Help with Formulating a Pitch to Coach Help with Formulating a Pitch to Coach

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Thread: Help with Formulating a Pitch to Coach

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Default Help with Formulating a Pitch to Coach

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    Hi SSCs,

    Like many, Iíve trained the SS model for many years, even been an SSOC client for 2 years and want advance to coaching some people.

    I train alone in my basement however, so the ďget strong until other people noticeĒ method is limited to people who mostly donít care what the fuck I do. At least my dog loves me...

    I do want to begin coaching a few people however, and I wonder if you would comment this plan. Near me is a hockey training facility. They run hockey camps but also offer off-ice training programs for adults and youth. Iíd like to approach them as Iíve played hockey all my life and itís close to my house. I know what it does to your game when you get strong.

    Do you think this is even worth attempting? And if so, how would you modify the following ďpitchĒ in order to increase the chances of having them take a chance?

    1. Ask whether they run any strength program today.
    2. Explain that I am a strength trainee and hockey player looking to gain experience coaching the barbell movements following the model set by Starting Strength.
    3. I am not looking to replace or take anyoneís job, only add to what they offer already. (Iíve heard Matt R. talk about making this point).
    4. If necessary, explain the focus on general strength gains, not sport specific movements.
    5. Offer a ďpilotĒ program with only a hand full of young or adult athletes to demonstrate the program and benefits. eg. 3-5 people, 3 times a week for 8 weeks.
    6. Get into any details about specifics of the program and how it affects hockey players during the season and in off-season.
    7. Keep the conversation geared toward adult trainees or the parents of young hockey players. I know kids generally donít give a damn about training or doing what they are told. They also donít have money....


    Any feedback as to how you think a message like this might be received, similar attempts youíve made or heard yourself and whether this is worth attempting at all would be great.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lansing, MI
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    83

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    Hey Andres,

    That sounds like a pretty solid plan. I recently moved my coaching business out of a retail-strip mall and into a hockey training facility in a local ice rink and am working on doing exactly what you are talking about. Along with running my personal training business I have taken a leadership position within our local hockey club and help coach on the ice and off the ice in the gym with teams ranging from Mites all the way up to Midget AAA. Slowly, I am implementing some of our methods, but these things take time and there are many variables to consider when conducting team training with 1-3 teams at a time. Especially when you only get most of them twice a week for 30 minutes a session. But my plan overtime is to help build the program from the ground up as the 10u and 12u kids eventually grow into 16u and 18u players. There is no doubt that getting the kids stronger and teaching them sound technique in the weight room will have a great impact on their performance on the ice, but these things take time.

    I have a pretty big advantage in getting this done, as I had a reputation built with in the hockey community as I opened and ran the pro-shop inside of the rink in 2004 and managed up until leaving to open my first gym in 2010. This enabled me to negotiate good terms and come in with a familiar, respected face that the local hockey community has welcomed. But I still have to work on building it every night when I am on the ice coaching and in the weight room where I can be dealing with up to 30 kids at a time that have almost zero experience lifting (or even exercising). My plan over time is to have a positive impact on developing many of the athletes in our program and motivate some of them to push themselves to be better. And that certainly includes getting stronger as well.

    So that's a bit of my experience. I would suggest talking to coaches and parents. They both have a vested interest in the players development and if they will listen, it is hard to argue with the logic of getting stronger. The two big roadblocks I can see are the people that run the training facility not being open to discussing methods that conflict with their own and the fact there really isn't much of an off-season for most competitive hockey players. You will find these things to be very challenging. I would suggest approaching the training facility exactly how you mentioned and figure out what they think about training. Ask lots of questions to figure out what they think athletes need to be working on and ask what kind of challenges they face. Let them know about the program and what kind of impact it can have. Most won't listen, but a few probably will. If you can get started with a few that is a great place to start.

    The off-season is really the only time hockey players can really make strength gains. In the winter when they are practicing 2-3 times and playing 2-5 games on weekends they just do not have the energy to really make progress. If they eat enough quality food they can probably muster a month or two of LP in-season if you can teach them the lifts and get them to do them, but it will get hairy right away and you really need a coach with a lot of experience to manage that process or you are going to run into a lot of problems. In the spring/summer when most players are doing their off-season training is the window when strength should be built. I think the key is to focus time to building strength and skills in the summer, and shift to conditioning and getting 'game ready' in the pre-season.

    If you are going to do this make sure you know how to coach and have some experience teaching a variety of people the lifts. There is a world of difference in doing the lifts and instructing others how to do so. If you haven't already, make sure you get to a seminar to gather experience and get to one of Nick's Coaching Training Camps as well. You need to have experience teaching this stuff and coaching if this is not going to go anywhere.

    But this is a noble cause and you should pursue it. You could have a profound impact on the development of a lot of players. There are a lot kids out there that are not able to compete because they are too weak and unfortunately have no idea what a difference a good strength program could make. It is sad because every scout is out there looking for a big tough kid, who can skate and play. Good luck. Let me know if I can help at all.
    Last edited by Chris Kurisko; 11-08-2018 at 11:46 AM.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2013
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Chris, this is a much more thoughtful reply than I was expecting. Thank you very much for taking the time to give it. What sticks out to me:

    you only get most of them twice a week for 30 minutes a session
    That's insane, you clearly coach some competitive teams if that's the only time they have left to train.

    I would suggest talking to coaches and parents
    I will add in that I'd be happy to go over the program with parents/coaches as well. The buy-in would be important.

    two big roadblocks I can see are the people that run the training facility not being open to discussing methods that conflict with their own
    This is the status quo and why I'm going in with relatively low hopes, but will try none-the-less.

    There are a lot kids out there that are not able to compete because they are too weak and unfortunately have no idea what a difference a good strength program could make
    I hear you. I'm in Canada and the scene is extraordinarily competitive. A highly skilled player with all the potential might be completely looked over because he's 20# lighter than his teammates of the same year. An easy problem to fix with SS, but it surprised me see the faith a parent will have in a coach that doesn't understand any of that.

    If you are going to do this make sure you know how to coach and have some experience teaching a variety of people the lifts.
    This is where I fall short. I have attended a seminar recently and have been coached via SSOC for a long time, read the books, articles, etc. But I've only taught the lifts to few people in person. My intent is to build that experience at a small scale using this venue. I think Paul Horn lectured once that, before becoming a coach, he didn't know much, but at least he knew enough to help others. That's how I feel today. Although it would be great to get experience any way possible.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2013
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    Lansing, MI
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    All sounds good. Let me know how it goes. I think we are on to something.

  5. #5
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    May 2015
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    I like your plan, Andres. Iíve been toying with a similar idea at the small Catholic school my son attends. Thereís not much in the way of sports for him and his classmates, so I might be able to sell the AD on me running an 8 week summer LP. Good luck with your plans and keep us updated.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2013
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    Ottawa, ON
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    I've been meaning to get back here to update. I called last week and had a conversation with one of their "Performance Specialists".

    Unfortunately, and as expected, I was not able to get any traction. My first instinct was to get a sense of what program they run and how they do it. However, I don't think this was the best way to discuss the idea of coaching since it opened up the door to too much "loose talk" about training. That's my own fault and learning in how to communicate this message.

    It may not have made any difference though, because I soon as I heard things like "Strength is just one component of the training we do", there was a very apparent preference for doing a bunch of different things (gymfuckery, if you will). I also asked what type of training/programming the have athletes perform but again got a generic, "it's different for everybody". All of their trainers are school grads in the field, and they run an internship for students if people are interested.

    I'm glad I tried to reach out, despite falling flat this time. If I were to start again, I might try being more direct and simple, "I'm wondering is you have a need for someone to train your athletes in the basic barbell movement in order to get as strong as they can. I'm so and so, this is what I know, etc...".

    I play a weekly rec' game as well, and a few of the gents I play with have noticed my play improve over the years. Given that I'm still a shit hockey player, I attribute it to the barbell (faster straight line speed, immovable in front of the net, working the corners like a boss). My next attempt will be offering some coaching to the guys in the dressing room.

    Thank you again, Chris, for the insight you gave.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Lansing, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Onu View Post
    I've been meaning to get back here to update. I called last week and had a conversation with one of their "Performance Specialists".

    Unfortunately, and as expected, I was not able to get any traction. My first instinct was to get a sense of what program they run and how they do it. However, I don't think this was the best way to discuss the idea of coaching since it opened up the door to too much "loose talk" about training. That's my own fault and learning in how to communicate this message.

    It may not have made any difference though, because I soon as I heard things like "Strength is just one component of the training we do", there was a very apparent preference for doing a bunch of different things (gymfuckery, if you will). I also asked what type of training/programming the have athletes perform but again got a generic, "it's different for everybody". All of their trainers are school grads in the field, and they run an internship for students if people are interested.

    I'm glad I tried to reach out, despite falling flat this time. If I were to start again, I might try being more direct and simple, "I'm wondering is you have a need for someone to train your athletes in the basic barbell movement in order to get as strong as they can. I'm so and so, this is what I know, etc...".

    I play a weekly rec' game as well, and a few of the gents I play with have noticed my play improve over the years. Given that I'm still a shit hockey player, I attribute it to the barbell (faster straight line speed, immovable in front of the net, working the corners like a boss). My next attempt will be offering some coaching to the guys in the dressing room.

    Thank you again, Chris, for the insight you gave.
    Yeah, it is very frustrating to discuss this kind of stuff with performance specialists. Just stay the course. As you continue to get stronger and playing better more guys will notice and a few will eventually ask you what you've been doing. That is the best way to get this started.

    I've gotten some traction recently with a respected Cardiologist in town who takes his over 50 hockey league pretty seriously and has been doing his squats. He asked me recently if I had heard of Mark Rippetoe and is supposed to come into the gym soon to work with me. These things take time, so it just keep chipping away.

  8. #8
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    May 2019
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    If you find a team coach, he will only be happy, because together with him you will be able to make optimal loads on athletes. Everything will work out, the main thing is to act and try, do not hesitate!

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