My Coach

First Published, 19th February, 2014

In September 2013 I reached a very significant goal. The “60 second handstand”. It felt so significant because it seemed like something that would never happen and then suddenly I got it. All the frustration over losing balance after 20, 30, 40 seconds had paid off. Then I realised I knew nothing about handstands beyond a straight line. I had no idea what to do next, not just with my handstand but with my training. I had plenty of goals and no idea how to achieve any of them. Having spent a year training what ever I felt like and learning from friends I decided I needed a coach. This was the only way for me to progress further. The question then became what do I need and who can give me that?

Several people instantly came into my head. But I needed to find someone who’s approach to coaching would motivate and push me, while still allowing me to have the lifestyle I wanted. I was prepared to devote a lot of time and energy to my training but I didn’t want to sacrifice other commitments or feel overloaded by it. I didn’t want training to become overwhelming and stressful.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a member of the GMB Alpha Posse. This is an online community of people who like to move in many different ways. Everyone is there to share ideas, give feedback and support each other with their training. We also get help and support from the GMB coaches. They spend a lot of time creating great resources and giving advice for everyone’s individual training. This is how I came to know the coaches. And this is how they came to know me. One coach in particular, Ryan Hurst.

After posting my 60 second handstand in my Alpha Posse training log Ryan got in touch with me, asking what I was going to train next. I said I had no idea. I was completely stuck and needed help from someone. So we ended up talking in more detail and eventually agreed that he would start coaching me. This came completely out of the blue, but the timing couldn’t have been better. I hadn’t had any experience of training under a coach before so I had no idea how I would find it. For some reason I felt it was the right thing to work with Ryan. While talking to him it felt like something clicked. Here was someone prepared to invest a lot of time in me, and I wanted to invest as much as I could into working with him. I knew to get anything out of this I had give as much as I would get. I’ve since been training under him with a lot of success and I’ve loved every second. Whether I experience a success or an epic fail, he is there with the support I need to keep progressing. 

Finding a good coach is not just about their qualifications and physical ability, but about who they are as a person and how they approach coaching. It’s about finding someone who will treat you as a person as well as a student. If you can find someone you respect and trust, and who respects and trusts you, then you have the potential to create something so valuable.

If you go looking for someone to work with you, just so they can tell you how great you are then you won’t get what you want. You have to be humble, willing to learn, able to take criticism, and then when you achieve your goals and you are told you are awesome, you know that it really means something. That you worked for it. Having someone to guide you through a process and share the experience with you is completely priceless.

I’ve been seriously lucky to find the right person to coach me, however don’t forget it can take time and you shouldn’t rush it. But I think sometimes you just know, and they know that you are the student they want.

And let’s be honest, the significance of this happening is huge. This was when everything changed and I’ve been given opportunities I never thought I would get. Now I’m in Japan working for Ryan and training as his student in person. But I won’t forget where everything began.


Photographer: Simon Carter


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