Zen and The ART of Coaching

By: Ronnie Najjar


By: Ronnie Najjar

The main job of a Trainer is to problem solve, using a combination of technical analysis, sports and physical education, social skills, and even philosophical ideas. In a way it’s the Coaches Artwork, where you infuse your own original ideas, methods and experience into your coaching.

Yeah you can copy another trainer’s technique or drill methods to a degree, but it’s near impossible to replicate their disposition to life, organizing principles, priorities, beliefs and all the variables combined that make every Coach unique.

And so, how fun is it then to be able to draw upon all your interest areas, your strengths and knowledge in whatever you’ve done in your life, and pour them into someone else- and watch the results! For the most part, it’s stimulating, fascinating and addictive.

But it can also be draining and discouraging, even to the point of wanting to quit. Sometimes the effort you put in doesn’t correlate with what you get out. It’s not uncommon to have high expectations and get disappointed. Although this is usually when you’re chasing outcomes, even though it’s hard not to chase outcomes; everyone wants the gold at the end of the road. The trick is to balance the two. A useful way is to focus on the process, and benefit from what you learn along the way, regardless of the outcome.

Why Trainers don’t get bored

As a fighter, you take the knowledge that’s relevant to you and shut out the rest. You focus on mastering your style, for your body type, for your mental personality type.

As a coach, you are forced to learn beyond your self-interest and meet the needs of other styles, body types and temperaments. Now suddenly the subject is broader, and since you have a vested interest- something at stake, you’re motivated to expand your knowledge.

Previously irrelevant to you, as a trainer you learn new skills, strategies, and styles, adding your own original twist to it. Being a Trainer is a hybrid experience; you’re fusing your mind and strategy with someone else’s mind and body, and watching the results.

With so many body types, styles, personalities, and circumstances, the variables and variety seem endless. Meaning you are always learning, testing, and concocting… Always looking for the winning formula, that one potion that creates the big bang!

That’s why Trainers don’t get bored. There is always something you can do to make what you’re doing a learning experience for yourself; the alternative is going through the motions, which will inevitable lead to financial struggle at best, and poverty for you and your family. It’s either continually evolving or suffer. And the only way to evolve is to be motivated- and the only way to be motivated is to be learning and growing- and the best way to learn and grow is to constantly look for ways to make what you’re doing a learning experience- so YOU are stimulated and engaged.

Coaches that get bored are likely not lifetime coaches; it’s a job for them. A means to an end- pay the bills. They will move on to other jobs or careers eventually. But for life timers, the only way to stay motivated and engaged is to continuously LEARN. Fortunately, there’s plenty in Muay Thai to keep learning for a lifetime.

A Secret to Staying Motivated

If it’s obvious your student is limited by such things as age, lack of discipline or consistency, or a million other weaknesses everyone has, it can make you wonder why put so much effort if they’re not going to go that far.

But what defines “that far”? In your mind you might have a vague standard of achievement that you deem worthy of pursuing, and when a person doesn’t match that unclear standard, it’s easy to not get excited and go through the motions in training sessions.

A method you can use to counteract this is to focus on the next INCH. You can ask yourself: what is the next inch I can get this person to? And that’s my secret method to keep me focused and motivated. I’ve copyrighted it but you can use it since you’ve read this far.

Everyone can improve to the next inch. To focus on the next inch helps coaches to choose what’s important to prioritize in training. Working in incremental steps forward maintains the right balance between just enough challenge that the student is stretched but not overwhelmed, and also not too easy that it becomes boring. Good luck!

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