Thursday, June 25, 2009


My father can be very social, but he's not exactly a let's-share-feelings kind of guy. He doesn't really 'open-up'. Occasionally however, nostalgia will grab him and he'll relate a story or two. One of them involves a barbell... no, let me rephrase that - the barbell that he bought from a company called Eleiko in the late 60s. Whenever he tells me that story his eyes get a faraway look and a faint smile spreads over his face. He tells me about how balanced it was; how smoothly the sleeves rotated on the bar. He tells me how much it cost. He tells me about how it eventually snapped from misuse at the local university gym.

And, he tells me about how his Eleiko olympic barbell came in a box... a wooden box - like Cuban cigars, or a fine wine.

In the story he retells, the packaging the barbell came in is given as much attention as the barbell itself. And with good reason - packaging and presentation are as important as the product itself. Think of this in terms of food: if an inmate with a cigarette hanging from his mouth ladles some swill into a paper bowl and tosses it at you, will it taste worse or better than if a soup is served to you by an attentive and good looking waiter or waitress in a gourmet restaurant accompanied by pleasant ambiance and company you enjoy?

Pork chops. Which would you rather eat?

Packaging, in terms of training and coaching, is framing - rebooting or rearranging background knowledge and schemata so that new lessons can be learned, new skills practiced, and new strengths developed. Proper packaging helps the trainee to see the value and purpose in a program, exercise, or tool. It is not marketing per se, because some degree of buy-in is assumed here. Rather, it is an integral part of the lesson - previewing and priming the main course yet to come.


The following short list has ideas for packaging a training lesson. Modality is not fixed and mixing things up from time to time is recommended - using bodyweight or bands or freeweights, for example, or using a white board, chalk, or Power Point. The techniques, depending on time, content, and audience, may be the frame through which a lesson is viewed, or the bulk of the lesson itself.

Pictures, Charts, Graphs, Visuals
Video of Athletes
Activation/Isolation Exercises
Mobility Drills & Stretches
Slow Motion
Reverse Engineering
Slogans/Sound Bytes
Success Stories
Statement of Purpose
Pose A Problem
Real-life Application

Coaches, how are you packaging what you are teaching? Are you ladling up swill? Or, are you sending an Eleiko olympic barbell in wooden box?


Randy Hauer said...

I agree that presentation is important..I also think one of the important considerations when deciding how to present is authenticity. Does your presentation represent you and your product authentically or does it feel phony, misrepresent or otherwise pretend to be something it isn't? There's a big difference between putting lipstick on a pig and "framing" a fine product. Lot of great picture frames out there worth more than the art they are framing.

Boris said...

Thanks Randy. The product has to be good, that's for sure - no matter how you frame it, you can't make a silk purse out of a swine's ear.

Antanas Sleckus said...

Hey Boris long time no speak. Dandy article.

Many people provide a good product, or relevant information but where they fall short is the presentation.

Everyone can offer something but the successful offer a complete package.

Boris said...

Thanks Antanas - good to hear from you!