If you haven't been able to keep up with my posts and emails the last few days then you likely don't know that my wife and I are vacationing in Breckenridge, Colorado with her family. The trip has been awesome so far and it's only Wednesday!
Sunday we hiked for 5 miles and ascended to an elevation of 1,700 feet. It was freaking fantastic! I am definitely hooked and am looking into doing it more back home. It actually reinforced some lessons as well for me. I shared those on Monday in this post.
Monday we went to the base camp at Peak 8. I got my first ever chance to mountain bike. Hooked! It was awesome. Despite the fact that we decided to go down on one of the hardest trails on the mountain. I wiped out five times I think in total, but I finished the trail. Here's probably the worst fall I had that day:
[fbvideo link="https://www.facebook.com/StevanFreebornCPT/videos/643257022444520/" width="1000" height="500" onlyvideo="1"]
The bummer though was the rain and lightning in the area shut down the lift up the mountain so that was our only run.
Yesterday I couldn't get rid of the itch to go down the mountain again so once there was a break in the weather I ran down to the base camp, rented a bike, and headed up the mountain. I got in a total of 6 miles of riding. Again it was a blast! I made three trips down and only wrecked twice both on the final and longest run I made. It was probably the worst crash of the entire mountain biking experience, but it was worth it and I still finished the trail. You can see my ineptness below.
[fbvideo link="https://www.facebook.com/StevanFreebornCPT/videos/643602249076664/" width="1000" height="500" onlyvideo="1"]
Yeah it was great!
The reason I wanted to tell you about my experience biking down the mountain and wiping out numerous times is because it has really influenced the way I see coaching and will definitely impact the way I coach when I get back at it this coming Monday.
Mountain biking was a new skill for me. I had never done it before and actually haven't ridden a bike in many years.
This gave a great window into how a lot of my clients must have and will feel when they started training with me or when they are presented with a new exercise they have to learn.
It has to be one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences to learn something new.
Well it is if you approach it will unrealistic expectations and take the outcome as a finality. I mean how can you ever learn something new if you are worried about looking bad or making a mistake in the process.
When I got to the top of the mountain with my bike I knew full well that I was going to eat it several times on the way down.
I approached the learning experience knowing that failing was going to be baked into the process and that from these crashes I was going to learn more about how to handle myself biking on a mountain than I would from watching a video or listening to someone speak about it.
I had to do it and I had to be willing to take the hits in the process.
And I had to be okay with the fact that I wasn't going to be a rockstar at it right away or even after a couple of rides down. If I want to get better I have to put in the work, try my best, make mistakes, learn from the mistakes, and try again.
This same mindset and management of expectations is necessary for success in the gym.
No one is ever going to slap 135 pounds on the bar, pick it up, and nail the perfect conventional deadlift.
Instead you have to obtain the prerequisite stability and mobility necessary to perform it correctly and then you have to spend time working through hinge progressions and practicing the deadlift.
You can't get frustrated that you don't do it perfectly after just one session. You can't be discouraged because you aren't handling the same weight as the person next to you. You just have to put in the time and keep practicing. Learning from the things you do wrong and trying again.
As a coach my job is then to help clients understand this.
It's my responsibility to try to cultivate a growth mindset in my clients and to continually help them set realistic expectations for their performance.
I haven't always done a great job of this and I most definitely have not made it a big enough point of emphasis when coaching first time trainees.
And after helping them get their mindset right and expectations corrected it's then my job to help make this learning and progressing much more efficient by giving precise and clear feedback about their performance.
This is something I feel we do really well at our gym. We like to use the critique sandwich technique where in before and after we provide someone with a critique that they can use to improve we always tell them what they have done right. It helps to remind them that they are doing well and that they have already come along way, but there is always something they can clean up to continue to build on their previous success.
Perhaps mountain biking didn't teach me this, but rather just pointed out what I need to do and keep doing in order to be a better coach.
If you are someone who coaches others or perhaps are working with a coach I think it's important to always be evaluating whether the coach is helping to facilitate and make the learning and skill acquisition process much more efficient because at the end of the day that is the real role coaches play.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training