Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

By: Josh Dempsey

One of most important attributes a coach should possess is the desire to continually learn and expand their base of knowledge and understanding. Secondarily, the coach must also be willing to seek out information and viewpoints that may challenge their current beliefs and biases. Simply seeking to reinforce one’s pre-existing training dogmas helps neither the coach nor the athletes they serve.
As a coach, I’ve been exposed to many ideas and people who have fundamentally altered my views on training, nutrition, corrective exercise, etc., and helped me to see the nuance required to effectively work with various populations of athletes. As such, our programs have continually evolved and improved over the years while still sticking to our core principles of crating well rounded, resilient individuals in a safe, sustainable environment.
This concept of open-mindedness and truth seeking also applies to you as an athlete. Are you willing to accept that what you believe or have done in the past may be in fact incorrect or ineffective for you at this stage of your life? The training, diet, and lifestyle strategies you employed at age 20 may not work so well at age 40. Additionally, just because you’ve always done X (insert behavior here), doesn’t mean it’s healthy, beneficial, or optimal. An easy example is diet- just because you drank milk when you were 10 years old doesn’t mean it still agrees with your current gut microbiome and digestive system. Similarly, if you’ve been unable to lose body-fat on your own, are you willing to try a potentially radical departure from your current way of eating a la Whole30 for a month? The only way to know if a particular dietary intervention is effective for you is actually trying it!
The mark of an intelligent person is their ability to form new opinions and beliefs when presented with new information, no matter how damaging to the ego it may be. Do not be the ideologue that blindly follows and doesn’t cast a critical eye at their behaviors and underlying beliefs. Have strong opinions, but also be willing to cast them away when necessary in order to grow as an individual.

Originally Posted 12 April 2017