Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Am I Leading From The Front?

leading from the front do as i say not as i do

I was lifting the other day, as I usually do. And one of our coaches made the comment that my motto should be “Do as I say, not as I do. ” Now, this is not the first time I have heard this from a coach or athlete. And I’m not going to lie, the comment usually pisses me off!  As the head coach of PFP  Barbell , I always do my best to lead from the front. I was getting ready for bed last night and I started to think about what “leading from the front ” really means.

Leading From The Front

I always thought that leading from the front meant perfection (or as close to it as I could be). We’re talking perfect technique. Perfect meets. Even perfect guidance, etc. I understand that this is unattainable, but I strive to be as close to this as I can. I work hard. And I listen to my coach. I give my best effort to our athletes in meets. Basically, I want to be the example that our athletes look up to. I want to be the model as they prepare to advance in their weightlifting.

But Mistakes Will Happen

I think the part I was missing about leading from the front was the fact that you WILL make mistakes. And you’re going to make a lot of them! I have bombed out of more meets than most of our athletes have competed in. I’ve had bad meet plans and been a bonehead leading up to big meets. Heck, I’ve coached bad meets for athletes and generally have had some very public mistakes in my learning process as a coach. Sadly, I always looks at these experiences as something to be embarrassed of. Or as something I wanted to hide. Now, looking back, I realize I had it all wrong.

My Realization

I realized part of my role as a coach is to make mistakes so our athletes don’t have to. Lead the way and don’t be afraid to try things. Fail often and learn from those perceived failures. I can confidently tell our athletes and coaches not to do MANY things because I have done them. And because I KNOW from experience its a bad idea. My experiences as an athlete and a coach save them from having to go through the same negative process. Not to mention save them from receiving the same negative results that I too have received.

On the positive end, I have had a ton of success as an athlete and a coach. And have had wonderful mentors helping me avoid more needless mistakes down the road.  It allows those who follow me to confidently move forward, knowing that my actions are deliberate and based on experience. So yes. Do as I say, not as I do. Let me lead the way. Let me make mistakes and take on the consequences. Allow me to lead from the front. So you can learn from my mistakes and avoid them!

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TOM DUER: Co-Owner
B.S., NSCA -CSCS, NSCA TSAC, USAW-Level 1, Crossfit Level 1

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