3 Things I learned from Eric Cressey

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Would you believe me if i told you that well over a hundred professional baseball players migrate from all over North America and Japan during their off-season to train with the same individual? Or that last year’s Cy Young Winners, Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer, train with the same strength coach? Crazy, right. They are seeking one of the premier sports performance coaches in the world named Eric Cressey and the proof is in the pudding. Very few are able to keep their athletes injury free without compromising high performance. Somehow he can.

I was very fortunate to be able to learn from him for several months as an intern at his gym, Cressey Sports Performance. To say I learned a lot is a gross understatement. After over a year of self reflection about my experience I’ve narrowed down my top three lessons that I took away from Eric. This is an article that can apply to all coaches who are looking to make a difference with their athletes.

1. To learn and succeed you must immerse yourself in what you are doing.

They say the best way to learn a foreign language is to totally immerse yourself in that language and culture. Well the same can be said about learning a sport. When Eric was describing to me how his business started he told me he accidentally fell into the sport of baseball. His first gym was inside a baseball park which made it incredibly easy for baseball players to train there before or after practice. As such, he researched as many pain points as possible that baseball players had. He made sure he truly understood these injury mechanisms and how to prevent them. He watched a ton of games to learn and understand the sport. He also talked to many coaches and athletes to try and learn their language. Those four things alone have probably helped him more than anything else in his career. He can now speak “baseball” fluently with the best of the best.

The key takeaway – learn as much as you can about the things your clients and athletes are passionate about. This sets the stage for better communication.  

2. Connect with your clients and athletes.

Very few people care about their athletes as much as Eric. There have been countless players who he’s let crash on his couch or live with him and his family just so they can train during their off season. He travels all around the country to watch and support his guys when they perform. He’s in constant communication through text, calls and social media. Any athlete who is in Eric’s “tribe” knows it. It is this communication and love that keeps his guys coming back after every off season. It is also the same reason they brag on him to teammates which enables Cressey Sports Performance to dominate the baseball niche.    

The key takeaway – No one cares what you know until they know how much you care. The most popular coaches understand this principle and apply it daily. Demonstrating that you care will keep your clients coming back, year after year.

3. Remove your ego

During my internship I got to witness this first hand. One of the best pitchers in the Majors came to Eric during his off-season and put Eric in a very interesting position. He wanted to do his own program but wanted to use his gym, something CSP has never done before. Removing his ego, Eric obliged him. It was something I didn’t understand in the moment but looking back it was a fantastic long term move. He gradually worked his training philosophies into this pitcher’s training as well as established a legitimate connection. As a result, he was able to have a major hand in helping his athlete achieve major awards and accolades last season. He is now this athlete’s “go to guy” during the off-season.

The key takeaway – When you remove your ego and focus on helping rather than dictating, great things come. Coaching is a two way street. For a coach to be successful they need client buy in and consistency. When your ego gets in the way you do your client a disservice and you lose business. Remove the ego.

For those who are looking to get into the coaching field, seek out those who are walking the walk. Once you find them, fully immerse yourself into learning and absorb everything they have to offer.

Here at Force we offer an internship program for all college students and professionals who are looking to advance their knowledge and expertise in the strength and conditioning field. If you are interested, reach out to us (matt@forcebloomington.com or vince@forcebloomington.com). Let us help you reach your full coaching potential!  

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