“I just want to coach,” I sobbed as the stress of the release of the Total Youth Soccer Fitness Program weighed on me.
On the day of the launch, I spent 5 non-stop hours on my phone sending email newsletters, tweeting to soccer coaches, replying to emails from customers, tweeting more, retweeting tweets, and trying not to have a seizure from so much screen time. What’s comical is, for someone who just wrote an article Cell Phones Are Ruining Everything, I sure was on my phone a lot.
Don’t get me wrong. I was so incredibly overwhelmed with love and support on the Total Youth Soccer Fitness Program.
Being so tied to my phone was a GOOD thing for a product launch.
It would’ve been far worse if I was receiving not emails, texts, tweets, and was left twiddling my thumbs in the cold, silence of my home.
Truthfully, I’m grateful with how successful Total Youth Soccer Fitness was (and continues to be).
But despite all of the elation and fulfillment from the release of my first online product, one thing I found was missing being on pitch, running drills, teaching skill technique, as well as being in the gym, teaching deadlift form, and telling my athletes to not be soft while they perform Zercher Reverse Lunges:
Put simply, I just want to coach.
As rewarding as it was to create a product of my own and blast it out to the world, it reminded me that I love teaching on the pitch and in the weight room.
You know, good old-fashioned connecting with athletes in-person, which is getting lost in today’s day and age.
Admittedly, Total Youth Soccer Fitness would not have been possible without numerous years of in-person coaching, designing and periodizing athlete programs, running off-season camps, trying new drills, and improvising with fun games like this:
And creating goofy shenanigans post-lifting like this:
And building a culture of strong, empowered girls by taking athletes boxing:
And inspiring female athletes to crush their weighted pull-ups:
From a professional growth standpoint, nothing beats in-person coaching.
From a product release standpoint, nothing beats in-person coaching.
From an athlete development standpoint, nothing beats in-person coaching.
From a rapport and trust building standpoint, nothing beats in-person coaching.
And years of it.
And I’m sure a lot of the sport science guys are screaming, “what about the data and research?!” Of course, science has its place, but data, new advances in technology, and new online product shenanigans don’t mean jack if there isn’t action behind them. I’d argue *human interaction* as well. This reminds me of a quote strength coach Mike Boyle said:
“Coaching is a people business, not a technology business.”
Ahhhh, this is so freaking true. Athletes, after all, are people. I don’t care if you have the best technology, the alphabet behind your name, or five phDs, how the heck are you 1. connecting with athletes and 2. how are you taking action to get them better?
As an example, if an athlete is under stress, what are you going to do about it? You better not say, “run more diagnostic tests, examine their nervous system data, construct pie charts and graphs on their brain activity, and then do more diagnostic tests.”
Get outta here, yo.
I’ll name several things right now that don’t involve so much noise from technology:
– have them diaphragmatic breathe.
– allow them to spend time with family.
– have them eat a kale salad infused with life.
– encourage them to meditate.
– teach them mindfulness.
– crack a joke.
So coaches, I urge you, connect with your athletes so much that you not only motivate them in terms of sport performance, but also for life. A great book on the topic is Inside Out Coaching by Joe Ehrmann. He discusses how coaches can impact athletes beyond the game.
Athletes are people, so work with them. Help them grow. Encourage them to evolve.
Because sometimes, all the fluff in the cyber world will make you want to say, “I just want to coach.”