It’s the one thing they don’t teach in a USAW course that will make or break any team, gym, or atmosphere. Over the past five years I have seen over 150 athletes come and go from the platforms on a team I either was on, coached, or ran. Each athlete, a little different from the next.
The biggest thing I have learned was that it was not the weight lifted on the bar, but the attitude and humility of the athletes and coaches that created a successful and uplifting atmosphere. In a room of 30+ athletes I have seen one person completely create a toxic environment that turns something that should be a stress reliever and escape, into a place which they dread going to.
When I have athletes first join Bexar I tell them that this is a part time job. A part time job that you are paying me to come in and work 10-15 hours a week. This job will make you have to pay to travel, pay for massages, be more conscious of what you eat, how much you sleep and may even put some of your personal relationships at risk of survival. Sounds like a job no one wants right?
If as your coach I am not doing everything within my ability to create a positive environment, give you the best coaching possible, and be dependable, predictable and supportive I am doing you a disservice. I have seen coaches create extravagant contracts, establish immoderate rules, and forget that as athletes you are also clients. You have a decision where you take your business, as a coach we should be grateful that you as athletes have chosen us.
I understand many coaches may not feel that way, but I do. Leadership starts at the top. This team isn’t about me or my personal accomplishments. At the end of the day who you are as a coach doesn’t matter if your athletes don’t perform. Also if your athletes dread coming to the gym or training then there is a problem. Athletes should be BOTH successful and happy in this sport. Over the years I have realized that one of these two things is almost always why an athlete quits. Either they aren’t getting better or they do not enjoy lifting anymore. As a coach it is your job to prevent either of these from happening.
As an athlete your job is to be uplifting and supportive. You leave your drama, your ego, and your bad attitude at the door. I honestly could care less how much an athlete lifts if they aren’t actively contributing to the culture of my team. I will take an unathletic beginner who is uplifting over a nationally ranked lifter with a bad attitude every single day of the week. To put it simple, if you’re an asshole, I don’t care how good you are with a barbell, I don’t want you on my team.
TL;DR – Better people make better athletes.