Sunday, May 17, 2009

Keep An Open Mind

It's been a busy couple of weeks so haven't posted much, but a lot of thought going on. This past weekend I spoke at Robert Dos Remedios' Cougar Strength Clinic. I was pleased to speak with a line-up that included Alwynn Cosgrove, Chad Waterbury, Greg Vandermade and Valerie Waters.

Now the last person there didn't appeal to me because Valerie is one of the top Hollywood fitness trainers. It's just not my scene. I like things built on performance and reality.

The discussion over getting a "red carpet" look just didn't seem interesting. However, I try to keep an open mind. One of the things I preach to my staff all the time is that if someone is having success, there is something to learn from them. Why are they successful?

Well two of Valerie's key points for her success, work for sports coaches as well in many cases.

First, she talked about listening to clients and hearing what THEY want. LISTEN. Yes, this seems obvious, but many of us violate this regularly. It's not a question of what we think they need or what would be best, but what THEY want. In her case its about actresses telling her they don't want to be bulky and that they want "long lean muscles". She needs to listen to this and acknowledge it.

Coaches need to do the same. When the player comes in and says "I don't want to hurt my back squatting". Listen. You may think squats are the entire key to success, but you better spend time listening, and acknowledging this concern.

Her second rule was to speak the clients language. Its so true for sports. It doesn't matter if you are the best technical speed coach in the world if you can't get your athletes trust. Speaking their language helps to both get their trust and to communicate your points.

If you are going to work with athletes from a certain sport, learn the language. There's a time to speak technically and with the proper scientific jargon, but it doesn't always help get your message across to the athlete or sport coach.

It was a great reminder that you never know where you will learn something so keep your mind open.