Asking for Directions
By: Brandon Conner
A man was sitting on his porch in front of his house one day when he saw a car approaching in the distance. He didn’t recognize the car, so he figured it must be someone from out of town. As the driver neared, he rolled down the window and asked the man “Can you tell me how to get to town?” The old man, having lived there his entire life, was quick and eager to direct the driver on precisely the best way to get there. “It can be a little tricky if you’re not from ‘round here,” he explained, “but with those directions I just gave you, you can’t get lost.” The driver thanked him and headed on down the road. The old man felt a smug sense of satisfaction in knowing that no one could have possibly given better directions than he just did. So you can imagine his surprise when he saw the driver pulling up again a little while later. “You gave me the wrong directions earlier!” the driver said. “I told you I was trying to get to town! I thought you knew I meant Jonestown, but you gave me directions to Carson…”
I see this same thing happen all the time with coaches and their athletes. A new face shows up to the gym, lost on the road of fitness, if you will, asking the “old man” (trainer) for the best course of action. Often times, we, as coaches, are all too willing to give our opinions on the best way to do this or that, without ever really taking the time to find out exactly what that person is trying to achieve! My experience with nutrition, dieting, and cutting weight has proven that I can take a 180 lb man, and help him lean out to 170 lbs in a few weeks for a competition… but, if he is a hard-gainer, who has been trying to reach that 200lb mark, isn’t he going be frustrated if he follows my “surefire” plan to success?!? This leads to a lack of trust between coach & athlete, and even if the misunderstanding is eventually worked out (which many times it never is…), valuable time will have been wasted in the process.
Seems like an exaggeration maybe, but you get the idea. Members, athletes- be direct with your coaches in what you want, and what you expect. It’s what you’re paying them for! Never shy away from letting the people you’ve trusted to direct your fitness goals know about changes, updates, or detours in your journey. Coaches, trainers- be more inquisitive in dealing with your athletes/members in what their goals are. Only after clear-cut, reasonable goals are outlined and agreed upon, can a plan of action be formed. The trust and bond that is built through this process, as clients reach their goals and you see that your plan of action does indeed work when followed, is invaluable to building your gym & your community as a whole.