by Josh Martin, TwoBrain Mentor
Back in 2002 or 2003, my brothers started attending a place in our hometown called Velocity Sports Performance. Maybe some of you have heard of this place. In talking with the coaches there, my parents told them that I happened to be going to the University of Florida to study exercise science. They said: “You should have him stop by next time he’s home to see what we’re all about…we think he’d like it.”
That was all it took.
After that, I spent every waking moment I could just hanging out there. Asking questions. Watching training sessions. Studying books and videos. Learning everything by basically following all the coaches around like a lost puppy. Anything that they needed to be done, I was the first to dive at the opportunity.
Sweep the floors? I’ll do it!
Reorganize equipment? I’m on it!
They taught me how to watch and analyze movement in the real world, not just a textbook. They taught me how to write up a single training session and how that single session tied into the overall plan for a specific athlete or even an entire team.
But through all that – the shadowing, the learning, the questions – I still hadn’t officially coached yet. But one day I was sitting in the coaches office talking with them and glanced at the clock – 3:50…about 10 minutes before the next class starts. This struck me odd as normally by this time all the coaches were out on the floor, mingling with the incoming athletes – checking in, seeing how they were doing, etc. I ran out of the office to make sure we had people coming in. Sure enough, we did. I came back in to let them know people were out there and I received a “Ok, we’ll be there in a second.”
Five minutes later…I was back in there: “Guys, are you coming out here?”
“Yea…we’ll be right there.”
Last chance, 3:58, I run back – “GUYS! Its almost time to start class!”
And then they leveled me with: “Oh Josh…we forgot to tell you…you’ll be coaching class today! Get them started on time. We’ll be out there to watch and help if you need it…but we know you’ll be fine. You are ready.”
Talk about pressure and being put under the microscope. I can remember being so nervous that I almost ran to the bathroom to throw up. But you know what? I did just fine. As they said, I was ready…I just didn’t know it. They had been grooming me for this moment for months, they just hadn’t told me. Afterwards, they all shared a big chuckle at my expense, but then lavished me with praise. We all retired back to the coaches office where they each reviewed the things I did well and areas that I needed to improve. They also told me that they wanted me to start coaching regularly if my schedule allowed.
Pay? Not one penny.
Fast forward three years (in which I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience at the collegiate level) and I begin working at IMG Academies right before I’m set to graduate.
At this point, I had been coaching pretty regularly for a 3 or 4 years. I had experience with professional athletes, D1 collegiate level, youth and amateurs, even “average joe” types that just wanted to get in shape and be healthy.
As the new kid on the block, I also had typical “new kid” duties to earn my stripes – you know, the stuff most people don’t like to do: clean-up, straightening, making things look consistent (and professional) for everyone that came through the doors. You could say that my OCD was honed here! But we did things like this because they truly mattered. Not just to the clients, but to all of the staff too. We took pride in our facility.
At both the mid-point and the end of my time at IMG, we were given reviews/evaluations.
“Josh does a good job of performing duties that are assigned to him, and is very intuitive about the field, but lacks self-motivation at times. Still needs work on being an effective coach in a large group setting.”
Whew, tough huh?
Nope. That’s not how I took it at all.
Wouldn’t trade that for the world either. It is what has kept me motivated not just for the success of my clients (and my gym), but also for creating opportunities for others to master the craft of coaching.
What did your last evaluation say?
What steps are you taking to improve?