I’m currently making my way through Austin Kleon’s short but powerful book, “Show Your Work!” and one of his many gems entices creative people to share their influences.
Don’t be shy about the people who helped inspire you and make you work hard toward your passions.
Says Kleon: “Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do — sometimes even more than your own work.”
This article is about those people.
As a coach and someone who is constantly trying to help people move better and feel better, I’ve always found it valuable to have a wide-ranging group of mentors.
For me, many of the coaches and therapists I look up to and study from I’ve never met before, minus a few.
My goal as a part-time strength and conditioning coach (I teach full-time at a public high school) is to empower athletes of all shapes, sizes, and ages, to move more, chase their goals, and become adaptable machines. Teaching them that they can move safely, recover from injury, and build up a resilient body through hard work and the right application of exercise and recovery.
When I first went to Mike Boyle, Brendon Rearick and Kevin Carr’s phenomenal certification course (Certified Functional Strength Coach) two Februarys ago, I realized I had the potential to help make a difference in people’s lives through intelligent, science-based training principles. They truly opened my eyes to what strength and conditioning can do for people.
Lately, the work of David Grey — and his Lower Body Basics Program in particular–has been a great inspiration and resource for much of the breathing, pelvic and ribcage focused work I’m doing with all my clients. I’ve learned so much from his mindset and the principles he espouses, and it has helped make me a better coach. (I’ve already seen tangible benefit in myself and my clients from David’s foam roller pelvic rolls, his side lying work, and his isometric work, to name just a few.)
Two other therapists and coaches that I’ve studied a lot and learned a lot from recently are Bill Hartman & Dr. Pat Davidson. Bill is a physical therapist pioneer, whose principles have been used by many of the best minds in the business of strength and rehab.
I’ve only digested a small portion of Bill’s work (I just got done with his book “All Gain, No Pain“) but in a short period of time I’ve already become way more confident in my ability to help my clients thanks to his brilliant mind. I try and join his “Coaches and Coffee” conference calls on Thursday mornings, and I try and absorb as much of his YouTube content as I can. He’s a minefield of information, and any coach not following him is doing it wrong.
Pat’s “Athletic Weapon” online training program is absolutely lethal in all the best ways, and will be the basis of much of my training going forward. It’s no joke.
In addition, I read Pat’s book “Rethinking the Big Patterns,” and it has reshaped how I think of movement in general (let’s just say I’m not hyper-focused on FRC joint mobility like I used to). That’s not to say a system like FRC is inherently poor, it’s just one small piece to pay attention to. Pat does an amazing job helping coaches realize that respiration and skeletal position is so damn important and should the first focus when helping clients move and feel better.
Two wonderful people I came into contact with through the interwebs (and actually live near me in New England) are David Bidler and Lex Clark at The Distance Project. They have many awesome things going on, including the non-profit Physiology First University. Please check out all the amazing work they’re doing if you have a second. I myself can’t wait to continue to support them and work with them any way I can; they’ve inspired and taught me a lot.
Lastly, my friend Zach Wagner, a great Physical Therapist in his own right, has helped challenge my beliefs, and through a lot of great conversations, made me think about things differently and encouraged me to keep learning and coaching.
I just flat out enjoy learning, changing, and trying new things, so my list of mentors may change quite a bit. But I’m so grateful to have learned a lot in the past 3 years, and I attribute that to the smart and hardworking pioneers who laid out various blueprints for me to follow.
There’s a lot more smart people to meet and awesome clients to coach, but I feel like I’m on the right path.