February 03, 2010

My Coaching Story

While reading up on the the Jason Ho scandal, it got me thinking about my beginning as a coach and how I got started. First with that whole situation, I feel extremely bad for those who were scammed and as someone who is pretty trustworthy of strangers I could see something like that happening to me especially if I had never received coaching before. Hopefully people will take the proper steps in hiring new coaches from now on.

Anyways as far as how I got started in coaching. It was early 2008 and I was having a lot of success taking 1 lesson a week from jsnipes. I really enjoyed our sessions and was learning a ton through him. We mainly did sweat sessions but I picked his brain a ton over AIM and was extremely fortunate that he was available most hours in regards to hand questions, theory, etc.

Around the end of March I saw Krantz make a post on 2+2 that they needed a small stakes NL heads up coach. I sent Krantz an E-mail saying that I was interested and about a week passed and I didn’t hear anything. A couple weeks later, Krantz sent me an IM saying that if I was interested, they had a spot open and JoeTall would be contacting me soon for an interview.

Now, believe it or not I had never heard of Joe. I was a DC member but never watched any limit videos or frequented the forums. A few days later Joetall IM’d me and the first thing he asked was if I was a sox fan. We spent most of the time talking about the Redsox and he briefed me on what was expected as a DC coach. When my headset arrived from DC, I was stoked to begin.

Looking back on it I was extremely fortunate. I had only coached one student previously and he had only stayed for one session. If I applied today to DC I don’t even know if I would be considered as a coach. I’ve never really inquired but I’m sure I got a positive review from Jsnipes as a player but didn’t have any references as a coach. Also, I didn’t have to submit a sample video. However, it was something I was eager to do and was lucky enough to have success right away. I basically got into coaching because I thought it would be challenge and fun not really the right reasons.

Why was I successful? I was fortunate enough that my first 2 students worked extremely hard. They were constantly asking me questions on AIM and skype and during our sessions. At this point I was only doing sweat sessions with like 5-10 minutes of HH review at the end. I put in a ton of time with these students and still talk pretty regularly with one of them today. The other gave me my reference on my DC coaching page. If I had 2 different students I really don’t know how my coaching career would’ve turned out. These two forced me to quickly improve as a coach, I really couldn’t have done anything else.

Over the next few months I stayed mainly with sweat sessions until I had one student who enjoyed our first session but wanted to talk more theory. He showed me his HU worksheet that consisted of 40+ pages of notes at the time and I was floored. It was so well organized and an extremely good asset to any good poker player. I offered him 5 hours of coaching in exchange for a blank worksheet that I could give to my students. Understandably he didn’t want me to give it up too easily so I promised to give it out in increments. Basically a student had to stay for X amount of lessons to get part one and for every lesson after that they would get the next part. I’ve only had a couple that have received the whole thing but it was extremely well received by everyone.

It was at this time I had started to develop a pretty long waiting list. Other coaches know, nothing will boost your ego quite like a waiting list for your services. As time went on I had students who picked things up quickly, students who were a bit slower in learning what I was teaching, and students who only stuck around for 1 or 2 lessons and bailed. Late last year I picked up 2 students who couldn’t have been further apart from each other when they started. One was a successful 100nl player who did very well in a short amount of time and the other was a struggling 50nl player.

The 50nl player just didn’t seem to be picking up on things. I tried telling him to 1 table, study the worksheet, etc. He studied hard but just couldn’t pick things up. I went to Krantz and Joetall for ideas. Finally I let him sweat me at 50nl for free and after that something clicked for him. He skyrocketed from 50nl to 200nl in about a month. This was around November and now he’s currently playing higher. I think most coaches who have been around a while have a story like this and there really aren’t too many better feelings.

It was around this time I started to feel burned out. I had a long waiting list but coaching was starting to feel more like a chore. Many people told me to raise my rates but I wanted to stay affordable for the smaller stakes guys. Finally I made This blog post
and decided that I just don’t have the drive to do it for now and that’s not fair to my students who are paying a lot of money for me to help them. I’m not sure when I’m gonna jump back in, eventually I will but so far I’ve enjoyed pretty much every minute of it.

I’ve had students from all over the globe and still remain friends with some to this day. One thing that amazes me is how well the world speaks English. So far, while having students from Asia, Europe, and South America I’ve been able to understand everyone. In fact most speak the language better than my friends. I took Spanish in high school but would never be able to go to a Spanish speaking country and have an in depth conversation, so the fact that the rest of the world speaks English is just amazing to me.

So yes, I’ve been very lucky in my time as a coach. First of all to get the job, then to have hard working students that helped me as much as I helped them. I will get back into coaching, but even if I never did it again, I’ve gotten way more out of it than I expected.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
-John Wooden

Posted By bosoxx34 at 04:15 AM

9 Comments

9 Comments:

Niklius posted on February 04, 2010 at 04:29 AM

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From someone who wants to eventually be a coach someday, your post was a fantastic read.

What do you think your appeal was to your first two students who decided to have you coach them? Was it for free? Years down the road I would like to consider this as a viable option. Also, I would like to begin 'mentoring' other underdeveloped players ASAP just so that I am forced to learn things I don't know. Any advice on trying to do something like this?


bosoxx34 posted on February 04, 2010 at 06:18 AM

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Basically they just wanted to get better and were willing to put the time in to do it. It wasn't for free but was at a lower rate than my current coaching rate. As far as mentoring I would only take on one or two and just be prepared to learn from your mistakes and be ready to adjust to their style/personality.


Niklius posted on February 04, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Youravatar-1

Great. Do you tell the first people that you coach for money that you've never coached for money before? And how does the biz work? Is it common to be getting other coaches recommendations for you to use?


bosoxx34 posted on February 04, 2010 at 15:49 PM

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Thinking back on it I didn't tell my first students that I had never coached before. Like I said I was extremely fortunate. It's not usually too common to get other coaches give you recommendations but I had been receiving lessons from jsnipes for like 5 months at this point.


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