In Art Of Coaching Podcast
Whether you’re a young coach dealing with concerns about your programs efficacy or an old salty vet taking on imposter phenomenon, self-doubt is real. On this week’s special edition “short” episode I am going to tell you why self-doubt is actually the fuel that makes the furnace of great coaches burn more sustainably and how you can combat information overload.
Topics Covered
  • Why getting your degree and doing an internship is only the beginning
  • Why you shouldn’t run from imposter phenomenon
  • Why you can’t have all the answers and that’s OK
  • An exercise in honesty
  • Why you don’t need to read it all
  • The 3 C’s of Information Overload

This information is kept free by our partnership with Momentous. To learn more about Momentous and what they do to help our community go to As part of the Art of Coaching audience, you can receive $20 off your 1st order of Momentous by using code BRETT20 at checkout. (Minimum purchase amount of $50).


Brett Bartholomew  00:55

Inevitably, it happens to all of us. No matter how meticulous you are, no matter how well written or well conceived, or well thought out your program is and the logistical considerations involved with it are and all the other nuances are accounted for. You step onto the floor, the day you’re getting ready to coach, you step onto the field pitch whatever it is, and self doubt starts to creep in. 

Now, before I go any further, any coach that tells you they’ve never doubted their plan, either the way that they’ve laid it out, or the way that they’ve implemented it, or whether they’ve never second guessed themselves is lying. It happens every day. So if you’re a young coach, and you feel like, man, I don’t know if I’m doing this the right way. Because I’ve had to change things and we’re only one weekend, you know, or you’re a more senior coach who maybe is dealing with imposter phenomenon because you’ve taken a new job, or you’re dealing with a new group of athletes, or maybe you’ve gone to a new team, and you’re dealing with some transitions there. And you just feel like I shouldn’t be having these doubts. I shouldn’t be making these mistakes. 


Brett Bartholomew  01:58

And what’s interesting is, our society has taught us that those things should make us feel like we are not credible, that we’re not competent. But in today’s episode, we’re going to talk a little bit about how actually self doubt is the fuel. It’s the furnace that makes great coaches who they are, I’m actually going to argue for the benefit of imposter phenomenon, something I talk about in my book. 

See, it’s an interesting world we live in from the case right now that being an expert is highly commodified and it always has been, no matter what period you may have lived, somebody lived in with in human history, people will seek out experts. 

But now that term has lost so much gravitas because of so many people claiming to be experts, so many people putting highlight reels on their social media, so many people claiming to have the answer as it pertains to off season or in season programming or, you know “injury prevention protocols”, which we all know are, frankly, bullshit, because you can’t fully prevent injuries if you’re a strength and conditioning coach or in the performance space in general. And what we’ve done is we let these highlight reels, these movie preview trailers, all of these little things that have been leaked out over time, erode our own self confidence. 


Brett Bartholomew  03:15

Now, again, that’s a hard thing to admit, because there’s so many coaches out there in high stakes positions, highly paid positions, that don’t want to admit that even they go in with some doubts. If a young coach were to go ask, hey, what are some tips that you have for me, while trying to be a strength coach, by and large, they’re gonna hear a couple of things. When they’ve traveled that old path, get your degree, do an internship, and make sure you stay on top of research. 

But see, that’s no longer enough. That’s no longer enough to get the job, that’s no longer enough to stay good at your job. And that never would have been to begin with because it takes certainly more than getting a degree and getting quote unquote, certified and reading research. It involves spending enough time getting your hands dirty, and spending enough time even in interpersonal battles with yourself that you’ve kind of tasted that blood or or the metal of failure in your mouth. 

And I think that’s something that was instrumental for me and somebody never told me, they never said find a safe place to fail. And that’s tough because you’re not always going to be able to have the opportune situation to do that. I know that I went from internship into a grad assistantship into a full time job, but that’s where self practice and that’s where finding a place where you can get with other coaches. 


Brett Bartholomew  04:34

And you can battle test your ideas, you can lay them out and some for some people that’s training together for some people that’s exchanging programs anonymously and doing kind of 360 critiques for some people that’s videotaping their sessions, which is something I widely advocate, especially if you’ve done the field guide. 

If you videotape your sessions, or open yourself to criticism, you’re gonna find so many unique opportunities to improve a s a coach, and so when we look at imposter phenomenon, and we don’t call it syndrome anymore, because it’s really not a medical thing, and I discuss a little bit more about that in my book, so that’s outside the scope. But when we look at imposter phenomenon, so much of it is centered around you feeling like you’re a fraud, that even if you are highly competent at something, that somebody is going to find out that you know, you’re you’re really not doing what you should be, you’re you’re not doing it the highest level, you don’t have just everything that it takes to get there. 


Brett Bartholomew  05:32

But here’s the unique thing. Imposter phenomenon actually occurs in the most highly accomplished of us. And it’s something that is rampant within the scientific community as a whole. Because there are so many researchers doing so much unique work, whether that’s in the field of epigenetics, whether that’s looking at cancer research, whether that’s looking at astrophysics, no matter what that may be, you’re around all these other people who are supremely talented and incredibly intelligent, it feels like you’re never going to measure up. 

What drives me nuts is that we’ve been told to run from this feeling, that we’ve been told to just feel good about yourself, that we’ve been told, you know what, just find some kind of positivity self help book, dive in and just understand that you’re unique and you’re special. I think that’s all crap. 


Brett Bartholomew  06:22

I think the reality is, is that doubting yourself should be the very fuel that you need to improve and become even tougher self critic and what you do, should you occasionally celebrate small accomplishments. Yeah, without a doubt, even if you’re a strength coach, and you’ve fully submitted to kind of the martyrdom, self-sacrificial community that we seem to be really obsessed with growing and feeding daily, you need to celebrate some small accomplishments. 

But you also need to make sure that whether you’re a strength coach in the NFL, NBA Major League Baseball that has won championships, and you’re getting paid a quarter million dollars plus a year and you’ve killed it, and you’re widely regarded as an industry Pro, or you’re somebody kind of in the middle of a transition in your career, that you never start to inhale your own exhausts, because the minute you start thinking that you’ve made it, whether publicly or privately is when you start slipping. And that leads me to another piece. 

Some people get so far into this rut on the opposite side, that they feel like they’ve got to digest every bit of information out there, they never feel good enough. 


Brett Bartholomew  07:28

So every research article, whether it’s pertinent or relevant to them, they’re going to eat up. Every single book, somebody tells them to read or in post on social media they think they need to read. They forget that old adage, sometimes the best resources find you. I won’t forget, when I put together a reading list, it’s 200 of my favorite books and articles and you can find it in the show notes. I put a reading list out, I had somebody reach out and say, Hey, I think it’s really irresponsible of you to put this out, and not tell people what order to read them in? 

Well, here’s the thing that highlights the deficiency that we’ve had in coach development in our society. And when I say coach development, I mean leader development, leadership development, too. We think that there’s a right path for everybody. We think that I’ve got to read this book, or I’m only competent if I do this, and only if I can get this resource. Now I have all the answers. All of these things depend where you are in your journey. silence the noise, who cares what another coach posted on their Instagram? Who cares what somebody said is their top 10 books of the year? Can those things be useful? Absolutely. But only if they’re relevant to you.


Brett Bartholomew  08:42

I want to pause for a moment to recognize a sponsor who is really critical to everything we’re trying to do at the Art Of Coaching. Now, many of you that have followed for a long time know that I’ve never came out endorsed anybody straightforward, or a product or anything like that. I’ve always tried to keep things very organic. And the only reason this made sense is because this was as organic as it gets. In an earlier episode, I mentioned how I am really proud to partner with Momentous

Momentous is a company that is so much more than, you know, most people would look at it and think, oh, is this a supplement company is this and that it really is something that is all about performance, lifestyle, and most importantly, with what we believe in at Art Of Coaching, people. And what makes it super unique is the fact that not only are they NSF approved or certified, but also informed choice. They work with a number of NFL, NBA, NHL and NCAA teams, you can just go to and you can see all the individuals that love them, because it’s just truly unique. 


Brett Bartholomew  09:44

One thing for me is that I have always, always been terrified of turning on the news someday and seeing an athlete that I work with or have represented in some capacity, get tested in and dinged for some kind of banned substance and so I think It’s critically important for any strength and conditioning coach, or anybody that works with athletes in general to make sure that you always know what’s in your product. And Momentous does that , they go through the most rigorous standards, they make sure that everything is above board. And most importantly, you can actually get them on the phone, if you guys or your organization has questions. So again, if you follow me, you know that I am not somebody that traditionally has pushed anything in the past. This is the first company that I have truly 100% sponsored with, I am also not a “supplement guy”. Momentous sticks to the grassroots of what we do and what performance nutrition is really about. And we’re proud to have them as a partner. So if you want to learn more, you can go to, you can actually always check in the show notes as well, I have a direct link. And if you use code BRETT, that’s B,R,E,T,T,2,0. At checkout, you’re gonna get $20 off your first order of any Momentous product. So thank you guys very much. Make sure to check out Momentous now back to the show.


Brett Bartholomew  11:04

So if you haven’t done so already, I’d urge you to take out a piece of paper, a notebook, if you’re driving, just play this back and add it to your notes section in your phone. But like every podcast episode, we’ve got to take action because listening and consuming isn’t enough, it’s part of the problem. I want you to do a self reflection exercise real simple. And there’s no hmm Ahm. Mindfulness about this, it’s just straight up being honest with yourself, right out where you feel like, you are the most weak or deficient as a professional right now. 

And it may not even have anything to do with the tactical side of your craft. It may not have to do, do I teach agility or change of direction? Well, do I have a good, you lack in on or understanding of acceleration mechanics, is do I understand the difference between ballistic protocols and plyometrics? Guys, that might be something completely unrelated that is actually strongly related. It seems unrelated. 


Brett Bartholomew  11:59

But maybe it’s, you know, for me that that was always the communication piece, what could I do to be a stronger communicator, because that matters. I learned later on there needed to be a business side of that as well. And there were times I’ll be very honest with you guys, my insecurities ate me alive. 

When I started to transition just from coaching on the floor all day, to now coaching, running a business, speaking, consulting and doing these other things. I thought that if I wasn’t coaching 5, 6, 7 groups a day, like I used to every day, that I was gonna lose my skills or abilities. And you know what, there’s still times where you can think that. And then what happens? I get back on the floor, we run this session, and then like I never left, but we tend to project and cast out all these things that we fear will happen, and they never do. They never do as long as you’re doing things that are interrelated. And that’s where I’m going out. 


Brett Bartholomew  12:55

So where are you deficient? Don’t just think where you might be deficient as a coach? Were you deficient as a friend, a family member, if you own a business there? If you don’t own a business, you still have to deal with finances? What about your financial management? What about your level of organization? Now flip it on all you type a plus plus people, some of you have to do lists for your To Do lists? Why? What is it that you’re scared to relinquish? Is it control that you’re after? What are these to do lists? What all these apps? What do these productivity manuals help you do? And I have no doubt that they helped me interview. 

But consider it like your programming, minimal effective dose. If you could only use one or two of those things, or just one? What would it be? And if you lost them all tomorrow, are you still effective at those things? Because it’s great to have tools, toys, and all this stuff. But if you need it to subsist, if you need it to succeed, that becomes a problem. 


Brett Bartholomew  13:52

So think about going back to the question saying about what am I deficient in skill wise as a whole? Why do I feel like I need those things? What would happen if I didn’t have those things? I want to be very clear what would happen if I didn’t read a book that somebody told me about? What if I saw a 15 people post about a book on program design, that I you know, if I just let that one go, and I instead read a book about something else that maybe I was struggling with? Maybe that was even decision making? Maybe that was something psychology related? Maybe that was just looking at nuances of soft tissue, and new discoveries in anatomy and physiology? What would happen if you didn’t follow the path of everybody else? 

And you’re going to realize more often than not nothing. And it seems trivial to have a podcast on this guy’s but I’m telling you, our field is suffering from information overload, insecurity and a lack of self awareness. And we’ve all been guilty, myself included, or I wouldn’t talk on it. I promise. I never talk on anything in this episode. That isn’t something that I’ve experienced or I’ve dealt with. Everyday I go coach, I wonder if there’s something that I could have done better. I’m relentlessly competitive with myself. But I also know that failure is inherent to this field. And it’s the reality of what we do. And it’s why it’s an art and a science. 


Brett Bartholomew  15:13

Now, how do you manage information overload? And this is something that I have a dive very deeply into within my online course Valued. But here’s something that helped me. I went from somebody that would get texts, and emails, and DMS, from people that would have articles and blog posts. And I felt like almost my self worth, not literally, but to a degree, my self worth of how productive I was, or how competent I was, was, did I get through all this stuff? Did I read it all? And that’s the first lie. We’re told that you got to read it all? You don’t? 

You don’t have to read it all. You have to understand certain things about again, what are your gaps, go back to that list? What are your needs? And you also need to consider three C’s. If the information is not Concise, meaning is it to the point, if the information is not Comprehensive, meaning can it apply to whether I work with my pros, whether I’m working with military, whether I’m working with high school, whether I’m working with a novice, or amateur fighter? And, is it Consistent? Is it something that is not just the flavor of the day? But it’s just been something that you’ve kind of heard about for a while? Maybe it’s six months? Maybe it’s a year? Maybe it’s two years? 


Brett Bartholomew  16:29

Is it Concise, Comprehensive and Consistent? If it’s not those things, If it doesn’t fill those buckets for me, It’s out, Its out. And I have to pay attention to that because I certainly am. I’m definitely a innately curious person. So I’ll catch myself going down rabbit holes, and studying things that while interesting, may make no difference in what I’m going to do ultimately. 

And so you have to look at again, is it concise? Is it comprehensive? Is it consistent, because you’re gonna find if you stay in this field long enough, that there’s always going to be something new, there’s always something new or molded to make it look new. And half the time it never is. Half the time it never is just a new name. Somebody gave it, somebody painted it differently. There’s a new marketing ploy. And marketing isn’t a bad thing. But there’s people, the way you don’t do it well, the way it can be. And so you also need to understand that just because something’s new, it’s not valuable. And that’s why I say the consistent piece is so huge. 


Brett Bartholomew  17:28

There are so much new information that comes out every day. And you know what the vast majority of it is garbage. There’s new food products created every day, the vast majority of them are garbage. People try to claim new exercises, the vast majority of them are garbage. Sure, they may check off multi joint, multi planar, you know, ground based kind of pieces in your program design. But there’s another thing that most people miss, is it necessary? 

Yeah, just because something’s new, just because it’s novel doesn’t mean that it is necessary. And that’s something that you have to be ruthlessly critical about with yourself too. So when you have a new piece of information, whether it’s books, or whether it’s articles, whether it’s journals, create a checklist, create a counterbalance some way to kind of really hold yourself accountable, and say, Is this something I need? If so, why or why not? How is this going to help me better get better tomorrow? How might this help me three years from now? How might this help me five years from now? And then lay out, lay it out. How like, so what will that look like? 

Right, let’s say you’re reading on force plate analysis, does this help me right now? Maybe not. If you don’t have force plates, and you can’t afford them, and they’re not in your budget. If you do have force plates, great, you’re gonna have to look at that. But you may not read something else that’s relevant to what you do at the moment. So there’s this skill to being able to survey the land around you. 

And understand, where can I get, where’s a high piece of high ground where I can get leverage, where something that or where’s the location that’s strategic and is really allow me to attack a weakness versus what is something that’s just nice to view right now, what’s a piece of landscape that may not be strategic? It’s not a need to know, it’s a nice to know, great. Have a separate file for that. 


Brett Bartholomew  19:16

So if it doesn’t meet for me personally, if it’s not consistent, concise and comprehensive, I don’t read it, or I do so very sparingly. If it is those things, I then start to bucket in do I need this now? Might I need this later? But before it goes into any of those folders, metaphorically speaking, I’ve got to answer those questions. What might this look like if I use it? Who would I use it with? Do I have the budget to use it? Or is this just something nice that I think one day when I get that budget or if I’m in this situation I might have. The point is guys is create funnels, you do it for your programming. It’s got to check boxes, push, pull, squat, hinge carry, do it for the information that you take in. This is just the tip of the iceberg. 


Brett Bartholomew  19:59

But I want you guys to be critical, imposter phenomenon and feeling insecure and self doubt is inherent to everybody, especially high achievers. But it’s also inherent to those that cannot prioritize and scale back and really be self aware about what information they need to take in, what’s relevant for the now and what’s gonna benefit their athletes. How does this creep into your programming? When you step onto the floor, and you feel like you have this self doubt, acknowledge that, but then see, have the balls or have the guts to see that program through, and then make adjustments. 

And notice that when you do that, when you cross these things out, when you realize that the best programs are written in pencil, not pen. In actuality, you’re on your way to becoming a true coach. There is no perfection in what we do. There’s progress. And if you’re a student of the game, and you want to respect this craft, you have to embrace that. Block out the noise, filter your information, embrace self doubt, that’s the message of today. Probably didn’t say the most clearly or concisely as you can tell, It’s something I’m really passionate about. 


Brett Bartholomew  21:09

But if you guys want to learn more, make sure to sign up for the newsletter because we send stuff out on this all the time. If newsletters aren’t your jam, and you’re more visual, check out or reach out to for information on my online course, it’s coming out in April. And it’s going to have a lot of these resources because what you find is there’s just people that aren’t being taught this. 

There’s young coaches, and I know I was never taught this. They’re never taught how to deal with self doubt. They’re never taught how to filter this information. They’re just told to go out there, get certified, get as much information as you can and you’ll be world class. It’s wrong. You ask some of the best coaches in the world. It’s not always about the information they take in. It’s what they start to prioritize and cut out. 

Hope you guys have a great rest of the week. And again, we’d love to hear your guys’s feedback. I hope this was helpful. Take care.

  • Claudia Dentico

    I REALLY, really needed to hear this. THANK YOU!

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