As strength and conditioning professionals we spend the majority of our day trying to get the most out of our athletes and pushing them to grow physically as well as mentally. While doing all of this we can often times lose ourselves and lose our own motivation for our training or life goals.
The best way that I have found to stay motivated as a professional is to block out time for yourself to enjoy interest outside of strength and conditioning, purchase programs from other coaches in terms of your own training, and to set and share attainable goals with your athletes and peers.
Having interest outside of strength and conditioning is one of the best things I could recommend to a young strength coach. As great as it is be locked in, motivated, and learning every day in the strength and conditioning realm, it is also just as important to be able to disassociate from that world and establish different interests and hobbies. Being able to disassociate will help you avoid burning out and will allow you to escape the days where your plans don't go accordingly. Whether it be fishing, hunting, hiking, your own training, cars, home improvements, or what have you, it's important to have that outlet away from the weight room.
I often find when I’m on the water fishing and not thinking about strength and conditioning that I have some of my best thoughts and innovative ideas with regards to our program and our athlete’s development. I keep a notes tab on my phone for these exact moments to reflect on them and put them to use later on.
After all of the programming for various sport teams and individual clients, sometimes the last thing we want to do is program our own training and workouts. I have found that purchasing programs from other coaches not only helps me spend less time in front of a computer programming but also allows me to learn new accessory movements and rep schemes that I wouldn’t normally program for myself. This leads to growth as a professional as you now get outside your comfort zone and acquire new knowledge in which you can begin to implement with your program.
While I was aware of unilateral training and its importance, I had hardly done any unilateral movements within my own training which meant I lacked a variety of unilateral training within my programming for the teams that I work with. Once I began to explore these variations myself and see their benefits I began to program them for our team sports more. It’s also important from an accountability perspective -- I am much less likely to skip out on something someone else programmed for me than I would if I programmed it for myself.
It is also important in terms of staying motivated, to share your goals with your athletes that you coach. When my athletes set goals I set goals alongside them and share my goals openly with them. They will hold you accountable in the same matter that you hold them accountable. I recently shared with my athletes that it is my goal to clean 405lbs and there isn’t a day that goes by that they are not asking me about it. This provides motivation for me not only intrinsically within myself but also from the aspect of not wanting to let my athletes down.
These current times are extremely stressful within the strength and conditioning world however if we look at what we can control during these times and maximize the benefits that these times provide we can begin to develop a plan to push forward for ourselves, our companies/schools and our athletes.
Use this time to learn more about your craft, develop a hobby outside of strength and conditioning, learn and try new training methodologies and set and share goals with your peers and athletes. It can only help you in the long run!