Twice in the last week, I’ve been saddened by information told to me by potential clients.
In the first instance, a high school athlete was having trouble explaining to me the machines that his “strength guy” had him working out on..the “strength guy” recommended by his travel ball coach. It’s sad because the athlete trusts this “strength guy” because he was recommended by his travel ball coach whom he also trusts. It’s sad that the travel ball coach doesn’t have a professional person to whom he can refer his players that is up-to-date in current methodologies for the training of athletic performance. Training on machines is “like so 1980’s”. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s the quickest way to get my point across!
In the second instance, a dad proudly showed me a quick video of his son lifting weights where he works-out four days a week with a “trainer”. It was sad that he was doing an exercise that is more for “show” than for athletic performance: bicep curls. It was sadder yet that the athlete was using sloppy form in the execution of the poor exercise choice (any exercise DONE WELL can still be beneficial to a degree)! It was still sadder yet that the video showed a panorama of the facility and there was no “trainer” to be seen in the video…only other people working out! And it was the saddest of all that after a few strategic questions, I determined that the athlete was being trained on a “body-part-split” type program first popularized in the 1970’s (or possibly earlier) by the steroid-rampant bodybuilding community.
This stuff really gets to me more now that I’m a parent compared to 3 years ago. People are looking to do something good for their children but truly don’t know where to turn, get lead astray by people they trust, and the worst part is they don’t know the difference!
That really got me to thinking:
How would you go about buying a service or product that you’ve never used before? More than likely, you are going to ask a friend or relative and get a referral, right? Then hopefully that friend or relative points you in the right direction and you get hooked up with a very competent professional able to deliver that service or product. In this way it’s usually not too hard to find a mechanic, doctor, yard service, or babysitter that fits your needs. This system works because most everyone has multiple experiences over many years with all those types of services.
But what if the vast majority (easily 95% plus) of the population has never used the service in question or very likely doesn’t even know it exists? That makes it really tough to find what you’re looking for doesn’t it? Many people in this predicament go without finding help or just go with something that seems close. Unfortunately, they often get referrals from people who are in the same boat: people who have had to go with something that seems close but truly don’t know the difference between what they are receiving and what is the best available.
The niche in the fitness/sports industry that is Sports Performance Training (and thus TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING) is described perfectly by the preceding paragraph, and here are the reasons why:
Ø Most people (easily 95% plus) have never personally been coached by a legitimate sports performance coach or strength and conditioning coach. Why? Most of these professionals are employed at the college (10 years myself) or pro sports level and unless you have been a college or pro athlete, you simply have never been exposed to this type of professional.
Ø The YOUTH and HIGH SCHOOL portions of the Sports Performance Industry are in their infancy. The first businesses that fully resembled today’s version of modern Sports Performance Facilities began popping up in the mid 1990’s. This makes the industry around 20 years old, so parents of 7-18 year-old athletes were likely never exposed to sports performance themselves.
Ø Sports Performance Training is easily confused. Many people have “worked with a trainer” before or “lifted with the football team in high school”. It’s human nature to go with what you know. People would still be working with their Commodore 64’s and gaming with their Atari’s if they hadn’t been exposed to the next generation of technology. Unfortunately, many “trainers” and “high school weight programs” are Commodore 64 and Atari level because it’s human nature to keep going with what you know.
Ø In the greater Orlando area, I know of 7 facilities that provide Sports Performance Training as their primary business, including TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING. In contrast, big-box gyms, personal training studios, and most dangerously, Crossfit gyms, can be found in every shopping plaza and mixed use commercial rental space. Correspondingly, Sports Performance Coaches are probably outnumbered 1 to 100 compared with all the “trainers” employed at the other businesses. These skewed numbers dictate that people are more familiar with the other businesses and the people employed at those business. Add to that the point above, “Sports Performance Training is easily confused”, and we have the perfect storm responsible for the stories opening this article!
For clarification, while the opening stories about the athletes focus on strength training examples, what I’ve written is not really about “lifting weights” and neither is TOTAL ATHLETE TRAINING. I could have told you stories about athletes being instructed to run long distance to get “in shape” (by the way this will also make you SLOWER) or parents being told that their 10-year old needs to play only one sport year-round or they will not develop their skills adequately to compete when older (however it’s more often the young multi-sport athlete that ascends to a higher level because of a broad athletic base).
The main point I’m making is that WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER YOU WILL CHOOSE BETTER.
Making decisions about your athlete’s optimal athletic development can be confusing. A hallmark of a great teacher or coach is that they can make the confusing…simple.
Stop by and let’s have a conversation so I can simplify things for you. Your kids deserve it.
If you can personally relate to the stories above and aren’t part of the TAT family, you owe it to YOUR KIDS to set up a 2-Week Test Drive. Come and experience a different and higher level of professionalism and service that cannot be replicated by the masses. You will not regret it. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain!