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My Path to Coaching

“Once you learn the way broadly, you can see it in all things.”
-Miyamoto Musashi

Before I posted anything about training, coaching, or any of the other topics I plan to cover on this site, I thought it important to provide some background about me. Within health/exercise/sport science, there is a dizzying amount of information available on the web.

While I think the internet provides a great medium for the dissemination of information, I've always ascribed to the notion of "quality over quantity." Any Joe can start a blog and add their voice to the mix. All of this noise can create problems for readers in separating the wheat from the chaff. How do you know what you're reading is worth your time?

I’d like to make my case for why I have something of value to give. To give you some perspective to what I have to offer, let me tell you about my path to coaching and the direction I plan to take with this blog.

I began general strength training after experiencing a bad ankle injury while playing rugby. I read as much as I could to learn about training and watched countless videos in order to learn proper technique. Along the way, I kept coming across the "Olympic lifts." Everything I read about the O-lifts pointed to their benefits for improving athleticism and explosiveness. So I thought I would give them a try. After a few months of practicing the lifts in the gym, my technique was as good as it was going to get on my own.

I started training at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training (I-FAST), with Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman. Their guidance and support helped push me toward my first competition in April 2009. It was through this competition I was put in contact with Grant Gardis who became my weightlifting coach. These three helped me continue to grow as a lifter, and the natural progression was to move to Shreveport, La., to train under Dr. Kyle Pierce who is the director of the USA Weightlifting High Performance and Development Center.

The influence of these four individuals has left a lasting impression and set the course for my journey as a coach. From Mike and Bill, I have learned to examine the body as an interdependent system, where local and global issues can impact each other in a very chicken-or-egg fashion. Rufus instilled the importance of Long-term Athlete Development. My time with Kyle has given me a front row seat at what goes into a successful weightlifting system, as well as how to integrate the weightlifting movements into a strength training program for other sports.

For the past three years, I have been training and competing in the sport of weightlifting. In addition to weightlifting, I’m currently finishing my master’s degree in kinesiology. I have been fortunate to be part of such a successful program and train alongside some of the nation’s best weightlifters, as well as the many international teams that hold training camps at our center.

One of the key inspirations behind Five Rings Athletics is Miyamoto Musashi and his Book of Five Rings. The philosophy outlined in that book serves as a guide for me and how I approach learning. Every experience is an opportunity to learn. I strive to take advantage of such opportunities and to draw connections between ideas that don’t always appear related.

This blog will primarily cover topics related to strength training and coaching. However, I think Sport offers many lessons outside of itself, so I also plan to address some of the psychological and philosophical components of Sport. I aim to share my experience and insight with others so that they might be able to use that information for themselves or with others.

I hope you enjoy what’s to come!

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