How to be a good student
Commitment to Continued Education and Growth
Engineered Bodies is into its sixth year at our current location and it’s been an incredible journey of learning so far. A commitment to continued education and growth is one of our company core values and a massive part of our business. We actually have the highest standards required of our coaches with regards to certifications and education in the Lower Mainland. We, the coaches at EB, are not only professional coaches, we’re professional students, constantly learning to be the best we can be. That’s a good thing for you. When coaches and teachers grow their students grow along with them. A good student is a successful person because they have learned how to learn. What makes a good student? Read on and find out.
Me personally, I’m a seminar junky. I’ve hosted 20 workshops from world leading organizations at Engineered Bodies since opening our doors 2013. I participated and learned in 19 of those workshops. Since starting my career as a strength and conditioning coach and teacher, I’ve attended over 30 workshops taught by the best teachers and coaches our industry has to offer. That’s in addition to the one’s we’ve hosted at EB. I’ve applied everything I’ve learned, put the lessons to the test, and I’ve failed many many times. Failure as they say is the best teacher so I’ve learned from my many failures, persevered, and eventually achieved some of the goals I set out to achieve. I’m still working towards some goals as it’s a long road but one that I embrace with open arms as each day is an opportunity to learn and better myself.
What makes a good student?
My learning experiences have allowed me to observe thousands and thousands of reps of all sorts of movements within these walls and abroad. That’s a lot of time under tension learning how people move and how to teach movement effectively. Being a professional student/teacher has also provided me many opportunities to observe how people learn.
There is one major difference I’ve observed between people that are successful at achieving a goal versus people that are not successful. Those that are successful are good students and those that aren’t successful are not good students. Seems obvious but do you know exactly what makes a good student? I’ve listed all the things that good students do every time they come to train or practice.
- A good student take good notes in class.
- Good students are present and focused.
- A good student never cuts corners and don’t settle for the bare minimum.
- Good students are humble and listen to their teachers/coaches.
How to apply the traits of a good student
So those are the things that ALL good students do EVERY TIME they come to train or practice their art. If you do these things then great! Keep it up! If not, then get on it. Your success depends on it. Here are some ways to help you apply these traits when you train at EB.
Take notes in a notebook, your phone, or ZenPlanner. Write down information about technique, a principle, or notes on what loads or progressions you used in a training session.
It seems being present and focused is a challenging one to apply in today’s world. People blame the internet and technology but I don’t think so. Everyone can learn to be present and focused and that’s been proven throughout history. It simply takes discipline. At EB, you can start by simply not talking to your friend while your coach is talking. Try to look at your coach as they explain the logistics of the training session or workout. Try to focus on what they are saying. Do your best to understand what they’re talking about. You can also develop focus by being mindful of every action and every rep you execute. Focus on your breathing. Are you actually depressing your scapula? Are you aware of what’s happening around you?
Do all the reps that are asked of you and never cut corners. Make sure you go the full length of them gym when asked to do lengths of locomotion patterns. Don’t settle for the bare minimum. Perhaps consider your comfortable training schedule of three days a week isn’t enough. Especially if you’re not taking notes or present or focused or cutting corners. Add a mobility, weightlifting, or movement class and practice more.
The Most Important Trait: Be humble and Listen
Good students are humble and listen to their teacher/coach. Here’s an example of how to apply that at EB. Let’s say you’re training something and you think you’re executing a technique correctly. If your coach says you’re not, then you are 100% not. Don’t argue. There’s no point because you won’t win. Just do your best to understand what is being asked of you and make the correction as best you can. As I said before, we do this professionally and we see more of what’s going on with a movement than you ever will. We’ve also successfully taught that movement to more people with similar personalities to yours than you ever will. You are not unique.
Another example is when coaches tell you to add or take off load on the bar or to progress or regress an exercise. We know what it looks like when a load is “too heavy” or “too light”. No need to tell us you’re “going to keep it light to work on technique” as if we’re negligently suggesting you to load up without focusing on technique. Load and technique are not exclusive to one another. We know what’s the most appropriate load or progression you need to train to be successful. Again. Don’t argue. Just do your best to do the work.
My sensei in Aikido told us to empty our cup before we come to learn in class. I learned that lesson from Agatsu founder Shawn Mozen as well. Agatsu actual means “beginner’s mind”. We all have some knowledge from experience but it’s important to empty that cup of knowledge so you can fill it up again with new knowledge. This is very important.
Finding Positives in all Lessons
Teachers and coaches are there to facilitate your learning process and to make you better than you were yesterday. They are not there to give you bad advice and a hard time for no reason. Arguing with a coach that has more many more years experience than you, in a subject you’re asking them to teach you, will limit your rate of success. It’s like when your kids argue with you on something that you as a parent obviously have more experience in. It’s counterproductive and frustrating for everyone. Training at EB provides an opportunity to better yourself in all facets of life. It’s like a dojo. A place of higher learning. It’s not only a place to work out and burn off steam.
The learning process and your experience is not always going to be all rainbows and unicorns and you’ll leave “getting it”. Some lessons will be frustrating and take a long time. You may feel you can’t stand your coach or teacher during that time. Some lessons will be joyous and exciting and you won’t be able to find a bad thing to say about your coach or teacher. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion but if you’re a good student and you’ve learned how to learn, you will find positives in any lesson and grow.
Empty your cup each session, be a good student, and you will be successful.