self help and shooting advice




half jokingly we say that the end result of intelligent  people earnestly discussing how to help will always end in nihilism.  more specifically – if you are truly honest you will have to be vague enough to be philosophical, because there are always exceptions.  training itself is a discussion, it is give and take, test and adapt. it is an exchange, it is dynamic and varied and extremely personal.


enter the topic of gym etiquette. like any small group we have our customs. our norms.  they have been crafted over years and quietly enforced through social pressure – they are ingrained and so obvious (to us) that it can be jarring and frankly offensive when someone does not observe them. in fact, i feel like most cries of “elitism” are the result of an outside individual walking into a group, and ignorant of their customs causing offense. i have been called an elitist, which is a discussion i am willing to have but i think it is usually a misapplication of the word* – i have high standards and occasionally not enough patience to properly express that.  the natural socializing process is often easiest when a single individual is exposed to a group –  the sheer mass sets the standard, and water seeks its own level. the process has some bumps but when the entire group takes on the job of educating the individual – patience and kindness can prevail. however, if many individuals enter a group at once, the organic learning process can break down – and this is where rules can be useful.


our small project has grown considerably in the last two months – at certain times the present mass leans towards the “uninitiated”, organic process become difficult or breaks down entirely. as much as i hate it rules come in to play – things that are so basic to me and mine that it is sometimes hard to remember that it was not always so. the problem is that rules are assumptions and there is a reason to do almost anything – absolute decisions are usually the kind that come with a body count – all other times there is some grey. rules are simply a substitute to understanding.  a framework to see the workings of a system, and once you understand the purpose, the mechanism, you can also understand the moments when the rule does not apply. there is no infraction because the rule was irrelevant – however, claiming a rule is irrelevant is claiming that you understand the system – it is a bold move, and you have to be ready to accept the consequences….


enough philosophy, time to set something down:


rule 1: right action.


good luck…


lets unpack that a bit more –

don’t be an asshole (unless being an asshole is the right action)


still not helpful? how about this:


put yourself in other peoples shoes.


ok, speaking of shoes –


1: bring a change of shoes into the gym.

 period. or train in socks. salt? ice? mud? respect the space and everyone involved.

2: respect people who are working.

if you show up early (or stay late) you are intruding on someone elses time. let that sink in. if you are going to be present then do everything possible to minimize that presence. do not engage the coaches or other trainees, stay quiet, and for the love of god stay out of everyone elses way. some moments in a training session are extremely taxing – no one wants to hear you laugh or joke around while they are in the tail end of a 2k row – if you cant help at least try not to hinder. be mindful of what you bring to the table and what you are taking. be worth it.

3: be someone worthy of respect.

a special note about respecting those who are working: just because it is “your hour” it does not give you license to take from the group. spend less energy on being dramatic and more on your improvement. we have rubber mats and plates to make is “ok” to drop weights when appropriate – that being said, always ask yourself if you needed to do that. we are here to improve, to grow, to act willfully under progressively worse circumstances – throwing weights and lying on the floor is telling yourself that temper tantrums and fits are acceptable behavior when under stress – is that really a lesson you need to reinforce? is that who you want to be? on that same note – shit talk can be fun, but there is always the chance that you will get called out – one beauty of the gym is things can be measured.

4: be consistent. 

consistently shitty is better than sporadically great. consistency is a starting point and from there we can build – almost anything can be accommodated for if it is discussed ahead of time – we design. we plan. we expect that each individual is being honest and sincere, because that is the only way we can be helpful. also i wish to point out that sporadically great is really rare, usually it is a decision between consistently shitty and sporadically shittier. we keep groups small, if you are inconsistent (without prior arrangements) i assume you don’t care and, in turn, you will be replaced.

5: communicate.

 we cannot feel what you feel, words may be a far cry from perfect but they are all we have – use them. our goal is to make the best possible use of our time together, the more we know the better – keep us up to date on your goals, your stress levels, your recovery, it is important and useful information.  that being said be responsible for what comes out of your mouth. this is about communication, about improvement – there is a difference between informing and complaining – learn it.  some people do not respond well to cheering – leave them alone.


put yourself in other peoples shoes.


don’t be an asshole.


right action.


-the station




*”elitist” is a word that is now most often applied by an individual to a group that he or she dislikes and wants everyone else to dislike too. it is so overused that the definition is getting muddy and it ends up sounding more like a cheap shot and hurt feelings. dont get me wrong, there are a lot of reasons to dislike groups and individuals – be specific, use language, enumerate – earnestly and eloquently the shortcomings. convince me. explain. otherwise it just sounds like whining.