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My Most Important Coaching "Mission"

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Jarod CogswellJarod Cogswell

I recently received the honor of being selected as a coach for this year's U.S. Army's BOSS Strong Competition, to serve our country's most important athletes, the U.S. military. To say I was proud to lead my team of soldiers, rub elbows with some of the world's best fitness professionals and represent the Alpha Warrior coaching team is a huge understatement. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous not knowing what to fully expect from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. However, as a long-time mountain climber and rescuer, I relished the opportunity to support and lead the team that chose me in any/all conditions we were to be dealt.

The first unexpected surprise? I was selected as the first coach by the team representing the U.S. Army in Europe, specifically from Vicenza, Italy. Two of the team members were on last year's winning squad, and I can't really explain the feeling that I had after six wild, fierce and aggressive Airborne soldiers chose me to lead them to the championship. From that moment, I never took the gift they gave me for granted, and I and spent every waking hour for the next 15 days learning from them and about them, coaching them and doing my very best to inspire this team of committed soldiers.

Like most experiences, there were many reminders and lessons learned along the way. Here are a few:

"They don't care what you know, unless they know you care." I'm usually called into coaching and consulting jobs to repair breakdowns. However, this team was actually full of confidence and tenacity. I had to tweak my approach, and instead of immediately sharing my knowledge and experience, I decided to live among them and get a glimpse of the world from their eyes... listen to their music; listen to their conversations; and let them strategize, fail and succeed together, sometimes on their own.

Days later, in a team interview, it seemed to all pay off as they validated me as their leader. Their words in that segment hit me in the heart, and now, I knew we could then begin digging deeper physically, mentally and emotionally with one another. Once I gained their trust and confidence, it was time to combine all of our strengths collectively and go full throttle... And, we did.

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