Being a Stupid Athlete Made Me a Better Coach

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts

I’m a better coach because I was a stupid athlete. I didn’t know I was stupid then, but now I’m a good enough coach that I can see it plain and simple. I could spend my time wishing I’d not been stupid and imagining things I would have accomplished athletically, but that wouldn’t get me too far. Instead I’ve realized my bad and/or misinformed choices resulted in me being a far better coach than I would have been otherwise. I developed knowledge, empathy, and awareness from my missteps. And I can spot the stupidity in my athletes a mile away.


My stupidity manifested in two distinct ways – overtraining and injury. I separate these out, because while injury can occur due to overtraining, they are not always linked. Because of my experiences, I am able to coach my athletes from the perspective of both what not to do and how to handle the tough, dark times that come with training. And anyone who’s trained for any measurable length knows what I mean by tough, dark times.


muay thai, kickboxing, becca borawski, crossfit, breakingmuscle.comIn 2005 I got kicked out every gym I belonged to. I got kicked out because I showed up too much. I was unemployed and training two to three times per day. It was my coping mechanism. I had recently done an adventure race, I was doing BJJ almost daily, I was training for a kickboxing smoker match, and I was training CrossFit I don’t know how many times per week. I’d had a chest cold for over a month, I couldn’t sleep at night and couldn’t stay awake during the day, I was gaining weight despite eating less, and it took me a good ten to fifteen minutes of writhing and thrashing about to put my sweatpants on every morning because my sciatica was so bad I couldn’t bend at the hips.


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