In sport, the big question has always been: what makes a great athlete? Is it skill? Talent? Passion? Work ethic? Or, a combination of all of the above?
Over last few weeks, I have been spending days with our Jr. A hockey team’s training camp. I watch the young players practice, working hard as they run through the drills on the ice. I also listen to their conversations after practice. They enthusiastically discuss their equipment: maybe a need for new skates, or the patterns on their sticks. They compare notes from summer training; the coaches they used, and how some of them wished they’d worked harder. As I witness all of this, I can’t help but think back to the day my younger brother and I were first introduced to the game of hockey.
There seems to be an alarming trend in the fitness industry. I have been in the business for over 35 years, and I have seen a lot of crazy programs, exercises, and machines come and go. But dumbbells and barbells are still here. Many new trainers coming into the industry seem to lack the common sense, creativity, and work ethic that allows them to be better trainers.
If they don’t have 50 000 square feet of space filled with fancy training equipment, they are at a loss in trying to walk their clients through a proper workout. These days, there seem to be a lot of gimmicks. We have access to all kinds of “smart” equipment. Cardio equipment can come with a built in TV! The machines can talk to you; they want to make all the adjustments for you to manage your workout.
You’ve decided to get into shape, so off you go to join that big box gym around the
corner. As you pull into the driveway, you’re shocked by the size of the parking lot, thinking you
might need a shuttle service to get to the front door. When you make it to reception, you ask
for a tour. The young lady behind the counter welcomes you with a smile before handing over a
stack of paperwork for you to complete. After you fill everything out, you’re greeted by a young
man who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a GQ magazine...
Success can change people. It seems like a lot of athletes forget where they started once
they finally make it. They forget the people that helped them in the beginning, when they
started working towards their athletic goals. When I see a successful athlete acknowledge the
people that helped them along the way, it feels good. It’s also nice to see young athletes give
back to their communities. It’s easy to become selfish and near-sighted after achieving your
biggest goals, but important to pause and acknowledge those that have helped along the way.