When someone steps into the gym for the first time, they are starting their journey into a new and improved lifestyle. Training in a controlled, coached and supportive environment not only brings increased quality of life from a physical perspective, but also changes a person’s confidence levels and leadership skills. Young athletes are a prime example of this.
An athlete’s first day in the gym can be scary. This is a new, unfamiliar and sometimes intimidating environment. But watching them grow and change into a comfortable, confident athlete is a transformation unlike any other. I believe when an athlete begins training, they go through stages..
There are two types of athletes on their first day. They come in either anxious and unsure, but willing to try...kind of like a puppy, coming into a new home for the first time; interested in what is in front of them, but leiry of change and newness. Or, overly confident, already “knows how to lift”, may not feel like they need to be here.
Humbling. No matter how an athlete starts their journey, there is always a point in their training where they realize they do need this, that it is okay to ask for help and that there are things they do not know how to do.
Support. This is the stage where the athlete becomes more comfortable in their surroundings. They show up ready to learn and feel the support of their coach and surroundings. They begin branching out more and more, stepping closer to the edge because they know we will be there to catch them when they fall.
Increased confidence. After some time has passed, the athlete will begin to feel confident in their choices and decisions, their bodies will begin to change and see the fruits of their labor. This is the point when the coaches also gain confidence in their athletes to receive information, process it appropriately and carry out their task. In my experience, increased confidence equals increased independence. Not only in the weight room, but in life.
Leadership. This is by far the most exciting and rewarding step to see an athlete transition through. This is when the athlete can come in, lead a group through a warm up, lend a hand to a new athlete, make others feel comfortable and be a figure to help guide others through the same stages they just processed. Leadership is a vital quality that is applied throughout life in jobs, school, sports, training and even everyday life. Being able to see someone develop the confidence in themselves and their experience to improve the quality of experience for people around them is unrivaled.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone can fall into this skeleton of a process. However, with commitment, open mindedness and a willingness to grow, the transformation from shy and anxious to confident leader will change an athlete’s career forever.