Coaches Thoughts - The New Generation... Are they lost?

athletes coaches thoughts education nutrition social media training Oct 02, 2023
Paul doing a cable exercise

I'm using these "Coaches Thoughts" blogs as a means of self-reflection and I absolutely recommend that you all do the same in some capacity.  Getting your thoughts on paper serves as a phenomenal way to organize your brain and work through concepts in a tangible manner, rather than just stewing about them in your brain.

This segment is one I have thought a out for a long time and with a lot of mixed emotions... is the new generation of lifter, or coach lost?

Now, before I come off as the old man yelling at the clouds, I first want to say that I do not believe the new generation is lost, but I do think that they are victims of circumstance. 

When I was beginning my lifting journey, there was no social media, the internet was very poorly populated with training information and if I wanted to learn anything, I either had to read it in a book, ask someone or better yet, go train with the person I wanted to learn from.  As a result, I've had 10's of 1000's of hours under a bar with, on the phone with or in the same room as some pretty incredible people.  I've also had the opportunity to put into practice the things I was learning with athletes I was coaching or in my own competitive endeavors.

Now, there is an infinite amount of information on the internet, social media, YouTube.  Everyone is an "educator" or "coach" and the while anything you want to know is at your fingertips, the end result is just confusion and an inability to stick with anything for long enough to see if it works.  This new generation is on a constant quest to find the perfect this, or the optimal that.  Forever inundated with new information that contradicts the information already in their arsenal.  Add to that the desire to not waste time and get results as fast as possible without any delay of gratification and you have a recipe for program hopping and an inability to assimilate information into a nuanced and contextually flexible framework.  Things are either good or bad and it's not worth doing if it isn't perfect.

Social media has effectively hijacked the young person's dopamine system!

As an educator myself, with the goal of raising the bar, I cannot resolve to the new generation as being lost.  If I do, I might as well quit. They're not lost, they're just being encouraged to move too fast.  What I need to see is an opportunity to leverage the good things that are available now that weren't in my generation and lead this new generation to slow down.  

This has led me to adopt a few axioms or heuristics when proliferating the educational information that I produce.  

  1. Nothing is inherently good or bad.
  2. Efficacy depends on context.
  3. Experience is validated by evidence and not the inverse.
  4. Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
  5. Enjoyment and effort will always trump best laid plans.

I base my success as a coach and educator on the impact I can make in the lives of the people that I am privileged to work with.  In order to do that, I need to meet them where they are.  The new generation isn't lost.  They're just searching for something that can't be found in the places they've been looking.

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