A lot of people believe – in error – that teaching a good class is all that is necessary to develop good guys.

This has forced people to take 2 common shortcuts.

1.  I’m good so what I teach is obviously working (false assumption: everyone learns like you and possesses the physical characteristics necessary to perform what you’re teaching them.)

2.  I actually don’t know shit but I’m personable and can teach a good class (works until you get to a certain level of competition at which point, the coach’s lack of understanding of what comes next prevents his athletes success)
If you’re going to be a good instructor, the most important thing is that you have to be UNSELFISH.  This means you have to put the team and student’s needs above your own much of the time.  Over the last week, I’ve had discussions with two very respected coaches.  Coach One mentioned that he was spending 7-8 hours a day on the mats, actively involved in the training of his students.  Coach Two was leaving his gym at 12:30 AM – he was actually surprised because he usually leaves the gym at 1:00 AM.  He said he needed to spend some extra time on the mats with the guys fixing some of their mistakes from a recent tournament (extra time meant about 2 hours).  Compare that mindset with a coach who ends class promptly at 8 PM and leaves.  Completely different mindsets.

The second characteristic that is important is the ability to affect the student on a deeper level.  Why is this important?  Because we aren’t born ready for our futures.

To this day, I remember my very first day of wrestling.  I started in high school and I always heard how hard wrestling was so I was nervous.  The very first coach was named Mr. Chiarello.  He was about 5 ft 5 inches and one of those gym teachers that was always in better shape than the kids.  He was one of those guys who had every record in like grade school for pushups and pullups etc.  Anyway, we get into the wrestling room and Chiarello starts yelling at us, insulting our manhood, while we’re doing pushups, burpees, etc.  I remember stifling laughter because of how crazy it was (“right out of a movie”).

I stopped laughing about 15 minutes later when I was panting 80 degree air in and out of my lungs and Chiarello was still yelling and barking out names of exercises.  In what would become a yearly habit, I ran to the garbage can and threw up.  Relieved, I went back to Chiarello.

ME: “I threw up.”

HIM: “Ok.  Go wash your mouth out.” – turns around and goes back to yelling-

ME: (thinking) isn’t he supposed to tell me to go home? -I realize with sudden horror, what I actually had gotten myself into.-


Now my point with this story is that at the time, my sense of what was right and wrong, whats normal and not normal, was not ‘matched’ with the wrestling world.  And this relates over and over the more I coach.

For some people, “working a lot” means 10 hours a week of work.  For others, it means 70 hours a week.  For some people, “broke” means “I have to put 2k a month into my retirement plans and buy stainless steel appliances for my wife.”  For others, it means “I literally have no money in my bank account and my credit cards are maxed out.”

So an effective coach has to somehow ADJUST the student’s expectations and attitudes.  You know how hard it is to change this?

So put Casual Coach in that situation.  Casual Coach always acts like its a chore for him to work.  Casual Coach teaches class… and that’s it!  Casual Coach goes out drinking and calls out of class the next day.  Casual Coach is randomly absent.  Casual Coach wants everyone to know about himself and what’s he’s thinking.  Casual Coach says everyone else is messed up.

How the hell is Casual Coach going to get any of his students to make the necessary attitude and lifestyle adjustments necessary to become good?

A coach needs to be dependable.  A coach needs to act in a manner where they are ready to make the next steps – from a class teacher to a coach to a mentor –

And that is why there are lots of guys teaching how to properly throw a jab, or how to do a double leg-takedown, and very few guys producing champions.