INTRODUCTION: I GET IT!
You’re scared. Heck, you’re terrified! But you’re also frustrated, angry, and almost ready to throw in the towel! You’ve struggled for years with your skills and have hit a wall in your training. Whether it’s a physical setback from an injury or going through body change, or a mental one, you just can’t seem to progress in your training. And who can blame you? What we do out on that floor is NOT natural, and therefore your brain is going to fight you constantly throughout your cheer career! This is why we don’t strive to train the mind, because the mind cannot be trained. We instead seek to train the motion and understand the mind.
This is where I come in 🙂
As a performance coach, I seek to help athletes of all ages, skill levels, and experience understand themselves and their skills better, and gain the confidence they need to outperform ANY fear or performance anxiety. Confidence is a skill just like any other – it needs to be nurtured, cultivated and exhausted!!! In doing so, you can learn to fully trust yourself and your technique, even when your logical brain tries to tell you otherwise. Confidence, in any thing you seek to do, is a direct correlation to understanding, and understanding comes through repetition and technique drilling.
EVERYBODY IS SOMEBODY
WHO DESERVES TO BE CONFIDENT.
“Everybody is somebody.” This was one of my Grandfather Lain’s famous sayings (he apparently had many, haha). He believed that every person, despite color, creed, orientation or station, was special, and I’ve been told that he is where I get my love of people from. He was someone who loved meeting and getting to know new people; who much like myself was known around town, and he believed that all of us were special, that nobody was undeserving to be recognized as a somebody.
Being so similar in principle, I’ve adopted his philosophy into my own coaching philosophy, adding the belief that everybody deserves to be confident. I believe everyone is born into greatness, with greatness coursing through us. But we’re constantly told that we must “discover” or “chase” our greatness, as if it’s this elusive quality we have to earn and hunt down. We are all born with greatness within us, we simply need to find the confidence to embrace it!
With every athlete I interact with, I seek to ultimately help them discover their greatness by first helping them to build up their confidence (both in themselves and their skills). No matter the skill level, I help both beginner and advanced athletes to better understand what they’re attempting to accomplish and strengthen their confidence. This is done with a mixture of technique drilling and performance psychology, helping to debunk common performance myths (ie “mental blocks” and misconceptions about fear). My coaching not only focuses heavily on what the body is doing, but also (and sometimes more importantly) how the brain is affecting or inhibiting what the body tries to accomplish. I believe that having solid technique and a strong understanding & respect for tumbling not only keeps athletes safe, but also gives them the confidence they need to advance in their skills.
Most importantly. I profess the idea that “technique bridges the gap between confidence and skill.” Without proper technique, athletes are more prone to injuries and performance anxieties (more commonly and erroneously referred to as “mental blocks”). Without proper instruction and understanding, athletes are less likely to be able to prevent injury when things go awry, and progress skillfully & confidently.
I WAS TIRED OF SEEING POOR
TECHNIQUE INJURE YOUNG ATHLETES.
In 2006, I took a “break” from coaching cheer. I had coached all-star cheer for 8 years straight and needless to say, I was a little burned out. But I use quotations because I never really took a break. My sister was a World’s athlete and was competing regularly. Between taking her to practices and getting involved at the gyms and schools she cheered at, I always found myself getting pulled back in. Even then however, I never saw myself coaching full-time.
For the next 10 years, I would spend my time as a freelance graphic designer. It was an enlightening time for me as it was a career I had not only chosen but set up for myself. I’ve heard that the secret to finding your passion is to try a bunch of things, exploring different interests as they interest you. This is something I would do over and over again for the duration of those 10 years. When one pursuit didn’t seem to be working out, I would start another. When that didn’t seem to work or seemed like it would take too long, I’d move on again. All the while, I was designing full-time as a freelancer.
In the summer of 2013, I was done. I was having trouble in my personal life and was beginning to experience health problems from a sedentary lifestyle being on the computer for 14 hours a day. I remember thinking something dramatic had to change in my life, because no one else could provide me with happiness except me, and ultimately I was responsible for my life. I remember sitting at my computer on a warm Spring afternoon with the window next to my desk open. And as if the clouds opened up to provide me with a revelation, I remember hearing the cheerleaders at the local high school, their voices reverberating through the neighborhood, bouncing off buildings into my living room. I remember thinking, “You know…people have always said I have a special gift with coaching…and I’m just sitting here, letting it wither away doing nothing with it. That’s not me being a good steward with my gifts.” I realized how my mission (whether I’d realized it or not) was always to keep the athletes that I worked with safe! I was tired of seeing the girls who worked with my sister or mom (both of whom were actively coaching and cheering) get injured from poor technique and low confidence. I knew that I’d been blessed with a special way of connecting with athletes and rebuilding their confidence, and I knew I wanted to do something with that!
It was on that day that I bought the “coachlain.com” domain and started what would become Coach Lain LLC! From that day forward, I would split my time and attention between full-time freelance designing and part-time coaching.
As I approached what would become my final year as a freelancer, I had a recurring feeling begin to overwhelm me on a pretty regular basis – I wasn’t happy and it was making me anxious. As a performance coach, I understand that fear and anxiety are primarily a response to discomfort, but back then, all I knew was that discomfort wasn’t from God, which meant something wasn’t right in my life. I’d been struggling with this feeling for a few years at this point, but always thought it was a matter of contentment.
NEVER BE AFRAID TO DROP ONE PASSION FOR ANOTHER.
“NEW” IS ALWAYS SCARY. JUST START.
As my love and passion for coaching and running the Coach Lain™ brand grew, I final began to realize the issue wasn’t contentment at all. It was an issue of purpose.
Whenever I heard of someone talking about retiring as a designer, I remember not being able to envision the same thing for myself. In fact, any time I tried seeing myself in that role in “the future”, my mind was just filled with static…emptiness…a blank screen. It was a very unsettling feeling, and the more I thought back on my career, I realized it was a reoccurring feeling that had been present since I’d began my journey as a freelancer back in 2007! When I finally got a chance to reflect, meditate, and pray on my feelings while on a family trip to Cabo, it was then that I finally realized, “I’m not doing this for other people!”
I had started graphic design as a selfish ambition to start a clothing line (like EVERY guy my age at that time), and was challenged by my screen printer friend back then to learn to design so that he didn’t have to recreate the designs I was doing in Microsoft Word (yeah…you read that right, haha)! And I had stepped into the role of freelance graphic designer out of the necessity and desire to make a living as a young man doing something I at least enjoyed. But I realized I’d NEVER stepped into the role to actually “help others”, although that of course became a part of it as time went on. At my core, I HATED designing for other people. Or maybe I did enjoy it and I was just burned out. All I knew was that I simply wanted to use my gifts for my own personal needs.
Thankfully, with the love and support of my family, and the courage I’d developed over a lifetime of not being afraid to fail, I dropped one passion for another. And so far, I haven’t looked back! Coach Lain LLC has blessed me with the opportunity to do EVERYTHING that I love, including design! Helping people outperform their fear, building up the confidence of young athletes, and equipping them with the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe – THIS is my purpose in life! I believe I’ve been blessed with these gifts for a reason, and even if I never fully realize that reason, I am blessed every day to be a blessing to others! This is the core of the Coach Lain™ mission – utilizing my gifts to edify, educate and entertain!
WHAT IS A DECONSTRUCTIONIST?
I like to think of myself as an independent and progressive tumbling & performance coach who is not handicapped by “conventional” teaching. Though I’ve competed as both a high school and all-star athlete, and served as an all-star coach for over 12 years, I was never myself “conditioned” to be a high level competitor. Therefore, I’ve realized that I’m able to bring a very novel eye to common problems, common fears, and common technical issues that I have now developed very novel solutions for. This was a revelation I had while watching an Olympic-level coach teach a woman with a fear of swimming to swim in open water after only a week. The coach was Terry Laughlin. The show was “The Tim Ferriss Experiment”.
A few years back, my wife introduced me to a man by the name of Timothy Ferriss. Timothy, or Tim as he’s known on his tv show and podcast, is a “deconstructionist”. At its core, deconstructionism is a philosophical approach to teaching and learning. It stresses understanding the relationship of a text and its meaning by looking for things that run counter to their intended meaning or structure. From a coaching standpoint, it is very similar as we look at core concepts and principles from a contrarian point of view. Physically however, it is essentially taking a skill apart, helping athletes to master the elements or “pieces” of said skill, and then reconstructing the skill once those parts are fully understood.
Without even knowing it, I was a deconstructionist as a coach. Upon discovering Tim Ferriss and his teachings (not to mention his award-winning podcast “The Timothy Ferriss Show” and his tv series “The Tim Ferriss Experiment”), I quickly began diving deep into his methodologies of teaching and learning skills quickly, breaking them down into bite-sized morsels instead of teaching athletes to “try and swallow the elephant whole”, and identifying failure points as to enourage athletes to understand themselves and their skills more in an effort to fear “fear itself” less.
During my formative years as a tumbler, I was the only one in my gym able-bodied enough to spot and teach many of the skills I needed to learn. I therefore spent countless hours teaching and training myself the in’s and out’s of tumbling (after learning my initial technique from a local gymnastics instructor). This period of trial and error taught me the importance of safety and proper technique, as well as other invaluable lessons upon which I’ve modeled much of my teaching. Drawing from a time when I had neither the technique nor the mental encouragement allows me to relate to athletes better and helps me better understand their fears and apprehensions about performing their skills.
Teaching self-empowerment through proper technique, and restoring confidence through understanding is what drives me as a performance coach. Many times I see coaches who, though they have the best intentions, are either ill-equipped and inexperienced themselves, or they lack the communication skills to teach tumbling. Tumbling is so much more than a quick explanation and some shotty spotting. Getting hurt can not only scar an athlete physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Good coaching doesn’t adopt the Nike approach – you can’t “Just do it.”
I’ve been given this knowledge and an ability to teach this set of skills for a reason. Passing on that knowledge to enthusiastic, young athletes, and seeing that priceless look on their faces after working hard to gain a new skill renews me with energy daily! Most of all, knowing that I’m keeping them safe and teaching them body awareness to prevent injury makes me proud to do what I do!
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