Coach's Corner - The idea of "Potential" and ponderings from the 2016 Open

For 16.5, I tried something a bit different. I purposefully posted each individual athletes score one-by-one, as they completed the workout. To be honest, the initial purpose was a bit of an improvisation. As I continued writing, I realized that all of the scores placed in the middle of the gym left no stone unturned. I started to become aware that it elicited emotions and reactions from our athletes, many of which I haven't seen previously...


As our athletes' head coach, it is my job and the job of my staff to provide the attention and guidance to help every athlete achieve their goals. Potential on the other hand, is something that we as a staff may see in an athlete, however that athlete must have the passion and determination to reach that potential. Simply presenting the idea of "Oh, you have SO much potential..." is just not reasonable, and almost cruel. It is our job, to help spark that passion, desire, and determination in each athlete to help them see it, want it, and most importantly, have fun with it.

I personally found this year's Open programming to be absolutely excellent. It has allowed me to make mistakes. Not at the expense of our athletes, but rather myself. By performing the workout directly after release each Thursday, it has allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them, and share with our athletes so that they don't have to make the same mistakes or at least mitigate them. Soon, many of them began to see what I saw: their amazing accomplishments and the vision of their potential. And I'm not talking about the yearly "Well this year sucked, now I gotta work harder for next year's Open." mindset. I'm talking "Wow... I can't believe I was able to do that. I think I can get even better."

There was absolutely no greater high this year, than being able to provide athletes with a gameplan or guidance, and for them to stick with it and blow their expectations out of the water. I'm a huge advocate of positive mindsets and visualizations, and nothing sparks positivity more than success itself. Which brings me back to the whiteboard...


As more people trickled in and out of the gym for Friday Night Lights, the whiteboard became more and more popular as the night went on. What was amazing was some of the things that I heard:

  • "Wow. We all KILLED it."
  • "'Insert athletes name', holy crap you smoked that!
  • These are awesome times!
  • "'Insert athletes name', you can totally beat my score!

So many positive things were said, so many thoughts were shared, and so much support was given. I became so impressed with how each athlete handled such a tough workout, and how they gave their heart at one point and then cheered on a fellow competitor at another. Each athlete leaving it all on the floor, knowing that they did their best. So in a weird way, Dave Castro, thanks.

The competitor deep down inside of me pushes to train my hardest every time I come to the gym. It also pushes me to understand how to compete, how to be a good competitor, and most importantly now, how to become a better coach. Going from 9 athletes in 2015 to 30+ athletes in 2016 has allowed me to share my knowledge and experience in ways unprecedented. This year has shown me that all you have to do is show an athlete you believe in them and help them see the small wins in every daily battle. And once those wins turn into giant victories, you've gained something even more: trust.

We are so proud of everyone this year. No matter the placing or performance, always remember: Onwards and upwards.

-Frank Nguyen