By Brett Klika
ATTENTION PARENTS, COACHES, TRAINERS, and anyone else in a mentorship role. I’m officially calling you out. I’m going rogue. I’m dismantling the credo that has united so many when dealing with children, players, and clients. It’s going to be harder from here on. No room for the weak. As of today and every day forward, I proclaim “Do as I say, not as I do” a complete, unabashed, cop-out. The previous notions of authority tied to this saying are now associated with laziness and hypocrisy. Using this saying will now associate you with slackers, sloths, and other “nor’ do wells”. You may need to put down your fork, drive by the drive thru and get on a treadmill. Like I said, it’s going to be harder from here on out.
When working with youngsters, everything we say and do has an effect on shaping their behaviors for the rest of their life. I frequently consult with parents, coaches and teams in regards to how to get the most out of their athletes. A common problem I see across the board is authority figures expecting actions that they themselves never demonstrate. The classic example is when I sit across the table from a parent telling me about how “lazy” their child is and how badly they eat. Mind you, the parent is 60 pounds overweight. “They only eat fast food and junk food, they never exercise, they just play their video games all day.” Their child is 10. A ten year old has no independent transportation other than a bike, they have no formal income, and their eating and recreational activities are limited to what is immediately available at home. An adult must facilitate every faction of what they deem to be “wrong” with their child. Furthermore, when the parent is 60 pounds overweight, I’m willing to bet their daily behavior has a lot to do with sitting on their butt, eating fast food and junk food. Where would their child learn to do anything else?
This reflection of ineffective behavior is seen in the team environment in sports as well. Coaches want athletes to be intense, enthusiastic, prompt, respectful, and committed. I hear coaches tell me “These guys have no sense of urgency, no enthusiasm. They’re just not committed!” I attend a practice to find the coach showing up late, unorganized, and generally disheveled. They “go through the coaching motions” with no enthusiasm. Carrying around their 30 ounce soda and 300 pound gut, they tell the kids they need to commit to getting in shape. In this environment, where would a sense of urgency come from? This gives the message to the kids “I personally don’t think these things are important, but you should!”
I’m not saying that we need to be supermen and superwomen. I’m not a coach that conditions with my athletes or has lifting competitions with them. As a parent, you don’t have to eat perfectly or exercise 5 hours a day. As mentors and leaders, we are not perfect. We need to step up our game though. We need to expect more out of ourselves before we expect more out of our youngsters. Your kids are a mirror of your attitudes, actions and behaviors. If you’re a parent with a youngster that wants to lose weight, you need to do it as a family. Set an example. If you’re a coach that wants intensity out of your players, demonstrate intensity. If you want your players to be on time, you be on time. If you want your players to be respectful, be respectful. If you want intensity, display intensity! If you’re a trainer that wants more out of your clients, get inspired! Exude passion. Take it upon yourself to do a personal coaching inventory. Where can you get better?
Coaching is less of a science than it is an art. The things that will get your athletes and clients to respond are often intangibles such as trust, belief, and respect. Many times leaders say great things, but fail to get traction. It’s important to remember that in a leadership role, you provide the lead for others to follow. If you’re giving someone directions on how to get somewhere important, and you just continue to shout from your front porch with no success, you may have to get up and actually show them where to go. Put your troops behind you and lead them! Do as I say, and as I do!!!!
Coach Brett Klika is the Director of Athletic Performance at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He specializes in youth fitness and athletic performance, overseeing a staff of 8 strength coaches developing programs for over 300 youth per week, both athletes and non-athletes. He presents around the world to both trainers and corporations with Todd Durkin Enterprises on a variety of health, wellness, and athletic performance topics. Brett contributes monthly to the award-winning “TD Times” newsletter. If you would like to sign up, you can do so by visiting FitnessQuest10.com, ToddDurkin.com or use the contact form below: [easy-contact]