Chill with the Absolutes and Insults! Oh yeah Happy Thanksgiving!

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Chill with the Absolutes and Insults

We are a couple of days out from Thanksgiving, and tonight I am thankful for a conversation that I had on Facebook today. The topic was force absorption and the Olympic lifts, but that doesn’t really matter. The point that I am making is that we had a pretty good conversation, and no one really got mad. It was pretty darn refreshing.

Where there any minds changed today? I don’t know. It was just fun for me. I mean, it’s just strength sports, athletic performance, and fitness that we are talking about. I have seen online arguments that appeared to be politics and/or religion, but it was just Olympic lifts versus powerlifting. Who cares? It’s not worth calling people names, and slinging insults. It’s just not.

Guys we aren’t saving the world. You might convince the world that low bar squat is superior to high bar, but people will still be dying, getting divorced, and going to war. There is so much more that all of us could be doing, and I am not necessarily talking about health and fitness. Don’t get me wrong. I want to see the world lose some weight and get in better shape. I would love to see McDonalds going out of business because people have decided to more healthy. However there are things so much more important.

As coaches we have a chance to alter lives in so many ways. We have a chance to teach our male athletes how to treat women athletes. We have the ability to show our athletes how to be good parents. We get a chance to show them how to love and treat others. The ripple effects of such actions could actually make the world a little better. This is so much more important than back squats versus deadlift.

Not to mention there simply aren’t a lot of absolutes in the sport no matter how much all of us really want there to be. Yet I have seen people insult others over such topics as:

• Olympic weightlifting technique
• Necessity of plantar flexion in the Olympic lifts
• Sitting back versus sitting down in the back squat
• Looking up versus looking down in the back squat
• Full range of motion squats versus quarter squats
• Cardio versus strength training

These are fun to debate, but they are just fun. There is no real way to prove your point. There simply isn’t enough research out there in our field to answer a lot of these topics with a definitive answer. Who really cares?

Here are the questions that you have to ask yourself:

• Are my athletes/clients improving and reaching their goals?
• Am I getting better each year as a coach or trainer?
• Are my athletes leaving me a better person?

If you can answer yes to all three, you are doing a great job. If you answered no or you were unsure with one, then you have some work to do. Look I love strength as much as anyone that I have ever met, but I refuse to hate someone because they don’t think like me.

Sometimes I am pretty darn convicted about certain things that I teach. I might spend some time pleading my case online in hopes that I might teach someone something slightly new. I have a lot of experience as a high level athlete, and I have coached some of the best athletes in the United States. I owe it to all of you to pass on the things that I have learned, but there is something that I want all of you to learn that could change your lives forever.

I have never learned a lot when I was doing the talking or the typing? I am a good coach because I have listened to others, studied the research, and processed the information. I have learned from people older than me and younger than me. I have learned from people that I don’t necessarily agree with. There is normally always something to learn from other people especially people with a descent amount of experience.

Here are some examples:

Sean Waxman- Coach Waxman is about my age. He has taught me so much in regards to nurturing the culture of my gym. One athlete is never more important than the overall culture and atmosphere.

Zach Greenwald- Zach is much younger than me, but no one has taught me more about muscular balance than this young man. It’s not about perfect balance. It’s about addressing the major imbalances and working towards symmetry slowly over time. The key is quantifying all of this.

Louie Simmons- Louie has taught most of us a thing or two. He’s taught me so much about velocity, work capacity, and maximum effort. One big thing is the importance of general physical preparedness. At the end of the day, the strength athlete that can put in the most quality work will be the one on top.

These are just examples of people that I have learned from. Let all the losing coaches spend hours on the Internet arguing their case. Their identities lie in their beliefs as coaches. My identity lies in my ability to give my athletes what they need to be successful and to become better people. I don’t really care if another coach agrees with me or not. I don’t need a coach out there to validate me. Here’s the thing. My results validate me. I leave for the World Championships on Monday along with my three athletes. That’s more than any other coach in America, so that’s my validation.

Yet there is something that is so much more important. I have athletes that are now happily married. I have athletes that are running million dollar businesses and employing other people. I have athletes that are inspiring others to be better. That’s my true validation. At the end of it all, when I am on my deathbed, these will be the things that I am most proud of. All of you can keep your crazy absolutes. I have my results.

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