Motivating Athletes – Garage Strength

Motivating Athletes


Garage Strength

How do you as a coach motivate your athletes?


You have a coach that struggles to get your athletes to do exactly what they want. You're constantly sitting there wondering why your athletes aren't performing the way you want them to perform. You're always wondering, why aren't they training the way you want them to train? If that's you, then this is the podcast for you. Welcome to Dane Miller’s Strength Secrets where I'm going to dive deep into the entire concept behind motivating our athletes who actually do what we want them to do. So this is a topic that I've been really focusing on a lot lately, especially in my own work, is that I want to get the most out of my athletes. I want to get my athletes to accomplish tremendous things. I want them to achieve these great emotional highs. I want them to push themselves further and deeper into these dark realms of existence than they could have ever imagined. Then when they come out of these deep, dark realms of existence, they have these phenomenal emotional experiences that really create emotional responses that they could have never even deemed fathom. I like to relate this to when my oldest son Lincoln was born. It was one of those emotional experiences that were just incredible. It's the same concept behind sports performance, art, behind any type of performance. You can have these crazy emotional experiences. And that's why I love coaching. That's why I love working with athletes and trying to push them out of their comfort zone because you can really share something cool. That is all the result of very hard work. I think that that's the biggest thing as coaches, to get that motivation rolling, to get the work out of your athletes.


We've got to be real, we've got to be genuine and we have to start with establishing expectations. So the biggest thing that I think all coaches tend to fail with is just establishing our own expectations for ourselves. If we can sit here and say, “Hey, this is what I want to do as a coach, this is who I want to be. I want to be the best throws coach in the world. I want to be the best weightlifting coach in the world. I want to be the best strength and conditioning coach that I can possibly be so that I can share these crazy experiences and watch my athletes grow.” If we can share this with our athletes that we want to be the best coach in the world, they will understand better.


I tell them that I'm going to create a full system that is completely structured from point a to Z and that structured system has to be executed in this manner over and over and over again. Now of a sudden you have those expectations established and your athlete understands where you're coming from and then you can put your ego to the side. If you don't want to be the best in the world, when your athlete gets past what your own personal expectations are as a coach, then you can sit there and say, Hey, little Johnny or little Susie, Now's the time that you can move on to another coach because you have worked so damn hard. It's time for you to make that progress into another coach at another level, whatever it might be, but it all comes back to establishing our own personal expectations. As coaches, we have to ask the question every single day when we get into the gym, when we get into the office, when we get into the playing field, why are we doing this?

If we can answer why, why do I want to be the best? I want to have these shared emotional experiences. Then the next question is what happens next? What's the next step? I want these shared emotional experiences like I've said a hundred times. Now we have to start from square one and that means we've got to show up. We've got to have technical precision. We have to have technical goals. We have to have a strength program built around technical goals. We have to have a strength program built around performance and performance enhancement and then we have to have nutrition and recovery and mobility work based around recovering from that various stimulus that's going to create the adaptations that we need so that our athlete can then perform within the realm of what our own personal expectations are. If we don't make that clear every single day, we will never be able to pull the most out of our athletes.


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It's just like being a boss. It's just like being a parent. We have to be clear about our expectations. We have to be clear with what the daily tests are going to be. We have to be clear about how we want the movements executed. We have to be clear about what we want from our athletes. From a technical point of view, we will have to be clear with them on what they need to be doing from a nutritional point of view, where their body weight needs to be, and it can't just be once a month, it has to be daily. You have to establish these expectations daily all the time. That's what the best leaders do. They're constantly telling their athlete what they expect, what they're going to do the next moment, and how they're going to get better over and over again. I'd like to share this example that Rachel fatherly right now is one of my best shot putters.

Last year she finished ranked top 17 in the world and today she's in Iowa, so she's in Iowa competing at an international shot competition that's stacked. There are six girls that are just animals and before she left we establish what her day was going to look like when she traveled to Iowa, what her day was going to look like the day of the meet, and even what her day was going to look like the day after they meet. Then we establish that and we went over it again before she left and then as she was traveling I was checking in on her, “Hey, did you hydrate after your flights? Did you do your mobility work? Did you write down your cues? Did you do all the little stuff along the way that's going to set you up to perform as well as you possibly can perform?”


Now today's the day of competition and she knows when she needs to have her nap. When does she need to eat? When does she write down her cues? When does she visualize and meditate? When is she going to take her caffeine? When is she going to have her coffee? When is she going to have her pre-workout? What's she going to do afterward? How can she regroup after she competes and then what is she going to be doing tomorrow? So every single moment has an expectation. It has a means for athletes to get better and they understand what that expectation is and how intense it has to be, and that intensity has to align with your goals. When you're struggling to find that motivation within your athletes, you've got to question yourself and you've got to remind yourself who you are and why you're doing what you're doing and how you can become a better coach. Because ultimately the performance of your athletes lies entirely on you. Not on them.


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Dane Miller

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of elite athletes building comprehensive programs for strength and sports performance. Several times a year he leads a seminar for coaches, trainers, and athletes.

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