The setting we are in has a tremendous impact on how we perform in all facets of life.
Working in a poor work environment full of drama and bad treatment leads to misery, even if the actual work is something you love. Growing up in a household full of love and care can help you become a better adult regardless if you come from plenty or little means. Playing on a team with talented players can still leave you with a losing record if the culture is losing.
Aka the Cleveland Browns vs. Steelers.
In my opinion the Browns have had more individually talented players than the Steelers over the last several years yet Mike Tomlin has had ZERO losing seasons his whole head coaching career and the Browns have only 1 winning season in the last 7. To make it worse, 3 of those seasons consecutively total 4 wins.
For athletes, the environment you train in influences the amount of hard work you put in, the focus you have, and confidence you have.
Yes, some athletes inherently will always work hard, stay focused, and be confident but as we have all experienced, that is the far minority of athletes. If your team is all about goofing off, that culture will permeate through most of the team. If your team is extremely disciplined, those who don’t get with the program will drop off.
Teammates that work hard and go the extra mile influence the other team members to do the same. Especially if that’s the tone the upperclassmen set. And the more athlete driven that is, the more effective as peer influence is often greater than the coaches.
What do I believe is needed in a training environment?
- Clear training goals
- Focus on growth
- High energy
- Athlete led discipline
- Personal care from coaches
Clear Training Goals
Knowing what you're working for makes it much easier to be focused. Training is hard and I don’t think most people are consistently masochists. Putting yourself through training often requires knowing what you’re aiming to achieve. Know why that 300lb deadlift matters, it’s not for its own sake
Focus on Growth
When it comes to sports, growth is the only way forward. Whether you are running, lifting, working on your balance, etc your training environment should be focused on improvement of some kind. A focus on growth also means that the coach’s plans for your achievement are very clear and sound. You can’t grow if you’re doing the wrong things. Your coaches and training mates should be pushing you to be your best.
Speaking on the coaches and other trainees, the energy should be high and motivating. Noone wants to work out with people who complain. That’s not to be confused with the banter of “another rep, ugh!” from athletes who unquestioningly get the work done. High energy feeds off of itself. Being on time, focused, and pushing yourself breed high level environments. In addition, we have really good athletes so they are also training around their own competition and for the younger athletes, those they can look up to.
Athlete Led Discipline
Fellow athletes have a lot of influence. When you see your teammates are working hard, it often motivates you to work harder than the coach telling you to “work harder”. When athletes hold each other accountable to listen, be on time, quit whining and set the example for how to work hard, it often goes a longer way than the coach saying it. Coach is expected to do that. But oh, my teammate said to wise up. Bet, I should lock in.
Personal Care from Coaches
The old adage rings true: nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Coaches should show they are invested in the overall growth of their athletes. The trust built between an athlete and coach is a major part of the other 4 of these factors going well. For youth athletes, especially teenagers, coaches can serve a near parental role depending on the seriousness of the sport and longevity of the relationship. In other words, in my opinion, the closer the sport or training is to an athlete’s identity, the more likely the coach is to have a major impact on that athlete if they coach them for a long time.
Knowing that, how does that influence what we do at GHP?
To be very honest, this was a reflection I made in writing this. It’s a question I’ve answered in the past before in wanting to set the tone for how I engage. Bringing on new coaches has forced me to revisit this as I have to determine the personality traits I want in coaches and how to make sure they embody this when I’m not around.
As a performance coaching operation, goal oriented training and a focus on growth are the bread and butter of staying in business. Simultaneously we create training to help our athletes on their immediate goals for sport as well as work on the less glamorous aspects of training to ensure healthy longevity.
They do not always go hand in hand in the short term. Someone coming for a post PT knee injury has a short term goal of getting it “good enough” to practice hard to get back to the season, but we also need to address the long term needs to make sure they are less likely to have this be a problem in the long run. These are very enjoyable problems to solve and navigate.
High energy is one of the things I bleed. Most who have trained with me know what that’s all about. High energy is what helps people work hard. Energizing music, motivating voices and words, and good vibes.
When you want to melt cold ice, you give it energy from the environment, aka heat. When you want to run fast or lift heavy, you increase the energy in the room to get you from “blah” to “RAHHH”.
Care from coaches is something that is really why I do this all in the first place. I love seeing people progress. I love seeing anything progress. I love the topic of history for this reason. Our staff meets weekly and monthly just to discuss all of the people we train.
Athlete led discipline is something we are exploring more for in the gym. Athletes do a good job being focused on getting their training done and progressing, but in 2022 I want to see more of a team feel in the gym like we do during other more communal styles of training. Getting those who are focused to help encourage and pump up the room rather than only be focused on what they need to.
Think back on your experiences playing sports & working out. What cultures do you remember most positively? Negatively?
Access where you train. If you don’t train with us and want to get a glimpse of how we implement these, shoot a reply and we’ll organize for you to come check it out.