I am an self confessed Apple convert and after a few years of an iPhone and iPad, I thought it was a natural progression to add to my Apple family so I purchased a Macbook and, if I am truly honest – it was a great bit of business.
Being able to streamline all my work via all my devices is a gift. It didn’t take long to get used to the various programs on the Mac, plotting a graph has never felt so easy, everything is so slick and simple, its a breath of fresh air (and it looks good too!). I had a problem with the screen, and got fantastic back up support from Apple to resolve the issue, like the majority of things in life you get what you pay for and my Macbook has been a great investment.
Apple run its business on simplicity, making life easier for the consumers and people like myself who grew up in an era working with a BBC computer making pictures of Nike trainers at school or attempting to save everything on a floppy disk before the school bully snapped it (he was a strong lad!).
Steve Jobs was said to have been given a presentation by one of his design teams, who had designed two packages for one product. Jobs wasn’t impressed, and his retort was “Just combine them, “One product, one box.” and he sent them away.
Jobs knew that if you wanted a battle with complexity, you will find it. In coaching we seem to be surrounded by needless complexity, for the simplest things. This leads to confusion for clients or athletes, being bombarded with anatomical terms that they have no understanding of, complex programmes that fail to address any fundamental movement issues and bear more resemblance to an athlete training for the olympics rather than Joe Public with a low training age who has no interest in becoming an Olympic champion during a “12 week transformation programme.”
I believe in evidence based practice, in sports science and in the research that is available to us as coaches to help form our judgement. Its important in my role to be able to look at the research and evaluate how this can influence the decisions we make, eg. is an ice bath optimal for recovery or will it blunt adaptations? But does that mean that everything I do needs to be based on scientific evidence??? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
The skill is to take the evidence (and I don’t mean by reading just one study), look at what is available, and form a simple judgement based on not just the research but on practical experience too. Einstein once said:
“Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler”
“If you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it enough”.
If coaching is about effective communication – shouldn’t we be looking to simplify our terminology when translating to our athletes or clients?? Getting a message across to get a job done??
For example – Plyometrics is a word that is thrown about quite a lot these days. It has almost become a buzz word, and we seem to be inundated with YouTube videos of “Plyometric Bench Presses” and 40 ft “plyometric’ box jumps…. Now, I wonder what the response would be to these videos if the proprietors were asked to explain the principles of which plyometrics are founded, or explain the Stretch Shortening Cycle, landing mechanics, or the Three Phases of Plyometric exercise. To simplify this method of training is a true skill, and one that requires the understanding of the underlying principles of plyos, and not just some crazy bloke jumping around onto Eiffel Tower sized boxes, trying to use the WOW factor.
So what has Apple taught me about coaching?
Simplicity is the key.
The techno wizards at Apple understand what the consumer wants, they understand what technology is required to do that, and they understand how to simplify it. The principles never move from the core of the business, the methods may change but the principles don’t.
So why not become an Apple coach??