So as of publishing this, I am 4 weeks into my internship with EXOS (formerly Athletes’ Performance). I have been wanting this internship for 2 years and finally got it! I’m going to describe briefly how this experience has been as it’s been rather interesting. From beating on NFL vets in ultimate Frisbee, to sharing a refrigerator with 6, this has been nothing short of an interesting experience.
My schedule as of current is to workout at 10am with my shift being from 12-9pm. The very first week and a half we were there from 8am-9pm. I have an NBA group at 1pm, middle school youth group at 4:30pm, an adult fitness group at 5:30pm, and a teenage (with some younger) soccer group at 7pm. I assist a staff coach with all of them although I’m transitioning to attaining some leadership with the 4:30pm youth group’s programming and coaching and splitting some with other interns in the 7pm group. I coach with 7 other interns but the fun part is that well..I live with 5 of them plus my supervisor. Needless to say, Donald-time isn’t the easiest thing to come by. I do get to play ultimate Frisbee here though, so that’s pretty awesome. I roam Dallas solo on the weekends as well.
EXOS has a very interesting training system it follows although not too complicated. EXOS is all about the quality of movement as opposed to just making athletes being bigger, faster, stronger. If you can’t move well or have asymmetries in the body then you are more likely to be injured and not playing your sport, and on the training table, being bigger, faster, stronger doesn’t matter. It’s been interesting seeing how this system has been executed with the NBA guys I’m with compared to the 16 year old soccer girls I work with. Also with EXOS’s holistic approach, athletes get bigger, faster, and stronger while training here. Each coach has their own way of personalizing it but once you know it you can see the similarities.
It has been good learning more about posture while exercising and learning to be more precise about positioning, core (pillar as they call it) stability, and deliberateness about which muscles are actually performing the movement. Another thing I’ve been learning are better verbal cues and practicing giving them in effective doses (aka not over doing it). I’m a very hands on coach and it many times is easier for me to physically put athletes in the position I need versus just describing it or making analogies for them. As I’ve been getting better, it’s allowed me to spend less group time on individuals for simple matters. In my years leading up to now, I’ve had moments where I’d stop the entire group to reposition someone, which is at times necessary, but I tend to rely on more than needed. I’ve tended to also throw a million cues at a kid expecting them to clean everything up at once, which they rarely do. I now understand it’s best to give 1-2 coaching cues so they can more effectively work on a couple parts at a time.
It’s been a good experience so far with much more to learn. Much of my learning has just been on the art of coaching and leading groups as that’s the part one must become better at through experience. When programming it’s all about trying to elicit a physiological response so you put together a program to stress the body into doing it. Its not as difficult, but you must know much about the body and the athlete to be most effective.
Working with our group of NBA players has been rather enjoyable. It better helps me realize that these are still regular people as some of them remind me of people from HS and college. Outside of the better connection culturally, it’s enjoyable because it further reaffirms my confidence. First, knowing that an NBA player is entrusting me to help him get his body in better physical conditioning helps me feel more confident. Secondly, most importantly, they won’t be compliant if I’m not confident in what I am saying. I had to realize that they are paying well over $1,000 a month to be here, they don’t care if I am an intern, if I’m going to speak I need to be correct and confident. Early on I clashed with a guy because I wasn’t confident (he’d ask about something in the workout I wasn’t sure of) and he called me out on it until I got it right. As I understood the coach’s program better and earned his trust more along with getting that not being confident wasn’t tolerable, my relations have improved much.
Another great experience has been whooping on NFL veterans in Ultimate Frisbee. As per their endurance training, they’d play various games on Fridays. We played ultimate 2 weeks in a row. It felt pretty good to be a star in such a competitive environment. The teams were mixed of performance interns, former NFL players (and free agents), and college hopefuls. I had a major advantage here though since I know how to throw the disc much better than any of them as well as none of them were as intense as I was. After the first game, it took a lot more for me to be a playmaker since these are athletes much more athletic than I and caught on to things quickly on how to play more efficiently. On the opposite end, I’ve been getting in all of the knock out and around the world we play on the hoop court. I do have my good days here and there though.
It’s been an interesting time so far but right now I’m sitting in a nature reserve typing this and rain is now falling so it’s best I cut this now and not get too soaked on my way to my car. *Actually I edited it and added the above paragraph later this day in a Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas. Until next time! Leave some feedback!