In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

It’s time to rethink how we approach coaching female athletes. Understanding and appreciating nuances in their physiology and psychology is one thing, treating them as a “special population” is another. So which differences should we attend to and which just aren’t true? 

Today we’re joined by Christina Myers, a strength and conditioning & gymnastics coach who’s changing the game when it comes to the training of female athletes and redefining coaching styles traditionally expected of women.

Christina owns a private sector strength & conditioning company and serves as both head strength and conditioning coach and head coach of a high-level competitive gymnastics program in Birmingham, Alabama. She took a non-traditional route to the strength & conditioning profession and uses this experience to mentor undergraduates and young coaches in the field. Christina holds a masters degree in Strength & Conditioning (MS Applied Exercise Science, S&C Concentration) and regularly guest lectures for undergraduate and graduate programs catering to potential strength coaches.

We cover: 

  • Considerations for training female athletes
  • Strategies for working with highly intellectual & perfectionist individuals
  • How to identify and eradicate psychological abuse in sport
  • Why we should lean into non-traditional coaching styles

Connect with Christina:

Via her website:

Via her Instagram: @lift_heavy_princess

We discussed some heavy stuff on this episode. Remember, if you need someone to talk to or want to report any type of abuse – please go to

Also, give some love to our sponsor: SAGA Fitness, makers of the first wireless automated training BFR cuffs of their kind. Fancy science aside, this tool reduces the time and intensity required to build muscle, gain strength and/or come back from injury. They’re a way to workout more efficiently and calibrate to individual needs without having to buy really expensive equipment. Use code BRETT20 for 20% off your order!


Brett Bartholomew  0:10  

This episode is brought to you by Saga fitness. The creators of the world’s first wireless automated training cuffs. Their BFR cuffs leverage the benefits of blood flow restriction, which is not as scary as it sounds, if you’re a member of the uninitiated, to reduce the time and intensity required to build muscle increased strength or come back from injury. Listen, at the end of the day. And all the science aside. This is a way to help you work out more efficiently. And they’re the first ones that allow you to really calibrate it to your individual needs. In the past, people were just guessing or buying really expensive equipment saga has ended the need for that. And most importantly, you guys will get a 20% discount when you use the code Brett20. Again, that’s b r e t t to zero at, make sure to check them out. They make it great travel companion.


Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


was a lot of things we don’t like to talk about when it comes to leadership and coaching and day to day life. The ugly realities, the things that make us cringe when we hear about him on the news. But these are also the same things that we’re going to have to face. It’s a reality. And these are things including psychological abuse, sexual abuse, in leadership and coaching. And I can think of nobody better to talk about some of this up to date than our guests, Christina Myers.


 Now listen, I get it, it can be easy to want to fast forward, check out another episode that talks about a topic that’s not so cringe worthy. But you’re going to have to deal with these things. If you want to lead long term, you’re going to work with people who have to overcome a wide variety of struggles. And in today’s society, it’s not hard to turn on the news and hear yet another story about somebody in power, doing something that they shouldn’t. We also talk a lot about the male female dynamic in competitive environments. And though we’ve touched on some of these points in prior episodes, we’ve never quite touched on it like this. We’ve never quite touched on the fact that what’s it like to be a female coach in a male dominated field. When you’re going to be treated differently, you’re going to be constantly asked to be somebody you’re not, you’re going to be discredited, or you’re going to be asked to prove yourself constantly. And these are the things that Christina unearths and unpack so well. 


She owns a private sector Strength Conditioning Company and serves as both the head strength coach and the head coach of the Isla, a high level competitive gymnastics program in Birmingham, Alabama. She like myself took a non traditional route into strength and conditioning. And she uses this experience to mentor undergraduates and young coaches in the field. She holds a master’s degree in strength and conditioning, applied exercise science, and regularly guest lectures for undergraduate and graduate programs, catering to coaches. Now in every episode, especially if you’re a new listener, understand that our goal with this podcast is to interview people from a wide variety of fields, and how they’re handling some of these issues. So you don’t have to be a strength coach. And I hope that if you’re somebody that’s not a strength coach, you still share this within your organization. Because it’s the stories we hear about other people from other places and other professions and other cultures that sometimes can teach us the most about ourselves and our route. I hope you enjoy this episode. 


And I can’t thank our sponsors enough Momentous in Saga fitness and Versaclimber for allowing us to bring this type of content to you guys on a regular basis. Please, please, please, if this has helped you in any way, make sure to leave a review and subscribe because we have many more great conversations like this coming down the road, but for now, enjoy Christina Myers.


Hey, guys, thanks so much for sitting down with me for another conversation. I am here with Christina Meyers. How’re you doing?


Christina Myers  4:53  

I’m doing pretty good. How are you?


Brett Bartholomew  4:55  

I’m doing great. It’s nice to see you again. It’s been a while since you joined us at the very first pilot apprenticeship that we did,


Christina Myers  5:01  

yes, that was November before COVID.


Brett Bartholomew  5:04  

It’s hard to think of that time before COVID. Right? Like, it seems all like a blur. But you to this day, I continue to tell people like you, open that up so much in terms of being just willing to break down, be transparent and get right to it. That wasn’t an easy thing, was it? 


Christina Myers  5:22  

No, not at all. 


Brett Bartholomew  5:23  

And so now you get to do a second variation of that. Our audience has a little idea about your background through listening, but give us an idea of like, what’s today, like, what’s a day to day day in the life for you like with everything that you manage with you and that you balance.


Christina Myers  5:40  

So I typically am kind of divided up mornings being specifically strength and conditioning work, and then afternoons being a lot of gymnastics. So most mornings, I have a couple of, clients on my own kind of in my private sector stuff, starting around 5 30, or six. And then usually, I will go in and do an hour or two hours of gymnastic specific strength and conditioning over at the gym that I work at gymnastics gym that I work at. And then I either I’m doing my own training, working on my computer doing program updates, or, you know, putting together lectures for things, just answering emails, that kind of stuff. And then around three o’clock every day, so basically, when school gets out, I go back in for gymnastics, I’m there until eight or nine o’clock almost every night. And it generally starts with strength and conditioning stuff. So I’ll have a whole bunch of groups that kind of run through that first hour to two hours of the practice time for that, and then the rest of it is strictly gymnastic. So actually coaching as competitive teams.


Brett Bartholomew  6:38  

And that’s a perfect example of why I wanted to get to that because you do so much code like context switching throughout the day. Right? And yeah, we’ve had a lot of diverse guests on but none that have a background in gymnastics. And that lends itself to people that do gymnastics to a certain personality type. Now, of course, they’re not monoliths, and anything like that. But just in case, some of our listeners are not, let’s say initiated into the world of competitive gymnastics, can you give an idea of kind of what those personality types are like, what kind of person gets into highly competitive gymnastics? Are these perfectionist by nature? And I’m seeing that with a smile on my face.


Christina Myers  7:18  

Yes, definitely. So I will say is starting to change a little bit, the culture of gymnastics is having some much needed changes forward and a better direction. But it still is a really kind of a, almost a stereotypical kind of person really gets into it and makes it to the highest levels. And that perfectionist type, it tends to be, I don’t wanna say they’re all introverted, because there are some that are not and that are a little bit louder, but they do tend to be kind of that self disciplined, really academically driven kind of person. And I mean, if you look at like at the college level, and what gymnastics teams and their GPAs are, like, you have like, the entire team has a GPA of a GPA of 3.85 or above at the college level, which is just crazy for a sports team. And you’ll see that even in the high school age, like I have two seniors graduating, one of them’s valedictorian at her school, and the other ones GPA is like a 4.5 something. And they’re both in the gym, you know, tons of hours during the week doing gymnastics, and they’re still just absolutely blowing it away at school. 


So I think that personality type really is successful in gymnastics, and has been historically and continues to be because it is such a detail oriented sport. In itself, such a mental sport. I mean, all sports are but not every sport requires you to be doing flips on a four inch beam, and some of these kinds of things. So I think more than any other sport, there’s a huge mental component to it. And if you don’t have that, there’s only so much coaching of it that you can do that makes sense.


Brett Bartholomew  8:55  

Yeah, without a question. I think anybody listening, whether they coach for a living in a sports context, or anything else can relate to the fact that there’s people that we try to guide that are inherently very highly perfectionistic, right. They’re very analytical. They’re in their own heads. We have a coaching client now right now, it’s a business owner that is trying to enhance the way they communicate, because they’re trying to scale and they’re very type a right. So one time, one area that I struggle with, even though that I consider this somewhat of my expertise is they came in, and our first call, they want a lot of information, I want to be a better communicator, I need to do this. They want checklists, they want everything under the sun. And what was tricky for me is I’m thinking, Alright, you want to avoid the curse of knowledge. So I think, well, what are you already familiar with of ours? And they really hadn’t gone through much of our stuff, right? But they wanted this whole breakdown of how they could be better. And I asked him, Well, how, where are you right now as a communicator, like what are you doing right now? How do you see yourself now? And they said, Well, what do you mean by that? And I said that very clearly, like you’re trying to communicate with other folks. How have you analyze your own style. And and all they could really say is I’m type A, I’m analytical. And when I try helping them get an idea that information alone, while it might help them isn’t going to build that skill for them to help others, that that was hard for them to swallow. 


Do you feel like you ever struggle with that when you’re trying to appeal to this highly analytical group? But you know, at some point, you still have to diversify that like, Well, how do you struggle, if at all, as somebody that identified right, you have a gymnastics background, or somebody that’s trying to communicate with that population? Now?


Christina Myers  10:36  

I think exactly what you just said information. And you know, I love school, I’ve always loved school and information and formal education and that kind of thing. So, for me coming out of that exact same personality type that I just described, that most gymnasts are, and the coaching style that I came up under was very much you listen, and you don’t speak, and you do what you’re told, and not really a very interactive or two sided thing. And so I think I learned from that, and that I don’t ever want to coach that way. And I learned that that’s not right. But at the same time, for when I was first getting into coaching, that was all I really knew, because that was the majority of my coaching history for myself, coming from about three years old up until I was 17, when I finally left the sport of gymnastics and moved on to something else, in a serious capacity. And so it took a long time to kind of unlearn that, even though I knew when I first started coaching gymnastics myself that I didn’t want to coach the same way my old coaches had, I still didn’t have anything else to go off of really. 


And so I’d say now I try to one, make sure that I’m not doing the same thing to the girls that I’m coaching. And it really is a matter of getting to know each kid and what is going to work for them and what gets through to them. And then being able to kind of change the way that you are coaching them both, like technical corrections and that kind of stuff, and just the way you interact with them, like some kids I can be sarcastic with, and they think it’s funny, and they’re gonna get those jokes, and some kids aren’t going to get it. And so if I tell them, No, and I’m really kidding, they’re going to take me literally, and they’re going to walk away think I really just told them no, and so kind of getting to know each human, you know, individually, but then also getting to know their actual technical proficiency in the sport. 


And then even on an intellectual level, I have never worked with a kid who’s not smart, not in gymnastics, not at high levels, but they don’t learn the same way. And so for some of them, I can just say, do this, and they’re gonna be like, okay, and be able to do it. And some of them, I need to draw them a picture on a whiteboard, which I’ve done, or I need to video them and show it to him and go, Okay, this is what I’m talking about. Now try this. And they don’t, you know, you got to really get in and do it differently for each kid. And that can be hard. And we talked about how I shift gears a lot during the day. So while I’m coaching gymnastics, in a single six hour span, I’ll go from high school seniors down to eight year olds, back to like the high school group. And so you just have to keep changing, because obviously, I don’t talk to my eight year olds, or give them the same level of detail and correction that I came with one of my older kids who’s really going to get it and who actually understands what their body is doing, and will be able to put those things into place. If that makes sense. 


Brett Bartholomew  13:16  

Absolutely. Valid point. I appreciate the detail. I think the interesting thing is, a lot of people will say, hey, obviously I shouldn’t talk to this person, the way that I do that person, but I think if they saw themselves on tape or listen to themselves, they’d be surprised at how much they really did. You know, and I’m included in that as well. And I think you’ll 


One of our listeners had I had a great question one time around this idea of working with highly analytical perfectionistic folks, people that we really consider like this technician archetype. They asked how do you keep them from engaging in self destructive behaviors, whether that is you know, really awful self talk, which I know I have I have, it’s something I always struggle with, right? I have this like, shadow figure that incessantly rips up my work. Now, I’ve gotten to make peace with them over the years a little bit periodically. But we know that that can take many manifestations in an athlete or any individual’s life. 


How do you approach that if there’s anybody that you’ve ever worked with, and of course, respecting their privacy, not asking to name names, but have you ever had somebody that just it starts to get very toxic with how they talk to themselves and get in their own head and become self destructive?


Christina Myers  14:24  

I would say, honestly, the majority of the people that I work with specifically in gymnastics, that’s the way they are. And they’re young, for one, so it’s it. They’re really just in those formative years. And so if we don’t get them out of that, now it’s going to follow them forever. But it’s the perfectionist personality that we just talked about. Plus we’ve got an aesthetic sport that’s very detail oriented, that does require a lot of feedback back and forth between the coach and the gymnast. So like, almost every single thing that they do, I’m going to have to give them a correction acute something and so on my end, just with time technical corrections and that kind of thing, I have to make sure that I’m always telling them what they’re doing well, before I’m telling them what they’re doing wrong, or what they can work on. And I think it goes a long way. For me to not say, You did this well, but you did this wrong. But to say you did this, well, let’s work on this next. So that it’s always framed in a positive light, because just like I did it as a kid, and even can still do it to myself a little bit. Now, if I say, you ran really fast, but your arms was bent were bent, all they hear is your arms were bent like they didn’t hear the you did this part right at the beginning. 


So I think definitely making sure that each actual correction that we give is, you know, is kind of framed in a positive light. And it’s something that is as constructive feedback. And not just like a criticism like you did this wrong. But also in the way that you interact with them, again, kind of going back to that, sometimes I don’t talk to them, I just listened to what they’re saying when they think I’m not paying attention.  and hearing the way they either talk to each other about themselves, or just kind of sometimes kids are funny, they like talk to themselves. So they really will be talking to themselves. But I’ll hear them saying negative things about themselves. Whether it’s body image, especially working with these young girls, and they’re in a leotard all the time, whether it’s something that’s going on at school that they might not have come to me with, but they’ll tell their friends, you know, they’ve got somebody being mean to them there, they have something going on at school that’s making them feel like they don’t fit in like they aren’t good enough for some reason. And that kind of stuff just starts following them into sport as well. So they’re dealing with that at school, and then they’re coming straight to the gym. And all I’m doing or all any other coaches doing is telling them what to fix, all they hear is I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough. And they never hear anything that’s going to help build their confidence up. And especially working with younger girls. And I think with anybody because I definitely do this with my adults too. But I think, especially if you’ve got younger girls, they’re already tearing themselves down, especially when they’re hitting those teenage years. 


So anything you can do to kind of reverse that narrative in their head and start building up confidence in them is gonna go such a long way and how they’ve talked to themselves, like you mentioned, and eventually how they talk to other people I think and how they perform at work and that kind of thing, because they’re going to have the confidence to one actually, you know, have some confidence in what they’re doing, and that they’re doing a good job, and that they are good enough as they are, but in not seeing other people as competition, because they’re going to not feel like they have to bring other people down in order for themselves to be successful. And that just makes a big difference in the actual dynamic, and your relationships with other people later on.


Brett Bartholomew  17:34  

Yeah, some great touch points there. One that I want to get into is I’m glad that you talked about this idea of, you know, sometimes you won’t say anything, you’ll just kind of listen and observe to see what they say to themselves. You know, when you’re not actively coaching. 


And the reason I say that is we have this idea that management leadership coaching always has to be this incredibly active process. Our hands have to be on everything, we have to shape it, we have to give feedback constantly, right? We have this idea that if you’re not doing this, and this really builds into how a lot of ourselves, this idleness aversion, right, if you’re a leader of any kind, you don’t want to be idle, you want to make an impact in any in any way you can. But you know, you can’t always be this highly active process, you do have to step back, you have to observe you have to go through this Guided Discovery. 


Was there ever a point where that was hard for you? Where you felt like no, I constantly want to be involved? I want to be a fixer. I want to do this? And if so, when was it that you realize like, ah, Christina, at some point, you’ve got to just like, the indirect is the direct.


Christina Myers  18:35  

I think you mentioned being a fixer and I am very much a person who like if you want something done, right, you need to do it yourself. And if I see something that could be done more efficiently, even if sometimes it’s not really my business, I want to fix it, like I just want to come in and you know, completely revamp the whole thing, redo the system, whatever it is and make sure that it’s being done the right way. And sometimes it’s not my thing to stick my hands in. And I have to remind myself of that, that the way someone else is coaching is not really my business as long as it’s not you know abusive, or going to harm somebody that it’s not my place to get in the middle of that. And that is a hard thing because it is my personality type. 


Even though I’m a little bit more kind of an introspective, a little bit introverted person, I have a really hard time watching things not be done the way I would do them and not wanting to like do something about it. And that kind of goes back to that perfectionist mentality, I think. And I have to be really careful when that happens. Because sometimes I will consciously know that I shouldn’t get involved until I won’t, but I’ll catch myself still thinking about it and like watching something happen or an interaction between other people and thinking, Well, I would do it this way and I’m going and I have to like get out of it. You’re not involved. So like literally don’t be involved don’t waste your mental space because then it just makes me you know, kind of resentful and or even just kind of walking into the building already annoyed even though there’s literally nothing For me to be worried about and then that affects how I talk and what my mood is when I’m walking into work. So I think really just trying to figure out how to let that stuff go. And I will say, the older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve gotten at doing it. But I still catch myself sometimes and have to think through it and go stop. Yeah, get out of it. Well, and


Brett Bartholomew  20:19  

I think, you know, just to circle back to something you mentioned earlier, and we’re definitely going to get into you have such a unique perspective and strong expertise in guiding how we should coach female athletes how we should think about these kinds of things, broader picture, but I do have to ask one selfish question first that deals with that perfectionism. How in the hell did you deal and cope with the thing like the apprenticeship then when we brought you in and made you do improv? And you were at a very, you guys were at the very first like, test iteration, right? So we’ve changed it a lot. But like, we threw a lot at you guys, very goofy stuff, some very serious stuff. What how do you but how did that perfectionist in you that introvert as you identified as within you take to this situation where now we’re doing role playing games, you know, like, how did that impact you? And more importantly, what made you get over the hump to say, Yeah, this is something I’m gonna go to when that terrify most introverts.


Christina Myers  21:15  

It did, and it definitely did. And even in the moment of doing it, it is hard because I still like anything that I was going to come up with in my head, even though the entire point was just to kind of be off the cuff and say, What first came to you was, I was going to think about three different answers and try and get the one that I thought was the best one or that other people wanted to hear. And I don’t know that I’ve totally overcome that. But I do think it is, again, a little bit about kind of not caring what people think. And even though I would consider myself to be a person who doesn’t care what people think, like, I’ve always been a little bit outside the box, like my entire life, and not really feeling like I needed to fit into a specific group. I definitely think when it comes to career based stuff, I really want to be successful so much that I’m like, Okay, if I say that one wrong thing, or trip over that one word, and that’s something that people are going to judge me for, and be like, well, maybe she’s not as smart as you know, she pretends like she is. 


And so I think the thing that helps me the most with it, is knowing how much I don’t care when other people do those things. Like I don’t, if somebody stutters, twice, when they’re trying to give a talk, like, I don’t remember that I remember their main message. And so kind of reminding myself of things like that. And in also having good friends who remind me of things like that, because I do still get nervous or anxious about things, and someone else will be like, but you always do such a good job. So why are you worried because you’re worried about all these things that never actually happened. And I think that’s just what anxiety is, but having people remind me of that, and then being able to remind myself is just, I think huge and kind of overcoming that and being able to relax a little bit. Because really, that’s what it comes down to is just saying the first thing that comes to mind instead of overthinking it and trying to pick out the best answer of the possibilities.


Brett Bartholomew  23:06  

Yeah, it’s like that Latin proverb, when you mentioned, being worried about things that may never happen, that it’s hope for peace, prepare for war, you know, I find that we do that a lot as well. Because whenever you put yourself out there, you’re gonna have this, you know, but you find that generally, you know, your friends are right. And you know, this too, of course, people will judge you more on the aggregate, you know, there’s what we’re very transparent on this, we had an extremely hectic morning, our little boys sick, we had some audio issues, and whatever. So like, the start of this podcast is more fumbled than it usually is for me, right. But like, at the end of the day, that’s our audience. Our audience is imperfect leaders that I think get a little bit tired of it, and I enjoy them. But like listening to the amalgamation of NPR episodes, and Ted episodes of podcasts that have 15 to 20 people working on them everything seamless, you know, I had an opportunity once to go on a larger podcast. And I remember I did fly out to LA, I went to the top floor of this place, I got there, and I’m looking at like a production team, you know, a production team. In the meantime, I’m recording this out of my closet, right, you know, whatever. And then the two hosts weren’t even there yet. One of them comes in and he’s like petting a small cat, like he’s a Bond villain. And we go into this soundproof like studio, and proceed to do the interview. And I’m just looking around like, so this is what happens, right? 


And, we probably talked for three hours, and then these editors consolidated it down to 60 minutes. And my whole point of that diatribe is we judge ourselves based off the externalities of what we see, but we have no idea what goes on there. Right. And so even when we do our podcasts, and somebody’s like, Hey, you should do this, like Rogan does, or that I’m like, Yeah, we you know, that’s not who we are. And that’s great. That’s not that we don’t appreciate that. But you know, you have to look at the things that you do and plus you’re very fluent in the words that you choose and very purposeful as well. I want to switch gears a little bit to the way you speak to yourself and brand because you talked about You’re not just doing gymnastics, right? You’re in the powerlifting world. And if somebody were to look you up, if they look you up on Instagram, go ahead and tell them your Instagram handle


Christina Myers  25:10  

Yeah, my instagram handle is lift heavy princess. And that actually started. I was just the name of a blog that I wrote. And I wasn’t going to keep it when I officially went into business. And some branding people talked me into it. I was going to change it. I was like, what other suggestions do you have for the name of this because my biggest concern with it was that guys weren’t going to hire me that I was going to only end up with female athletes because there’s princess  in the name of it. And my other big concern was that I’m really not a princess personality type. I’m very like laid back lowkey, like, I drive a truck, I basically never wear makeup. So like the things that you typically associate with like that Princess personality type. I’m really not any of those things. 


And so I had a great person doing my branding. And she said, No, you should keep it. And she said, but here’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna make your colors black and red with a little bit of like a pink highlight so that it does still appeal to some of those other that mean to both genders and different personality types and that kind of thing, but it fits you. And it still keeps that because that name is so catchy, and it does get people’s attention. So I’m glad that other people talked me into keeping it because I probably wouldn’t have. But that’s what people know me as I’ve been people all the time. And they they don’t know my name, but they know Oh, your laptop, you’re lift heavy princess? And I’m like, Yep, that’s me. And they’re like, you’re not really what I thought you’d be like, you’re pretty low key. And I’m like yet? 


Brett Bartholomew  26:34  

Yeah, that’s a good thing. And they were right. You know, it is smart. It’s much like she I think early on, when we were trying to cross over, you know, we were very big on, we wanted people to understand that we weren’t just, you know, weight room, people. And so art of coaching, we were very cautious and tried to be purposeful, and making sure that our overall branding didn’t make it look like that’s all we did, because it’s certainly not you know, at the same time, I didn’t want to run from our core demographic, right? Because we have a very strong base of people in performance that are now like, awesome, we see what you’re trying to do. You’re crossing over, you’re taking our lessons into the broader leadership world. So you never want to run from that when you’re talking about, hey, we’re gonna have red and black, but we’re gonna blend some pink, right? Like you want to be able to lean into that. How do you think, you know, going into this? Now this idea of we obviously we judge books by its cover, right? 


And we’ve talked a lot about in these episodes and other things about how we coach women, and how we work with members of different genders and what have you. And this has been a pretty hot topic. And one question that me and a good friend of mine, Scott Livingston were talking about, that I want to get into is for you, you know, one approach is do male coaches and females, in some instances, take that might have like this positive intention behind it, but also could be received in a manner that doesn’t really help the outcome when they’re working with with female athletes, right? They may think, Hey, this is I’m trying to do right by this, I think this is the way to go. Talk to me a little bit about that.


Christina Myers  28:03  

Well, I think so, physiologically, males and females are not all that different when it comes to training and really even sports performance type things. Good training is going to be good training for either one of them with some small  individualization, like you would normally make for any athlete. But I think the mentality is where things really are different. Partly in just society, and the way that girls are raised versus the way that guys were raised too kind of always be part of sports, whereas girls are not, that’s still considered the exception, even though literally 50% of athletes out there are female. But it’s still kind of treated as unique and special, and the exception to the rule rather than the norm, when it’s really not any of those things. But I think kind of that like not fear based, but the really disciplinarian approach. And I see that a ton in gymnastics. And even though the sport is trying to get away from it, it still kind of is, I think, the most common kind of coaching technique. 


But I see that a lot in kind of the high school weight room setting as well, where you have the same strength and conditioning coach who’s working with the football team, and then they’re gonna get the women’s sports coming in as well. And they don’t really shift gears, they try and coach them the same way they do their guys. And one thing I think that you have to remember about those female athletes, and we kind of touched on this earlier is they’re already going to be a little bit more perfectionist. And not trying to generalize every single female to be the same, but just just kind of a female characteristic a little bit. And they are especially in that high school age where guys tend to be in that like peacocking stage and they’re getting a little overconfident girls are doing the exact opposite. They’re starting to feel really self conscious for the first time and they’re in an unfamiliar environment usually in the weight room one where they don’t really feel like they belong or have been told that they don’t belong there. And so if you are kind of being super authoritarian with them, I think that you’re, you’re just going to find them shrinking away from that, and they’re going to they’re going to do it, they’re going to follow and fit in and be in line and be what you want them to be. But you’re never going to truly develop relationships with those athletes, and be able to reach them as well as you could, if you do go ahead and give them that kind of the autonomy, because I think they’re a little more much more mature than the guys are at that age, and they can handle it. And they will thrive in that situation and kind of being able to make their own decisions, obviously, with coaches input, but even little things like choosing the music in the weight room, they may not want to listen to the same thing, like you might need to turn on Taylor Swift for them, to really get them into a mental state where they want to lift because they don’t want to be yelled at by the same metal that your guys do. Now, some do like I tend to like that kind of music, but not every single person does. And so I think just really making a point to one get to know them individually, and kind of what makes them tick. And then also taking the time to figure out how to let them be autonomous in their own way. Whatever makes sense, in your situation, is a really big one. 


Brett Bartholomew  31:06  

Yeah. And I think that’s where people still get caught up. You mentioned getting to know them and make them tick. It’s something that is we repeat over and over many guests repeat over and over. And I think people really want a fancier answer. But that’s where they get tripped up is coaches not only are not switching gears, they’re really not learning what makes somebody tick, because we rush our interactions, everything, we try to systematize we try to make it super efficient. Another thing I’m glad and I think you’re one of the only ones that did this that you alluded to, as you stated like, listen, I get that everybody’s different. I’m not trying to over generalize in terms of how females are and males or what have you. But I think it’s important because we say it enough on this show. Of course everybody’s different situations and circumstances are unique. But there are commonalities and behavior, there are patterns, right? Birds follow migratory patterns, as do many other animals. Humans, we look at how we move from continent to continent, we do this, this is what archetypical behavior is right? It is a mold, it doesn’t mean people don’t break it. But there is a mold, you know what I mean? 


Like, and I think that that’s something that we’ve maybe gone too far on one side is we’re trying to over specialize to the point where we can’t even talk about these topics. And then it doesn’t lead to any progress because now we’re not talking about differences between coaching male and female, because we’re too scared to say anything about that. Because then somebody’s gonna say, well, now you’re overgeneralizing. And then it’s like, Alright, then how do we make progress? How do we make progress if we literally can’t say anything? And we want to say that there are things that you need to recognize, but hey, everybody’s different, then people just get stuck in their own heads. What are your thoughts on that?


Christina Myers  32:43  

No, I think you’re absolutely right on that. And that’s something that I’ve been talking about a lot here lately, even with just like sports performance research concerning like gender differences and that kind of thing. And overwhelmingly, what we’ve seen, especially from a physiological standpoint, is that we’re a lot more alike than we are different between male and female. But the way things are written and the way that they are presented, makes it seem like girls are some alien species that needs something completely different, when that’s really just not the case. And so if you even if you pull out like essentials of strength and conditioning, or basically any exercise science or strengthing conditioning textbook, you see a chapter or a small section of a chapter that special populations, and that’s where the female athletes are, like, they’re stuck in that special little, you know, they get like a page to themselves or something, when really the entire book is about them. But they’ve been stuck into this one little small spot, and treated as if they are something different, that they belong in there with the elderly population, or with people with disabilities or something like that. And so I think, anytime we do that, and we treat it like it is some like unique, special, only certain people can do it, or only certain people have these qualities kind of thing. And we’re just doing them a disservice, in that we are setting it up where you can’t talk about it where you have to treat it like it’s special, or like it’s some kind of disorder to be female. But that’s not the case at all. 


And again, like I said earlier, they’re literally half of the athletes are female, at this point, so I don’t know why they’re still on this, this one page vessel special section in a textbook, or why I’m still presenting on it as a special topic, which I love to do, I think it needs to be talked about, and I’m gonna keep doing it. But if you bring me on as a special topic to talk about female athletes, it makes it seem like only one presentation was worth talking about female athletes. And that kind of thing rather than like everybody coming into it with the mindset that if you’re talking about athletes, you’re talking about both that they’re not different in that aspect, that the training stuff, the performance stuff is the same and yeah, there’s some small stuff that you really had to pay attention to with females, like I said, the mental stuff maybe a little bit, making sure that you’re really paying attention to ACL injuries because we know they’re more prone to it, but ultimately 99% is the same And there’s like that 1% difference and we have to try stop treating it like it’s some taboo thing.


Brett Bartholomew  35:04  

Yeah, I think it’s funny. It’s almost like, I used to joke we’d go to strengthen conditioning conferences, you call yourself a strength conditioning coach, yet nothing was on coaching and communication. It was all on training, you know, and just like what you’re saying is, okay, females are one little special population, and it almost seems like a quota. Hey, guys, we’re throwing a clinic. Do we have a female speaker? Let’s check that box. Right. And it’s like, I mean, no, like, it’s just gotten to be interesting. And that lends itself to the second question I was gonna ask you, and you already alluded to it is, you know, what behaviors are counterproductive? Or, you know, what do you think are productive? If let’s say there’s a role playing example, right here. 


Let’s imagine somebody’s listening. They’re a bright young coach, leader, manager, what have you. And you know, they’re in charge of a lot of women’s sports teams, or maybe they just hired some different folks on staff. Ironically, everybody bought me at art of coaching as female. I was in charge of men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, the cheerleaders, a dance team, all these things, but maybe this is their first time. What are three things they absolutely should not do? Like day one, and you mentioned the music and what have you, let’s just simply  let’s talk about almost that building rapport and getting to know them side of things there in front of them. Day one. Hey, ladies, I’m your coach blank, what are some things they should not do that you think are really counterproductive?


Christina Myers  36:27  

Well, one thing that I mentioned kind of earlier, and I’ll come back to it, because I really think it’s applicable here is, when you’re talking to female athletes, remember that they’re already going to be really hard on themselves, probably much harder than most of the males that you’re going to work with, just because that kind of goes back into that archetype, a little bit of being really self conscious, and already being an analytical personality type, if they’re in sports, and really wanting to please whoever they’re they’re working with, like, that’s kind of, I think a really common aspect that gets overlooked is that those little girls that you’re working with, or young women, depending on what it is, they want to make you happy. And they care about that a whole lot. And so, if you speak to them in a way that even if you don’t mean it this way, but if you speak to them in a way where they think that you’re not happy, or that they are disappointing you or that they’re not doing a good job, they just internalize that and they start beating themselves up. And so they’re going to be harder on themselves, most likely than you ever will be.


Brett Bartholomew  37:30  

Hey, we’re gonna hit pause real quick and come right back to this episode. You know, it’s obvious from this conversation, the importance of the fact that people don’t just want a safe place to work, train or live. They also want and need a safe place to connect a place where you can be yourself open up about struggles, questions, anything like that. And we’ve created that with the art of coaching all access community, you can go to Again, that’s And it’s a way for us to connect in a way it’s not anchored to social media. It’s not some big membership site. Literally every week, we do different content drops, we’re not talking about anywhere else. Open q&a is and it is open to anybody have any experience level, any background, whatsoever, you want to be a better leader, a better communicator, and you have questions, you have struggles and you want to connect with others to problem solve collaborative way, check it out, all right, that’s a Christina.


Christina Myers  38:33  

If you speak to them in a way that even if you don’t mean it this way, but if you speak to them in a way where they think that you’re not happy, or that they are disappointing you or that they’re not doing a good job, they just internalize that and they start beating themselves up. And so they’re going to be harder on themselves most likely than you ever will be. And I think that’s something that you really have to remember when you’re working with those people. Because if you do come from a place of mostly cueing, mostly corrections, mostly kind of getting onto them or Coming on into that authoritarian kind of coaching style, then they’re going to take that and internalize it even more, and it’s going to become a thing where they’re not good enough. They’re not confident, they’re going to lose what confidence they did have, and they’re just going to keep kind of shrinking away, if you will, instead of coming out of their shell a little bit more, which is usually in sports, what you want, you do want them to be a little more aggressive, you want them to play a little bigger. You want them to have confidence that they actually can squat, whatever’s on the bar, that kind of thing. And so I think that’s probably the biggest one is always speaking confidence into them, rather than feeling like you have to discipline them the same way that you might need to discipline like a group of unruly high school boys who are climbing on the squat racks. You’re not going to see as much of that kind of behavior.


Brett Bartholomew  39:50  

Yeah, I bet that’s a perfect example. I remember in 2019 There was an article that came up and the article talked about intimidation, verbal abuse of Canada. Is elite athletes and, and the fact that it’s not uncommon, especially as it related to female athletes, and there’s been a number of coaches sanctioned to this point. And so I think you don’t have to pull it up. But they talked about more than 1000 athletes participated in this anonymous online survey. Right. And they were talking all of these athletes, either currently or previously played on one of Canada’s dozens of national teams and are over 16. And what they talked about is that, even though so much has been rightly placed on the prevalence of sexual abuse in sports, and we certainly heard about that, and gymnastics and what have you, and the athletes in this study reported, the far more common form of abuse at the national level is psychological. I mean, literally 1/5 of current national team member said they had been, you know, receiving kind of like just psychological harm of these coaches using pressure tactics. 


And I want to be clear, before I turn this over to you, for sure, because you’re the expert. You know, I think we have to make a point that I’m a pretty rough around the edges. Coach, Christina, right. I talk, frankly, matter of factly. But I also think I balanced that with some warmth. You know, but I speak frankly, I think people need to understand that we’re not talking about not holding people accountable, helping them get the most out of themselves or whatever, there comes a line where and this is a very scientific term, you cross the dipshit zone, where you have to ask yourself, am I trying to prove a point and really trying to help here, or like, is something else leaking into my coaching, you know, is something else my desire for control, my desire for respect, my desire for predictability, my avoidance of a risk and uncertainty and what have you, which I think a lot of these coaches have, and I’m using my as a collective, metaphorical we write them out that coach should think about that? Is that’s what leaking into my coaching? Or do I have a desire to make this athlete Great. 


Any thoughts? I know, that’s just a broad thing. But I wanted to bring that up, take that anywhere you want your thoughts around psychological abuse it with respect to these kinds of athletes?


Christina Myers  41:58  

No, that’s an excellent topic. And I think, like you said, in gymnastics, but I think in women’s sports in general, we’ve seen so so much of that. And there’s  so many more athletes out there who hadn’t realized that that’s happened to them yet. And I think that’s almost worse is that it felt so normal to be coached that way that they don’t know it was wrong. And I can kind of relate to that personally a little bit. So. And I think this will be a good source to lead into a different topic is my gymnastics coaches, when I was younger, were really good people with good intentions, who wanted the best for us, they really did. And unfortunately, the generation of gymnastics that I came up in, and the people who were kind of at the top at that time, were those verbally abusive and psychologically abusive coaches. And so they’re the people that every other coach is looking up to, and is seeing their success in terms of what kind of medals they’re winning and how their girls are doing and that kind of thing. 


And that’s who they’re learning from, that’s who’s teaching to conferences. That’s you saying, this is normal, this is how you have to do it. This is how you make gymnasts successful. And so even though my coaches were not ever intentionally bad to us in any way, they always wanted the best for us and really did care about us. They didn’t know any better. And so the things that they were getting passed down to them from these people who now we know were abusive to other athletes. And sure those athletes won medals, but like, they’re just broken people now, which is never, should be the goal. It should never be worth it for someone to be an Olympian, but then have a terrible life after that, because of what you’ve done to them emotionally or psychologically, and that kind of thing. And I think, like you said, things that were bleeding into that, and in the case of my personal coaches, I know that that wasn’t the case. And as they have learned better, they’ve done better and they still coach today, and I see them and how differently they do things and how they learned from what they were doing wrong in the past. 


But unfortunately, I think they’re the exception. And most people do let their ego get in the way they do let their personal drive to be successful, or even to be seen as successful, which they take to be how many metals their kids went, how many kids when they get to the highest level, how many state championships, national championships, whatever it may be, that they’ve got versus how many athletes did they take from where they were, make them physically and mentally better than they were when they started and send out of their program a better person, a more successful person, a more whole person? And I know in gymnastics, for sure, and in a lot of women’s sports we’ve just heard so many stories about how it’s the exact opposite how they don’t really care about the person they care about what they do on the court what they do on the field what they do, you know on the mats for gymnastics and that kind of thing. And like you said their egos getting in the way their personal goals are getting in the way of what they’re doing for those kids, 


Even for adults and kind of where I went back to the beginning like so many of those athletes get that kind of coaching as a kid, or as a young adult or as a high school, or even into college. And they continue on to the elite level of sport. And they never get someone who shows them that it was wrong the whole time. And so then they take that into them when they get into romantic relationships into friendships, and they get into abusive relationships and that kind of thing, because the way they were treated, is how they think they’re supposed to be treated. And they were never truly like, valued by a coach. And I came out of gymnastics. And like I said, my coaches were good people with good intentions, who had bad information. And I walked onto my college track team. And my first year of track, I ran as a senior in high school, but it was like a really big team. And the coaches really kind of didn’t get to know me and I was self taught. So coming into college, I had to completely relearn, like everything I knew. And the coach that I had was incredibly patient with that. And, I was doing high jump, so I have no hide it like the first three meats I did. And I was the only high jumper that we had that year. So I was like, I’ve just completely let the team down. And what I had been taught up until that point was if I mess up, I am of no value to anyone, basically.


And what I would do to myself was because it was what I was used to with gymnastics, I would just walk away, like I would go to the bathroom and cry, I would do it, but I would not do it in front of people. And I would come back and I’d be a good teammate again. And I would never let in anyone to know that like I wasn’t okay. And once. And it was purely by luck, the bathroom was kind of far away, and I had no hide it again. And like I didn’t get to the bathroom before tear started rolling down my face. And my coach saw it. And he, when I came back out, he sat down with me for probably 20 minutes and just kind of was telling me you know, like, it may take you until your senior year to finally like really be successful here. But I don’t care. You’re still valued. And I still think you’re an important part of this team, no matter whether you make it over that bar or not in the meet. And I think that was the first time anybody had done that for me. And I was like, Well, this is new and different. And I didn’t know it could be like this. 


And so that was great for me personally. But it was a really transformative experience that I took with me into my own coaching because now I go oh, and I felt so much better after that, that I actually performed a whole lot better. I took a lot of pressure off of myself that I didn’t you know, if I didn’t do well, I wasn’t important. And I just started paying attention to like actually doing my best. And if I made it, and I got into the meat, and I scored points for the team, great. But if I didn’t, it didn’t matter to me, you know, I still wanted to be successful. But it didn’t matter in me beating myself up and telling myself I wasn’t worth anything and that kind of mentality, which as you know, and performance usually just makes it worse. You just kind of start spiraling at that point. So I think that those two stark differences in coaching, were just really big in me kind of taking that into my personal coaching and what I do now? 


Brett Bartholomew  47:54  

Yeah, well,  I mean to touch on that. And you mentioned a lot about, I want to think about where I want to jump on this because  there’s so many great points, I don’t want to forget one,


you had mentioned that you feel like you had a non traditional kind of entrance into coaching. And what ties into this is think about everything you’ve said about athletes and the way we deal with athletes and the way that we want them to be achievement focus or what have you. Well, a lot of the reasons I think that these toxic coaches exist is we celebrate things that are tangible and highly visible, right. So these wins these losses like these, when people win championships, and they have a great record, a lot of swept under the rug, a lot of swept under the rug because the sports industry is really the entertainment industry. So we’ve idolized a lot of these figures because it’s the same thing. Listen, we dealt with it early on from a business standpoint, trying to sell coaches on becoming a better communicator, for some coaches is esoteric, they think they’re good. And then they realize that they haven’t had any socialization in communication training, you know, they don’t have any.


And when you consider the fact that coaching in general and competitive sport, or strengthing auditioning tends to attract alpha level males who want to be dominant, they want to be able to, you know, I say this all the time, a lot of strength coaches, were average to above average athletes highly competitive, the weight room was this place of solace. So they take that competitive, dominant, hyper insecure mindset into something and they project that onto the people that they lead. And so it’s troubling to me when and I’ve only realized this recently as I’ve expanded upon my own work of all these coaches talking about how do I get across the athletes? How do I do this? And I’m like, yo, somebody you need to look at yourself. And the only reason I’ll say it like that is because I had to do that that was the only advantage that I had being hospitalized. You know, at such a young age, you have nobody to talk to nobody around. Like I have to sit and think I had no social media distractions. You didn’t get a phone you didn’t get anything in that hospital. You had to sit and think and you were asked questions by psychologists and psychiatrists that made you I bet and that was deep for me as a 15 year old. But a lot of these coaches haven’t done that. And so they’re in these positions of tremendous power. Putting, it’s almost like they that parent that lives vicariously through their kid, you know, that parent didn’t get to do this or that. And and so these coaches are protected. And then they don’t ever feel like they have to work on the quote unquote, soft skills because hey, as long as they’re winning, most of their athletes aren’t, they don’t feel like most of their athletes are ever going to speak up. And guess what, Christina? If they speak up, they’re soft, they’re not committed, it’s easy to brush them to the side. So it sounds like you had this one coach that thankfully didn’t make you feel like that you had the most of the world wouldn’t know their name, because a it might not have won at championships.


Christina Myers  50:42  

Yeah, and that’s what I’m saying. So one really cool thing about my old track coach is, a lot of the girls that I coach do due to sports or something like that. And they learned to pull vault because it comes really naturally to a gymnast. And they tend to be really good at it pretty quickly. And so he teaches pole vaulting private lessons on the side. And a lot of the girls that I work with are working with him too. And I just, that always just kind of makes me smile, because I’m like, I know they’re in good hands, I know that someone is teaching them that they’re important is actually taking the time to really get to know them and like be invested in their success, both personal. And you know, actually pole vaulting. And he’s a college coach. So I mean, sure he gets money from doing these private lessons, but those kids are not going to commit to his school, right? You know, long term, there’s not really anything in it for him, other than just truly wanting to make sure that they are successful later on whether they go somewhere else, or whether they quit after high school, or whatever it is. And so I think we need more coaches like that, for sure. 


And one thing that you mentioned there with people not realizing that they’re the problem, if you will, is I see that so much, especially in the sport of gymnastics, there just is this incredibly toxic. This is how we’ve always done it. And this is how we have to keep doing it, kind of culture. And you would think that all of the stories that have come out of USA Gymnastics in the last couple of years would be enough for people to go, Hey, that didn’t actually work. Maybe the team has been winning gold medals. But look at this 250 People who were sexually abused because they thought it was normal. And that’s the worst part of that whole story is that the reason that it didn’t come out for so long was because those girls didn’t know something was wrong. They didn’t know they shouldn’t have been treated like that. And that Larry Nasser worked in a gym or someone was so verbally and psychologically abusive to the girls that going to him felt like an escape. So that was something they were literally running away to, and then again, not realizing that something was wrong. And so it was literally a setup where someone was being so rude to them. And they did know that they felt bad that they went to someone who made them feel better, and didn’t realize that that was also a form of abuse. 


And I think that those situations are unfortunately more common than we realize. And when all of that stuff came out, there were a whole lot of gymnastics coaches that I saw just all over social media talking about how crazy it was, how they couldn’t believe that kind of stuff was happening. And this whole time I’m sitting there going, I can, because right now you guys are all blaming those people, and none of you going have I ever made someone feel like they needed to go run to someone else? And, and I see that, you know, across the gym or in different programs, and I see those kids running to someone else, thankfully, not in that same kind of situation, but just the fact that they feel like they need to, that they need to escape that they really respect their coach, and they really want to be successful and want to make that person happy. But that they are willing to kind of like put things inside of them or try and find comfort in something else. And that shouldn’t be the case, that shouldn’t be something that a young athlete needs to do to be able to feel like they can stay in their sport and continue to train it to the best of their ability.


Brett Bartholomew  53:57  

Yeah, I mean, it’s easy for those kinds of predators to hide in plain sight because like you said, there are people that can take these advisor roles in these coaching roles, because they know people are going to seek out help and a confidant and what have you. And the problem what’s crazy to me is it’s so systemic and in many forms of leadership, not just coaching, but there are people that will know that that individual that did wrong, yet they won’t ever really take a stance or a side on it because they feel like they’ll get blacklisted, right. And I we’ve seen this in strength and conditioning we’ve seen things happen and strengthen conditioning where it’s like I will witness people that I know in the field scared to say something not because they didn’t know Oh, like well, we don’t know the facts yet. No, no, you know, the facts like the facts are blatant, but it’s really because they’re nervous that if they speak out against that individual, somebody in their coaching circle will not allow them to get their next job. It’s like you know, your next job is that important to you? Like your circle and and so I think people need to look at, you know, I’d said something that a social media post recently, we look at what we eat, we look at sleeping, we Look at these health behaviors, I think people really need to take a look at not only themselves but their social circle. And again, I’ve had to do this plenty of times to I’ve had to be like, are the people that I’m around really serving me in the capacity that they need to? And I don’t mean serving, like, are they benefiting me? Is this similar value still are these similar goals? Still, do I really want to be associated because we all seek approval, right. And I found myself seeking approval from people who used to be, you know, at the apotheosis of my career. And then I took a second guess. And I’m like, yo, I don’t want to be like that. And that’s nothing against them. Maybe in that situation, it’s just, I think, taking a second to look at what we really want, who we really are, and who we really hang around with serve a lot of us some good.


Christina Myers  55:44  

Definitely. And I think just really being willing to take a look at yourself and how you’re doing things and to truly analyze those things and be self aware of how you might be affecting other people outside of just their sports performance. Like if sometimes I see so many red flags coming out of a program or something like that just tons of kids getting burnt out tons of kids constantly being hurt tons of kids, leaving on bad terms with their sport. And not quitting just because they outgrew it or because they didn’t want to do it anymore, or anything like that. And I think the worst part of that is when you see those coaches who continue to do the exact same thing, they don’t change anything like they don’t even realize that something is wrong, that they’re having such a crazy attrition rate. Or kids who are getting injured to the point that their career is over and their entire sports career is over when they are in high school. And obviously, there’s risk associated with any kind of sport. Not saying that there should never be any kind of injury. But when you have an injury problem, or when you have a burnout problem, and these kids are not even to college yet, that’s I think, a big sign that you should do something different. And I see so many times where people, they push harder, they do the opposite, they go further in the direction, they were already going, instead of taking a big step back and going, alright, this isn’t working, I have to do something different. Or we have to try something different. And I think some of it comes from, like we said earlier control and wanting to be in control. And being kind of afraid that if they try something different, they’re not going to be in control anymore, or being afraid to be wrong, and to try something new, being afraid of failure a little bit. And if you don’t do those things, you’re never going to truly progress and truly grow and grow your program. 


Brett Bartholomew  57:26  

Yeah. And one thing that you mentioned earlier that I want to bring up and there is a one more question I want to ask you after this. And I want to respect your time, but I think it’s important that we do this is if there’s an athlete listening, because coaches will share this with athletes managers will send this was it to employees, is there a place to your knowledge that anybody that has dealt with some kind of sexual abuse, or that kind of harassment that they can go? Is there a resource that they can reach out to because I know a lot of times it’s like, oh, well complain to HR or you know, go to the governing body or, you know, go to this or go to that. But a lot of times these places can insulate, right, the person that perpetrate some of this stuff, and what should be secret and private and respected really isn’t? Is there a unifying body or a council or any kind of safe place people can go to, to your knowledge that that can be helpful to them.


Christina Myers  58:17  

I think the biggest one that kind of is general for almost every sport right now is called safe sport. It is from the coaching side of things are some training that you go through. And it’s pretty basic training. I would say most coaches should already know it, they probably already covered it from their organization. But some who are either working on their own are getting into it and they’re new. Some of it might be news, because some of it is very common sense, I think. But some of it is things that you might not think about, like you can’t give an athlete a gift. And, again, it’s probably one of those things that in most cases is a good intention. But it just may not always be perceived the way that you want it to be in that kind of thing. And so it has a training aspect. And it has a lot of sports governing bodies that require it of the people who are certified to coach within their organization. I know how to do it for both gymnastics and for powerlifting to be allowed to coach. But it also has the opposite side of that where it has a lot of resources for both parents and athletes who if they think there’s a problem, they can report it. There’s a way to report anonymously, there’s a way to actually give all the details you have and give your name, especially if you’re the person that is being harmed in some way so that they do know who it is. And they are supposed to keep you anonymous as much as possible. I do know sometimes when they get into formal investigations with law enforcement, they do have to give some details. And so


Brett Bartholomew  59:49  

go ahead, 


Christina Myers  59:50  

they asked you first at least you know that that’s gonna get passed on to someone else at that point, but I think that’s kind of one of the biggest ones because it does allow people Like, I could report another coach through that and have an outside third party be in charge of the investigation rather than me going to my manager and saying, Hey, this coach that I work for, or work with is doing this, and then it kind of becoming a personal thing and somebody retaliating in some way and that kind of thing. So,


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:19  

yeah, and everybody listening, we’re gonna link this, you know, the website down below it is And then there’s a report a concern page, like Christina said, so we’re gonna have that link, you can report online, you can call the report, listen, I know, you have to get going soon. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question, because I know it’s something you fight. And I know, if you fight it, a ton of other people fight it, I’ve dealt with it in my own respect, but nowhere to the point that you have with you being female. And I want to frame up this context, right? A lot of times you and we have these questions from from our audience, you’re a female coach in a male dominated field, right. And that comes with sometimes being asked to be something that you’re not, that can be being looked over being discredited, you know, to prove yourself and where I said that I understand a little bit of this is, when I left the team setting, you know, to go into the private sector, or when I wrote a book on communication, there were some people that had never seen me coach, or what have you that Oh, Mr. Coaching authority, let’s say you coach, and I would literally have people that would contract me to give a talk, they’d switch it up and be like, Oh, you’re gonna give an agility or a weightlifting, practical. And then after that, you know, they were like, Oh, we just want to see if you could coach, we’ve never seen your work. And I’m like, and that’s the way you went about it, you could have just asked me, you know, 


And if I’m a guy, and I dealt with that, just because of my age, or I wrote a book and a platform, you know, what you deal with as a female is, so much more amplified? In many respects? Can you touch on any aspect of that, that you’re comfortable with touching on, and just how you’ve dealt with that frustration? And how you’ve kind of created a strategy around it, so that it’s not just No, I’m just gonna get pissed, and this isn’t fair. But you’ve actually kind of beat them at their own game.


Christina Myers  1:02:03  

Yeah, so one thing that I wanted to mention at the very beginning of this is, a lot of what I have experienced in terms of kind of being looked down upon for being a female coach comes from females. And that I think, has been the most surprising part for me, like I do get it from males, of course, as well. But some of my own managers and bosses and that kind of thing. Actually, almost every person I’ve ever worked for in a coaching setting, has actually given me the feedback at some point that I should be more of something in every single one of the qualities was something that’s that’s generally seen as masculine, like louder, more on your face more of the drill sergeant mentality, like just those kinds of critiques and feedback. And I think most people having just heard this would be able to tell, but anybody that knows me knows that that’s just not my personality. And it’s not how I get through to people. And I do have more of a calmer, quieter, kind of like, personal approach to working with people and really getting in on that individual level and stopping and talking to people one on one when I’m giving them feedback, rather than like yelling at a whole group. And I definitely don’t get in people’s faces, that just isn’t who I am as a coach. And I know there are some really incredible female coaches out there who can do that and do it well. But expecting all of us to coach in that way, I think is really short sighted. And on top of that, it’s not what every single athlete needs. So the expectation that all of us need to coach the same way, regardless of gender, I think is also just really outdated. And really, just, it needs to go away. 


But I would say one way that I’ve kind of, I guess, proved myself a little bit is that I kind of ignored what people said, and I didn’t try and get louder and try and be something I wasn’t. But I got through to athletes that used to be with someone else who was more of that kind of, I guess, traditional style of coach, and I got through to them when someone else couldn’t. We’ve had breakthroughs, they’ve had more success, just different things like that, in a sport that is mostly female dominated, like gymnastics, being able to get through to those kids and to those young adults in that manner. But I think some of the the biggest breakthroughs and the biggest times when someone else outside of it was able to go oh, maybe she really does, you know, have something going here is when I have like my really big male powerlifters my 270 fibers in my super heavies and you know, my guys who are squatting 800 pounds and benching 600 And that kind of thing, and they are covered in tattoos and their you know, your typical powerlifter stereotype and they pick somebody who was quiet and calm to coach them on purpose like that’s what they needed and they knew that and they are in a sport like powerlifting which is kind of considered to be an angry sport, if you will. You go to For me, and it’s it’s loud metal music playing, and it’s a very like, hyped up environment. And so they knew they were already getting that and they needed somebody to bring them down. And I think that’s a really cool thing for them to know. But also, the more other people saw that and saw me at meats and saw how successful those people were with that type of coaching, more people have come to me from a client perspective, but I think I’ve seen other coaches change their technique a little bit and kind of change how they approach things, and not always be up all the time. Because sometimes that makes people more anxious and more, you know, just kind of it’s too much arousal when they don’t need it, when they really need to be trained to come down the other way. And so I think it’s a little more obvious that people want that when you are working with a female athlete, or you’re working with a kid, in a sport like gymnastics, that is very concentration. Focused, like you don’t get up on a beam with loud music playing and you know, cheering going on the whole time, you kind of want a quiet environment. So I think it was more obvious in that context. But it was when it came out in powerlifting, with the people who are expected to be a completely opposite personality, that it really kind of got people to stop and look and be like, Wait a minute. That’s not what we expected, but it’s working. And so I think, for me, really, kind of having to prove myself in, a little bit of a, we didn’t think she could do that. But she did kind of way has been probably the biggest moment for me, and kind of turning that that narrative around.


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:30  

Yeah, well put in. And I think you’re somebody that even just with how you carried yourself at the apprenticeship that I hope you, I don’t want to say I hope you want to do this. I hope you understand that you could and should. And I’m going to say that. Now I’m going to put you in a kind of a circle here. I think that you’re somebody that absolutely should speak to organizations in different fields about these things. I don’t think there’s enough of it. I do think that there is and I’m biased with this, right? Because my own communication style. I think there’s enough stuff out there about kind of leaning in and doing these things and what have you and kind of taking this, you know, poignant but soft approach. I think that there’s room for more matter of fact, conversations about this people that are not in your face, but they are frank, people from other populations, I think that it is 100% time for more in the coaching community to try to cross over and help organizations and other fields do this. 


Because here’s one thing I know, right from being able to speak in different organizations, nearly everybody watches sports, nearly everybody watches, sports. Everybody has a well not everybody. Of course, a lot of people have kids that are going to participate in some forms of training, right. But we still don’t see enough people that have worked on the training side, the strength and conditioning side, the performance side, going out and spreading these things. So I hope that in the many things that you do at some point, and if not, I want to encourage you to do it. I just think that you pursuing opportunities to speak for some of these organizations, and anybody listening, if you’re a part of any kind of corporation or small business or what have you, I think you’d really value from having somebody like Christina, and to speak and talk about these issues in a way that’s bespoke to you and your organization, because she’s certainly somebody that can. And yeah, I just want to kind of throw my support behind you in that way. Because I think you’d be great at that.


Christina Myers  1:08:16  

Thank you. I’ve done a lot of, work with some different universities, both my alma mater and then a couple of grad schools I’ve worked with recently where they have a strength and conditioning minor or something along those lines and gotten a chance to guest lecture for them and kind of bring in that different perspective. I think that’s a really good way to do it. And then I just made a point to get onto our State Board for the NSCA here so that I can especially help select speakers so that we are getting a more diverse, I guess, list of keynote speakers, especially in the state and eventually hopefully at the higher level because like I said, I don’t want them to pick a token Female Speaker every year and just we need a girl. So here’s one, because there’s so many incredible people out there to choose from. And sometimes people just don’t know where to look. And I think really making sure that those people are kind of brought to the forefront because we do need more different perspectives. We have all of those traditional coaches out there and not to take away from what they’ve done for the industry. But there’s always room for improvement and it takes something different to make things grow sometimes.


Brett Bartholomew  1:09:24  

Yep, absolutely. And guys, if this is stuff that fascinates you, please make sure to check back into previous episodes with Nikolai Morris, Jennifer no oils, Nathan Parnham, this is something we go deep and often Christina know that if you ever want to create something evergreen, a mini course for art of coaching, we’re always happy to give you a platform because we think that this stuff is needed and I know our audience will want it. In the meantime, where can everybody go to support you directly and we’ll put it on the show notes so don’t worry about spelling it, but where can they go to support you your work contact you and help you out?


Christina Myers  1:09:57  

I think I’m the most active right now on Instagram and just trying to put out educational content both on truly a strength and conditioning and an exercise physiology type perspective, but also on some different coaching and sports psychology and really getting through to people. Like last week, I literally put something together on how music affects your performance and just kind of getting those kinds of things out there so that people have resources to adjust what they’re doing and learn from that. And it’s a really easy way to get in touch with me too. And I share a lot from other really good resources there. So my instagram handle is @liftheavyprincess and then you can always contact me as well through my website, which is


Brett Bartholomew  1:10:38  

Perfect. Well, thank you again for your time and thank you guys as always for listening. This has been Brett Bartholomew and Christina Myers for the art of coaching podcast. We’ll see you again soon.

Did you enjoy the show?

Your support ensures the best quality guests and listening experience.

Leave a Comment