Adam Driggers (Elite FTS)
The most important person in the gym.
A recent FB post made me stop to evaluate who might be the most important person among my training group. What I quickly came to realize is that the way I felt about it before is exactly how I feel about it now. The following will give you an idea of what I demand from my team and everyone who bounces in and out of the gym.
Among my training group I have 3 core guys, plus myself, that make most of the major decisions. If I want to add someone, or remove someone, the conversation happens first among us four. Decisions are usually made based upon a vote. If a tie occurs I take two votes, or I bring in a fifth person. Being a part of the core does not make you important. It simply means youíve been there long enough for me to care what you think, and trust that your opinion, even if it differs from mine, will be based on what you think is good for the team as a whole.
When the core brings in new prospects it is made clear that you are there to carry an equal weight. I demand that you are not just a lifter, but a handler as well. Basically your job in my gym is to lift when it is your turn to lift, and handle when you are not lifting. We have enough people that not everyone can be handling when they are not lifting, but you need to be ready at any time to help any lifter. The weight on the bar does not matter. If at any time anyone becomes to ďbigĒ to do that, they will need to find a new place to train. Itís not a suggestion, itís a rule. Thou shalt handle your fellow lifters.
I have never charged dues. Your contribution to my place is that you are there and willing to help. When I started Team Samson I needed help. If you came to me to lift I demanded your help, not your money. In return you got a place to train, and my help. Because of that I have kept a solid team of guys around me for over ten years. Many have come and gone, but I have never been without adequate help. Some have left on their own, others I have asked to leave, and others I have not allowed to come back. When I have asked someone to leave, or refused to allow them to come back, it has always come down to what they offered to the team in terms of help. Were they there when we needed them? Were they meet preppers only, or did they stick around to help the rest of us meet prep? Were they of use to the whole team or did they just cater to themselves or a few? These questions helped me to keep the right guys at any given time.
Having said all that, you probably think that we donít have a most important person, but you would be wrong. We do, but he canít be named. Our most important person is based solely on perspective. In my gym there are only two perspectives: The lifterís, and the handlerís.
Watch the following video for an example of what I mean.
970 with injury! - YouTube
In my gym the handlers and the spotters are the same people. From the handlerís (spotterís) perspective I was the most important person in the building right then. They knew that if something went wrong my safety was in their hands. The guys in this video obviously took their job serious and saved me a lot of pain and only God know what else. I tore the ligament from the spinal cord in that clip. What might have happened if they didnít realize for that few seconds I was most important? To them I was the most important, but to me they were the most important. From my perspective as the lifter they were far more important to me than I considered myself to them. Without them I am in big trouble. Without them maybe Iím in a cast for months, or worse. Who knows?
The point is that ďmost importantĒ is a term used only in perspective. Perspective changes as roles change. There should never be a time in a powerlifting gym when there is one lifter more important than another. In someoneís mind, at any given time, everyone is the most important person in the gym.