Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Performance Coach or Director - Why the term sucks

[The following is an extract from the book 'Barbells & Bullshit' by Ian King, 2010.]

I have noted a trend over the last decade or so for physical preparation coaches involved with athletes and sporting teams to refer to themselves as ‘performance’ coaches or directors. In fact, this title appears to be the pinnacle of employment positions within sporting teams. I don’t support this and here’s why.

In my thirty year involvement in the industry to date I have watched the slow acceptance of physical preparation coaches by other coaches in sport. From my perspective the formal role of the physical preparation coach in western sport began in the 1970’s at the earliest. My point is the industry is relatively young.

As such, it’s been pretty easy for the more established coaching roles to manipulate physical preparation coaches. The most common techniques I have seen include:

1. The athletes are getting injured because of what the physical preparation coach is doing
2. The athletes are performing worse because of what the physical preparation coach is doing.

To achieve point 2, you will often hear coaches blame the team’s ‘fitness’ for poor performance. This technique is so entrenched that you will commonly hear lay people make the same statement – ‘They are not fit enough’.

Teams and athletes don’t lose simply because of their physical preparation. Physical preparation is at most 25% or one of four components of athletic success. When you add culture, equipment, and funding you now have ten components. Physical is one-tenths or 10% of this model. It’s a very long bow to suggest that controlling the physical preparation dictates the performance.

All the use of the term ‘performance coach’ does is play into the hands of those who seek to use the ‘new kid on the block’ (physical preparation) as the fall guy should one be needed in the event of individual or team failure. Controlling one-tenth of the total athlete preparation gives physical preparation coaches no more rights to claim they are ‘performance coaches’ than any of those in the coaching and support team who control / influence the other nine components in the 10-part model.

It reinforces the myth that if an individual or team fail to win, it is because they lack appropriate physical preparation.

And no, the flip side is rarely promoted – that when they win it is because of their physical preparation. The same people in the coaching team who seek to shift the blame to the physical preparation coaches in the event of a loss will step up in the event of a win to take credit. Now they seek to be titled ‘great coaches’.

This pattern of blame / credit is only outperformed in inaccuracy by the physical preparation coach who controls only one of the four sub-components of physical preparation (e.g. strength training only) – and seeks to take credit for the wins. They control 25% of 10%, or an estimated 2.5% of the generalized preparation.

The only situation I believe a physical preparation coach can even consider calling themselves a ‘performance coach’ is when they control over 50% of the total athlete preparation. Which means they would have to control technical, tactical, physical and psychological preparation (totaling 40%) – and more – to control over 50% if the total program.

Rarely achieved. I would not need more than one hand to count the number of physical preparation coaches I have encountered in three decades in this industry who meet this criteria.

This also raises the question of how many years back in each athlete’s career they had this control. Take the athlete’s age minus say 4 years of age, and then divide by 2 – have they been in control for more than half this number? If not it means they haven’t controlled the majority of the training process that led to this point.

Know anyone who would meet these criteria?

Most physical preparation coaches live in so much fear of losing their job they don’t have any intention of seeking to alter or control departments outside of their own. In fact, this scarcity mentality - where is my next job coming from? What will I do if I lose this job?- usually means they allow others in the administration, coaching and support team to interfere with the physical preparation program to the extent that I doubt they could be said to even control that.

[Learn more about this book at http://www.kingsports.net/products-ksi-book-b&bs.htm]

Feedback on my latest book - Barbells & Bullshit

I recently received this feedback about my latest book:

Ian, Great book... ...keeping me up late. Very entertaining, hilarious, gut-wrenching and scary as you unfold the reality of this industry, while pairing it with guidance to a conscious way of thriving in the field of physical preparation and life. Also, you have brilliantly made the book very interactive, which I assume was done purposely, and adds to the suspense and overall enjoyment.  Thank you once again!

To which I replied on the KSI forum as follows, content that normally stays on the members only http://www.coachking.net/ forum:

Excellent perception Ryan - there are many subtle and interwoven themes in this text which you have an awareness of, and even for my top coaches, they need all their knowledge and experience to decipher them

I appreciate your feedback, and commend you for digging into the book. many will disregard as a reading option simply because it's theme is not compliant with mainstream conditioning of 'what you need to study - e.g. references to research, or how to get bigger biceps, or apparently ever more pertinent today, how to lower body fat using the 'only' way to train 'that only I know how'

As the fitness industry grows, should it continue along its current path, I will be exposing more 'conspiracies' of the exploitation of the masses for the gain of a few - economically and egotistically.

One only needs to lift the lid on larger and older industries to see the techniques that are and will continue to expand in their use in the 'fitness industry'

Like the US economy, I feel the American-influenced fitness industry may be so 'sick' that it is beyond repair, short of greater social changes. An alternative is to create a universal sub-culture of those whose are passionate about physical preparation at any level of involvement, have the ability to think objectively and independently and reject the conditioned thinking enforced on the masses, and who do not support, endorse or wish to be part of a current, self-serving 'fitness industry'.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The World is Flat!

Popular stories have humans believing the world was flat and that Christopher Columbus, in his late 1400's explorations to the America's, travelled in spite of this belief and the risk of 'falling off the edge' of this flat earth. If this were true, Columbus showed courage and shaped the world as a result.

As a race humans have advanced in many regards, however the limiting beleifs prevail. That is, whatever is the domiantly held belief is what the majority cling to without adequate investigation of the accuracy of the belief.

These holding to domianant beliefs may provide short term feelings of security, but at what price?  You would not have squatted until the 1990's when 'science' first endorsed this exercise. You would not have taken a multi-vitamin until post the year 2000, when for the first time a medical journal acknowledged that most people should consider taking a multi-vitamin. The list goes on. At what price to you? You could spend most of your life missing many valuable and beneficial activities simply because of your desire to comply with the dominant beliefs.

Which raises the question - where do the dominant beliefs come from and who controls them? Two key answers - commercial interests and information gatekeepers.

When does an exercise trend become a trend and why? For the most part when an equipment manufacturer concludes their is a market for their proposed product and moves forward.

The second player is the 'information gatekeeper'. The person or organization who upon realizing that a new habit is about to gain momentum, seek to endorse and teach the new habit (now called a trend) simply to be seen as being on the cutting edge of yet another new development.

A summary of many dominant trends over the last decade reveals a list of equipment that in my opinion was not borne out of the need for a new solution. But rather out of the realization that it could be manufactured and sold to the masses.

Most of what you do, as an end user as well as a professional in the fitness or sport industries, is a product of the influences created by equipment manufacturers and distributors, often in combination with the information gate keepers of their chose. 

Do you need it? Is it the best solution for you? Is it in your best interests? These are some of the questions you have not likely asked. Rather, you have probably accepted the dominant trend and followed along. 

That's your choice. I suggest you can do better.  I suggest you can get better results. I suggest you deserve better. Are you ready and willing to learn how?


New DVD released Oct 2010 -

The World if Flat!
Challenging your point of view!

In this DVD from a live seminar I dedicate approximately two hours to this and surrounding topics. 

YouTube clips from that DVD:

Click here to order the DVD - http://bit.ly/9KJVmR