or goals at all.  I not only need to have a handle on my athlete's goals, I also strive to establish an understanding of what each one of them needs, not just in terms of workouts to get him/her to the desired result, but also what will motivate that athlete to give his/her best.  I don't necessarily have a pattern as much as I take each individual athlete and tailor a plan very specific to that person.

Does a dress or suit off the rack fit good enough?  Sometimes.  But other times, it's just wrong for you.  Unlike ill-fitting clothing, an ill-fitting training plan can result in underperformance, burnout or worse, injury.   We all have a limited amount of resources (time, money, energy).  I'm sure you'd rather have just the right items of clothing that fit perfectly rather than a closet full of clothes that fit "good enough".  In the same way, having a workout plan tailored to suit your personal goals, your training style, engineered in a way that will work best for you is an investment of your resources.

I've found many items of clothing in stores I have loved, but that just weren't a good fit for me.  I've bought things that just didn't work simply because everyone else was wearing that style.  When it comes to training, groups can be super fun but they may not be tailored enough to fit your personal goals.  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against training groups, in fact I'll be co-leading one this spring.  However, it won't be your typical group.  Athletes will receive personal coaching in a group setting.  The plan will be the same for everyone, just like bridesmaids' dresses or rental tuxes.  However, instead of being a photographer at the wedding, telling everyone how great they look, I'll be one of the tailors on hand to make necessary alterations as needed to ensure a better fit.  We all like cheerleaders, but sometimes what we really need is a good tailor.

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