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Originally posted as a reply in the StrengthCoach.com Advanced Forum

I envy anyone who can make it on their own, and don't think you necessarily need to be an understudy for years. However, I don't personally like the explosion of young "experts". I was reading an article recently and the blurb at the end of the article (about the author) claimed that the author had helped athletes of all ages reach their full athletic potential. That's a huge claim to make. And when I researched the author, I found that they were my age (23). My point is that when it becomes so easy to throw statements around like that, I think we've lost appreciation of coaches who've spent years developing this field, and actually are expert coaches.

Supertraining is not an easy read, but anyone who can get through the first 100 pages will at least get the sense of Dr. Siff's sentiment towards Westernized training methods. We want everything and want to be everything so fast, and physical development and coaching ability are absolutely not two things that are acquired quickly.

To clear things up, I don't think anyone who writes an article is claiming to be an expert (I write myself). But we need to watch the claims we make, and always make sure we credit and reference our ideas.

Even if it's not a true definition of mentoring, I think its a good idea for everyone to gain more knowledge of the brief history of the field and the contributions from older coaches. I think some of us might be eager to dismiss that because the training methods may not accord with dynamic warm ups, the glute medius, prehab, post activation potentiation..etc. That's not the point, there's invaluable information to gained from those coaches. Maybe the point is simply to respect our elders.

Either way, learning from those who've done it longer and more sucessfully will always be the best way to further develop our own abilities.

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Comment by Alexander Merrill on January 27, 2009 at 10:28pm
I think in any field your going to have people who are always trying to tell you whats right and how they see things from their "experience", no matter how many years they have been preaching. To say that there is a boom of young experts though I think is a little far fetched. In a field such as ours that is continuously growing and evolving no one is a true expert. Exercise isn't like a math equation where there is one definitive answer (like you didnt know this already). Everyone has their own opinions related to what works for them and their programs. I think the only thing we can do as "rising young experts" is to take in all the information we can and then formulate our own thoughts and feelings realted to certain topics. I like to look at everything with an open mind, because if I went into things with a predetermined notion it would make me morally presumptuous, and as a coach I feel it is my duty to examine every aspect of something before judging it.

I definately agree though about the mentoring. I have had an incredible mentor in Steve Conca at Attain. He has worked with Gray Cook, Boyle, ect. and continues to share invaluable ideas and concepts that he has gained from them. I think the real message here is that no matter what your beliefs you need to look at every person in the field as a resource, and find a way to use those resources to the best of your ability.
Comment by Joe Lorincz on January 14, 2009 at 12:21pm
Joe - I couldn't agree with you more, the explosion of young experts is ridiculous. That's one of the reasons why I don't write, I have only been coaching for four years, so who am I to speak on behalf of "my experience"? That doesn't mean I don't think coaches such as yourself should write, I think self-promotion goes a long way in this field, but I just don't feel that anything I have to say can't be found elsewhere.

As far as mentors go - a good mentor is invaluable. I can't imagine where I would be if I hadn't met Mike Boyle back when I was starting my career. MB has been coaching for +25yrs (based on what hes accomplished I don't think the man sleeps at night, so it's as if he has been at it for +50yrs), which is a tremendous amount of experience. I attribute just about everything I know to MB. Thanks to him I haven't wasted time trying to find the right books to read or websites search. I'm sure I could have (well, maybe I could have) eventually figured it all out on my own, but he has given me a HUGE head start, and not to mention great coaching experiencing via my intern/work experience at MBSC. I highly recommend any young coach find a good mentor and listen closely.
Comment by Daniel Jaffe on January 13, 2009 at 2:30pm
I believe that there is a bit of confusion that has surfaced as a consequence of some misinterpretation. While in Joe’s original post, he states that: “. . .even if it's not a true definition of mentoring, I think it’s a good idea for everyone to gain more knowledge of the brief history of the field and the contributions from older coaches,” he is not actually saying that it is necessary to become a clone of a more “experienced” coach.
No one in this field is reinventing the wheel, and while some of these young “experts” may consider themselves on the cutting-edge with their training philosophies, all that has truly been done is a serious re-evaluation and re-tooling of past training methodologies, occasionally incorporating ideas presented by physical therapists and/or biomechanists.
Adjustments like this are done as a means of fulfilling our ever expanding desire to increase our knowledge base in our chosen fields, as well as accommodate the dynamic personalities of our athletes.
Without “guidance,” whether it is in the form of direct mentorship, as everyone in this field has experienced a la unpaid internships, or through the readings of leaders in the field e.g. Boyle and Verstegen, we are nothing. No one is born omniscient with regards to the inner workings of the human body, from force-vectors to moment arms and the workings of internal and external rotators.
As for the 1-legged bosu-ball blindfolded squats, that seems to be a bit extreme, but I can understand where you’re coming from, as ideas like this had to come from somewhere. However, there exists no research out their stating that such ideas are supported by anyone aside from inexperienced “trainers” who have lacked proper guidance and mentorship: a basic, yet essential knowledge and skill base that could have been provided by listening to an ‘ol boy coach, or from reading any respectable exercise science book.
Good coaches aren’t born, they are made.
Comment by Craig Cheek on January 13, 2009 at 10:11am
i think for some, having a mentor or being a mentor is just another way to stay in the 'ol boys network.
i think the knowledge of the history of the field can be gained without being mentored. im biased because i cannot point to one specific individual that helped set me on my career path. there are people along the way that have helped me gain invaluable knowledge, but not one i would say was my mentor.

i am in agreement about all of the "experts." having athletes do one legged balance on a BOSU ball, blindfolded holding a hockey stick while reciting the preamble to the constitution does not make one an expert. but that's what sells, right? the good coaches can separate all the bullshit.

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