A good coach is a great influence in a child's life

I would like to think of myself as a "recovering personal trainer." As odd of a statement as that is, I believe it to be true. When you think of a personal trainer, what comes to mind? When I asked this question to a group of middle-school kids, I get answers like, "Someone that helps people work out," or "Someone who teaches people how to exercise." Although both of these answers are true, I can't shake the picture a guy or girl wearing the embroidered jump suit with a clipboard or some sort of modern day Trapper-Keeper style notebook in hand pretending to know what is best for his or her client.

The truth is, in my humble opinion, the term "personal trainer" holds about as much weight as the title "life coach," who basically gets paid to sit there and listen to you ramble on, giving you their opinion on how your life should go. If you just feel the need to pay someone gobs of money to talk to you on the phone about life for an hour, sign me up! I could use some extra cash flow during my lunch break...

Thinking back to your high school or college years and about the coaching staff, how were you taught? Chances are, Coach sat behind the back stop, yelling at you to get the bat up or barked at you from half court because you weren't setting a good enough screen in the short corner. Sometimes you had no idea the reasoning behind his or her methodology but, if you didn't do it, there would be a high price to pay.

I still believe in Coach! I believe that a good coach can make all of the difference in a child's life, possibly even more so than a good father.

Growing up, I can remember my dad being gone most of the time to provide for the family. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with this other than the fact that Dad missed out on a lot. Sure, he made it to the games he could but usually he had to envision them through the stories I would tell him over the phone. I was a very understanding child, this paired with a wonderful mother, made childhood a little easier.

The truth is, the majority of my life's lessons derived from sports. You see, when you are younger and your life consists of going to school as a full time job; sports can be a great outlet. The team camaraderie, the competition and most importantly, the coach. The coach, always hard to please and never satisfied with your output because he knew you had more. You see the coach believes in you, the coach knows your potential and, more importantly, he know when you're not living up to it. The task was simple, the coach set the standards and the players were to live up to them. Anything less than meeting these set standards was not an option. Behind all the running, all of the "motivational consequences" and all the god awful, "You're going to do it until you get it right Morrill," there was a compassionate and caring individual. To all of the coaches out there I say, thank you. You will never truly know how much impact you have on the lives of the ones around you.

Maybe this is why I do what I do. I strive each day to be Coach to somebody. Teaching, caring and holding people to the standards set for them each day.

I am fully aware that this particular fitness column has nothing to do with fitness and for that, I am sorry... On a side note, today marks the end of the first month for the six individuals going through the Case Study. Next Sunday you will see them for the first time. Pictures, weight and body fat lost or gained and how just 30 days may have changed their lives.

Thank you, Albany, for taking time out of your Sunday to read this column. I am truly humbled to know that this is a benefit for some. Please keep your e-mails coming, I enjoy reading each one and I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner. Have a great week and as always, thanks for reading The Herald!

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at kris@worldcampfitnesstraining.com.