A week doesn’t pass without someone asking me how I stay motivated to train. My response is always the same. I am not a fan of motivational tricks. Passion is more powerful than motivation. Once you are passionate about something, the motivation to pursue it will already be present. Therefore, rather than looking externally for motivation, look within to find something that you are passionate about achieving.
Unfortunately, despite the countless questions about my motivation to train, I don’t recall anyone inquiring about the significance of passion as a trainer. The focus always seems to be on the athlete. When discussing trainers and pertinent attributes, the discussion typically shifts toward knowledge. No one wants an idiot for a trainer. People want trainers who know what they are doing.
Inquiring about the knowledge and experience of a trainer is justifiable. I am by no means suggesting that knowledge isn’t important. As with many in the field, I paid my dues in college, grad school, and beyond. The quest for knowledge is never ending. No one is ever too good to learn. Successful people live each day with a relentless desire to improve.
Knowledge alone isn’t enough however. It takes more than reading periodical journals to become a successful trainer. The best trainers and coaches aren’t just knowledgeable. They are able to communicate their knowledge in a way that not only teaches their athletes, but also inspires them.
Vince Lombardi said it best with the following,
“Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.”
Knowing what an athlete needs isn’t enough. Whatever you know is only as good as your ability to communicate it to your athlete. If you want your athletes to listen, they need to believe in you. They need to see and feel your passion. They need to know without question that you are there for them. They need to know that they are your priority. The success of the athlete is what matters the most.
The best trainers are ridiculously passionate about the betterment of their athletes. It isn’t a 9 to 5 job. If you are truly passionate about your athletes, they will be on your mind more often than not. The job will come home with you. It may wake you up in the middle of the night with a random thought or strategy. No time is off limits.
If you came into the training business with the goal of becoming rich and famous, you are in it for the wrong reasons. Passion isn’t something that can be faked. It is either there or it’s not. Those around you will know. You may fool some people initially, but the truth will eventually come out.
When I train a fighter, the bond becomes very strong. They aren’t just athletes to me. They come into my home. They are around my family. They are like family. When I’m working the corner on fight night, I take the punches with my guys. It’s not just a job. It’s much more than that. It’s a way of life. It is my life.
If I wasn’t as passionate as I am about what I do, I feel as though I’d be doing someone a disservice. Perhaps my feelings on the subject are biased as I am dealing with fighters. These are men who literally put their life on the line whenever they step into the ring. They are risking a lot. They need to have someone there who is giving everything they have to help.
You can’t view the job with a punch in on the clock mentality. You need to be more than that. You need to give more than that. When you give more than what is expected, the athlete will notice and naturally reciprocate. Getting your athletes to do more than they would naturally do is part of your job.
Passionate trainers produce passionate athletes. Passion is contagious. When it is present, it is impossible to ignore.
Don’t just teach your athletes, light a fire underneath them and inspire them to excel. Not everyone will be the best, but everyone can be their best. As a trainer, it’s your job to make it happen.