Winning Culture! Winning Athletes!

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Today I am going to tell you the secret to making incredible athletes. On a weekly basis, people ask me how that I am able to produce so many top notch athletes. Today I am talking about all athletes weightlifting, football, softball, powerlifting, soccer, or whatever. The programming for all of these athletes is different, but the one thing that remains the same is the environment.

A great environment starts with a coach that has high expectations. If you are a coach that expects mediocre results, then you will produce mediocre athletes. I hear so many excuses from coaches as to why they can’t produce great athletes. They tell me that their town is too small, or their athletes are too small. I tell them that their coach is too weak!

A coach has to believe that their athletes can succeed, but more importantly, they have to project that confidence onto the athletes. When an athlete comes to me, I know that they have already taken a major step in life. They know that I am a coach that will push them to their limits, and they know that I will not accept anything less than their best. The first few weeks with me can be pretty scary because it’s a whole new experience for most people. I immediately start talking world championships, Olympics, NFL, and being the best which is a foreign experience for most. Athletes either excel within a few months, or they realize that they never really wanted to be great.

Just because an athlete doesn’t want to be the best, doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. I totally do. It just means that I am not the best coach for them. There are a lot of coaches that teach foundations to strength and conditioning where they might emphasize an active lifestyle. That is awesome in my opinion. It’s just not what I do. If an athlete stays with me long enough, then they will find out what their maximum potential as an athlete really is.

A proper culture is just as important. A long time ago my friend Zach Even-Esh told me that if there was one athlete that was causing issues, get rid of him. One bad athlete can ruin the bunch, and that is a complete fact. When coaches are starting out, this is a tough one. The coach is trying to feed his family, and I am telling him to fire clients. That is exactly right!!! I have made the mistake of keeping bad apples way too many times, and every time it has cost me money, time, and other athletes. Cut that mess quick! It’s not fair to the other athletes that are there busting their butts to allow one guy or gal to cause grief for the group.

If you are working with a group of like-minded individuals, they will push each other to the next level. A coach simply provides a well thought out program, technique, and encouragement. The athletes will do the rest. At Muscle Driver USA, I watch the athletes push themselves to all new heights almost every day. I have watched James Tatum and Jared Fleming push themselves to both snatching American Records in training. A great day is like a contagious disease. I have watched days at Muscle Driver flare like a forest fire. One guy or gal PRs, and then the whole bunch does. Are the coaches at MDUSA great? Well of course, but the culture of hard working athletes is the magic. Now it is up to the coaches to maintain that culture.

At my Mash Mafia Compound, the environment is the same. When you walk in, you see a wall of past and current athletes that have performed exceptionally. You see Jon North, New York Jets Tommy Bohanon, and a host of other incredible athletes, so the stage is set upon walking in the place. Then no matter if there are football players, weightlifters, or softball players, everyone is there to work hard and get better. However, there is one variable that I haven’t talked about. We have Fun!

Having fun is so important because becoming a great athlete is a long and tedious venture. A weightlifter is snatching, clean & jerking, and squatting twice a day every day. Football and softball athletes are mobilizing, running, jumping, and lifting every day sometimes twice per day. If you are not having fun, the environment can become stale. A stale environment is not conducive to performance. My athlete Rebecca Gerdon is a prime example. When she is dancing and having fun, she is going to set a personal record every time. If she is nervous or uptight, then she is having a less than optimal day.

Here are the bullets:

• Environment is more important than programming
• One bad athlete can kill a bunch
• A coach must project the confidence that he or she has for their athletes
• Expectations of the coach must match the desired results
• A winning culture is a must!
• Have Fun!

These are lessons to live by as a strength & conditioning or weightlifting coach. A great environment will make the coach look way smarter than they really are. I guess that I probably shouldn’t have told you that, but it’s true. Build a winning culture, and then sit back and watch your athletes crush records.

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