Lately, I’ve been listening to John Berardi talk about nutritional coaching. He’s a super smart guy who has some great ideas about nutrition, fitness and behavioural compliance.
At the end of his last video, he gives this tip: “Never stop coaching to learn and never stop learning to coach.”
I love this. In fitness and in roller derby, we have so many opportunities to learn; bootcamps, seminars, conferences, conventions, practice. The list goes on and on. Yet, after these learning events, it’s so easy to go right back to what we were doing before. We all have these ‘aha’ moments when another coach will say something that really resonates. We’ll write it in our notebook, make a mental reminder to come back to it and apply it as soon as we can. And sometimes that happens. And sometimes that brilliant pearl of wisdom stays in the notebook.
Sometimes I’ll go to a bootcamp or seminar and walk away feeling like what I learned will change everything I know about everything. At the event, that’s a great feeling. Once I get home, it can turn into self-doubt.
‘Was everything I was doing before stupid?’
‘I couldn’t have ever come up with that system/idea/drill/strategy – clearly I am out of my depth and shouldn’t even be doing this at all.’
It happens all the time with new diets, exercises, programs, skating strides, strategies, whatever. We see something new and cool and think that that’s the only way. It’s not. It might be a better way, but it might just be a newer way.
Applying what you learn is a different challenge than learning it. This is the “never stop coaching to learn” part of the equation. Learning should be an active process. Berardi says the key is to apply your new knowledge right away. Don’t be scared that you don’t know enough – know what you know, know what you don’t know. The confidence will come.
Applying new skills and knowledge doesn’t mean overhauling the old. It doesn’t mean deciding that everything you’ve been doing up to that point was worthless and wrong.
We need to figure out how those bits of wisdom fit into our philosophy and how we can make them work for us, our skaters and our clients. Start by just explaining what you learned in the simplest way possible. Share it. Teach it. Incorporate rather than replace. As you share, you’ll discover how to make it benefit you and those you are teaching.
Part two is simple: “Never stop learning to coach”. No matter what your passion, never stop learning about it. Never stop trying to be better, to reach higher. You can learn something from every client, from every game, from every training session and every practice. Be open to the learning opportunities around you and you’ll be richly rewarded.
The Tramps played a game in Ottawa this Saturday and had to borrow some skaters from other leagues. The team that we ended up with was an incredible mix – we had a skater bouting for the first time and a world-class skater and coach. Throw in a few Tramps and Kingston helpers, and we were a scrappy, happy, motley crew. We skated hard and had an awesome time.
On the drive home, we chatted about how even though we were all coming from different skill levels and backgrounds, each of us could take something away from the game – and that’s what really matters.
I hope that I never forget that I can learn something from everyone I meet, from every situation I find myself in. Being new to the fitness industry, learning to learn is challenging, applying what I learn takes time and effort, not doubting what I already know is difficult – but what I come away with is worth all of the challenges ten times over. Learning makes life interesting – why not do it every chance you get?