A Good Coach Will Make His Players See What They Can Be, Rather Than What They Are. Ara Parasheghian

This week has been a week of change; that is for certain.  I thought I would reflect on coaching for this blog post in my endeavor to keep posts positive.

If you are new to the blog, I’ll let you know that I was a competitve swimmer since I was 9 years old.  I swam in college at which time I had three different coaches over the four years that I swam.  So I am accustomed to “change.”

My freshman year, my coach was Jim.  I was a walk-on that year.  I had not been recruited to swim.  I simply walked on and asked if I could be on the team.  Jim had coached me once for about 6 months when I was 14.  I had tried AAU swimming for that 6 months and then I had stopped.  So up until this college time, I was mainly a summer swimmer only.  I did well my freshman year.  Jim and I got along well and he helped me improve immensely.  At the end of the year I was awarded the “Most Improved Swimmer” award.  That summer we found out that Jim had resigned his job as coach because he wanted to be a full time fireman.

My sophomore year my coach was Anne Goodman James.  This was 1980/81.  There were not a lot of women coaches at this time and the men on our team gave her a real hard time.  She brought two new things to the table — motivational tapes that we listened to as a team and yoga that we did in the morning to stretch our muscles.  She was a fantastic coach and our women’s team finished higher in our Conference Championships than we had ever had before.  She was the perfect coach for me that year as that was the year I lost my dad to cancer and she was able to connect with me emotionally and help me through that time.  However, her husband was a military man and she was only our coach for that one year.

My junior and senior year my coach was Mark.  Again another quality coach who helped me improve immensely.  He knew a lot about each one of us and he knew when we were having an “on” day or an “off” day.  He taught us to take care of each other as a team.

Each coach had a tremendous impact on my life.  Each year my coach was replaced on a one-on-one ratio.

Fast forward a lot of years and I would consider my “fitness” coaches to have been Ryan and Mana.  With their coaching, I have lost 55 pounds, gained self-confidence, seen fantastic health results, etc.  (all documented in past posts.)  They are no longer the “coaches” at the gym and instead of it being a one-on-one ratio, the two of them have been replaced (in our program) with five and possibly six coaches.  This is a transition in itself for me.  I am reworking what my fitness routine is looking like and trying to continue to work with just two and at the most three “coaches.”  It’s a little difficult for me to have multiple centers of reference.

One thing I am very excited about is the new trainer that was hired at Golds.  His name is Semaj and he moved here from Denver.  He is a power lifter, a motivator, an inspirational guy who takes a holistic approach to training.  His Facebook posts this week have inspired me and helped lift me out of funks.    I rearranged my schedule so that I could train with him Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.  It was just him and me at that time.  We talked and got to know each other for a few minutes and then we got to the workout.

For the first time in a VERY long time, I found myself looking at the clock at 5:30 and saying, “Oh my goodness, we still have 30 minutes to go.”  It was an a$$ kicking in the best way.  He has the enthusiasm and inspiration of Ryan and the ability to push me outside of my comfort zone of Mana.  (Sorry for the comparison, Semaj.)   When the workout was over, he made sure I had his cell phone number and within 15 minutes of the workout, he was texting me to tell me I had done a great job.

I respond well to that kind of coaching!  I look forward to moving forward with him at Golds.  I believe that he will be able to extract the best out of me.

Semaj and me — I was still smiling even after the workout.

To my friends who are being told that their progress was because of them and not their coaches, I call bullsh**.   Our coaches were an integral part of our progress!  A good coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they are!  We were blessed with good – no great – coaches.  They will be missed.  But now you need to find a way to move forward.  Continue on with the great progress you have been making.  What I’m doing may not be what works for you and that’s okay.  We are all individuals and we all need something different.  But keep going!  I’ll leave you with this.

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