Father’s Day was yesterday and it had me thinking. We have a few people that refer to Coach Patrick or myself as “dad” and “mom”. We’ve all heard the cliche, you don’t need to have a kid to be a father. The almighty wikipedia defines a father figure as: A father figure is usually an older man, normally one with power, authority, or strength, with whom one can identify on a deeply psychological level and who generates emotions generally felt towards one’s father.
Coaches that gain the trust of their athletes, at times become father figures to their athletes.
If you have never had a coach this might seem strange, but to those of us that have, it hits home.
You’ll perform better with a Good Coach
Each coach has their own different style. If you connect with a coach, and the style they have fits with your personality, you will perform better. The ability to connect with, and the desire to help people, are the most important qualities of a coach. Technical abilities come 3rd or 4th. The most important thing that matters is that they are able to coach you.
If you have a coach that has a personality you don’t enjoy, maybe attacks people when they walk into class late, forgets that the athletes are the customers and the coaches provide the service (not the other way around), you probably won’t listen to their advice. We do not learn from the words or actions of authority figures we do not respect.
The coach becomes a type of a father figure when there is a special trust relationship established. This has nothing to do with age. You’ll find yourself having questions and going to your coach for advice vs googling. If you have pain and you need to know what to do about it, you might contact your coach before your doctor. Should you move up in weight when you are in the middle of a workout? Should you move up to 4 times a week at the gym, or back off to 4 times a week? You’ll find yourself in a personal training session having a conversation about life the entire time vs physical fitness.
Connecting with People
Patrick’s ability to connect with people and put their needs above his own is unmatched. When you balance his ability to coach people technically, it’s really no wonder that the gym is his happy place. You are good at the things you enjoy and you enjoy the things you are good at.
Before the lock down, I joined Coach Patrick’s 5K program. The gym was going to participate in a 5K together in April and I wanted to be prepared. We would run along a path and Coach Patrick would ride his bike along the path so he could find everyone quickly and coach each of us during the run. He would just appear out of no where. We would be running along and then he would be there out of the blue, offering water or tissues, asking if we were doing ok. He would take pictures of us as well, sometimes for form, other times of us making faces at him for making us run! We teased that people would think he was a stalker! It keep Adrienne and me moving because we never knew when he was going to show up…..no slacking !
We really appreciate him!!!Nancy, Athlete – Northglenn Health and Fitness / Sacris CrossFit
Patrick has stepped in as a father figure when mine wasn’t acting like one. He may not know he does it, but he definitely has over the past few months. He always checks in when he knows I’m not okay and always pushes me through a workout on days I’d rather quit halfway through. He’s been a rock inside and outside of the gym. Patrick is also a master at dad jokes. That’s always been really funny.Melissa, Athlete – Northglenn Health and Fitness / Sacris CrossFit
Having a close relationship with the people you coach can have negative side effects however. For example, when bringing on a new coach, if not done right, the athletes might not take well to them. If they are too dependent on their current coach, what happens when the “new guy” shows up. Have you ever had a change in a coach that you didn’t like? Was there anything done ahead of time to prepare you for the transition?
Purposefully, when we met with Coach Jason for the first time, we were sure to discuss our vision with him. Our number one focus is to help the people in our community do things they never thought possible. If he was on board with that, we were on board with him! Jason came highly recommended and is exceptional with the technical components. As great of a person that Jason is, it was still up to us to ensure that his style and values aligned with ours. After deciding to hire Jason, we made sure our community knew we were excited about him and that he was now a part of our gym family.
Without that preparation you might feel like this “new guy” is an outsider, not one of us. Maybe you feel that your “old” coach doesn’t care about you anymore, that he’s abandoning you. Patrick made sure to build Jason up in front of the athletes and lay the foundation for acceptance. Patrick’s ego is not getting in the way of the right thing to do for his athletes, Jason and the gym as a whole community.