Barbell Life Skills "Coachability"
Through years of endeavors as an athlete both in and out of the weight room, Ive had many ups and downs, setbacks and injuries, as well as countless coaches from different modal of sport that have helped me along my career. I have gained insight and knowledge from these mentors, but the barbell has taught me more than I could have imagined. Through this article and future segments titled “Barbell Life Skills” we will go through the things I have learned from both sides of the barbell that have helped me and my team become strong and successful. Our first episode will cover the importance of being “coachable”.
Most athletes understand that coaches are an important part of a successful journey; However, it is equally as common for us to overlook our own “coachability”. In this light we can think back to childhood sports or our favorite sports team. Many times, we will remember at least one athlete that may not have been the best fit for the team. I remember, just out of high school, Terrel “T.O.” Owens joined the Philadelphia Eagles. He was one of the best wide receivers to play the game but lacked coachability. His refusal to adapt or learn from coaches and other players led to his untimely retirement from the NFL.
As a coach, I often see many different versions of the “un-coachable” athlete. Generally, these individuals have a fixed mindset on a skewed impression of their own self-assessment. These traits can be seen in their enthusiasm for deflecting blame or pointing a finger elsewhere, they will ask for help but never implement the advice nor will they accept responsibility for their athletic shortcomings. In my experience these athletes have a limited potential. Some may go on to become good athletes, but most will plateau and get stuck until they learn to change their mentality. Patrick Murphey was quoted saying “un-coachable kids become unemployable adults”. This is not to say that we turn our back on those who need the attention most, instead we find it crucial to preach a growth-oriented mindset. Most importantly, as coaches, we must lead by example. This will create not only a strong team and community, but foster a mindset of constant learning, growth and strength.
As an athlete its imperative to continually check yourself and your coachability. Coachable athletes are committed to their own progress and development. They are consistent in their attendance and always have a “why” for their training. One of the most important qualities of an athlete is their receptiveness to feedback. Its one thing to hear a cue from across the room but the real factor is “are your applying it”? Coaches are important to development, but their value is only as much as their athlete is willing to accept. A coachable athlete must trust that their coach has a plan and is helping execute that plan to achieve their common goals.
In closing I want to share a bit I learned from my professor. As a martial artist, we all start with white belts. This symbolizes the beginning of our journey, a blank canvas. The more we train the more we “believe” we know; we think that the goal is to obtain our black belt. This mentality can be problematic and dangerous. The reality is the journey is about attaining knowledge and skill, not a material belt.
Stay Humble, Stay Hungry