Fitness Friday: Coaching!
I’ve been a little MIA lately. Call it writer’s block, but I’ve also been really busy. One of things that I always try to make time for throughout the week is coaching. It’s filled a lot of holes in my life, especially since I feel like I can always be better. I’ve had coaches throughout my life that have had a lasting impression on me. Some of them were really great coaches, and I’ve had a number of coaches that I thought were awful. The ones that were great always seemed to have a constant positive presence in my mind. The bad ones come with memories with one or two bad moments that stayed with me as I grew up. For today’s Fitness Friday, I thought I’d share a little bit about some of those moments and feedback that helped me where I am today.
One of the worst coaches I had was my high school basketball coach. He was actually a pretty nice guy, but never took me seriously as a basketball player. I mean, I was a 5’0″ guard that had limited ball-handling skills and liked to shoot 3-pointers (but hardly made them). Not exactly the most useful person to have on your team. But what I lacked in skill, I made up in effort. I worked hard every day during practice. I almost never complained. And, I never threw drama queen fits like some of my other teammates who got more playing time. While my coach largely ignored me throughout my senior year, he indirectly helped me shape my current work ethic. I had to prove each day that I was ready to play at any given moment. Making sure I never missed my moment was something I practiced for. Ultimately, I never got to playing very much, but it was a valuable life lesson about hard work.
It’s not girls basketball, it’s just basketball
My first basketball coach was a hard-ass. He was a very no-nonsense and straightforward guy. If he didn’t like what you were doing on the court, he’d pull you out of the game and bench you. He’d line us up on the sideline and have us run until we couldn’t run anymore. Naturally, a lot of us had moments where we cried. But whenever we started to cry, he’d tell us that we’re basketball players, not girls who play basketball. It was a really meaningful to me and it helped me understand that I’m not just a girl who plays basketball, but an athlete. Later on when I was learning more about CrossFit, I realized early on that I didn’t want to do “girl” push-ups. I wanted to do pull-ups, lift heavy weights, and embrace my muscles.
Practice like it’s a real game
As I got into playing golf more, I started to spend a lot of time at the driving range with my friends. If you’re familiar with golf practice, it looks a little like weightlifting. You hit a few balls, think about your swing, then sit down and maybe eat something. There’s a lot of sitting, talking, and down time. My friends and I would start goofing around and challenge each other to different contests. Some days it was who could hit the golf ball collector the most times, other days it was who can get their ball closest to the pin.
One day, in the middle of one of our stupid contests, our coach came by and asked us how often we’d need to hit the golf ball collector in our competition matches. We thought he was joking, but he was dead serious about practice. Moreover, we had wasted buckets of balls on shots we were never going to use. It was another valuable lesson learned. Later on, I heard a very similar mantra at my CrossFit gym for weightlifting. Your bad habits in warm-ups will translate to bad habits on your PR attempts.
Who are the best coaches you’ve ever had? What made them so special? If you haven’t had amazing coaching yourself, which coaches do you look up to or admire and why? *PS. Have you expressed your gratitude to them?