UPI Mentor Lunch

What Is Total Athlete Training

Sports trainers, coaches and performance facilities have been using this buzz term Total Athlete Training a lot the last 10 years. It’s kinda like how everyone claims to be an expert in their field without fully understanding the complete picture. I am sure as parents of a young athlete you can probably relate.

So what does this term even mean? It’s apparent most coaches are not fully aware. Therefore as parents you have to be confused and have fallen victim to seeing facilities throw the word up on their website, put it on the back of a shirt and drop a few instagram posts about it.

It’s time that we clear the air. Because you deserve to understand what you are paying for. Also you have the right to be choosy about where you send your child for training.

There are some key concepts to look for when gyms start mentioning total athlete training.

Total Athlete Training

I know you have seen it a million times from coaches or gyms where they say we train the total athlete. Then followed with, we train the Mind, Body and Soul. As I sit here and write this I am shaking my head and laughing. Not because I do not think they don’t mean well but because they are trying to “fit-in” within the industry.

It’s like everyone in the industry feels like they have to say it in order to keep up. But parents your kids deserve more and you deserve more too. For those of you who follow me know how serious I am about delivering the highest value possible every time you come in contact with me.

It’s never about a workout, it’s about giving you an experience! 

Whether you come to the gym for a workout, a talk, hear me speak live, read a blog or have a phone conversation I want you to walk away with an experience. The best way I can rate myself is if you remember something I said, something you accomplished or remembered reading. Why do I use this as a rating system…

Because we remember things that create an emotional experience in our lives.

Putting It To The Test

This really stood out to me today during a phone conversation with a mom who was looking to get her daughter involved in some training. She followed up with mentioning that the part that stood out to her the most was all the confidence and mindset training along with being surrounded with the right coach.

Then I leaped at the opportunity to spend the next 2 minutes describing our process, why I felt it was so important for every athlete to have a mentor and a 30 second backstory. Remind you NONE of this part of the conversation was about physical training…

Honestly it was a 16 minute phone call and I would estimate that less than 3 minutes of the time was spent talking about her daughters physical training.

Hold Up

Now let’s take a step back and look at how that conversation would have gone with 99% of other gyms. They most likely would have asked all the general questions: name, age, school, sport, have they trained anywhere before and then walked them through what their assessment looks like. Probably consists of a physical assessment of their speed, lifting technique, agility, jumps and explosion, maybe a body fat test, pull ups, bench press etc…

Let’s give them some benefit and say they mention goals. Do they have a process or teach them how to set goals. Most kids do not truly understand the power of goal setting much less a powerful process that will help them. Can they use a personal story that will help kids relate…

Where is the mental assessment: Leadership, Personal Responsibility, Academics, Ego, Attitude, Confidence, Discipline, Life Priorities, Outside activities and Social Life…

The power comes from not just mentioning these things but actually backing them up! It’s easy for anyone to put Total Athlete Training as a headline on their website, but what does it say underneath.

Simple for a coach to tell you they train the total athlete during a conversation but if 90% of the conversation is about all the fancy equipment they have and physical workout. That’s your red flag!

The Complete Athlete

The complete athlete is not necessarily the best in the country or state at their sport. They do not have to be the ones who have the who’s-who of offers from colleges. This type of athlete does not even have to be one of the best ones on their team. Actually a complete athlete does not have to be a starter for their team…


I know you’re shaking your head. Maybe even laughing. Or you might be confused.

And there lies one of our greatest problems in sports and why most coaches do not understand the meaning of being a total athlete much less how to train for it.

Most people, especially kids, have their own belief about how much potential they have. Based on what they believe is their potential is how much action they take towards their goals. That action determines their results.

Most people take action towards something based on the amount of certainty they have. People will do almost anything they believe to be certain. It’s kinda like why many kids are scared to ask a girl out. They are uncertain about what she will say.

Now it’s my job as a guide and mentor to help fill you with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY! It’s about guiding you towards a belief that you know it can happen. This type of belief system fills you with energy…

And people with more energy are: Happier, take more risks, greater perception of their own success and more confident!

There is a crossover between sports, school and life. If you give an athlete this type of belief system, energy, happiness, confidence and success. How do you think that will translate into their school and personal life!

It’s a smooth transition if you have a coach that knows how to relate them to the athlete…

This is another point where many coaches and mentors fail. They see kids achieve massive success on the field and do it with a big smile on their face and they stop…

They think their mentoring job is over because the kid said that was their dream to do xyz in their sport…

WRONG! I could spend an entire weekend talking about the struggle of athletes and their mental health.

Parents Test Coaches

Parents I am sure you feel trapped at times wondering if you are doing the right thing and surrounding your kids with the right people…

The first piece of advice I would give is to start challenging these coaches at gyms about what they are doing in these other non-physical training areas for athletes. I know the go to question is always how is your gym different. But start looking after the long term future of your child.

For me personally that’s my opportunity to dive deep into the confidence and mentorship opportunities at our gym.

Then the best piece of advice I would give is to see how much they are investing in themselves within these areas! I was once told by a mentor that a truly invested person looking to become an expert in their field will invest at minimum 10% of their income back into learning…

Now you don’t have to ask coaches how much money they spend on further educating themselves. But you can look to see how much they are reading. Are they attending events to deepen their knowledge. Do they actually have a mentor, seems odd for these coaches to preach mentorship yet have no mentor within their own lives.

Consider this for a moment. Would you send your child to strength and conditioning with a coach that had never learned anything about it. Never read up on it. Never went on an internship or event. That just seems silly…

The same goes for your child’s goal setting, leadership, confidence and shifting belief system abilities!

How I Know It’s True

The final question that is probably swirling your mind is “Ryan, how do you know you are actually preaching what you say with Total Athlete Training”

So I put it to the test. I used an exercise that my mentor, Deberah, taught me…

I sent out a handful of emails to parents that have been around my training style and philosophy. People I knew would be upfront and honest with me and so I asked them…

What are my superpowers and What Makes Me Unique/Standout?

Now I knew without a doubt that my approach was different than everyone else. Every single parent responded with a very intellectual response. Honestly they were very moving how in depth they went (I kinda expected some bullet points response)…

Not one parent mentioned ANYTHING about physical training. It was all about the complete development of their child. It was about teaching them leadership skills, confidence, taking on personal responsibility, teaching goal setting frameworks, developing belief systems to take on bigger risks in life.

I was actually really blown away by their responses. 

Your child deserves to be a complete person or total athlete. Do not fall victim to all the self proclaimed experts on the development of your child.

It’s not about all the number of scholarship offers, games won, bench press records, strength or speed. 

In short those things are important but I have witnessed it for almost a decade now when you combine those physical abilities with confidence, self-worth, leadership, personal responsibility and a belief system with absolute certainty it will literally 10x-100x their performance!

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