I haven’t been as diligent with my updates of late, apologies for that. This month, as you can imagine, is the busiest month of the year for me. Lots of calls to field from people looking to train, lots of emails to answer from just about everyone, and lots of people looking to literally change their whole life around. Seriously. Factor in that I’m trying to move house (almost there!) and refit the gym before next weeks arrival of new mats while still trying to keep my obligations to several schools and businesses I work with and you have a busy Barry. So sorry readers, I’ll make up for it now with an extra long post. Someone was suggesting to me that there should be more video posts. They’d like to hear me articulate my thoughts through that medium, presumably they think that I’ll be less boring that way. I assure you sirs, you are wrong, I can be very boring in real life. But I will do it anyway as my lovely wife bought a nice new camera before Christmas and it would give me great pleasure to swipe it and misuse it.
Something came up in the gym last night. We were doing a bit of Q&A as it was a small attendance and a good opportunity to ask specific questions and to see if anyone could shout out an answer for you. The questions were the usual ones anyone asks “I am having trouble in X position, what do you think?” or “I can’t do Y, what do you suggest?”. The first thing is always that I would never call myself an “expert”. I don’t believe that many of those exist in Ireland at least but I answer to the best of my ability and I think my greatest strength as a coach is my ability to say “I don’t know”. I’ve trained with too many bullshitters who waffle and waffle and provide answers of sorts and seem to know everything, and that’s their ego talking, inventing techniques and things to do which are either misguided or just plain wrong and occasionally dangerous. I should qualify “I don’t know”. I don’t just shrug and say next question please, that would be ignorant. What I really say is “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” and 9 times out of 10 I come back with an answer a day or a week later. Usually I just hope that the guy forgets, but often their memory is better than mine so I have to arm myself with an answer just in case. Usually my answer is along the line of just keep doing it a bunch of times, for a month or so, and see if you can get it to work. Quite often you just need more practise but people are impatient they want it and they want it now.
The next thing that came up this week was with a guy on the phone (for half an hour, long story) who rang me after attending a class the week before Christmas. He wanted to come back but was dissappointed with a few things. Firstly he felt that the gym was too expensive. It’s not, in fact it’s dirt cheap. I think about €2 per hour is dirt cheap anyway but he had a different opinion. Hmmm, actually I’ll do the conversation blow by blow as I remember it, I think it’s easier that way:
Him: “Well, it’s not €2 per class if I only come once per week”
Me: “Well, by the same token somewhere like a commercial gym would be €400 an hour if you only went once. You pay for the availability too and we’re pretty flexible”
Him: “Yeah, but I’m not joining somewhere with a swimming pool and loads of weights, all there is is just a room really”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Him: “No treadmills or bikes, it’s not a gym”
Me: “It’s not Jackie Skelly’s you know”
some more back and forth like that and then:
Him: “So basically, I’m not sure I want to come back”
Me: “Well it seems pretty simple then”
Him: “No it’s not, another reason I don’t really want to go back is your language”
Him: “Don’t be smart, you know what I mean.”
Me: “If you mean that I occasionally use an expletive when I’m coaching, then yes I suppose I do, if it offends I’m sorry. I am actually trying to stamp it out.”
Him: “No it’s not that, you called one of the lads that night a prick” (I had called someone a little prick the night before, but that’s because he’s Grant)
Me: “Little ginger lad?”
Him: “I have red hair as well, I take offence at the word ginger”
Me: “This isn’t going to get much better is it?”
Him: “What, the phone call?”
Me: “Yeah the phone call. 20 minutes ago it was about how expensive the gym was, then it was about the lack of space on the mat, then it was about the fact that it’s two buses away from you. Now it’s about my language. But lets face it it’s not about any of those things is it? What’s your point”
Him: “My point is that I’ll come back if I can pay by the class”
Me: “I won’t use an expletive right now, so I’ll just say sod off, you’re wasting my valuable time”
Pretty infuriating to say the least. 99.9% of people who call me are nice, polite people. Even if they never actually show up in the gym they’re always nice about why it isn’t for them, be it money (it rarely if ever is), time travelling or just that the classes don’t tick their boxes. It’s fine, we’re not for everyone. But when you ring just to run down the gym and the classes it just drives me nuts. Especially when all it is is to get the price down.
he was right about one thing though, my language. I plan to not swear anymore while teaching. In fact, I’ve decided to go one better. I’m going to tick a box on the board every time I swear in class and to pay a euro into the all new Social Fund Box for every cuss word I use. The bad news is you’re all going to join me. One euro for every swear, and then once the box is full, we’ll go out and the funds from our language can buy us some beers. What say you? Sorry, you have no choice, it has been written on the interweb, and so it shall be done.