I’ve been at this for a long time, but contrary to popular opinion I do NOT feel like an “OG”, as some refer to me.
I still get excited whenever I head out the door to coach sessions at The Underground. I carry a sense of pride every time I walk through the doors. And I gotta tell ya, I am running into a LOT of Coaches who are seriously lacking in that department. Instead, they are tired. Burnt out. Confused about all these ads popping up telling them they can get 30, 50, or 100 new leads this month. Or maybe the ad tells them to transition to online coaching so they can buy a Ferrari after their first month going through this new and sexy course.
Well, let me drop some truth bombs on you. You do NOT want a ton of new leads in one month; it will be a shit show. You want to be a BadAss Coach and FOCUS on the people paying you right now, giving them ALL your heart and soul . Go beyond the sets,reps, movements. The training should change their life. Here’s a well-known industry secret: the people training to only have a nice ass or a big chest don’t last too long.
The people who are training for life, they are the ones with a deeper connection to the iron. Henry Rollins talks about this in his famous piece ‘The Iron Never Lies’. Henry wasn’t just training because of what it did for him physically; hewas training because deep down he HATED himself. And if you don’t respect yourself, why should you expect it from anyone else? Which brings me to my next point.
I used to ONLY coach athletes to WIN: WIN this title, WIN that title, WIN this game, Win EVERYTHING. I was f—ing crazy. If you were having an off day, I flipped out and kicked you out of the gym. I did not give kids the chance to be…kids! We are human. We have off days. And, when you’re dealing with teenagers and D1 athletes in their early 20s, you need to give them chances. You need to give them an opportunity to “turn the corner”.
Being a father changed my coaching, because being a father changed how I viewed being a Coach. I started realizing how I would want my kids to be coached and valued, and it quickly dawned on me that being a Strength Coach is a massive responsibility. Something unique happens when you have trained thousands upon thousands of athletes: you LOSE some along the way. Sometimes you lose an athlete because he transferred out to another college. When that happens, you begin to question what you could have done to make that kid feel better. After all, he is gone from home, and now YOU are the parent while they are away. That is a burden NOT to be taken lightly.
Other times you lose kids because their social circles and environment sucked them in. They started with drugs and then got addicted. You got so consumed with the conjugate method, percents, triphasic, force plates, etc that you lost the DEEP connection with the kid. Then, the worst……you train kids who get murdered or commit suicide. You realize that the points on the board during a game are one thing, but they pale in comparison to the MOST important thing: the points on the board of LIFE.
A kid shows up late and you lock him out, giving no second chances. But as you get smarter, you realize they NEED a second chance. More than that, they need YOU. You let them in and talk to them. You LISTEN. You take the weight room and transform it into a place that gives them “iron therapy”. Finish on a positive, always remember that. That positive might be some encouraging words, like telling them how proud you are of them. It might be a hug. Yes, a hug. I know, I know. Your stupid “manual” from the college said don’t hug the kids but guess what, some of these kids haven’t had a hug from someone they look up to in YEARS.
This is called being HUMAN. I don’t give 2 f—ks about how good you are with that power point presentation or breaking down Super Training; when you can’t even Coach a kid beyond the weight room, what good are you actually doing? When these sports are over, what will they remember about you? Will they remember how ALL you cared about was that Squat PR? What about all those numbers you HAD to follow according to the software your university just purchased, for how many millions of dollars? You got so caught up investing in THINGS that you didn’t invest in the MOST important “things”… your PEOPLE.
The kids I struggled to Coach in college are the kids that taught me the most. They taught me to NOT treat or train everyone in the room the same. Yes, Squats and Deads are always important, but the person under that bar is why you’re really there. I will leave you with this quote from retired NFL Strength Coach, Johnny Parker: “Good coaches coach weights, Great coaches coach people!”
Once that is ingrained in your heart, you won’t feel burnt out or tired. You won’t be looking for the next fad or gimmick advertisement to save you. Everything you need is already within you. Live The Code 365.
PODCAST: PA RADIO – EP 368 – Zach Even-Esh is Old School
PODCAST: PA RADIO – EP 240: Zach Even Esh – Part I
PODCAST: PA RADIO – EP 240: Zach Even Esh – Part II
EDU: Power Athlete Methodology
BLOG: Here’s How to Select Your Training Program by Tex McQuilkin
BLOG: How to Prepare High Schools for Fall Sports Post COVID by Tex McQuilkin
Zach Even - Esh
Zach Even–Esh is a Strength & Performance Coach in NJ. As the Founder of The Underground Strength Gym (EST. 2002) , Zach has worked with thousands of athletes ranging from Youth to The D1 level, from adults to Tier 1 Military and everyone in between. Zach serves as a consultant for athletes, teams & organizations that are seeking elite performance.
For more info visit http://ZachStrength.com and http://UndergroundStrengthCert.com
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