Fitness Professionals as Role Models: Be the Coach You Admired
The best coaches think outside the box and focus on moving forward. Apply this statement to your favorite coach. Did he or she do this?
Perhaps your favorite coach wasn’t a sports coach at all? This could have been a mentor, a community leader, a family member, etc. How do we as fitness professionals become a role model to our youth? Are you thinking about our appearance, language, showing technical skills or form? Yes, these are all details, but it goes deeper than this. Think about your favorite coach again and why she/he inspired you?
I doubt a list of technicalities came to mind. I bet the way you felt being coached by that person came back to you. Yes, CONFIDENCE!
A mentor of mine once said, “You can never have too much confidence, your whole life people will try to bring you down so you need to store up as much as possible every chance you get!” She was actually referring to her 6 year old grandson, but this made sense to me.
As a fitness professional, it is your job to build people up. I think we could succeed in this by focusing on the character strengths listed below (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).
- Wisdom and knowledge: It is our job to provide knowledge, inspire curiosity, creativity, love of learning, and perspective attitude.
- Courage: Emotional strength to accomplish goals in the face of opposition. We need to inspire bravery, persistence, integrity, and vitality among our youth. Let them know that most things in life are not handed to them.
- Humanity: Encourage a caring environment, with social intelligence, and kindness. This will take them far in life.
- Justice: The civic strength demonstrated through citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty, and leadership. If you have ever done volunteer or leadership work, you know that it is active and requires strength and energy. You also know how rewarding it is. This is altruistic behavior.
- Temperance: Self-regulation, prudence, humility, forgiveness, and mercy. We should be helping youth understand that it is okay to be wrong, make mistakes, apologize, and practice restraint. These situations may come up in problem-solving situations with others, or within the youth as an individual.
- Transcendence: Strength in one’s connection to the greater universe including a sense of gratitude, hope, playfulness, and faith. Don’t you feel better when you genuinely give thanks and believe you are doing the right thing?!
Confidence. We must lead by example. These virtues have been shown (when practiced regularly) to create happiness in one’s life. Chances are we naturally practice these 6 virtues. It allows us to think outside the box, positively, and focus on moving forward. Easier said than done, which is why our youth need coaching!
If the above psychology doesn’t “speak” to you, perhaps this will:
My favorite coach used to tell us to “aspire” to our best self. If we were getting down, or falling apart as a team she would shout “integrity,” “pride,” or “dig deep.” Somehow, we all knew what this meant. She did this in both practice and game settings. She was consistent. This had nothing to do with technicalities’ of our sport or activity… But it built our confidence and mental fortitude on a daily basis. Doesn’t exercise do that too?!
There are several types of coaching styles. Educate yourself through our Life Fitness Coach Certification. Each person may need a different coaching style. This, too, is our job to figure out.
Give our youth a foundation to fall back on by providing habits for positive coaching, health and wellness education, knowledge of resources, programs in schools, communities, and fitness centers. Give them the tools and confidence to move forward as adults and we will continue to fight the childhood obesity epidemic!
Thank You for joining me this month!
Paulette Kowalski, MS ATC cPT
- Gavin and Mcbrearty; Lifestyle Wellness Coaching, Human Kinetics 2013.