In Celebration of March Madness

     I was recently reading a great book called The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born, It’s Grown by Daniel Coyle. It gives multiple examples of how practice can make you good. Quality practice will make you GREAT! Experts study these talent hotbeds throughout the world to determine that we shouldn’t be surprised by the consistent out pouring of talent from these sources. They discuss that it’s not just practice, but the quality of practice. When they started reviewing practice and what determined a “good” practice they sited one of their monumental studies by two psychologists Ron Gallimore and Roland Tharp. It was when they studied legendary basketball coach John Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood”. I thought it was appropriate to mention this as we’re about to start the NCAA Basketball Tournament this Thursday. Rightfully so, Coach Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. One of the things that they thought was unique was that Coach Wooden was very open with his players that he would treat and coach each one of them differently. You would expect that with a coach that obviously had a winning style of coaching that he may have a very rigid way of teaching his players. He didn’t. He gave them what they each needed to be successful. What he was able to do was quickly assess where they were skill-wise and met them there. If a particular player needed more coaching on being a better team mate, sharing the ball more, he focused on that. If he thought a player was lacking confidence late in a game, which could be costly at the foul line late in a game, he then worked on building his confidence. God made us all unique and Wooden truly embraced that in his coaching style.

      I bring this up because I have gravitated towards making my training business more and more personalized to each person. My goal is that the only thing consistent in my business is that my team & I provide quality based workouts, are always professional, and each member always has a good experience at our studio. The way I teach an exercise is going to differ from person to person. Let’s take a sandbag hang clean. This requires a bit of explosive power from both the hips and upper back to get the bag moving. Let’s say I’m dealing with a stay-at-home mom who is experiencing formal strength training for the 1st time since she played sports in high school. An Olympic lift like a clean is a whole new world for her, let alone using a sandbag. I may start with teaching a deadlift with a sandbag by giving the analogy of picking up a big bag of dog kibble at Costco. Provide a visual, paint a picture less intimidating, and have some fun with it. Right next to her may be a gal who has seen her girlfriend share an exercise video on Facebook featuring the exercise, her motivation to learn the exercise is high, so I’ll jump right in to teaching her a clean with the bag.

      The more I work with people the more I realize it’s about figuring out how each person learns, and how to motivate them. Some need visual cues, some need you to explain how they should feel while doing it. Others may need you to physically get them in the right position. When I was designing the layout of my studio, I was going back & forth whether or not to put up mirrors. I’ve heard some coaches say that by constantly looking at yourself in the mirror as you perform some strengthening exercises can hinder the development of your proprioception (body awareness in space). I may agree with that for some, but some may simply need that mirror at first. After they get the drill you can have them turn away from the mirror. There can’t just be one way to teach. I’ve spoken to school teachers that have told me that by the 2nd month of the school year they will know how they will be able to teach to each student. Yes, I did say to each student, at least that’s the approach the good teachers take.

      I like the Precision Nutrition program. I’m a certified coach with that organization. The research they provide is great, but it’s their coaching model that I like having in my toolbox. They teach that you must collect a thorough assessment of each person nutritionally before you just jump in and give them a nutrition plan. That includes a kitchen assessment, a scale of their appetite awareness, the social support they may or may not get at home and work, and a base of their knowledge of nutrition. Not everyone should use a Paleo diet. Even if Kim Kardasian used it to drop the babyfat, it matters. I say that tongue in cheek, because I have had someone tell me that. What works for some may not work for others. That goes for teaching, motivating, and nutrition. So next time you try something new in your fitness plan and don’t get the results you were expecting, don’t get discouraged. Maybe it wasn’t the right plan for you. Keep trying until you get the right recipe. Isn’t that half the fun anyway? Remember practice will make you better, and good practice will make you great.

See you at the studio.

J & D Fitness
4180 South Fort Apache Rd,
Las Vegas, NV 89147