Strength Performance Network

What is the WORST type of Athlete to work with?

You are having an initial meeting/consultation with a prospective athlete/client.

As a professional, you know that initially your objective is to establish rapport.

Rapport is defined as “a relationship marked by harmony, agreement, respect, accord or affinity; a relationship of mutual understanding and agreement between people.”

In other words, establishing rapport is to answer two questions:

  1. Do I like you/trust you? Do you like me/I trust me?
  2. Do I want to train with you? Do you want to train with me?

If you have worked systematically with the initial meeting/consultation, you have probably prepared specific open-ended questions, for example:

  • “What brought you here?”
  • “How can I help you?
  • “What made you contact me?”

Pay careful attention to the athlete’s/client’s answer as well as the tone of their voice + facial expression
[Tone of voice + facial expression are part of the non-verbal communication which expresses meaning through the use of the eyes, facial expressions and other bodily movements.]

ANY athlete or fitness clients has come to you for a REASON.

Even if the athlete/client has an objective (goal) of their own that they want help with, they can still be a challenge because they can be conflicted about the goal.

However, by far the WORST type of athletes/clients to work with are the ones who have come to you because SOMEONE ELSE sent  them.

  • “My coach told me that I need to get stronger.”
  • “My wife thinks that I need to lose weight.”
  • “My doctor told me that I need to start exercising.”

In The Flexible Periodization Method EVERYTHING begins with learning the objective/goal that the athlete/client has, because with INDIVIDUALIZED training programs, the goal is the ONLY criteria by which we can place ANYTHING in the Training Program.

The next four blogs will examine various aspects of identifying a clear objective to work towards and I will share aspects of our NEWEST (but unpublished) manual: Avoid a GREAT Program with the WRONG Goals: How To Set S.M.A.R.T.R Goals.

I have personally experienced athletes who came to me because their coach told them to do so. The results are never as good as when the athlete has a goal of their own, but I am typically able to increase their motivation by creating a highly individualized training program and explaining EXTREMELY clearly HOW this program will help them perform better.

What is your experience with athletes/clients who come to you because someone else sent them? Leave a comment!

Thank You for having read to the end of this blog post!

PS: Stay updated on The Flexible Periodization Method, by becoming a subscriber of our FREE No Gimmicks EZine or Sign up to automatically receive notifications about new blog posts.

PPS: In one week my next posts covers the – potentially - #1 Reason why athletes/clients are not accomplishing a particular goal.

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Comment by Phil Hartt, CSCS on November 20, 2013 at 10:54am

the worst experience I had was coaching in the private sector.  I had a local high school soccer team of about six girls working out together.  Since I was an intern/recent hire, I did not get to meet these girls initially.  They were all good, but one girl.  This girl would complain about everything from warming up, to general prep phase, to rep scheme, to weight, to rest, and everything in between.  Anyways, it started to rub off on the other girls and we moved her to a different time frame to isolate her.  Needless to say, her mom was forcing her to come and she ended up getting cut from her team and then home schooled.

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