So once again I find myself back at one of my favourite activities, griping. Today I’ve got a few ants in my pants so I’ll list them and then attack them in order.
1) My hand
2) The weather
3) People who think they deserve to jump the queue
So that already sounds like the script from the next episode of Grumpy Old Men, but don’t worry, it’s not a first world complaint blog. By the by, First World Complaints is my radio phone in show. Basically the premise is that people phone in with their complaints such as the price of alcohol is too high, or that road signs aren’t legible enough or whatever, and the host, that’s me of course, gets a studio expert to answer their questions. The kicker is that the studio expert is someone from a third world country who just tells them to shut up. Now when I say “my radio phone in show”, what I actually mean is “what I think when people moan to me”. I’m not sure it would be commercially viable to run such a show but if you’re interested in hosting it on your radio station, give me a call. My number is 4.
1) My hand
If you’ve met me in the last 5 weeks, you’ll know that my hand is in a cast. I’ve broken the scaphoid bone in my left hand in a freak Jiu Jitsu accident so I have a cast from just shy of my elbow to my palm with my thumb totally immobilised. It’s very bloody annoying. There was an initial period of two weeks where I laughed as people had to do things for me like tie my laces (who knew you needed two thumbs for that? Not me) and fix up the gym. That was great, but now that’s worn off and I’m left with a foul smelling cast, a constant itch and a feeling of uselessness. Roll on Tuesday when the cast finally comes off, 6 weeks on.
2) The Weather
I like the sun, but not half as much as I like seeing my son play in the sun, so not having the sun means my son can’t play out in the sun and this is his last summer before school.
3) People who think they can skip the queue
Nope, this is not what you think. I’ve been thinking lately and meeting a lot of people who think they should be further along than what they are. There is a tendency, maybe it’s human or maybe it’s symptomatic of the world that has spawned life coaching and the drive-thru, to feel that when you want something, you must have it now. Instant Gratification Syndrome. The same seems to apply to training and coaching. Most coaches, and really by coaches I mean people who want to be coaches, seem to be totally unwilling to serve their time. They want to go from A to Z in one jump. I’ve spoken to two graduates in the last 3 months from personal training courses who believe that they will be working with athletes pretty soon, and have absolutely zero desire to work with the average client. They have literally no interest in the work that will take up the bulk of their time. I’m also acquainted with a personal trainer who is now recasting himself as a Strength and Conditioning coach. How is he doing that? Is he going to pitches and running drills? Is he volunteering his services to his local football team? Is he getting mentored by another S&C coach? No, he’s doing none of those things. What he’s doing is changing his profile on his web page and giving advice to athletes on the internet. Oh, and he’s also telling people that he trains athletes (sometimes he puts the word “top” in front of athlete, y’know, like the Lucozade ad). The amount of athletes he trains: zero, although he may have drummed up some business by now.
To clear something up, I am not a Strength and Conditioning coach. In addition to being a martial arts coach, I work as a coach in a Strength and Conditioning facility. But I don’t write the programmes, I don’t decide the schedule and I leave things I’m not absolutely 100% clear on to the expert. in other words, I like to think that I’m honouring the process, not jumping the queue. There’s a similar process in mastering everything. I’m not neccessarilly referring to formal education and certificates, though I think these are important to some extent too, but more to the time spent learning and doing in the area you wish to work in. Take my specialist area, the martial arts. Now give or take a few months, I’m now coaching ten years. The first 3 of those were spent training and coaching taekwondo in someone elses club, then a few years on my own, and then the last 5 or so years training and simultaneously coaching MMA. The process I went through, especially in terms of MMA, was long and slow and it’s only recently that I’ve been happy to say that I’m an MMA coach, rather than just someone who happens to coach MMA, if you catch the difference.
Interestingly enough, I was only speaking to my cousin who was in for a training visit two nights ago about how I came to be a coach. Maybe it’s worth putting in here too. Basically I fell into it. First, I was asked to take some classes for a mate, my old coach. Then, my wife opened a TKD school which I helped out with, and when she became pregnant, I took it over and never gave it back. During that time I began grappling and when I could no longer train with my coach of the time, I ended up starting a training group in BJJ, not so I could coach it, but just to have training partners. After a while I wanted to take an MMA fight so I wound up training to do that and at the same time passing on what I was learning to the guys I trained with. Pretty soon the TKD classes became MMA training and the BJJ classes became the main thing that we did. It’s been one long series of accidental occurrences and people showing up to see what would happen next. I really wouldn’t have had it any other way, but these days, things are much more planned and most of what happens does so because I planned it. It’s slightly less of a white knuckle ride but on the plus side, the people who show up these days are guaranteed that I won’t say something like “hey, I wonder what would happen if we did this?” as usually that meant we were all going to iron man each other again.