Monday, October 12, 2009


Growth of a Trainer (Growth of an Individual)

I look at a person’s knowledge as if it were a circle. For some, that circle is a dashed line and all information is coming in. For some, it is solid line with no information coming in. For some it is large with lots of information, and for some, it is small with very little information coming it. People with solid line circles also tend to have very small ones and people with dashed line circles tend to have very large ones. Let me tell you about the growth of my professional circle.

When I was nine years old, my mom bought me my first weight set. It was one of those sand filled jobs with an aluminum bar. The whole thing weighed about 40lbs. I opened it at Christmas and was ecstatic. I ripped open the box, threw away the instructions (of course) and began doing the exercises I saw on TV. So, there I was nine years old and my circle had just begun. It included deadlifts, squats (of course I didn’t have a squat rack, so it was more like clean and press to lower the weight on the back!), bicep curls, and floor press (I didn’t know what these were, I just laid on the floor and pressed the weight). My dashed line circle had begun.

From there, I entered middle school. I was lucky enough to go to a middle school in South Carolina that emphasized weight training for kids. Our coaches weren’t the most knowledgeable in the field of strength and conditioning, but they were passionate about what they did and managed to teach us the basics of the powerlifts (bench, squat, and deadlift). My circle got a little bigger.

By the time I got through high school, I had learned some rudimentary olympic lifting and powerlifting skills, as well as, some basic knowledge of periodization schemes. Now, I was going into college and my circle had become quite large. Anytime anyone had a question involving fitness and strength training, I could go to my circle and provide them with an answer. In retrospect, I can kind of see my line on my circle becoming more solid. Whether this was due to ego or immaturity, I’ll never know, but there was a definite closing of the circle in undergrad.

Next for me was grad school. Of course, there was not much left for me to learn after undergrad, my circle was already closed. Or, so I thought. Luckily for me, I was hired as a GA strength coach at Indiana State University where the head strength coach politely (note the sarcasm) let me know that I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did. Once I realized this, I sought out to learn more and continue to increase the size of my circle. I’m now almost three years removed from grad school and I can honestly say that I continue to increase my knowledge base daily.

The point that I am trying to make is this:

There is always someone who knows more than you. Don’t be uncoachable. And always strive to make your circle bigger.

1 comment:

  1. That is a very important life skill that not many people are willing to learn. If you become to close-minded you can never truly begin to understand what your trying to learn.
    -Justin Henson