| | | Quality Coaching Trumps All

Author / Matthew Zanis

We like to use the analogy that our athletes are like machines, turning their engine on and their minds off during training. That couldn’t be further from the truth; that athlete is a real human standing in front of us with a processing brain and a heart full of emotion. Don’t forget that.

How you interact with your athlete, the words you choose, and the gestures you make build the foundation. The movement, the exercise, the sets and the reps are just the pillars and cross beams rooted in that foundation. 

There is no perfect, sexy program that guarantees the best results. We often get lost is the sea of research, the complexity of program design, and trying to learn the best way to coach a movement. At times this can become overwhelming until you realize there are key principles to develop that will help every athlete. 

Put your pen or clipboard down and listen. Understand, acknowledge, and empathize with your athletes. Truly get to know your athletes and what resonates with them. 

Coach movement, not movements. We have principles, but nothing is set in stone. Be mindful and embrace the fact that we don’t know everything. Be creative when trying to find a solution to a problem. 

Improve your soft skills. These are your people skills. Be a better communicator and build character traits that contribute to your emotional quotient. These will enable you to effectively work with your athletes, enhance performance in the gym or on the field, and help them achieve their goals. 

No One Remembers What You Did, They Remember How You Made Them Feel

Your athletes perceived benefit and success is dictated on their perception of value. Your value is determined, not by how many IG followers you have, but by active listening and assuring athletes that their bodies will perform in the program that you help them implement. This will gain their trust and empower their performance.


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Matthew Zanis

PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS Former baseball catcher and an avid outdoorsman. Worked with Division 1 basketball, football, and track and field at the University of Pittsburgh, along with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Cardinals organizations. Received a Bachelors in Athletic Training from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2014. Is board certified in Orthopedics and a Fellow through the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. Is a PT with the United States Olympic Committee and USA Shooting. Currently operates his performance therapy practice in Scottsdale, AZ with Dr. Tom Incledon of Causenta Wellness, and became a Power Athlete Block One Coach in September of 2017.

Dr. Zanis utilizes the Power Athlete Methodology to optimize performance, reduce injury risk, and rehab his clients and athletes through movement assessment, coaching, and individualized program design.

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