Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who's YOUR Coach?

Am I an idiot? This picture seems to suggest "Yes."

The following is an excerpt from Dan John's book Never Let Go:

"The coach who coaches himself has an idiot for a client.

Even a good surgeon doesn't pull out his own spleen. A good coach can't coach himself. Listen, I tried it for years and here's the problem: You simply don't have enough RAM to do it yourself. Yep, that's the computer term. You simply don't have enough space in your brain to do what it takes to train yourself.

First, designing a program takes a level of honesty people can rarely match. Oh, sure, we can all see the obvious with glaring faults and issues, but the fix might blow up some happy little beliefs you're afraid to confront.

Second, anyone can design a program or plan. I see it all the time. In coaching yourself, you have to follow this program. Will you give it the time to work, or, like me, immediately begin to tweak and change it so by week two the original plan is completely lost? I know this by experience... thirty years of it! Can you follow your own plan? Some can, like Clarence Bass, but most can't. Even Bass, by the way, changes quite a bit from book to book.

Third, do you have enough will to push through your own program and not find the easy way out? I'm a master of talking myself out of tough workouts and back into my rut workouts. Like Earl Nightingale used to say, "A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out."

Fourth, can you honestly address your weaknesses at the start of a workout, in a strange gym, or when other alpha males are are training near you? The moment guys who look like frat boys start training near me, I front squat. I'm not doing sets of triples in the pull-up when these guys are working their heavy tricep extensions. Bro. Sorry, my ego can't handle that.

I have another idea to help you with this, but let's continue to unpack this concept. Let's just say it the opposite way. On the Velocity Diet, I drank six shakes a day. Why? Chris said so. If I follow Alwyn's workout and you ask me, why? I answer, "Alwyn said so." When Dick Notmeyer coached me, the answer was the same: Coach said so.

Said so is genius. It completely divorces you -- and I mean completely -- from any responsibility for your training. Why seven sets of four? Coach said so. Why fish oil? Coach said so. It's an amazing moment of clarity; you can pawn off all your responsibility on someone else. It's genius."

What are your thoughts?


  1. Really good post!

    "Why do you need a coach?"
    "Why do you pay so much for Crossfit Central?"
    These are some questions get asked from time to time. Me...I wonder why they don't!

  2. Exactly James. Exactly. Everyone knows what to do. Very few actually do it. Not without a coach, anyways.